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which is a safer bet

  • wait for a 2011/2012

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  • the 2009 is fine

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Discussion Starter #1
Planning on spending around 12k on a used RAV4,dealership has a 2012 with 84k miles,no accidents reported,and a 2009 with 70k miles,3 very minor accidents reported to the front right of vehicle,pictures show no visible damage and carfax shows all passed inspections with no collision repair. Theres a chance i could lose the 2012 to someone else,if that happens,is the 2009 still a safe bet to buy? ive never testdrove a 2009 and was only planning on going with a 2011 at the oldest but my choices are becoming slim where i live and its about to start snowing.any advice for a rookie car buyer to look for when inspecting the car?thanks for the help
 

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Planning on spending around 12k on a used RAV4,dealership has a 2012 with 84k miles,no accidents reported,and a 2009 with 70k miles,3 very minor accidents reported to the front right of vehicle,pictures show no visible damage and carfax shows all passed inspections with no collision repair. Theres a chance i could lose the 2012 to someone else,if that happens,is the 2009 still a safe bet to buy? ive never testdrove a 2009 and was only planning on going with a 2011 at the oldest but my choices are becoming slim where i live and its about to start snowing.any advice for a rookie car buyer to look for when inspecting the car?thanks for the help
Let 2010 be the oldest. Pass on that 2009.

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Are these V6s or I4s?
If you live in a snow/salt area I'd inspect the underside for rust. When I was looking for our RAV4 online I found one in a suburb of Buffalo NY that looked good except for one rusty (obviously steel not alloy) wheel in the picture. I called and asked if that was the only wheel that looked like the picture. Their answer, "They're all that way." I passed.
I ended up finding ours in Melbourne FL, flew there and drove it back to CT. Did the same to Athens GA to buy a 2006 Accord Hybrid.
So my advice is expand your horizons.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Are these V6s or I4s?
If you live in a snow/salt area I'd inspect the underside for rust. When I was looking for our RAV4 online I found one in a suburb of Buffalo NY that looked good except for one rusty (obviously steel not alloy) wheel in the picture. I called and asked if that was the only wheel that looked like the picture. Their answer, "They're all that way." I passed.
I ended up finding ours in Melbourne FL, flew there and drove it back to CT. Did the same to Athens GA to buy a 2006 Accord Hybrid.
So my advice is expand your horizons.
small world,i actually live in Buffalo,NY so yes i live in a heavy salt/snow area,but don't have the means to leave the state for car shopping,its my first car and my parent works full time,plus were on borderline lockdown from traveling because covid. I'm not sure which engine it is ill double check carfax,but either one better or worse?
 

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For us we have a late manufactures 2009 4 cylinder - it is absolutely fine - we keep on top of all maintenance. Here in the UK we have very little salt issues, so I could not comment on the rust problems
 

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As you describe yourself as a "rookie car buyer" suggest that you make certain that you test drive for more than a short run around the block any vehicle you think you might buy, and that you have a trusted mechanic or knowledgeable friend inspect it before buying.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
As you describe yourself as a "rookie car buyer" suggest that you make certain that you test drive for more than a short run around the block any vehicle you think you might buy, and that you have a trusted mechanic or knowledgeable friend inspect it before buying.
only issue with that is that i dont know anyone whos a mechanic or who works on cars well enough to convince them to go with me,i have to trust that my dad knows what hes listening for and do as much research for myself as possible,i will definately try and take it for a longer drive,any tips of surefire signs a car is no good in a test drive?
 

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reasoning why? i read on one of theze forums that 2009 and newer was fine
The 2009 is fine. First off if you are looking at a 4 banger they changed the engine to a 2.5 litre which does not burn oil. The older 2.4 litre engine was a oil burner.
 

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only issue with that is that i dont know anyone whos a mechanic or who works on cars well enough to convince them to go with me,i have to trust that my dad knows what hes listening for and do as much research for myself as possible,i will definately try and take it for a longer drive,any tips of surefire signs a car is no good in a test drive?
A few things to look for beside rust :
  • If it is a V6 listen for the transmission whine. It can be heard up to 40 mph and after that it is drown out my road noise. If you let go the pedal and the noise disappear then it is the transmission whine.
  • Some have rear differential whine. (4WD only)
  • Check for leak at the rear differential. (4WD only) Usually caused by a plugged rear breather cap.
 

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I'd ask the dealer to put each car you're considering on a lift so you can check for rust. Buy the one with the least.
If they refuse go somewhere else.
 
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