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1997 Saturn SL2 with 125k miles, is it OK to buy?

I will be looking to buy this 1997 saturn SL2 which has 125k miles, is atuomatic and has AC.
does anyone know any major problems with this cars and can someone tell me what to look out for when I go to chek it out.
The owner says its good and is seling it for 1500. Is it worth it? I dont know much about cars.
please give me information on what to look out for and if this is a good deal.
thanks

Do not under any circumstances tell the vendor you know nothing about cars !

Sharp intake of breath - mileage is on the high side, (usually allow 10,000 miles per year ).

Apart from that it is hard to say without more information. You could try Google for more info on the model in question. Also magazines like What Car are a good source of information about model changes, things to look out for, etc.

See if you can find a friend (or friend of a friend) who knows about motors to go with you to check it out. Take a torch, a clean rag, tyre pressure gauge, notepad, pen and a small screwdriver. Wear old clothes, because you are going to get a bit dirty.

Documentation

Make sure it has all the maintenance history, a log book, and is certified as currently road-worthy.

Is it a private sale or through a dealer or garage. If the former, be even more cautious because you have practically no come-back if you buy a pup. If the latter, the price being asked is almost certainly too high - go for 10% less as an absolute maximum price you will pay. If they won't budge, walk away. Check out any warranty being offered carefully.

Standing Check:

If you have to go on your own, check:

Tyres: all present, and in reasonable condition, including spare. Measure and note tyre tread depths.
Engine: clean, with no oil leaks. If the engine is hot/warm when you arrive, wait for it to cool before restarting it. Check fluid levels. Remove oil filler cap, and look for white deposits - water in the oil which could be expensive. Check oil dipstick (use your rag) for quality and quantity of oil. When started, does the engine start easily ? Does it run smoothly ? Check for clear exhaust for blue, black or white smoke.
Bodywork: Clean, with no rust. Doors, bonnet and boot open and close OK.
Underside: Rust free. Use your screwdriver to gently probe.
Suspension, steering and other mechanicals: Sound with no undue play in universal joints, etc. Use your screwdriver to gently probe.
Windows: all Present, and intact
Interior: Tidy, with no tears or stains in upholstery, carpets, etc. No funny smells.
Controls: Everything works, including radio if present.
Note everything that does not work

Insist on a Test drive:

Check brakes work progressively without noise. When safe to do so, do an emergency stop.
Check steering is smooth and progressive without noise.
Listen for any clanks and squeaks and get the vendor to explain them.
Make sure wipers, AC, windows, etc. all work.

Post Test Drive

Make notes of anything you noticed in the test drive.

After the test drive, stop somewhere other than were the car was standing when you arrived, and check that area for oil stains. Make a note.

If there is anything the least bit suspicious, walk away.

If yo do decide to proceed, you can use your notes to make sure you squeeze every last penny out of the price.

Good luck.

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