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Hesitating between two used cars (Elentra or Corolla)... advice needed

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February 19, 2012 7:07:03 PM

Hello Everybody,

I'm new on this forum and I'd like to have your advice...
I just move from France to the US (Worcester, MA) for my job and I would like to buy a used car. I've done quite a lot of research and car test drive in dealerships and now I'm hesitating between two of them.

The first one is Hyundai Elentra GT 2003 with 84.000 miles for 5.995$. It's manual and it has been fully reconditioned with a new clutch, timing belt and water pump, new brakes and roters all around, 4 new tires... It has some nice options such as leather seats, power sunroof, sony radio with CD MP3, alloy wheels, power windows and locks. The car is very nice to drive, nice size boot and is well maintained. My only worry is that there is a bit of rust under the car... the dealer said it's surface rust which is not a big deal but I don't know if I can trust him...

The other one is a Toyota Corolla CE 2004 with 100.000 miles for 6.995$. It's an automatic but nothing has been changed on it. When I tried the car, everything looks good, except the brakes that were a bit "loose" (I had to press quite hard to brake). On this Toyota, there is no timing chain so should not have to worry about it. The tires look fine...

Both cars have a clean carfax, similar warranty (30days included or 1200miles).

What do you think I should go for ? I plan to move back to Europe in 3-4 years and would like to sell it before leaving... so I kinda need to think about that, as I'm pretty sure that the corolla would sell better than the Elentra in 4 years... but the fact that most of the equipment is brand new on the Elentra makes me think that I may not have any repairs to do before leaving...

I really need your advice and maybe some tips like if the cars worth the prices and if there is something special that need to be checked before purchasing it... We'll buy it cash so there may be a possibility of decreasing the price ?

Thanks so much !

Francois
February 21, 2012 10:58:54 PM

That Hyundai is still in the years where they are iffy. If you're concerned about the rust take a magnet to it. If it is just surface rust then the magnet will stick. They weren't bad cars but not of the same quality of that toyota, you can see that in the price. Whoever told you that corolla didn't have a timing chain is a little right as it has a timing belt instead. That should be changed as toyota states 60k miles. That job will set you back around $500 if you get a shop to do it. If you're getting a car loan to buy it look to see if you can find a 2011 accent, yaris, or festiva. If so dealerships will be looking to get them off the lot and you might find one for around $9000. With the interest being a few percent lower on new cars and having a higher resale value after it might end up costing close to the same in the end.
February 27, 2012 4:13:52 PM

fxlaurent said:
Hello Everybody,

I'm new on this forum and I'd like to have your advice...
I just move from France to the US (Worcester, MA) for my job and I would like to buy a used car. I've done quite a lot of research and car test drive in dealerships and now I'm hesitating between two of them.

The first one is Hyundai Elentra GT 2003 with 84.000 miles for 5.995$. It's manual and it has been fully reconditioned with a new clutch, timing belt and water pump, new brakes and roters all around, 4 new tires... It has some nice options such as leather seats, power sunroof, sony radio with CD MP3, alloy wheels, power windows and locks. The car is very nice to drive, nice size boot and is well maintained. My only worry is that there is a bit of rust under the car... the dealer said it's surface rust which is not a big deal but I don't know if I can trust him...

The other one is a Toyota Corolla CE 2004 with 100.000 miles for 6.995$. It's an automatic but nothing has been changed on it. When I tried the car, everything looks good, except the brakes that were a bit "loose" (I had to press quite hard to brake). On this Toyota, there is no timing chain so should not have to worry about it. The tires look fine...

Both cars have a clean carfax, similar warranty (30days included or 1200miles).

What do you think I should go for ? I plan to move back to Europe in 3-4 years and would like to sell it before leaving... so I kinda need to think about that, as I'm pretty sure that the corolla would sell better than the Elentra in 4 years... but the fact that most of the equipment is brand new on the Elentra makes me think that I may not have any repairs to do before leaving...




I really need your advice and maybe some tips like if the cars worth the prices and if there is something special that need to be checked before purchasing it... We'll buy it cash so there may be a possibility of decreasing the price ?

Thanks so much !

Francois



First thing Francois, All rust is a big deal. Once it starts the only way to stop it is by power blasting it off the metal. Then you have to prime and protect the bare metal from further corrosion. You are correct in not trusting a car dealer. All they want is to make the sale and they will all lie cheat or steal to get your money.

