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  AcuraT

Lectrofuel, good advice, but the car in that link is not a rental company - it is a used car lot they sold it to. Why I wrote what I did. But you are right about rental companies if you buy directly from them - they usually do allow that.

Car Research - Reliability
  LectroFuel

If you buy a rental car straight from the rental company such as Hertz Auto Sales, they usually have an offer for you to buy the car and take it to a mechanic within a few days of buying it. If you don't like the car or if there is a problem you can bring it back for a refund. They will probably charge you a smallish amount for wasting their time (or them wasting your time :)

Car Research - Reliability
  AcuraT

It might be priced that way as a rental - it has nearly 18,000 miles in one year. I do note that the Carfax mentions two services, but neither was an oil change. It does not mean it did not have one, but I would find if there is a record of an oil change. If not, I would demand you take it to a mechanic so the valve cover can be taken off and you can check if there is any engine sludge. If there is, walk away as fast as you can. It means the oil was never changed and the engine is working with sludge.

That is the best advice I can offer. If they won't let you take it to a mechanic to check that engine in that manner, walk away. You don't want engine sludge on an engine that new. It won't last you very long before you have engine problems. I tell you this from my work on my own engines when I was younger (when I bought used cars before I put my list together) - you don't want that headache.

Michael - I will email today. Sorry, been crazy busy these last few days.

Car Research - Reliability
  Member4229

I have a 2017 GTI sport with 6 speed manual transmission. It's generally been good, but I had to replace the clutch at 17K miles. (Sorry, not operator error -- first time I've had to replace a clutch since I began driving manual transmission cars in 1985.) The dealer repaired the car under warranty (invoice says "release bearing is sporadically applying pressure to the pressure plate and causing the clutch disk to slip"). I have heard stories of others having clutch slip issues inside the warranty period, but not getting repairs since it's considered a wear item.

I've also noticed a few odd sporadic things, like the ventilation not working correctly once, or the entertainment system jamming a few times -- both fixed by "rebooting" the car, i.e. turning everything off and restarting. (Ventilation apparently not mechanically controlled, even though it's manual). Nothing too serious.

Generally it's a quality car that seems extremely well built (I disagree with the earlier comment about Mexican build quality -- there may be differences between cars built in Europe vs. Mexico due to different suppliers, but I don't think you can say the European ones are better.) But it also seems complex, so not sure how well it will hold up over the years.

The Golf R is more complicated than the GTI Sport, with more systems that can go wrong. My guess is that it's a great car for 5 years, and who knows what happens after that.

Reliability?
  johnathanm

Hey all,

So, rentals need special attention to detail. With this particular one, it seems to good to be true based on the mileage:
https://www.southpointcjd.com/inventory/used-2018-hyundai-santa-fe-sport-all-wheel-drive-2-4l-all-wheel-drive-suv-5xyztdlb3jg552042

Could it just be priced that way for the fact that it was a rental?

Car Research - Reliability
  johnathanm

Ok, well I don't take it anywhere to change the oil, or filtets, etc. I do those myself. Depending on the deal at the time, Advanced Auto Parts would have a full synthetic filter and oil for around $45-50. I've only owned domestic previously and would only need: the oil, oil filter, and the drain plug gasket. Would a Hyundai need anything different? Guess I should just YouTube it. :D

As for tire rotation, balance, and alignments, I take the vehicle in once to Hibdon Tires Plus and pay for their lifetime service, like an extra $60 or so for tire balance and rogation, and another $60 for alignments. After that, I can get it done anytime, and it is paid for.

I have car buddies that I throw qurstions and, at times, we look at it together. I can do most of the maintenance myself, with the help of YouTube, of course, just to make sure I don't miss anything.

I should find me a mechanic though.

Car Research - Reliability
  AcuraT

Michael, I will see about emailing it to you. Thank you.

Regarding maintenance, it truly depends on the place you service it, a dealer or an independent shop you trust and as Lectrofuel said, the independent will be cheaper.

