Question: How much would you pay for this old Chevy Prizm??

#1
Anyone here know about body work? (No, I mean on cars.) Ran across this Prizm at a local dealer:

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The title is not salvaged! I mean seriously, I know a guy who might be able to pound out the hood, unless the frame is FUBAR. There was also a problem with oil consumption on this engine. So that's another gamble, but some Prizms never got the problem (bad piston rings) and this car already passed 150k.

Car runs and drives. Whaddya think? $800? $650?? :behindsofa:
 

James

DTVUSA Member
#2
Tough call. Buying a headache is never fun. If it has oil consumption..which may mean a leak OR burning it through the rings..not good. If you had a good mechanic..he could tell you loads. Maybe pull the spark plugs and have a look at them for fouling. If you open the radiator cap..if you CAN do that on this car...look for an oil slick..which shows oil getting into the cooling system..or white gunk. But I don't know if this can lets you peek into the radiator. Did you start it up and see if it smokes?
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#4
Rick, my parents owned a Prism, very dependable. But they got rid of it when it developed rust - upstate NY is not kind to cars.

If it starts, stops, and passes inspection or smog, it's gotta be worth at least $500.
 
#5
Rick, my parents owned a Prism, very dependable. But they got rid of it when it developed rust - upstate NY is not kind to cars.

If it starts, stops, and passes inspection or smog, it's gotta be worth at least $500.
Yeah, they want $899 for it. They say it runs and drives just fine. I think somebody hit it just in front of the passenger side wheel well. Looks like it's latched in front, but hinges came apart in the back. That would explain how the radiator came out OK.

The hood would have to be fixed. Cops around here would probably stop it just for kicks. Problem is, it could cost $75 to fix the hood or it could cost $350. Would need a professional body man to see it up close to know. And then there'd still be the question about the piston rings. Who knows? If previous owner took fabulous care of it and used synthetic oil, it might be getting ready to blow even now.

I guess it's one gamble too many. Hell of a shame though. I might be turning my back on my dream car.

Rick
 
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#6
Did you start it up and see if it smokes?
No, haven't even been there yet. It's out of state, and my genius :azn: brother has to come along. Lack of smoke wouldn't be the final answer, cause it's well known this particular engine often eats oil without showing it. The cat. converter covers it up. Toyota had a bad ring supplier for awhile. There's an hour+ long video on YouTube showing how to fix it. Has to be a $400 job.

Clearly, if it's going to eat oil, it'll need new rings immediately, in which case it's a terrible deal. And if it's already BEEN eating oil for any length of time, car should be junked.

Rick
 
#7
OK, I finally talked to the guy who talked to previous owner. He said "Yeah, he did say it burns about a quart of oil a week." Hah! The internet is a great thing. If I hadn't done my research, I wouldn't have known to ask.

I give them a lot of credit for being forthcoming. They are known as a fair dealer. So real price on the vehicle, after repairs, is more like $1500 -- about what you'd expect from a dealer on that model.

My last car ate oil for the last 20,000 miles or so. Drove that thing RIGHT into the ground. Don't need deja vu on that one. :deadhorse:

RIck
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#8
Related stories:
In the 70's, friends of mine piled into an old oilburner and made the trip from NY to Florida - with almost no money. They had to stop every so often at service stations and beg old used motor oil!

Also in the 70's and 80's, I could buy a running car for $100 and it would pass a NYS inspection. I had a string of Olds Cutlasses that I bought for $75 to $500 each and drove till they died. Well worth the price.

When I moved here to Vegas the first time, I got a great deal on a 93 Taurus with only 60,000 miles on it. The owner had died and I bought it from her estate for $1000. Great car,but it had been kept in a hot Vegas garage for 6 months not being driven (Grandma got sick and couldn't drive it) Seals were all dried out, I ended up replacing the head gaskets. I drove it until 2 years ago and sold it for $700.
 
#9
My first car was a '67 Mustang. The driver's side door was bashed in, and I paid $60 for it. Back in the '60s and early '70s it was common to get a used car for $25. People just didn't care. Craig's List has really fleshed out the market. I'm gradually getting pretty good at scoping out deals.

I'd like a '94 or '95 car that's very fuel efficient -- at least 29 mpg with automatic trans and plenty of head room. A Honda Civic would be perfect. Why '94 or '95? I hate doing fuel emissions tests. It's the idea of buying a car to get your freedom, only to knuckle under to da man. Plus my last car was a '93 Plymouth Voyager, so a '94 will feel like progress, sort of.

