2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

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sgrovercleveland
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2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by sgrovercleveland » Fri Jan 27, 2017 1:13 pm

This is a first car and I would be paying in cash. Not sure if I can include the Craigslist posting due to forum rules, but these are as many of the details as I can get from it:

- 2004 MERCURY GRAND MARQUIS LS ULTIMATE EDITION
- Buying from dealer, who includes a 3 month warranty
- 56k miles
- Likely garaged, as the body looks mint with no signs of rust
- Same engine as the Crown Victoria (4.6L V8)
- Leather interior, heated seats, no sunroof
- Rear wheel drive (I live in New England, so I'd definitely pick up snow tires)
- Carfax checks out: one owner, no accidents, full service history records

Any thoughts from fellow Bogleheads on Ford's Panther platform, especially in terms of quality of drive, cost of ownership, and reliability? And given the age, mileage, and condition of this particular car, would you say it's a good price? For reference, the KBB value of this car (from dealer) is around $5,050.

Thanks!

sport
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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by sport » Fri Jan 27, 2017 1:19 pm

A big part of such a purchase is how important reliability is to you. A 13-year old car will have repair issues from time to time, just due to age. If you can live with the inconvenience of getting the car to a repair shop, and being without it while it is being fixed, it might be OK. I also would be hesitant to use such an old vehicle for any long distance trips where you might get stranded in a strange location, or if you regularly drive through unsafe areas.

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Dutch
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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by Dutch » Fri Jan 27, 2017 1:26 pm

I'd say the asking price is too high by about $2,000.

nura
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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by nura » Fri Jan 27, 2017 1:47 pm

Dutch wrote:I'd say the asking price is too high by about $2,000.

Asking price is off by a digit for that make and model of that vintage.

alfaspider
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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by alfaspider » Fri Jan 27, 2017 1:47 pm

I wouldn't buy any car that old from a dealer. You can't assess the history of the car and the markup necessary for the dealer to make a profit represents a huge portion of the purchase price relative to a newer car. Best place to buy a car like this would be from a little old lady giving up her keys.

As to the car itself. Panther platform cars are tanks- there's a reason why they were the #1 choice for police and livery vehicles for well over a decade. Parts are dirt cheap and available anywhere, and the v8 motor is extremely understressed and will run forever with proper care and feeding. The suspension is soft and pliant and will soak up bumps.

Downsides? The platform dates back to the late 70s. By the 2000s, they were dated before they were even built. Handling is awful, there is no steering feel, and they are quite slow despite the v8. Interior quality is nowhere near modern standards. Fuel economy isn't up to modern standards either.
Last edited by alfaspider on Fri Jan 27, 2017 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sgrovercleveland
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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by sgrovercleveland » Fri Jan 27, 2017 1:47 pm

sport wrote:A big part of such a purchase is how important reliability is to you. A 13-year old car will have repair issues from time to time, just due to age. If you can live with the inconvenience of getting the car to a repair shop, and being without it while it is being fixed, it might be OK. I also would be hesitant to use such an old vehicle for any long distance trips where you might get stranded in a strange location, or if you regularly drive through unsafe areas.


Since I'm a new driver, I can't buy a newer vehicle without incurring an absolutely atrocious insurance cost, especially in my state. As such, my point of comparison would not be between a newer car and an old beater but whether this kind of car is more reliable over the long haul over other equivalently old cars. Equivalent Toyotas and Hondas are going for WAY higher than $5k, even at this age of vehicle. It makes me wonder whether vehicle pricing is very regional.

Dutch wrote:I'd say the asking price is too high by about $2,000.


According to KBB, this would be true if I were buying from a private seller. But again, I am not certain how much variance there is across regions in car prices. Equivalent Camries and Accords with similar mileage and age are going for $5-6k private sale and $7-8k dealer.

sgrovercleveland
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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by sgrovercleveland » Fri Jan 27, 2017 1:51 pm

alfaspider wrote:I wouldn't buy any car that old from a dealer. You can't assess the history of the car and the markup necessary for the dealer to make a profit represents a huge portion of the purchase price relative to a newer car. Best place to buy a car like this would be from a little old lady giving up her keys.


I have the Carfax to verify the history of the car, and I would obviously get it inspected to ensure the Carfax isn't incorrect. That is a fair point about dealer profit margin, however, but where I live private sale prices really aren't much lower without buying a car over 100k miles.

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Dutch
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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by Dutch » Fri Jan 27, 2017 1:52 pm

sgrovercleveland wrote:
Dutch wrote:I'd say the asking price is too high by about $2,000.


According to KBB, this would be true if I were buying from a private seller. But again, I am not certain how much variance there is across regions in car prices. Equivalent Camries and Accords with similar mileage and age are going for $5-6k private sale and $7-8k dealer.


You seem to think that KBB is a standard. It's not.