Now as far as brands go, the best way to compare cost of maintenance is to look at the different brands at dealers to get the rates. For example, when I went to a Volvo dealer, the average maintainance when I look at it was $600 for a major maintenance check (every 30,000 miles) and $200 for the minor service intervals (every 6000 miles if you follow it). For GM it was $60 for a level 1 service, $120 for a level 2 service (alternatiing services each service visit, or every 5000 miles on average as they go by their "oil life" management software - which I used on my old Saab 9-3 changing the oil every 6000 or so, and the engine was still fine at 178,000 when a tree fell on it). Rotating the tires they generally charge $20. For Toyota it was $50 for the oil change, and another $50 for the tire rotation, or $100 per maintenance. For Kia it is around $130 for an oil change (ranges from $102 to $141, includes tire rotation) and around $350 for a tune up ($278 to $422).

As you can see from the above, they all cost in a range around each other at the dealers (did this last April when looking for a new car with the tree falling on mine). Except for Volvo, the others are very similar. BMW was worse than Volvo, as was Lexus. The more expensive the car (even from the same company like Toyota and Lexus), the most it will cost to maintain it. Just the rule of the industry. Generally speaking, domestics are a little less as the GM rates proved to me, but my five year old Subaru is very expensive at the dealer so I use an independent mechanic I have trusted for 9 years now that keeps mainteance down for that car.


Car Research - Reliability
  LectroFuel

Maintenance costs depend on whether you go to the dealer or an independent shop to get it maintained. The independent shop is typically cheaper and they don't try to scam you (though that depends).

As far as brands go, Hyundai and Kia are similar to the domestics with maintenance costs. The repair frequency, however, is different. Hyundais and Kias usually break down less than domestic brands and are more reliable.

Really, most mainstream (non-luxury) brands have the same maintenance costs (to repair or change a specific part).

Car Research - Reliability
  mkaresh

AcuraT: I don't think we ever fixed what was causing the issue. If you email it to me I could put it in a blog post crediting you (however you want to be credited), and you could then link to it. Would this work?

Car Research - Reliability
  johnathanm

Here is another question for ya... General maintenance costs... Are they that much higher than domestic cars?

For instance: to changes, parts, etc.

Car Research - Reliability
  LectroFuel

I came acrossthison Reddit a while ago. It is perhaps too extensive, so you might want to pay attention to only the deal-breakers. This list is more for if you are trying to buy a reliable $2k car. I think I remember AcuraT's list was better.

Car Research - Reliability
  AcuraT

I actually put together a large checklist of over 20 things you can check when buying a used car, but when I put it on here the formatting was horrible. Michael Karesh, did you ever figure out how to post it so it was readable?

I can post it again but it really does not transcribe well.

Car Research - Reliability
  johnathanm

Ditto from mkaresh, I'm really liking this, lots of good info.

So, on rentals, it makes sense: 1. Check interiors
2. Check tire and rims
3. I've also added to see about the transmission. I'm betting that if you drive it for a bit and see how the vehicle responds to gear changes, smooth acceleration, has good alignment (could help indicate damage due to curb hits, etc.), how smooth it accelerates and drives on the highway, etc. Basically general operation.

Anything else I should look into if it is a rental? I would imagine that if it had been maintained properly, that it would be a bonus even if it was a rental. But, I get it, you don't know who drove it and more importantly, how they drove.

Car Research - Reliability
  LectroFuel

In my opinion, the fact that rental cars have are often maintained well doesn't make up for the fact that they have been driven by (maybe) hundreds of people. The renters don't own the car, so they treat it as such. Many full throttle accelerations, eating in the car, doing other things in the car, etc. This Santa Fe was in a minor accident, by the way. If you decide on this one, I'd get a pre-purchase inspection by a trusted mechanic, not by the dealer you are buying it from.Here is a Santa Fe that was not a rental. Was in a minor accident as well.

I like the 2016 and newer Sorentos more than the 2013 and newer Santa Fes because Kia usually perfects the mistakes they produced with the Hyundai counterpart. Also, the Sorento is a little nicer to drive. On the other hand, the deal breaker could be that the Sorento is considerably smaller than the Santa Fe.

The unreliable years of the Pilot were 2003-2005 because of the transmission.

Also keep in mind that midsized 3 row SUVs get the same gas mileage as minivans. A lot of the listings in your area are rental cars. Avoid the Dodges and Nissans.

