Piston Slap: The Buy or Rent Pitfall?

trap.  Shutterstock User Lightspring

Enrique writing :


My wife and I are planning to take a big 20 day vacation this summer where we plan to drive around 5000 miles with our three grown children. My wife drives a 2008 Ford Taurus X, which we love, but it doesn’t have enough room for a family of five on such a long trip. We were originally going to rent a van from the local company, but a two week rental will set us back $1300 with tax.


Recently, I noticed that there are some great deals on Chrysler’s fourth-generation minivans. My wife and I bought two of these new trucks, a 2001 and a 2005, and we loved them both. Makes me think, why not buy a loaded low mileage van for around $3000-$4000, use it for the summer/trips, and then sell it when we’re done? No advice?

Sajeev replies:

If you have the cash flow/time to buy, then sell AND assuming you can do some repair work with your own hands, then yes, you absolutely should! It will be cheaper than renting (obviously) and maybe even flying to your destination. Also, road trips are about traveling. With that said, let’s make sure you stay safe and don’t get stranded during the journey.

A list of items to check on your list of minivans you want to buy and then sell:

  • Tires, tires, tires. Road trips are hard on old tires, so new tires are almost a must. And not only in terms of tread depth, but also in terms of age. Don’t forget the spare part either!
  • Service Books: Buy the van with the most complete service history. Even if it’s Barney purple and has stains or tears inside, it’s the safest bet.
  • New fluids, good rubber hoses/wiper blades/belts/vacuum lines, new brakes, and everything we regularly preach in this column.
  • Clean your headlights with new bulbs, because you’ll be driving at night and really want to see where you’re going.

There are other granular things to discuss (cross-axle strength if subjected to sloppy ATF), but that’s hard to pin down in terms of a concern relevant to your short-term ownership. I would buy the truck with the most discs, the best tires/brakes you can find, and hopefully add value to your property (through repairs and details) so you can earn some money on vacation.

Good luck with that.

[Image: Shutterstock user Lightspring]

Send your questions to [email protected]com. Don’t skimp on the details and ask for a quick fix if you’re in a hurry… but be realistic and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Source : thetruthaboutcars.com

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