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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by alfaspider » Fri Jan 27, 2017 1:52 pm

sgrovercleveland wrote:=

Since I'm a new driver, I can't buy a newer vehicle without incurring an absolutely atrocious insurance cost, especially in my state. As such, my point of comparison would not be between a newer car and an old beater but whether this kind of car is more reliable over the long haul over other equivalently old cars. Equivalent Toyotas and Hondas are going for WAY higher than $5k, even at this age of vehicle. It makes me wonder whether vehicle pricing is very regional.



Panther platform is probably not a bad place to start for a new driver. My only concern would be rain and snow. I learned to drive in the snow in a RWD car, but I wouldn't recommend it. RWD cars will usually oversteer (back end will come around and car will spin if uncorrected) in low traction situations- such situations tend to be much more difficult for novice drivers than understeer (car keeps going straight despite steering input), which most modern FWD and AWD vehicles will exhibit.
Last edited by alfaspider on Fri Jan 27, 2017 1:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

alfaspider
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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by alfaspider » Fri Jan 27, 2017 1:53 pm

sgrovercleveland wrote:
alfaspider wrote:I wouldn't buy any car that old from a dealer. You can't assess the history of the car and the markup necessary for the dealer to make a profit represents a huge portion of the purchase price relative to a newer car. Best place to buy a car like this would be from a little old lady giving up her keys.


I have the Carfax to verify the history of the car, and I would obviously get it inspected to ensure the Carfax isn't incorrect. That is a fair point about dealer profit margin, however, but where I live private sale prices really aren't much lower without buying a car over 100k miles.


All the carfax is usually going to tell you is number of owners and accident/theft history. If you are really lucky, you might get some incomplete maintenance records. When I say "assess history", I mean talk to the owner and get a sense of how the car was treated (and get records, if possible). The dealer probably bought the car from an auction without no more than a cursory inspection.

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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri Jan 27, 2017 1:55 pm

You would want to have a mechanic take a good look at it. Unless the present dealer has done so, every single fluid needs to be replaced. Every single hose needs to be replaced. The brakes would need a good checking out (each wheel separately) to be sure you don't have frozen components. If this were all done, I'd say that it's quite a good car. This is a legendary taxi/police car because it costs nothing to maintain and parts are dirt cheap. Getting through a winter means good snow tires on 4 wheels and 200 pounds of sand in the trunk. This is, of course a timing chain engine and the water pump is an easy few bolts $31 old timey part. Transmissions can go on these cars but replacements are bought by the gross in a junkyard for almost nothing and if you're at all handy, you could probably replace it yourself....although they are pretty heavy.

That said, you will likely see either new tires or tires with new looking tread but dry rot cracks. So if the latter, they need to be replaced. You can get random issues. The cat converter can be clogged, setting off the check engine light. With all that said, I think it might be worth the money. I'm driving an 04 Outback that I've dubbed "the death car" because it's got a Takata pass side air bag and a hole in the exhaust. It now has 60k miles (45k back in April when I got it). I expect it will explode at some point and I'll call the scrap yard, pull my plates and call an Uber.
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sgrovercleveland
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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by sgrovercleveland » Fri Jan 27, 2017 1:58 pm

Dutch wrote:
sgrovercleveland wrote:
Dutch wrote:I'd say the asking price is too high by about $2,000.


According to KBB, this would be true if I were buying from a private seller. But again, I am not certain how much variance there is across regions in car prices. Equivalent Camries and Accords with similar mileage and age are going for $5-6k private sale and $7-8k dealer.


You seem to think that KBB is a standard. It's not.


I have been monitoring Craigslist and Truecar for over 7 months. It seems like a decent approximation, at least in my area.

sgrovercleveland
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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by sgrovercleveland » Fri Jan 27, 2017 2:00 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:You would want to have a mechanic take a good look at it. Unless the present dealer has done so, every single fluid needs to be replaced. Every single hose needs to be replaced. The brakes would need a good checking out (each wheel separately) to be sure you don't have frozen components. If this were all done, I'd say that it's quite a good car. This is a legendary taxi/police car because it costs nothing to maintain and parts are dirt cheap. Getting through a winter means good snow tires on 4 wheels and 200 pounds of sand in the trunk. This is, of course a timing chain engine and the water pump is an easy few bolts $31 old timey part. Transmissions can go on these cars but replacements are bought by the gross in a junkyard for almost nothing and if you're at all handy, you could probably replace it yourself....although they are pretty heavy.

That said, you will likely see either new tires or tires with new looking tread but dry rot cracks. So if the latter, they need to be replaced. You can get random issues. The cat converter can be clogged, setting off the check engine light. With all that said, I think it might be worth the money. I'm driving an 04 Outback that I've dubbed "the death car" because it's got a Takata pass side air bag and a hole in the exhaust. It now has 60k miles (45k back in April when I got it). I expect it will explode at some point and I'll call the scrap yard, pull my plates and call an Uber.


Thanks. Next time I take a look at it I will definitely check for all of these things.

tim1999
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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by tim1999 » Fri Jan 27, 2017 2:09 pm

Sounds like the typical grandpa/grandma car. How did the dealer get it? Auction or trade-in? Car fax can possibly tell you. Is this at an independent used car shop or a Ford/Lincoln or other new car dealer? When you see one of these older cars at a new car dealer, it is usually in really good shape, especially if they are willing to put any warranty on it. Most dealers will sell a car this old as-is. If the car is questionable they will send it to the auction rather than risk their reputation selling a possible clunker. If it's at Joe's Used Cars or Sam's Buy here/Pay here I'd hesitate.