Anyhow, I think the real deals will come right around when the first snow hits. Chicago has a MAJOR parking problem, and once alternate street parking looms near, people will panic about that extra car with no plates sitting on the street. Chicago price drops will affect the whole Chiwaukee (Chicago/Milwaukee) metro area. There are six times as many people within 40 miles south of my address, as 40 miles to the north.

I'm learning about car flipping, title jumping, all kinds a neat stuff -- some of it legal.

Rick
 
#10
I know I'm dragging this thread along single handed, but I just gotta share some of the neat stuff I'm learning about used car sales.

I've slowly realized that lack of license plates, on a car from a private seller, is almost 100% proof they are jumping title. That's where a buyer, to avoid paying at least $200 for title, registration and sales taxes, simply "forgets" to sign the title at the time of transfer. When they resell, it looks like the car passed straight from owner #1 to owner #3. This is so common that over 50% of the cars on Craig's List under $1300, specifically in the "Owners" (not "Dealers") section, have no license plates!

It gets a little confusing in Wisconsin, because the plates stay with the individual. So when you sell a car, you can move those plates to another vehicle. But in order to drive that car, you have to register it, and at that time you either get new plates (which are free), or tell the DMV about the plate transfer. I'm pretty sure that's how it works.

The upshot is, there's NO REASON for a non-dealer not to have plates on a car. The registration is required. The plates come with the registration.

That brings up an interesting scenario: There are lots of people who supplement their income buying, patching up, and selling four or five used cars per year on Craig's List. As long as it's under 6 cars per year, it's perfectly legal in Wisconsin, EXCEPT for the title jumping, which is almost universal.

Now the buyer is perfectly blameless in this situation, and he can protect himself even further with a well written bill of sale. So this can be very advantageous for the buyer! If something goes wrong with the car a week later, he can go back and say "Look, you lied to me about the car, and now I discover it's a jumped title! If you don't give me my money back, you're going to jail for tax evasion!!"

Where am I going wrong?

Rick
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#11
Rick,

In Washington State the seller is required to report the sale of a motor vehicle and if he doesn't, he remains responsible for all parking tickets the car accumulates. It is very good motivation to report the sale/transfer.

Jim
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#12
Suggestion for you Rick:
I owned a 1993 Saturn and was very happy with it. Prices are now reasonable, and they were very reliable during that time period. Only complaints I had was that it was so light that it required a delicate touch in the snow, and though I got 30 MPG with it, I thought it should have had higher MPG given the weight and engine size.
 
#13
In Washington State the seller is required to report the sale of a motor vehicle and if he doesn't, he remains responsible for all parking tickets the car accumulates. It is very good motivation to report the sale/transfer.
Such a simple solution. Wisconsin and Illinois should talk to you guys. (But not on minimum wage!) And I bet 90%+ of the cars in the "Owners" clistings have plates in Washington.

R.
 
#14
I owned a 1993 Saturn and was very happy with it. Prices are now reasonable, and they were very reliable during that time period. Only complaints I had was that it was so light that it required a delicate touch in the snow, and though I got 30 MPG with it, I thought it should have had higher MPG given the weight and engine size.
I should make it clear, when I said 29 mpg minimum, I was talking about the highway. I know better is possible. I figured out that an extra 7 mpg, at today's gas prices, is worth about $2,400 in 50,000 miles. There's no way that's properly reflected in used car prices. I'd hope even a 20 year old car, if it runs and drives good, would go for another 50,000 miles.

Bill, I like your suggestion. In fact I LOVE your suggestion, and I see lots of underpriced Saturns on clist and in local lots. Only problem is my genius :azn: brother -- who's did lots of work on my last car -- refuses to work on Saturns. He claims they were deliberately engineered so you have to take Saturns to a dealer for service. He says that's why they're underpriced.

Thing is, my brother is a control freak. He was literally SCREAMING at me one night on the phone, that I have to get a van or an SUV on account of my weight (327). Total BS, according to several long threads I've read with input from trained mechanics. And everything I read on Saturns, e.g. on KBB.com, says they are very cheap to maintain.

Do you know anything about working on Saturns? I guess I should float this past an auto repair site. Doesn't make much difference. He'll refuse to work on one, rather than be proven wrong. Man was HOMELESS for 10 years, yet he feels obligated to tell everyone else how to live their lives. His daughter is estranged from him for that reason. Every time I take his advice on ANYthing, it's a zero percent success rate. :deadhorse:

Rick
 
#15
Hahahahahaha. Now I find out that many people write on the registration form that their car is kept in a county without emissions testing. You can write down your real mailing address and put down a different county for the car! Who knew such devious schemes flourished in the car buying bidness?? FREEDOM!!!!!

Rick
 
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