Honda Pilot- High mileage, but great SUV overall. Has a reliable 6 speed trans. Was rear-ended however.

Kia Sorento

Honda Odyssey- Really good deal. Leather seats. A lot more features than the Santa Fe you are looking at. Has lane departure warning, a refrigerated cooling box, power trunk, and tri-zone climate control. Has a little bit of damage to the door and front bumper in the last two pics.

Car Research - Reliability
  mkaresh

Excellent discussion here.

The Santa Fe is larger inside than the Sorento. It's just also usually more expensive. They had some minor problems the first few model years, but 2017 was well into the run.

As for the car in question being a rental, just be sure you carefully inspect the interior for wear. Also check the wheels and tires--any signs it was run into curbs? My sense with rentals is that at least they're usually properly maintained.

Car Research - Reliability
  AcuraT

Main concerns are electrical issues and some driverain concerns as well. Right now Consumer Reports and TrueDelta have little on the six series, but both have information on the 5 series which is a step below. Since the 6 is just more complicated both electronically and with the powertrain, it stands to reason it won't be better than the relatively unreliable 5 series. Link to TrueDelta is below for 5 series.

https://www.truedelta.com/BMW-5-Series/reliability-20

Reliability
  AcuraT

According to the CarFax associated with that car you selected, it was a rental car for two years - so the "one owner" was a car rental company. Car rentals by rule are driven pretty hard, and this has 45,000 miles on it. It is why the price is somewhat discounted. They know rental cars are less deseriable, so you are getting a break on the price. You might be able to get even more off when negotiating (especially if it has been sitting).

The question is do you feel lucky? It probably has more wear than the average car with 45,000, but being South Korean it could still be fairly reliable for another 50,000 miles or so. Just be aware that you may experience wear on some items early. Some things that could wear early include the interior of the vehcile (more getitng in an out of by an assortment of people who may be eating or whatever in the car). the controls can be worn, the carpeting can be worn - but these are things you can check when you look at the car. I would see if any repair records have been kept. The transmission may wear early if the engine was "floored" a lot by renters. It just depends on who rented it and how it was treated.

As long as you are aware of the risks it is a decent car from what I can read on it. Good luck.

Car Research - Reliability
  AcuraT

The first two are quite reliable, and I like that you are looking more broadly now. Some years the Honda Pilot is less than reliable with the transmission but generally a good car (although I won't buy them anymore as I have had transmission problems with two back to back Hondas even when they were supposedly reliable). Ford Explorer is not as reliable as the others listed. Kia Sorrento is the "corporate cousin" of the Hyundai Santa Fe. The two companies are separate but merged their engineering departments many years ago, so they share the same platforms but build different cars on them. These two you are considering are very close in nature. So the better price between the two may drive your decision on it and it won't make much difference.

US News compares the two and shows how little the differences are:
https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/kia-sorento-vs-hyundai-santa-fe

However, depending what is more important to you, you can choose between the two (it shows the pluses and minuses of each catagory of the cars 1 on 1, and both win about half of the catagories each - although the Kia wins the overall just barely).

Best of luck.

Car Research - Reliability
  johnathanm

Ok, so I was originally basing on what I was looking for on what I could currently find locally and doing research on that vehicle... I know, limited thinking. My thought was I should be able to find something local. But, honestly, if it's a great deal, I'll inter-state to get one.

It appears that there are several mid-sized SUVs with a third row that have good reliability records. Based on the models with a third row (should be the first qualification), and using TrueDelta for real-world reliability, this is the list I'm looking at:


2017 (2016)Toyota Highlander (high ratings for almost each year, but high priced)
2016 (2017/15) Hyundai Santa Fe
"Limited" might only have 6 seats, second row bench swapped for two bucket seats

2016 Honda Pilot
2017 Ford Explorer
2017 Kia Sorento

Those are not in any particular order, with the exception of the first two entries.

I know y'all have already mentioned some, just expanding my search area (literally).

Car Research - Reliability
  johnathanm

LectroFuel,

Thanks for replying.