Price is a bit high for a 13 year old common car, but see if you can talk them down. These are generally reliable cars. Not a Toyota but as close as you can get on an American car probably. These things are built like tanks, cheap scheduled maintenance, parts are easy to get.

Most fluids besides oil are probably original and should be replaced. Rubber parts like hoses and belts are probably shot. You will probably have to invest $500+ right off the bat to bring it up to snuff.

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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by fishboat » Fri Jan 27, 2017 2:21 pm

sgrovercleveland wrote:This is a first car and I would be paying in cash. Not sure if I can include the Craigslist posting due to forum rules, but these are as many of the details as I can get from it:

- 2004 MERCURY GRAND MARQUIS LS ULTIMATE EDITION
- Buying from dealer, who includes a 3 month warranty
- 56k miles
- Likely garaged, as the body looks mint with no signs of rust
- Same engine as the Crown Victoria (4.6L V8)
- Leather interior, heated seats, no sunroof
- Rear wheel drive (I live in New England, so I'd definitely pick up snow tires)
- Carfax checks out: one owner, no accidents, full service history records

Any thoughts from fellow Bogleheads on Ford's Panther platform, especially in terms of quality of drive, cost of ownership, and reliability? And given the age, mileage, and condition of this particular car, would you say it's a good price? For reference, the KBB value of this car (from dealer) is around $5,050.

Thanks!


I can only speak from first hand experience(been driving for 45 yrs).

First qualifiers(IMHO)..there seems to be a lean in this forum:

>> For (rationalizing) buying new. Though many discussions center around buying very high demand Toyotas or Hondas..etc.. that are a couple years old and sell for a few $K less than new. No pun intended, but such is the price to pay for focusing(only) on high demand vehicles. Supply and Demand and all that. There are many lower-demand vehicles that offer great prospects for good transportation, comfort, etc.. that, when bought gently used, offer a good bargain.

>> A good car is only defined by one that never, ever, needs repair. This is an expectation that younger drivers have grown to expect in a world of highly refined(reliability-wise) Hondas and Toyotas. Growing up with cars/trucks prior to this somewhat recent view gives one a perspective that an occasional repair is not life-altering, nor is it the root of financial collapse. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar just as a repair is a repair..untimely (often), unfortunate (always), more an inconvenience than than a crisis.

>> A potential $700 repair on a vehicle with 50k-80k miles on it often yields the question..should I fix it or buy a new vehicle? Hmm.. $700 vs $20k+..I always opt for the former, though many don't..it seems.


Second qualifiers:

>> I'm not a car-guy
>> I love reliable vehicles
>> I recently bought a Toyota Sequoia..8 year-old used.

OP..I'd check local comps on that vehicle and if the one you're considering fairs well..make an offer and don't look back. I picked up a 1998 Grand Marquis (basically the same car as you're looking at...it's essentially the same car, even looks the same) in 2005 with 32K miles on it for $6900. One of the best deals I've ever done. 21/26 mpg, comfortable, quiet, reliable, low cost of ownership, with Goodyear Comfortread tires it goes through snow no problem. Yes, it's been fixed a couple times, but overall it's been a great car. I have 161K on it now & still running original waterpump, exhaust, alternator, battery, front end, trans................... I have it serviced & checked regularly and have things fixed as needed. I touch the key and it starts..year around in WI winters. It still looks nice too..just like the one you're looking at.

Given that I'm at 161K miles..I've considered what to replace it with. After 12 years..I could use a change of pace, but after looking around at what I can get for whatever money I choose to spend..I (so far) always come back the the deal you're looking at. The Crown Vic/Grand MArquis is one of the most optimized vehicles ever made. It had a very long run with huge fleet sales (cops & cabs) all along the way. Repeat Fleet sales drive bugs out, reliability up, and costs down. Retirees bought this car by the droves as it was inexpensive to buy new (relative to other similar market-class vehicles) and got pretty good mileage. I think a gently used Grand Marquis is a great deal. I'd like to buy something else next time around, but I can't come up with a reason not to buy another.

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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by Wellfleet » Fri Jan 27, 2017 2:39 pm

OP, I found this car on Craigslist based on your location in previous posts.

I would lowball the heck out of this dealer- it's a used car dealer they are used to it. Offer $3,000 and go up to $3,500 max.

Say you have cash and could be in the same day if they accept your offer. These guys are used to all kinds of crazy offers and bizarre financing.

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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by buccimane » Fri Jan 27, 2017 3:03 pm

A quick google on this car comes back with terrible handling and spotty electronics. The car is too old for the electronic consumer report, but those are items to consider during the test drive..

Wellfleet wrote:Say you have cash and could be in the same day if they accept your offer. These guys are used to all kinds of crazy offers and bizarre financing.


