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Thread: Need your advice! Choosing between two P5's

  1. #1
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    Need your advice! Choosing between two P5's

    Hello everyone, my first post here on the forum! Hoping to be a full-fledged member soon.

    I am looking at two different P5's and have to decide which one to get inspected by a mechanic. Taken them both out for drives, though had to ride as a passenger in the first one. Please let me know which one you think is more worth further inspection, considering the price. I'm leaning towards the first option but am open to others.

    2002 P5 with 165 000 kilometres (102 000 miles)
    Price: $2,512 USD [including all fees]
    1 owner car
    https://www.msaautoshore.com/invento...r-Wgn-ES-Auto/

    Known issues:
    - Sway arm bushings need to be replaced.
    - Timing belt pulley is making a noise like there is something wrong with the bearings.
    - Wheels have some minor rust, and slight rust around wheel arches.
    - Tires have no life left.

    2003 P5 with 130 000 kilometres (80 000 miles)
    Price: $2,893 USD [including all fees before negotiation]
    https://www.msaautoshore.com/invento...r-Wgn-ES-Auto/

    - Fog light cracked.
    - Shifter moves when accelerating and engine lurches when turning the car on, suggesting worn out motor mounts
    - Pretty severe rust on top front wheel well (visible from inside the engine bay), by far the worst spot of rust I saw on either car. About the size of a fist.
    - Had a rear collision in 2009, fully repaired for around $2500.
    - Aftermarket shifter that feels less tight, clutch position is worse.
    - (It has a leather interior and aftermarket stereo)

    Please let me know what you think! I just have a better feeling about the first one, but I also am weary that if some of the bushings are going that might mean a lot more are yet to go. I also didn't get a chance to really check for the motor mounts.

  2. #2
    The Diagram Dude pcb's Avatar

    2002 mazda protege 5

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    I asked a fellow forum member about how to look at a car that I was interested in buying.

    He gave me an awesome response.

    Quote Originally Posted by pb4ugotobed

    Honestly, I don't ask sellers any questions. It's a waste of your time and in most cases misleading because they'll tell you what buyers want to hear, fluff the bad stuff to sound like not so bad stuff (example, it clunks a little from the strut going over bumps... Reality the strut is destroyed and the body where it mounts is held together with duct tape). I always use my own eyes and experience when I look at a car. The only question I ask a seller is when can I come look at it.

    I've been known to bring tools with me to look at a car. I'll pull a spark plug and look at it. IF it's brand new, it may just be really well maintained, or it could be a red flag they're hiding something because spark plugs don't lie. I would also consider bringing a compression tester while you have the plug out. Bring a REALLY bright flashlight, look in all the nooks and crannies (timing belt cover broken, steering rack leaking, rust underneath where it's not easily seen but not easy to treat either, look down in the oil fill hole in the valve cover to see if the engine is clean inside or nasty black/brown and sludgy indicating oil change interval. Look at the belts, air filter, motor mounts, oil, fluids in the reservoirs, etc. AC is a BIG one here (it's been over 100 degrees for 2 weeks straight). I always check the schraeder valves on the AC lines. If there's any oil around the cap it's an indicator it's recently been recharged. Obviously this would indicate a leak because you shouldn't ever have to recharge an AC. If you have to recharge an AC it's because the refrigerant has leaked out and they're just topping it off to make it cold when someone comes to look at it. It may blow cold for an hour, a week, or a month but eventually it will stop again. This is before I ever start the car or consider taking a drive. I'd say 8 out of 10 cars I've looked at in the past I never make it to the point where I actually take it for a test drive.

    If all looks good then take it for a drive. Shifting should be solid and smooth to engage gears (or shift smoothly if auto trans). Engine should run quiet and smooth without any vibrations or rattles when you rev it. Idle should be smooth and steady and not bounce all over. +/- 50 rpm is pretty normal but any more than that may indicate vacuum leak, torn intake boot, or etc. When driving it should drive straight with the steering wheel centered, not pull/drift to either side (but some drift is perfectly normal depending on the size of the crown in the road). Shouldn't be any vibration either in the car or the steering wheel shouldn't shake. Braking should be firm without any vibration or wobble.

