Are You Buying A Car Over 10 Years Old? (part 2 of 2)

Today you can get a great deal on a car that is six years old, eight years old, ten, twelve, fifteen years old or more. These cars are not just sold by private individuals, or small used-car lots, but in the pre-owned sections of major dealerships.

In the previous blog I discussed different types of warranties, plus these items you could find in older cars for sale:

  • 6-CD Changers
  • AM/FM/Cassette Radios (Maybe no XM, USB or AUX)
  • Navigation / Touch Screens
  • Less Steering Wheel Controls
  • Blue-Tooth and Phone Connectivity, Voice Recognition
  • Backup Cameras

 Here are some more of the features of cars from the last decade you may want to be aware of:

Pushbutton vs. Key Ignitions, Keyless Entries

While pushbutton ignitions and keyless entries have become more commonplace on today’s cars, especially luxury models, most older cars still have keys. Keys have been used to open the doors and start the engines since the 1920’s.

If you have a keyless car, you’ll get used to a lifestyle of entering , starting, and locking a car without taking the key from your pocket. So, you may be looking at buying one more car where you have to have a free hand to open, close, and start your engine.

Non-Folding Side view Mirrors

Here is something that can take you by surprise. Since the 1980’s when Japanese cars came with folding side view mirrors, they grew in popularity to the point where it’s expected that every car would have them – and if your lucky enough to get a luxury vehicle, or even a Volkswagen Passat or Kia Optima, you might get optional POWER folding mirrors. But there are still some cars out on the road that have stationary windows.

Cars like Pontiacs, may they rest on peace, and even some Toyota Camry’s from around 2009 – 2012, had stationary windows. I learned that the hard way after I bought my car and tried to squeeze past it in a tight parking space at the mall. In the grand scheme of things, this may not be a bad thing, but if you need to fit into a tight garage or park on a street where the trash truck gets too close, you may want to keep this in mind.

Single Zone Heating/Air Conditioning

Oh the convenience of having two separate temperature settings for the driver and passenger! The new cars I sold all came with dual-zone and even three-zone climate control standard. Going slightly back in time, we had to heat or cool the car the same temperature throughout. It looks like you and your passengers will have to agree on something – -it might as well be the temperature of your car’s interior.

Leather Seats without heaters

Before cars offered the option of heated leather seats, they offered the option of – leather seats! Heating only came later on, and keep in mind, most cars with heated seats only have them in the front. So, in the winter time, drivers of such cars have to sit on what may feel like cold concrete.

My sister-in-law loves her 2003 Honda Pilot. The only drawback is the leather seats aren’t heated. Some people put a sheepskin or fur cover on the seat to keep warm in the winter. Without it, you get to feel what your back seat passengers have to endure on a cold night.

Manually Adjusted Driver Seats

This may sound picky, but as more cars are coming with electric driver seat adjustments, we are expecting them as standard. My wife’s aunt bought a used Toyota Camry LE, no frills, nice car, but one of the best features is the electric seat adjustments and lumbar support, which is great for her back, and for getting in and out of the car.

However, that option is few and far between in cars of that era, so most people will have to reach in front of the seat and pull a bar, or pump on a lever on the left side in order to make adjustments. Once you find the right position, pushing the tilt and telescope steering wheel in and up can make it easier to exit the vehicle.

Remote Starters

Manufacturers are offering these as options from the factory, since the pushbutton start is getting more sophisticated. Ten years ago or so, most of them were add-ons, usually aftermarket installed with alligator clips into the wiring harnesses, which might cause other problems with the internal wiring in the car. These type of systems may still work well, but if they fail, or something happens with the alarm or other electrical components, it may be a costly repair.

In Conclusion – Don’t Be Afraid to Buy The Car.

Don’t let anything I’ve stated scare you away from buying that used car you are considering. I just wanted to bring some reality into your car buying expectations. Sometimes, people buy a used car and expect it to run smooth and fine for years to come, with every feature working 100% correctly. It might. But sometimes new cars don’t even run trouble free.

Again don’t expect the dealer to fix these items or guarantee they are working perfectly. These are things an extended service contract might cover.

Buy what is right for you – as long as you know what you are getting into. Nothing lasts forever, but, who knows, some things, may last longer than you would expect.

Will Schirmer’s passion and knowledge of cars extends almost 40 years. Will has been a certified sale professional with three car manufacturers, and is now an Insurance Advisor, providing coverage for client’s automobiles, homes, specialty items, as well as financial protection for families.  Contact Will at