I would suggest the opposite of this. Do not include form of payment until after negotiations. They make more money on financed cars, so saying you're paying cash will not help you at all in this situation. Say you are a motivated buyer and leave it at that.

As a side note, I just purchased a used vehicle. After visiting multiple dealerships, I noticed that the internet price is often near the bottom line these days. I would visit the lot, and the sticker price would be $2,000~ above the internet price. It was explained to me that times are changing, and the internet price needs to be competitive to bring people to the physical location.
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PowDay
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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by PowDay » Fri Jan 27, 2017 3:13 pm

What type of dealer is it? If there is any hint that they are a buy here pay here place stay away. That car could have been sold and repossessed multiple times without it ever hitting the carfax. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4U2eDJnwz_s

Any car of that vintage will need repairs, I would choose a $2,000 version from a private seller, and have $3,000 in the bank for repairs.

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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by alfaspider » Fri Jan 27, 2017 3:15 pm

Wellfleet wrote:
Say you have cash and could be in the same day if they accept your offer. These guys are used to all kinds of crazy offers and bizarre financing.


If it's a used car dealer, they primarily make their money from offering financing at usurious interest rates, not actually selling the cars. Cash is not a particularly enticing offer for them.

PowDay
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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by PowDay » Fri Jan 27, 2017 3:18 pm

I found the car also, if It was my money I would go for this one

http://worcester.craigslist.org/cto/5955288168.html
CROWN VICTORIA 56,000 MILES - $1400

Even if you have to rebuild half the car, you will come out ahead vs the $4500 car from the dealer.

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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by 4th and Inches » Fri Jan 27, 2017 3:31 pm

My knee jerk response is that 2004 was when American car quality was hitting its low point with Mercury and the Grand Marquis being at the bottom of the pile. Avoid.

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buccimane
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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by buccimane » Fri Jan 27, 2017 3:31 pm

PowDay wrote:Even if you have to rebuild half the car, you will come out ahead vs the $4500 car from the dealer.


I would disagree with this.. 3k-4k can buy you a decent car, that will be cheaper in the long run than a 20 year old V8 crown vic with the seller describing it as 'seems good' :? .. well under 20mpg as well.

The "pro" for this car is in 5 years it won't need to go through emissions testing.
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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by fishboat » Fri Jan 27, 2017 3:44 pm

alfaspider wrote:
Wellfleet wrote:
Say you have cash and could be in the same day if they accept your offer. These guys are used to all kinds of crazy offers and bizarre financing.


If it's a used car dealer, they primarily make their money from offering financing at usurious interest rates, not actually selling the cars. Cash is not a particularly enticing offer for them.


True statement..when I bought the Toyota last year I offered cash and the guy said "..actually I make more money if you finance.." So we worked out a deal where I got the truck for less $, financed it, paid off the note in a couple weeks when I got the paperwork..ran me abut $7 in interest.

As for those knocking the Grand Marquis..ever own one or just spit-balling? I get 20mpg easy and have for 12 years...better than many smaller SUVs.

..just facts from an owner.. :)

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buccimane
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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by buccimane » Fri Jan 27, 2017 3:48 pm

fishboat wrote:I get 20mpg easy and have for 12 years


I'm going to assume this is off my comment since I am the only one that mentioned the 20mpg mark, but I was referring to the 1997 Crown Vic posted above.
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alfaspider
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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by alfaspider » Fri Jan 27, 2017 3:49 pm

4th and Inches wrote:My knee jerk response is that 2004 was when American car quality was hitting its low point with Mercury and the Grand Marquis being at the bottom of the pile. Avoid.


The panther platform cars have terrible quality in the sense that they used chintzy interior materials and have an overall feeling of cheapness. However, because of the nature of the vehicle, they can last forever. They are only notionally mid-00s cars and aren't really comparable to other cars from the era as they share a much older design.

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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by Wellfleet » Fri Jan 27, 2017 3:50 pm

alfaspider wrote:
If it's a used car dealer, they primarily make their money from offering financing at usurious interest rates, not actually selling the cars. Cash is not a particularly enticing offer for them.


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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by munemaker » Fri Jan 27, 2017 3:58 pm

Dutch wrote:
sgrovercleveland wrote:
Dutch wrote:I'd say the asking price is too high by about $2,000.


According to KBB, this would be true if I were buying from a private seller. But again, I am not certain how much variance there is across regions in car prices. Equivalent Camries and Accords with similar mileage and age are going for $5-6k private sale and $7-8k dealer.


You seem to think that KBB is a standard. It's not.


KBB, Edmunds, NADA...I don't know about "standard" but they are points of reference.

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Watty
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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by Watty » Fri Jan 27, 2017 4:17 pm

It is just anecdotal but I once bought a similar Chevy station wagon that was about the same age and it was the worst car that I even had. It was not any one big repair but about every two months it would be in the shop for things like a broken windshield wiper motor or a sensor that had gone bad. I was lucky that I never had a huge repair but it was always a couple of hundred dollars every few months and a lot of inconvenience.

A car like that would only be a good deal if it was cheap and you liked to do your own car repairs.