    Another indicator I've found to be pretty reliable is the cleanliness of the interior. Most people will go through and clean it and vacuum it out. Some people will even take it to a detail shop and have a full detail performed. So don't look at the obvious... cup holders, armrest, etc. Look in between the seats and the center console, in the nooks and crannies that nobody ever cleans. If those are clean then it's an indicator it's been well cared for. If those are completely nasty but at a "10 foot view" it looks nice and clean inside, they probably haven't cared for it as well as they say or as well as you may thing once you start finding the nasties in the nooks and crannies.

    That's what I would look for off the top of my head. I'm sure I'm missing plenty, but basic gist of it is inspect it like you are giving it to your kids. Obviously keeping in mind it's a 15-20 year old car, wear and tear is perfectly normal and expected. But deduct for bigger things like motor mounts, leaks, significant wear, etc.

    Another thing I always check is lights, horn, and seatbelts. Make sure every seatbelt clicks in like it should and releases easily. Pull on them sharply to make sure they lock up like they're supposed to. You'd be surprised how many vehicles I've inspected that the seatbelts don't lock up, rendering them basically worthless. At that point they will hurt you more than they'd help you in an accident.


    If the seller has a problem with you doing a compression test, looking at the timing belt, spark plugs, or etc. then I would tell them you know what you're doing and what you're looking for. Cash in hand talks and if they still refuse to let you inspect like you should then I'd just turn around and leave.
    .
    The Diagram Dude

  3. #3
    The Diagram Dude pcb's Avatar

    2002 mazda protege 5

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    I personally like the first one. It had only one owner which suggests proper, regular maintenance.

    The second one has a short shifter suggesting the PO may have driven the snot out of it.

    Both of them may need a timing belt change.

    The FS engine is bad for burning oil. The compression is usually fine but the oil rings seize up and is a very expensive fix.
    You won't know it's burning oil until you've driven it a few hundred miles.
    It only smokes when it's gotten really bad.

    Rust is especially bad on our car and can be very expensive to fix.

    Try to take a look underneath to compare the rust.

    Are these cars being sold certified and safetied?
    Last edited by pcb; 10-20-2019 at 08:10 PM.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcb View Post
    I personally like the first one. It had only one owner which suggests proper, regular maintenance.

    The second one has a short shifter suggesting the PO may have driven the snot out of it.

    Both of them may need a timing belt change.

    The FS engine is bad for burning oil. The compression is usually fine but the oil rings seize up and is a very expensive fix.
    You won't know it's burning oil until you've driven it a few hundred miles.
    It only smokes when it's gotten really bad.

    Rust is especially bad on our car and can be very expensive to fix.

    Try to take a look underneath to compare the rust.

    Are these cars being sold certified and safetied?
    Both cars have a 6 month dealership drivetrain warranty. As far as I know there is no safety test in BC, and I will get a mechanic to look it over beforehand. I am leaning towards the first one as well and I appreciate your input! Anything I should tell the mechanic to look for?

  5. #5
    Registered Member concept's Avatar

    2014 Mazda3 S GT auto, 2008 MX5 6-speed

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    Keep in mind that the older the vehicle, the more likely gaskets that are a pain to replace, will start seeping. In some cases, the cost to replace the gasket is just not possible or practical for the owner. This is why in many cases, a newer car with more miles on it is a better choice than an older car with fewer miles. Have you looked at Mazda 3s? Being as thorough when looking at 17+ year-old cars as pb4 is bound to result in very few choices within a reasonable price range, especially in a cold climate area.
    2014 3S GT, Deep Crystal Blue, Eibach Pro-Kit, Enkei PF01s, Koni Sports, Pirelli P ZERO ALL SEASON PLUS tires, 225/45/18
    2008 MX-5 Touring (Mazdaspeed CAI, HIDs, Progress/Koni Sports/Racing Beat sways, SST Magnaflow muffler and tips)

  6. #6
    The Diagram Dude pcb's Avatar

    2002 mazda protege 5

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    Quote Originally Posted by matsudah View Post
    Both cars have a 6 month dealership drivetrain warranty.
    Ask them specifically if your car ends up burning oil if you're covered.