Here is the one I was looking at:
https://www.meltonsales.com/used/Hyundai/2017-Hyundai-Santa+Fe-Tulsa-8938bbd60a0e0adf5ba43892a569763d.htm

I donyd doubt that a minivan would be best for comfort, we actually already have a 2016 Dodge Grand Caravan. I was hoping to get something a little smaller with more features. This is really going to be a commuter vehicle for myself to and from work, but being able to haul everyone would be nice.

Car Research - Reliability
  LectroFuel

The Hyundai Santa Fe is a good choice, though the 3rd row might be a little tight. The Santa Fe is the best car mentioned so far. The Kia Sorento is a good one, too, but the 3rd row is almost useless.

The Flex is good. It isn't too reliable though. It is more of a wagon, but it comes close to having minivan-levels of space.

If you want to go back to the $12k budget, I'd get a Toyota Sequoia.

There are more reliable and modern options than an Explorer. Since you are carrying your family in it and you are looking for newer cars now, you should get the active safety features like automatic braking, lane keeping assist, and blind spot monitoring. The 2017 Highlander has this standard on all trims (not blind spot monitoring). If that Santa Fe you are looking at is fully loaded, it has these features.

Minivans have several features not found on SUVs that make them more practical than SUVs. The minivan is really the best option.

I recommend leather seats in the car if you are hauling your family often.

Really, the best way to find the car you are looking for is to see what is the best listing online without looking for a specific car. CarFax and other maintenance records foreshadow the car's problems down the road. At the budget and mileage you said you wanted, finding a specific brand and model is almost impossible unless you are lucky.

Do you have a link to the listing of that Santa Fe? That is a great price that makes it seem as if it has a salvage title.


Car Research - Reliability
  johnathanm

Hey all,

I very much appreciate the replies!

I've found a Hyundai 2017 Santa Fe that has a third row (two passengers in front, three in center, and two in back(more room per seat in third row compared to second row)). It is $18.7k, but with 45k miles. So, yeah, a little more than I was looking for, but the miles and features, seems good. Seems to be loaded with features. Looking at this site, reliability is pretty decent at 95%... If I read the gauge correctly. :D

Thoughts?

I did look at the Ford Taurus X, but see it isn't being made anymore, which automatically means an older vehicle. Ditto with the Flex. I would be OK with that, except the mileage would be higher.

One that I do have on my list to look out for was the 2017 Ford Explorer. Still keeping an eye out.

Thanks!

Car Research - Reliability
  mkaresh

A drain and fill might be a good idea. This is what I have done with my Ford. Absolutely do not have it flushed, where fluid is circulated through the transmission under pressure. Flushing can pick up bits of metal that weren't causing problems and relocate them to places that will cause problems.

Transmission Flush
  mkaresh

How much space do you need behind the third row? We still have a Ford Taurus X, and one thing I like about the Ford crossovers (Taurus X, Flex, Explorer) is that they have a deep well behind the third row so they can carry more luggage than most back there. Your choices will be limited by that combination of age and price. A quick search suggests that three-row vehicles that meet these cutoffs might be limited to the Dodge Journey, Mitsubishi Outlander, Nissan Rogue, and Kia Sorento. Of these the Sorento has the most space and drives the best, but it's not an outstanding vehicle in any particular way. Otherwise it would cost more. The Nissan Rogue will get the best fuel economy, but it's third row is very tight and has even less space behind it than the Kia's.

Car Research - Reliability
  danlisahall

Not my area of expertise but I notice that Johnathan says he wants 7 passenger seating. If that is not a typo, non mini-van vehicle the choices are really limited. Of all the good cars AcuraT suggests, only the Ford Taurus can seat seven. Ford Flex also would fit the bill. Both are reasonable rigs but don't rank especially high in reliablity.

Otherwise, to my knowledge, one has to look at an SUV or minivan. As has often been said on this forum, minivans are a marvel of passenger hauling efficency with comfort, cargo space, and fuel economy generally superior to SUVs. Given price range, a good Nav / Audio system not likely to be part of the package and an aftermarket unit is likely to be better than any factory unit that is 3-4 years old.

Good luck Johnathan, would love to hear what you find out there.


Car Research - Reliability