One other thing to keep in mind is that even if there is a lot of tread left tires should be replaced when they are ten years old be cause the ribber degrades and they become unsafe. New tires for it might cost the better part of a thousand dollars. Here how to tell how old a tire is.

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiretech/ ... ?techid=11

That car likely does not have ESC (electronic stability control) or good side airbags so I would not assume that it is a real safe car just because of its size.

Just for comparison my local Hertz car sales lot has a 2015 Corolla for less than $11,000 and it has less than 36k miles on it so it would still have a 60k Toyota powertrain warranty and a limited Hertz warranty too. Buying something like that, even with a small car loan, might cost more initially but if you don't drive an excessive number miles each year it could easily last you ten years so the yearly cost of ownership would likely be less than the car you are looking at.

http://www.hertzcarsalesmarietta.com/ce ... 80b4dd.htm

The saving on gas would likely more than pay for any interest that you would pay on a car loan.

sgrovercleveland
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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by sgrovercleveland » Fri Jan 27, 2017 4:27 pm

Watty wrote:It is just anecdotal but I once bought a similar Chevy station wagon that was about the same age and it was the worst car that I even had. It was not any one big repair but about every two months it would be in the shop for things like a broken windshield wiper motor or a sensor that had gone bad. I was lucky that I never had a huge repair but it was always a couple of hundred dollars every few months and a lot of inconvenience.

A car like that would only be a good deal if it was cheap and you liked to do your own car repairs.

One other thing to keep in mind is that even if there is a lot of tread left tires should be replaced when they are ten years old be cause the ribber degrades and they become unsafe. New tires for it might cost the better part of a thousand dollars. Here how to tell how old a tire is.

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiretech/ ... ?techid=11

That car likely does not have ESC (electronic stability control) or good side airbags so I would not assume that it is a real safe car just because of its size.

Just for comparison my local Hertz car sales lot has a 2015 Corolla for less than $11,000 and it has less than 36k miles on it so it would still have a 60k Toyota powertrain warranty and a limited Hertz warranty too. Buying something like that, even with a small car loan, might cost more initially but if you don't drive an excessive number miles each year it could easily last you ten years so the yearly cost of ownership would likely be less than the car you are looking at.

http://www.hertzcarsalesmarietta.com/ce ... 80b4dd.htm

The saving on gas would likely more than pay for any interest that you would pay on a car loan.


As someone just recently licensed, and having to purchase full coverage to have a car loan, this would become a horrible deal very quickly. Honestly, the only other options that would have me reconsider a Panther would be a mid 2000s Camry or Accord, which will also have a ton more mileage on them for a higher price.

If I had my license for over 9 years and paid rock bottom insurance, I'd be doing this in a flash. As is, I'm already going to be paying over $250 per month for liability only.

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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by alfaspider » Fri Jan 27, 2017 4:48 pm

Watty wrote:It is just anecdotal but I once bought a similar Chevy station wagon that was about the same age and it was the worst car that I even had.


No you didn't. Other than both being made by an American brands, this car has very little in common with your old car.

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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by stoptothink » Fri Jan 27, 2017 5:04 pm

Watty wrote:It is just anecdotal but I once bought a similar Chevy station wagon that was about the same age and it was the worst car that I even had. It was not any one big repair but about every two months it would be in the shop for things like a broken windshield wiper motor or a sensor that had gone bad. I was lucky that I never had a huge repair but it was always a couple of hundred dollars every few months and a lot of inconvenience.

A car like that would only be a good deal if it was cheap and you liked to do your own car repairs.


My wife's previous car was a '99 crown victoria. Essentially same car. Never a problem with the drivetrain, but in 2yrs and seriously <5k miles of use, it seemed as if we replaced every thing in the entire vehicle. The entire dash, the trunk locking mechanism, motors on the power windows, something with the steering column which kept making fuses blow, some random stuff with the pedals, motors on the side-view mirrors, nearly the entire suspension...The car will run forever, but the rest of the vehicle is literally put together with half-a-century old technology, cheap plastic, and chewing gum. We gave it to my BIL, for free, as he had no mode of transportation and a new job, and he went ahead and sold it to a junkyard a few weeks later because random things kept breaking. FWIW, at the same time I was driving an older vehicle ('97 nissan hardbody pickup), with 4x the amount of miles, and literally never replaced a single thing.

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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by fishboat » Fri Jan 27, 2017 5:54 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Watty wrote:It is just anecdotal but I once bought a similar Chevy station wagon that was about the same age and it was the worst car that I even had. It was not any one big repair but about every two months it would be in the shop for things like a broken windshield wiper motor or a sensor that had gone bad. I was lucky that I never had a huge repair but it was always a couple of hundred dollars every few months and a lot of inconvenience.

A car like that would only be a good deal if it was cheap and you liked to do your own car repairs.