    Get the VIN # from both vehicles and go to a Mazda dealership and get them to run the #'s to see what work has been done at Mazda dealerships.
    Last edited by pcb; 10-21-2019 at 09:25 PM.
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  7. #7
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    protege5

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    IMO I think they're both overpriced.

    Car #1 needs a timing belt, tires, and who knows what else. If you're not comfortable doing the timing belt yourself, you're looking $500-600 to get that done. And another $400 for cheap tires. Plus the other work. You'll be into that car for well over $4k just to make it "right" and bring maintenance current.

    Car #2 sounds like it has some pretty significant rust damage, which I would steer clear of. Also sounds like it may have motor mount and clutch issues. The shifter being jacked up may be from motor mounts throwing the shift linkage out of alignment.

    Personally, I wouldn't buy either of them. I sold my P5, high mileage, but all maintenance was 100% up to date (less than 10k miles on timing belt, all brakes, coolant, motor mounts, etc). Cold AC, hot heat, did not burn or leak a drop of oil. Tires had 50-60% tread or better. It had NO rust (I live in the south where it doesn't snow). The ONLY issue it had was the right rear strut clunked so needed replaced, but it didn't affect how it drove so I never did. I sold the car for $2000 and would not have hesitated for one minute to drive it anywhere in the country.

    If you're set on a P5, and going to be $4k USD into a P5, I think it might be worth your efforts looking into one from the southern half of the US (or west coast - Nevada, Arizona, etc) that's not going to be a rust bucket. Pick one of those up for a couple thousand and import it to Canada.


    My advice would be to keep looking. You can buy a much newer, nicer car for $4k IMO. P5 is a neat little car, don't get me wrong. But I don't see them as being THAT neat to command that kind of a price tag. Just my .02
    Last edited by pb4ugotobed; 10-28-2019 at 02:01 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by pb4ugotobed View Post
    IMO I think they're both overpriced.

    Car #1 needs a timing belt, tires, and who knows what else. If you're not comfortable doing the timing belt yourself, you're looking $500-600 to get that done. And another $400 for cheap tires. Plus the other work. You'll be into that car for well over $4k just to make it "right" and bring maintenance current.

    Car #2 sounds like it has some pretty significant rust damage, which I would steer clear of. Also sounds like it may have motor mount and clutch issues. The shifter being jacked up may be from motor mounts throwing the shift linkage out of alignment.

    Personally, I wouldn't buy either of them. I sold my P5, high mileage, but all maintenance was 100% up to date (less than 10k miles on timing belt, all brakes, coolant, motor mounts, etc). Cold AC, hot heat, did not burn or leak a drop of oil. Tires had 50-60% tread or better. It had NO rust (I live in the south where it doesn't snow). The ONLY issue it had was the right rear strut clunked so needed replaced, but it didn't affect how it drove so I never did. I sold the car for $2000 and would not have hesitated for one minute to drive it anywhere in the country.

    If you're set on a P5, and going to be $4k USD into a P5, I think it might be worth your efforts looking into one from the southern half of the US (or west coast - Nevada, Arizona, etc) that's not going to be a rust bucket. Pick one of those up for a couple thousand and import it to Canada.


    My advice would be to keep looking. You can buy a much newer, nicer car for $4k IMO. P5 is a neat little car, don't get me wrong. But I don't see them as being THAT neat to command that kind of a price tag. Just my .02
    Thanks for the input. I ended up buying the higher mileage car because they threw in new front brakes, new water pump, new timing belt, new motor mounts for a total cost of car and parts and labour for $2200 total USD.

  9. #9
    The Diagram Dude pcb's Avatar

    2002 mazda protege 5

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    Do your car a favor and take it here.

    https://www.krown.com/en/locations/c...portcoquitlam/

    I swear by them and it will slow your rusting by 85%.

    It's worth the $130.
    Go every year.
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  10. #10
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    protege5

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    Quote Originally Posted by matsudah View Post
    Thanks for the input. I ended up buying the higher mileage car because they threw in new front brakes, new water pump, new timing belt, new motor mounts for a total cost of car and parts and labour for $2200 total USD.
    good deal!

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