Edmunds Answers



  • jkugler 02/02/09 5:58 pm PST

    That depends on how your gonna drive it, even if you beat on it if you maintain it, it will last you a long time, you may have to change o2 sensor, exhaust, brakes etc. but make sure you get it checked out befor you buy. Good Luck

  • MrShift@Edmunds 02/02/09 6:36 pm PST

    Most cars are pretty worn out at 175,000 and even at that mileage, some components will fail. So if you figured 100K of reasonably good use, that seems realistic and within the statistical range. Of course, accidents, theft, etc. may shorten this.

    You should plan on starting to spend money for "expendables" on this car (brakes, shocks, tires, belts, hoses, muffler, 02 sensor, etc.) around 80K and up.

  • zaken1 02/02/09 7:55 pm PST

    A few items you'll also need to consider are the automatic transmission (if you get one) or the clutch (if you get a stick shift). If you consider buying a car with an automatic, first check the color of the fluid on the transmission dipstick. If the fluid is brown or smells burned at 40-50K miles; I would not buy that particular car; as the transmission probably will fail before long. If it is a stick shift; the clutch should begin to engage while the pedal is still close to the floor. If the pedal has to come a long way up before the car begins to move; the clutch will probably need replacement soon.

    I would also remove the radiator cap, and check the color and level of the coolant. The coolant should have been changed by this time; so it should be clean, and the radiator completely filled. If the coolant is dirty, or looks like plain water, or the level is low; you can expect premature probems with the radiator and cooling system.

    Also remove the oil filler cap, and look at the underside of that cap; if it is coated with gray sludge, then there either may be a head gasket leak, or the car has had mostly short trip use which did not warm the engine up enough to boil the moisture out of the oil. Either of those situations will lead to shortened engine life.

    The brake fluid should also have been changed by this time. If it has; the fluid in the master cylinder will look clean. If it has never been changed in 6-7 years; the brake fluid will look dirty. And that could create premature problems with the brake hydraulic system.

    The 40-50K miles in 6-7 years that you listed is about half the national average (of 12,000 miles per year). Such low mileage is more likely to be found in a car that just was driven around town; which is the worst kind of driving for an engine. I would much prefer to buy a car that age, which had been driven on longer trips, was properly maintained, and had 70,000 miles on it. I would expect the mechanicals to last a longer number of total miles on such a car. And if you find a car that is being sold by the original owner, and you ask and find that they used the same brand of oil at every oil change since the car was new; I would strongly favor that car. Mixing brands of oil is a sure way to shorten engine life. And that is why I would go to great lengths to find such a car; and I would continue using the same brand and weight of oil, for as long as I owned the car. (I say this, after buying my current car at 58,000 miles, when it was 2 years old. I've continued using the same oil as the original owner; and the car now still runs great, and the engine has never needed mechanical work; at 275,000 miles!!!)

  • kencottongim 02/02/09 8:22 pm PST

    The 4.6 is a tough motor if its well maintained. You can get another 75-100,000.

  • mxk1 11/07/11 1:11 pm PST

    I am the original owner of a 96 Mustang GT 4.6L convertible with 190K miles. It has been driven mostly highway miles and garaged during the winter (with occasional 10 min starts and movements to avoid tires flattening). I had the oil changed every 3000 miles (probably too frequently) at Jiffy Lube, switching to thicker extended mileage oil per JL suggestion at 125K miles, along with essentially all other JL-suggested frequency maintenance performed. It has had little engine-related issues, and seems to be running ok at the moment. I am also wondering at what mileage point I would have to address a major repair issue, such as tranny, etc. My main concern is that someday I may be on some rural side road (not unusual) and have a breakdown, which may be a challenge to get assistance. while I have seen estimates of up to 300k mileage attainable with continued good maintenance, I am starting to get nervous.

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