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Old 02-14-2017, 11:14 AM   #1
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Thinking about buying a 2005 ZX5, thoughts?

Looking at an automatic 2005 ZX5 with 170k miles. The owner says he has had it since new and has always maintained it. What do you think a good price would be for this car and do you think it should last a couple of years if I take care of it? Any particular issues with this car I should look out for or expect to deal with down the road?

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Old 02-14-2017, 11:41 AM   #2
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Moved to the General Car Chat section, where you can find the threads on used car purchases.

'05 is called a Mk1.5 here, facelift version of the original with duratec engine & different nose/tail/interior.

Solid cars that last a long time with minimal issues, check automatic for signs that fluid has been (or not been) changed over time. That's a 30k change interval, and few ever get it. Auto trans issues are the main problem at high mileage that can add up to serious dollars.
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Old 02-14-2017, 11:58 AM   #3
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Thanks. Sorry for putting it in the wrong section. I'm no mechanic so it's probably a stupid question...What should I look for in the fluid? Color? Smell?
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Old 02-14-2017, 12:14 PM   #4
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Both

You want to see nice clear red fluid, and no 'burnt' smell. Def. not brown or black!

Not all issues are from wear, solenoid problems are cheaper and can be remedied with the trans. still in the car.

Can't determine what issues are from on a test drive though, so totally normal operation and proper torque converter lock up at speed when cruising in one of the top two gears is necessary to see. That can feel like shifting once again after reaching 4th for example. Road speed gets 'locked' to engine speed at that point, without any variation in engine speed as you initially change pedal position.

When not locked, you get instant engine speed change and road speed varies later as gas pedal is pressed.

There's a switch for OD on/off as well (4th) and that should be functional to lock it out when pressed/illuminated.
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Old 02-14-2017, 01:58 PM   #5
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If you are wanting to run suspension the 05 is perfect because ot still can use the FRSS from the svt. Check all the fluids as me tioned and check under car for rust or leaks.
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Old 02-14-2017, 02:05 PM   #6
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That's good to know too, although this will probably be a daily driver that hopefully I won't touch. We'll see how that goes...
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Old 02-14-2017, 06:07 PM   #7
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Search online for the owner's manual pages, that will give you an idea of where to look for the dipstick. Should be on the right hand side of the engine compartment when facing the front of the car. With the oil dipstick, it is not uncommon to get a bad reading the first time when you remove it, wipe, put it back in, pull out to check again. Bring your own rag with you. It will not be easy to see the coolant level in the reservoir because the fluid tends to stain the inside of the reservoir- pop the cap to see if what you're seeing is the actual level.

Most owners selling a car will have done this already. If it's at a used car lot- they clean under the hood, and check the fluids. You'll also notice that all the plastic and rubber is shiny. It takes about 30 mins to wipe down everything under the hood with Armor-All, and it lasts about 2 months. Looks are everything to them. You will also notice little white dots all over bare aluminum parts. This is from Armor-All. My car has 190k miles, and none of my bare aluminum has white dots on it.

Test drive the car. Check all the dash controls, headlights, parking lights, and turn signals. Check to be sure that the trunk release works, and check to see if the passenger seat airbag cutoff is working. The light is in the center of the dash just above the hazards button. When the engine is started, get out and walk to the passenger side and sit down in the seat. The light should go off. If it doesn't then there's a problem. Side impact airbags are in the seats. If the seats have side impact bags installed, there will be a black tag sticking out of the upper right edge of the seat that says 'airbag'. Pull all the seat belts out, and let them retract. Seat belts that do not retract are a strong sign of an accident.

Now on the outside of the car, look down the side of the car from the front or the rear, so that you can see how reflective the finish is. If the car has been repainted, you'll notice differences in the reflective effect of the paint. You'll usually see whole fenders or doors that don't glint as well. You might also notice misaligned body panels. Those are not nearly as bad of a sign (the factory stinks too) as misaligned parts with different reflective qualities. Another way you can see previous repairs is not as easy to pick up on. It's when the paint doesn't exactly match the paint on the rest of the car. It might look like there's just a slight difference- like a shadow. The reflective test is a better way. Usually they can't get the same quality of clear coat. Check the underside of the car also. Cars can be run off the road, and the frames damaged in such a way that tires will never wear correctly but you might not see evidence of that without looking underneath the car. Check the tires too, look for uneven wear across the tread, and check the DOT codes as shown here. IMO, I wouldn't buy a car with tires on it that are more than 5 years old- at least not with accepting the idea that you'll need tires ASAP.

There is no such thing as a safe car that has been in an accident. If the car is not absolutely perfect, then don't buy it. People will lie to sell a car. It's up to you to determine if there is any truth to their claims. I never believe anyone who says an accident was minor when I have found some evidence of an accident after they claim the car has never been in an accident. "Oh it was just a bump in the parking lot." If that was true, why didn't you say so in the first place?

I could go on and on and give you other ways to look for things like cars that have been in a flood, or how to tell if a car has a serious structural damage. One thing I can tell you, if you feel like something is wrong, walk away. Sometimes we know stuff that we don't think we know, or we try to convince ourselves that something we think is bad isn't that bad- especially when there's someone there egging us on to buy. Preparing yourself for walking away before you go to look at a car will help you avoid getting a lemon.
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