Looking to buy a used, 2004 Mazda 3 (Automatic). Need serious, detailed advice.

Tiny
JAYCE9000
  • MEMBER
  • 2004 MAZDA 3
  • 155,000 MILES
Hello,

So, I went to go look at a 2004 Mazda 3 yesterday and I right off the bat, I noticed quite a few things appeared to be "seized". To name a few:

-The rear, passenger wheel would not spin (they had to drive forward and backward a few times to get it loose and spinning again).

-They had to use of some type of what read on the can "Air Conditioner Recharge" hooked up to the line to get it working again, but it seemed to only work for 5-10 minutes before the air went back to being warm. Could this mean the AC needs any kind of major or expensive repairs?

-Something seemed wrong relating to shifting gears because he used a screw driver somewhere on the bottom right side of the shifter area but I didn't see what he did.

-There was an intermittent, squeaking type noise in the engine area. He claimed it was because the car has been sitting for a while and the "belt" needed to be replaced. What belt was he referring to?

I couldn't take it for a test drive on the highway because that rear passenger wheel was still heavily resisting movement, I'm guessing due to the brakes on that side being seized or something, but I'm no expert, so I'm not sure.

I'm a student and while he agreed to fix everything while Safety Certifying and E-Testing the car, this car is already a few hundred dollars over my budget and I want to make sure I'm not buying a Lemon or pile of junk. I need something that is reliable and not require any major repairs (at least, not in the foreseeable future).

Like I said, I'm a novice when it comes to car knowledge, so if you could provide me a list of every single thing that is important that I need to inspect before making any decisions, it would be immensely appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
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Sunday, June 30th, 2013 AT 6:53 AM

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Tiny
SEANGRANT00
  • EXPERT
Hello,

I would say no, don't by it. Get something that has fewer problems. If he is going to fix everything anyway, have him do it first and then attempt to buy it.

Rear wheel could be multiple things, but you looking at least 100 all the way to 400

A/C. Could be something cheap but sounds more like a leak. Anywhere from a bolt being loose to replacing major components (1500+)

Shifter- Could just be a cable, or the whole shift mechanism which could also be $500

Squeak- Could be the serpentine belt, $50, or a belt tensioner (100)

Plus the worse thing you can do to an engine or car is let it "sit" It is better to have a higher mileage engine thats been taken care of then a mid mileage car that has been sitting for a long time. (From an initial investment point of view)

Getting into a car that needs this much work you would have to be getting a really good deal or I would skip and buy an older car that is running good or have him do the work first.

Sean
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Monday, July 1st, 2013 AT 12:20 AM
Tiny
JAYCE9000
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Appreciate the quick reply.

Anyway, the Canadian Black Book value is showing $5,141 CAD average asking price for around the same mileage as this car I've been looking at and this dealer is selling it for $3700 certified and e-tested. He assured me that he would fix every single thing that's wrong with it like the AC, the rear wheel (guessing brakes), the shifter, etc, included in the $3700 price.

I can't really gauge on how good or bad a deal this is to be honest, my only concern is he wants a small deposit before he certifies/e-tests and fixes all the issues. I was only able to test drive it a few kilometres on a residential road, couldn't test it on the highway due to the brake problem.

I'm going to see it again tomorrow to give it a more in-depth look, but what I really want is for a Mazda dealership to check it out. Not sure how much that will cost, but I'm guessing quite a bit.

-Jayce
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Monday, July 1st, 2013 AT 7:12 PM
Tiny
SEANGRANT00
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Probably a couple hundred. But this may save you from buying something and later regretting it.

Sean
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Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013 AT 2:00 PM

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