So right now I'm looking at a 95 fleetwood brougham. Ad says its been family owned since new and has records, I haven't seen it in person yet but the pics look pretty good. My only real concern is that it has 180,000 miles, again the ad says mostly highway and religious about maintenance. So the question is what should I look for when I go to look at it? I've read that the transmission can be an issue and the opti-crap. Also if the car was really good, maybe a little surface rust or dings but ran and drove good, how much would you guys pay for it, if you'd buy a car with 180,000 miles anyway?
So, you wouldn't do Nina Hartley, then?
Some cars age better than others, too.
The other thing I mean to say, is that 180K is a lot LESS than you seem to think it is, EXCEPT when the person who owns/owned the car doesn't actually realize how little [s]he really cares/cared about the car.
1. If you thoroughly read and understand a high-quality maintenance record, you will learn how overrated the importance of mile-age is.
Does the history indicate any problems which both the owner & the mechanics gave up on? If so, does the ISSF have an answer? Do you care?
Anyone who keeps maintenance records will have an explanation for large gaps. Does that explanation sound honest, or fishy?
2. AFTER thoroughly understanding the maintenance history, you'll have a better idea of how important the 'walkaround' is - tire-kicking, oil-checking, etc. - looking for stuff to go wrong BEFORE you get in the driver's seat.
3. A thorough test drive procedure will - AGAIN - prove to you how overrated the importance of mile-age is.
Turn the key to the 'ON' position withOUT starting the engine. Turn on every single electrical device in the car you can think of, while your foot leans HARD on the brake.
Before you start the car: did the brake pedal move more than 0.5" downward after your foot found its '1st floor'?
Try to start the car.
Does the attempt sound 'weak', or did it totally fail? Possible electrical problem.
Is it taking more than 3 seconds to start (none-1000,1-1000, 2-1000, 3-1000)?
When you drive it, does it respond faithfully to your feet and hands, or does it make you nervous?
What doesn't he want you to do during the test drive? WHY?
Have him drive it BACK as hard as he feels safe to do so. If he makes any excuses, I'd be concerned.
If you want a better proxy for the condition of the car, get some engine oil out of the crankcase analyzed.