My wife's previous car was a '99 crown victoria. Essentially same car. Never a problem with the drivetrain, but in 2yrs and seriously <5k miles of use, it seemed as if we replaced every thing in the entire vehicle. The entire dash, the trunk locking mechanism, motors on the power windows, something with the steering column which kept making fuses blow, some random stuff with the pedals, motors on the side-view mirrors, nearly the entire suspension...The car will run forever, but the rest of the vehicle is literally put together with half-a-century old technology, cheap plastic, and chewing gum. We gave it to my BIL, for free, as he had no mode of transportation and a new job, and he went ahead and sold it to a junkyard a few weeks later because random things kept breaking. FWIW, at the same time I was driving an older vehicle ('97 nissan hardbody pickup), with 4x the amount of miles, and literally never replaced a single thing.



I don't doubt what you're saying, but you got a lemon or perhaps a vehicle that had flood damage, it was beat by PO, or something..who knows..or maybe you were just really unlucky. It was an exception to the rule. If they were that terrible in general, by definition, they never would have had 10+ years of police & cab fleet sales. I've had my '98 Grand Marquis for 12 years, since 32K miles, and had very few issues with it. I'm still driving it (161K) and probably will for a couple years yet..and will likely buy another while there's still good used stock left. The CV/GM production run ended in 2011, I think. My only real gripe with the car is that Ford installed autolocks whenever it went into gear..the default is always all doors locked. While this can be good in many instances..drives me batty as I'm always trying to get in a non-driver door at home and it's locked..disabling the feature never worked. They installed this feature in a number of models..drives a friend of mine nuts too. He has a Mariner. Small inconvenience overall.

While the BH forums generally contain info that one can take to the bank..pun intended I guess, this thread has quite a bit of less than first hand info in it...supposition, groundless incorrect generalizations..pick a term..non-stellar info.

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sunny_socal
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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by sunny_socal » Fri Jan 27, 2017 6:15 pm

First car? And a large RWD vehicle in snow country? Run away! :)

Get yourself a reliable (boring) Japanese car instead, front wheel drive, Honda/Toyota.

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whodidntante
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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by whodidntante » Fri Jan 27, 2017 6:28 pm

I bought a used town car with 90k and drove it for several years. Mechanically, the car you are looking at is very similar. These are fantastic cars. Mine had a relatively trouble free 230,000 miles when I sold it. I drove it very hard. Very hard. The hardest. It was fantastic. It was the best car. Big league.

Someone warned you about RWD. Don't worry about RWD. I live in an area with similar amounts of snow, and my last three cars have all been RWD. I always chuckle about this misconception because emergency vehicles are very often RWD. That said, RWD vehicles are prone to spin out, and require more skill to drive in slick conditions. It's also a bad idea to use cruise control in the rain. But they are very functional in bad weather.

In my opinion, the price is on the high side. I would negotiate it. The issue is the age and the out of style obsolete nature of the car. It's not just miles, but years that destroy a vehicle. That car has been sitting a lot, and may have made a lot of short trips. Even if it's "perfect" cosmetically, it's still a very old car.

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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by Watty » Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:07 pm

alfaspider wrote:
Watty wrote:It is just anecdotal but I once bought a similar Chevy station wagon that was about the same age and it was the worst car that I even had.


No you didn't. Other than both being made by an American brands, this car has very little in common with your old car.


I wasn't trying to make generalizations about any particular brand or model it is just that once a car gets to be 13 years old they will be prone to have lots of little things go wrong even if the car has low millage.

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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by boglebill2015 » Sun Jan 29, 2017 11:44 am

Recommend don't buy.

As someone above noted, this car dates back to the 70s in fundamental bones. Despite its size, it's crash test scores are horrible. Check the details at the IIHS site.

It will get horrible mileage around town and merely bad mileage on the freeway

It will have poor handling, braking, etc.

The low miles on the car is a red herring it doesnt really increase the value much, its still 13 years old. Lots of time for seals to dry out, rust to form, etc.

It looks outdated and will brand you as either eccentric, poor or both

The only positive attribute is that the engine will probably last a long time, and the car can take a beating.

If you insist on going forward, dont pay more then 3K. You can do a lot better for the 5k

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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by ladders11 » Mon Jan 30, 2017 4:31 pm

Driving a RWD V8 today is like riding a brontosaurus.

My Grandma had one, and it was nice to have plenty of power, but two caveats were I basically had to look for parking in the back of the lot, and it took premium fuel.

Add to this, snow handling would suck.

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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by alfaspider » Mon Jan 30, 2017 4:48 pm

whodidntante wrote:That said, RWD vehicles are prone to spin out, and require more skill to drive in slick conditions. It's also a bad idea to use cruise control in the rain. But they are very functional in bad weather.


There's no question that RWD vehicles can be very functional in bad weather. I recommended against it principally because the OP stated they were a new driver. I had several close calls as a new driver in a RWD car that would not have occured in a FWD car.

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tinscale
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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by tinscale » Mon Jan 30, 2017 6:58 pm

I bought a 2002 Grand Marquis LS in July 2014 from a Mercedes Benz dealer in DC area for $8k out the door after all fees, taxes, etc. It was a trade-in from the local original owner on a Benz. It had 33k miles, still shiny and clean underneath.