A rule of thumb I follow most of the time concerning cars. The more automated bells and whistles the more expensive the repairs. ( electric windows, power seats, things like that.)

My wife owns a 2003 corolla S. We have had no problems from this car. When we were looking for a vehicle for her we checked consumer reports, and the corolla was neck and neck with the honda civic in reliability , consumer satifaction, and loyalty.

If a corolla is well maintained and not subjected to abbusive driving (mostly stop and go) you should be able to get 300,000 miles out of one with no problem.

I will suggest that you make certain the timing chain has been changed. The manual reccomends that it be changed every 90,000 to 100,000 miles. I would also
find a mechanic who has a good reputation in your area and have their shop run a diagnostic on the vehicle. You will have to pay for the diagnostic, but it could save you some grief down the road. Just set up a time in advance with the mechanic shop. Take the car out for a test drive and stop by to have the test performed.

Since you are paying cash you can absolutely get a reduction in price. Not to mention the fact that the brakes are bad, and you will be armed with accurate information from the diagnostic test.

I know that wip99gt said the corolla has a timing belt. It does not, the car has a timing chain. I am sitting here looking at a Chilton repair manual for the Toyota Corolla production years 2003-2005.

Here are a couple of links to check out that you might find useful.

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/index.htm
There is a fee to pay for full access to consumer reports, but this sight will save you far more money than it will cost you. It is good for advice on everything from cars, to electronics, or anything else you might want or need.

http://www.kbb.com/
Kelley Blue Book, will give you an idea of what the average price is for new and used cars in your area.

I hope this has been helpful.

Michael
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February 27, 2012 11:23:17 PM

My bad. I thought it was a belt.
February 28, 2012 1:21:27 PM

wip99gt said:
My bad. I thought it was a belt.



I wasn't certain that the engine did not have a belt. That's why I had to get out the Chilton's Manual.

Even the vehicle owners manual refers to it as a belt, but I suspect that was a typo, or an editors oversight.

Michael.
February 28, 2012 11:17:48 PM

Yeah I never opened one up myself.
May 2, 2012 5:24:37 PM

I'd suggest going with the Corolla. Toyota's are really good quality so even with 100,000 miles it should still work fine. Also, Hyundai makes decent cars now but back in 2003 they really weren't very good quality. If you look at Consumer Report the 2004 Corolla has almost the best rating possible with better than average or much better than average in every category while the Hyundai has worse than average or much worse than average in almost every category.

Here's links to the Consumer Report rating of the 2 cars (you have to pay to see it online so I just took a picture of the Consumer Report magazine)

http://i772.photobucket.com/albums/yy3/jvdlcr125/Coroll...
http://i772.photobucket.com/albums/yy3/jvdlcr125/Elantr...


Also, before you buy the car make sure that you get it checked out by a mechanic first. It's always a good idea when your buying a used car because you never really know what you're getting (I learned that the hard way and had to get the transmission and brakes replaced on the car I just bought because I made the mistake of not getting it checked out).
May 21, 2012 6:10:00 PM

On a side note, I wouldn't expect to get very much for the car in 3 or 4 years, a 03 or 04 car.
You said they are priced at 6 & 7000 (roughly). In another 4 years, depending on how many miles you put on it, you would likely be lucky to get half that back.

Regarding you paying cash, everything is negotiable, but if your buying from a dealership lot, there is generally less haggle room. Most personal sellers ask more up front but are more likely to haggle as they are not considering profit margins in their cost.
October 21, 2012 2:21:00 AM

rolla
April 6, 2013 6:48:16 PM

good grief, where is this that a 10yr old elantra is $6000? Its worth 2k here in NY, they're next to junk imo and yeah, i've had the misfortune of working on a few.
August 17, 2013 12:34:24 PM

I wouldn't call a 2003 Hyundai as a vehicle from one of the best. The much newer ones are very good. Hyundai has changed quite a bit in the last few years.
September 6, 2013 3:29:16 AM

wip99gt said:
I wouldn't call a 2003 Hyundai as a vehicle from one of the best. The much newer ones are very good. Hyundai has changed quite a bit in the last few years.


yes i agree with you..
!