I’m not so sure it’s the car for her.
Went car shopping with one of my sisters (the Explorer-driving one, not the one with my old T-bird) the other day. She’s looking for something small and reliable. Small, because she wants something easy to park, and reliable because while she’s not afraid to pick up a wrench, her schedule is busier than it used to be.
She found a 2000 Mustang GT (automatic) she liked, and I liked it too. My ’95 GT has been pretty reliable except for a few relatively easy fixes (a starter here, a water pump there, stuff like that) and road debris puncturing a tire. And of course a healthy diet of preventative maintenance.
Anyway, she found a ’00 convertible that looked like it was going to be a great candidate. GT model, so it’s got the mod motor and 8.8 axle. And at only 8x,xxx miles, it didn’t seem like it would be quite due for anything like ball-joints, wheel bearings, stuff that I’ve already gone through on my ’95. The only thing I was really concerned about was whether or not the plastic intake had been replaced yet.
Alas, somebody snatched it up before we could go look at it. But this dealer (who employs a trustworthy salesman from her church) had another one that had just come in on trade, so we checked that out instead.
While both cars were automatic convertibles, almost everything I liked about the ’00 GT was absent from this 2004 base model. 3.9L V6, 7.5" rear end, and 140,000 miles on it. It’s a fresh trade-in that hasn’t even had a chance to go through reconditioning, and a bit of a fixer-upper.
Which is fine, maybe. She’s not a demanding driver anyway so it’s not like she really needs the V8 or the 8.8. She could probably use those extra MPGs too. Besides, these ones aren’t as prone towards head gasket failures like the earlier V6s, and being a New Edge, it has the digital odometer so she doesn’t have to worry about the plastic gears in the dash failing.
But the higher mileage means that unless those items have already been addressed, it could very well be due for ball-joints, wheel bearings, U-joints... all manageable stuff, but not the sort of thing that she has a lot of time to deal with herself.
We took it for a test drive, and FWIW didn’t pick up on any telltale squeaks, hums, or vibrations. Maybe the wind noise had something to do with that though...
But she liked it. Quite a bit. She’s never driven a SN95 before, and coming from Explorers and Moutnaineers, she really enjoyed the responsiveness. Despite my concerns, I have a hunch that she’s already fallen in love with it.
The dealer has started to go through it, cleaning and addressing a few initial needs (inop fuel gauge, missing oil fill cap), and inspecting for stuff they would typically include in their reconditioning. She has a hold on it so that they can keep the price low by not fixing every little thing (like the cloudy headlamps which she can totally take care of polishing herself). But we’ll see what they come up with.