I probably overpaid, but they don't make cars like these anymore, and with that low mileage you won't see them very often unless you know the elderly couple across the street.

I've put about $1k into it since, mostly in 2016, for tires, battery, and for a mechanic to spend 2 days looking for an electrical short in the reverse lights. When the next step was to start ripping up the carpet to find it, I had him stop and just cut the wire - reverse lights are not required and are not an inspection item). I haven't changed any hoses, belts, fluids except oil, or brakes. As far as how much to have to put into it to bring it up to snuff - that's not necessarily true - it has to already have passed inspection - and besides, that would be true of any car in the $5k range. And, you won't find an import for $5k with less that 100k miles on it.

The computer says I average 19.5 mpg, and it gets about 27 mpg on the highway. Anyone who says they are slow - compared to what? It's not a race car. Punch it at 70 mph (it's idling you know) at you're at 90 in 3 seconds. Plus, you can fit your apartment or drum set in it. I would buy one again. It now has 54k miles and I would not sell it for $5k.

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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by rockonhumblepie » Mon Jan 30, 2017 7:24 pm

Make sure no oil leaks from the 4.6(head gaskets or seals).Smell the trans dipstick for burned fluid,color red.Tires good? Brake pad wear?
These cars are solid,4.6 with oil changes can go over 250k,change trans fluid and filter when you buy it.Good safe car.

I would offer $3800,counter 4k. 8-) rockon'

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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by white_water » Tue Jan 31, 2017 6:44 pm

Overpriced by 30-40 %. Go online and look for "How to inspect and buy a used car." Then perhaps stay away from a used car only dealer unless your best friends and their friends and their friend's parents vouch for him.

Re: rear wheel drive. Hmmm. I wonder how millions of us 75+-80 year olds ever learned to drive in northern winters on poorly plowed roads, with no power steering or power brakes, limited slip differentials and with that dreaded manual transmission plus rear wheel drive? And roll up windows with no electric defrosters embedded in the rear glass?

Horrible I tell you, just horrible. It's a wonder the race survived. It's a good thing SUV's and 4 wheel drive arrived just in time to save the species.

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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by alfaspider » Tue Jan 31, 2017 7:09 pm

white_water wrote:Overpriced by 30-40 %. Go online and look for "How to inspect and buy a used car." Then perhaps stay away from a used car only dealer unless your best friends and their friends and their friend's parents vouch for him.

Re: rear wheel drive. Hmmm. I wonder how millions of us 75+-80 year olds ever learned to drive in northern winters on poorly plowed roads, with no power steering or power brakes, limited slip differentials and with that dreaded manual transmission plus rear wheel drive? And roll up windows with no electric defrosters embedded in the rear glass?

Horrible I tell you, just horrible. It's a wonder the race survived. It's a good thing SUV's and 4 wheel drive arrived just in time to save the species.


You jest about surviving in the "good old days", but fatal accidents were around four times more common per mile traveled 50 years ago.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_m ... S._by_year
Last edited by alfaspider on Tue Jan 31, 2017 7:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by sport » Tue Jan 31, 2017 7:12 pm

white_water wrote:Overpriced by 30-40 %. Go online and look for "How to inspect and buy a used car." Then perhaps stay away from a used car only dealer unless your best friends and their friends and their friend's parents vouch for him.

Re: rear wheel drive. Hmmm. I wonder how millions of us 75+-80 year olds ever learned to drive in northern winters on poorly plowed roads, with no power steering or power brakes, limited slip differentials and with that dreaded manual transmission plus rear wheel drive? And roll up windows with no electric defrosters embedded in the rear glass?

Horrible I tell you, just horrible. It's a wonder the race survived. It's a good thing SUV's and 4 wheel drive arrived just in time to save the species.

Yes, and back then people died when they were impaled by the steering column in an accident, or went flying through the windshield due to the lack of seat belts. We managed to get by back then, sometimes...

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camillus
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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by camillus » Tue Jan 31, 2017 9:04 pm

This was my exact car for a few years, 2004 MGM. I sold it this year with 98,000 miles for $2900 on craigslist. I was surprised for how little I was able to get for it. There just weren't a lot of interested buyers.

I liked the car. It was big and was lovely for highway trips (several cross country trips). I am tall, so the leg room was nice. I sold it basically because my wife wouldn't drive it for a few reasons, the two main ones were parking and driving in the snow. She also complained about not being able to see where the corners of the car were. She's a midsized human being and had trouble judging "where the car was" from the driver's seat.

It's really kind of a novelty car. It's huge, literally huge, footprint wider and longer than a minivan. The interior seems like it would be huge too, but the dashboard and seats are oversized, like they took two lazyboys and crammed them in. Newer smaller cars have more spacious interiors because of better interior engineering. My car was mechanically sound.

That said, it was pretty fun to pack 5 other friends in the car and go cruising around. It might be a good college car. I happened to sell my car to a 17 year old. I kept telling him and his father that this car has a terrifying amount of power.

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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by randomguy » Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:02 pm

white_water wrote:Overpriced by 30-40 %. Go online and look for "How to inspect and buy a used car." Then perhaps stay away from a used car only dealer unless your best friends and their friends and their friend's parents vouch for him.

