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2004 Corolla S without ABS - worth buying?

astarothastaroth Posts: 6

I am looking at purchasing a used 2004 Corolla S, which has all the optional features except side bags and ABS (really no idea why the seller wouldn't put down another $300 into a safer car). The car is otherwise in pretty good condition, there is one oil leak that is of some concern but compared to other cars I've looked at this is the cleanest, and also very low miles (60,000).

I have two questions:
1. Would you even consider buying a car without ABS this day and age? Do cars even come without ABS anymore? Was it common in 2004 for people to buy cars without ABS? I live in a very snowy part of the country, how does that play into things? (BTW the seller is throwing in an additional set of winter tires)

2. I had the car inspected and was told that it would need about, say $1,500 of repairs within the first 6 months ($500 of that immediately for the oil leak). Book value for this car, taking the low miles and the options into account, is $8,500 at "good" condition, and that's what the seller is asking. What would you consider a reasonable buying price? Subtracting the cost of short-term repairs leaves $7,000, which means I have to start my offer at $6,500, which is almost insultingly low, but I can't possibly pay more than $7,000.



  • terceltomterceltom Posts: 1,022
    Sounds like your really hung-up on the lack of ABS. Why such a concern for ABS? We've been driving a hundred years without ABS.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    edited April 2010
    A key question to ask yourself is, do all drivers of this car know how to drive without ABS? In 2004, ABS was uncommon on small economy cars. It didn't become standard on the Corolla until, when, the 2009 redesign? It's standard on most new cars now, but this car is 6 years old. I spent the past few weeks searching high and low for a good, inexpensive used car with ABS, and there's very few of those out there in the $6-7000 price range, with 60k miles. So if you really need ABS, you may have to get a car with much higher miles, a larger car (on which ABS is more common on older cars), or raise your price limit.

    Or do what I did this past Saturday. I got tired of being told "car is sold" every time I called on a used car listing that looked good, so I leased a new 2010 Sentra 2.0 S with ABS, six airbags, top-notch IIHS crash test scores, and of course a full factory warranty for $179/month. Or, about what an $8000 used car would cost me for a five-year loan after I add in tax and fees. The used car market is getting real tough out there right now...

    P.S. There's some pretty good leases on 2010 Corollas right now. All of 'em have ABS and VSC and six airbags. Haven't seen one yet for $179/month with only first payment up front, but pretty close to that (around $200/month with 0 up front).
  • astarothastaroth Posts: 6
    I really don't know what the deal with ABS is, which is why I am asking. I already know I have misconceptions about it, I am just trying to clear them up. Does anyone have any statistics on how many cars on the road today have ABS, or how many cars sold in the last 10 years have had ABS etc? It seems that most people don't think it's essential really but if available there is no reason not to get it, which is what kind of bums me out about this. My insurance will be $3 more due to lack of ABS, I know this is peanuts but I'm just mentioning it. Frankly the lack of ABS doesn't really bother me so much because I've never driven with ABS before anyway.

    In any case, I talked to the seller tonight and I mentioned that there would be $1500 of repairs to do soon after buying the car, so he dropped his asking price down to $7500, but mentioned that he has already had that amount offered by someone else. I have priority because I showed interest first, and I said I would give him my decision by Thursday. I think $7500 is not totally unreasonable and he IS throwing in winter tires and a remote start key, but I would have felt a lot better about paying $7000. I can't really offer lower than $7500 at this point because (unless he is bluffing) he will just go to the other buyer.

    In the meantime I'm trying to find out more about what these repairs entail and whether that engine oil leak would require a very invasive repair, which I want to avoid, and also trying to come to a conclusion with regard to ABS.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    Frankly the lack of ABS doesn't really bother me so much because I've never driven with ABS before anyway.

    So then this is really a non-issue, isn't it? How will statistics on how many cars sold in the last 10 years have ABS help you? You aren't buying all the cars sold in the past 10 years... you are looking to buy a 2004 Corolla S w/o ABS. :confuse:
  • terceltomterceltom Posts: 1,022
    Don't be looking at "Good Condition" prices. A car that's selling for $7500.00 and needs immediate repairs of $1500.00 is far from in "Good Condition".
  • astarothastaroth Posts: 6
    Good condition price is $8500, which is what he was originally asking. With the repairs in mind, he has dropped down to $7500. If you drop the condition down by one step on the TMV, it goes down to $7100ish. So he didn't reduce his asking price enough, but at the same time I don't really seem to have any room to bargain if someone has already offered that. I know that the other buyer offered this without getting an inspection though, so basically he will be pretty surprised by the repairs he will face, or maybe he won't even care. In any case, the repairs this car needs are minor compared to other cars I've seen. I saw a 2005 Subaru which needed $4000 worth of repairs pretty much right off the bat.

    The reason I asked about statistics was to get an idea of whether a 2004 car without ABS is something unusual, and how that fits into the context of the past decade or so in terms of ABS adoption over this time.

    Just from talking to people, there seem to be really varying opinions. People who don't have ABS say they don't need it and have no problem, some people who have ABS say that they couldn't do without it, other people have ABS but had never really noticed and don't care either way.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    I think ABS is very important... but because my wife and soon my daughter will be driving my car, not because of me. I learned how to drive in the early '70s, in Minnesnowta, and didn't have ABS on a car until 1995. I bought my last car w/o ABS, a 2000 626, in 2006. If it were just me driving a car, and the car stopped OK in the dry w/o ABS (some don't), I would go w/o ABS. But all drivers of a car need to be considered, as I said before.

    I have followed the car market closely for over 30 years. I can tell you with some certainly that a 2004 compact economy car without ABS is NOT unusual. I'm not sure where you'd get stats on that, unless you want to look up all 2004 model cars and see if they came with ABS standard, or not. That would take a lot of time, though, and I think you've already answered the question for yourself--you said you know how to drive w/o ABS.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    ....why, if ABS is important to you (and it seems that it is), and it needs $1500 of work, you'd even consider this car. Is the pool of used $7000 cars that small where you live?

    You might want to consider, perhaps, a Civic EX, they've had ABS standard since the early '90s, though Civics used tend to be a bit pricier than Corollas. If you MUST have a Corolla, just know that the vast majority of '04s will NOT have ABS. Toyota dealers tend to have cars with 'regional' equipment groups, i.e., most in any region will have more or less similar equipment. So while some equipment was 'technically' available, most 'on the lot' cars didn't have ABS, and dealers didn't encourage special orders, of course.
  • terceltomterceltom Posts: 1,022
    Don't believe his B.S. ! Offer him 5K and walk away. If he takes it fine, if not, nothing lost but a fixer upper car.
  • carstrykecarstryke Posts: 168
    From someone who lives where there is still snow on the ground (we just got more on the 10th) i don't care for abs and survived perfectly fine without it for the last 9 years.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    I'm mostly in agreement. Let's face it, unless you're quite young, or your parents happened to have a Mercedes or BMW 20 years ago, most of us of a certain age learned to drive without it. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice safety feature, but (maybe because I've ONLY had used cars), not having it wouldn't deter me from buying most cars, at least up to a price. If you know how to drive, it's not going to make a huge difference either way, IMO.
  • I have a 2004 Toyota Corolla CE (the basic low end model). My car has manual windows and door locks. I misplaced my spare key, I'd like to get another one. I see lots of warnings about how expensive it is to get replacements for the smart electronic keys, but nothing about the "dumb" mechanical-only keys like I have. Does anyone have any insight?
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