Re: rear wheel drive. Hmmm. I wonder how millions of us 75+-80 year olds ever learned to drive in northern winters on poorly plowed roads, with no power steering or power brakes, limited slip differentials and with that dreaded manual transmission plus rear wheel drive? And roll up windows with no electric defrosters embedded in the rear glass?

Horrible I tell you, just horrible. It's a wonder the race survived. It's a good thing SUV's and 4 wheel drive arrived just in time to save the species.


Do also wonder how many of the hundred's of thousands of your contemporaries would be alive if they were driving modern cars?:) You always have to be careful about survivor bias:)

I wouldn't worry too much about RWD but personally i would pay the extra money and get a car with ESC (definitely before 4wd unless you have some really specific case). As a new driver I doubt your ability (and this is true for most people.) to handle loss of traction is great. Obviously in the end you have to decide how much safety versus a couple thousand dollars matter to you.

Personally I would much rather buy some 120k mile civic than this. 12+ years is a long time for Ford cars of that era even if this one wasn't driven much. But to a certain extent when you buy 10+ year old cars, you are playing a lottery game. You can win or lose big time. It is likely you will get 3-4 years+ of reliable service. But getting some 2-3k repair bill wouldn't be shocking either.

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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by alfaspider » Wed Feb 01, 2017 8:43 am

camillus wrote:I kept telling him and his father that this car has a terrifying amount of power.


Thank you. Funniest thing I've read all week :mrgreen:

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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by tinscale » Wed Feb 01, 2017 8:56 am

Buy any 4 or 6 cylinder car and the first thing you have to do is find out if it has an interference engine, and what type of timing belt. If it's an interference engine with a rubber belt, and you have no maintenance records, then the next thing to do is have the timing belt replaced for about $400. And they will likely "upsell" you to also replacing the water pump, which will be more money.

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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by dbr » Wed Feb 01, 2017 9:41 am

randomguy wrote:
white_water wrote:Overpriced by 30-40 %. Go online and look for "How to inspect and buy a used car." Then perhaps stay away from a used car only dealer unless your best friends and their friends and their friend's parents vouch for him.

Re: rear wheel drive. Hmmm. I wonder how millions of us 75+-80 year olds ever learned to drive in northern winters on poorly plowed roads, with no power steering or power brakes, limited slip differentials and with that dreaded manual transmission plus rear wheel drive? And roll up windows with no electric defrosters embedded in the rear glass?

Horrible I tell you, just horrible. It's a wonder the race survived. It's a good thing SUV's and 4 wheel drive arrived just in time to save the species.


Do also wonder how many of the hundred's of thousands of your contemporaries would be alive if they were driving modern cars?:) You always have to be careful about survivor bias:)

I wouldn't worry too much about RWD but personally i would pay the extra money and get a car with ESC (definitely before 4wd unless you have some really specific case). As a new driver I doubt your ability (and this is true for most people.) to handle loss of traction is great. Obviously in the end you have to decide how much safety versus a couple thousand dollars matter to you.

Personally I would much rather buy some 120k mile civic than this. 12+ years is a long time for Ford cars of that era even if this one wasn't driven much. But to a certain extent when you buy 10+ year old cars, you are playing a lottery game. You can win or lose big time. It is likely you will get 3-4 years+ of reliable service. But getting some 2-3k repair bill wouldn't be shocking either.


There are good reasons why traffic death rate may be one of the public health success stories of the last hundred years:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_m ... er_VMT.png

Whether or not the gains in rate have been wiped out by the increase in exposure is arguable, but absolute deaths are down as well after a peak in the late sixties:

http://www.businessinsider.com/traffic- ... -us-2016-4

It is still true that annual miles traveled by car is one of the leading epidemiological factors in annual likelihood of death for anyone younger than about 50.

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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by rkhusky » Wed Feb 01, 2017 9:49 am

I've had a few older relatives own Grand Marquis and they give you a lot for the money. The fuel economy was surprisingly good, especially on road trips, and had quite a bit of power the few times I drove them. Being boats they are not very popular, hence the lower expected price (supply and demand - we saw that when we tried to sell our 12 yo minivan that was in very good shape). Best for someone with experience with rear wheel driving in the snow. My relatives never got snow tires and didn't keep sand in the trunk, but they were experienced snow drivers.

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Re: 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis for $4950, 56k miles - Good deal? Good car?

Post by miles monroe » Wed Feb 01, 2017 10:46 am

let me add something since, whatever you buy, this is a first car.

i just helped my son buy a used car from a dealer. the ask was pretty close to fair value, so before we talked price i told him i wanted to know any and all "add ons" first; "doc" fees and everything. (i.e., "out the door"). he told me doc fees were $800 (!) and windshield etching was $400 (!). i told him windshield etching was a scam and wouldn't pay for it, and doc fees of $800 was ridiculous. he told me they were "required" and everyone had to pay them. after a bit of back and forth i left.

after a few days the $1,200 disappeared via telephone negotiations.

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