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Old 08-28-2013, 16:18   #1 (permalink)
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Typical Longevity (in Miles) of a Mercury Mountaineer

I have found a couple of Mercury Mountaineers for sale around my area. I am looking for a first vehicle and would much rather prefer going Ford over GM. If purchased, I would be spending my summer's savings on a vehicle, so I don't quite want it to break down, needing a new tranny a few months down the road.

What I have pulled up is a 2003 Mercury Mountaineer AWD V8 with 190,000 miles. Will that be able to last me a few years? I live in a small town, so it's not like I will be putting it through hellacious city driving. It will take me back and forwarth to school and work.
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Old 08-30-2013, 20:06   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Typical Longevity (in Miles) of a Mercury Mountaineer

That's a lot of miles to expect a couple of years without major repairs.
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Old 10-06-2013, 01:37   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Typical Longevity (in Miles) of a Mercury Mountaineer

I have a 97 explorer 5.0 w/215k. It runs well, but has been nickel and dimeing me to death since about 200k.....not a bad truck, but at that age expect issues. I agree with catskinner.
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Old 10-10-2013, 15:04   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Typical Longevity (in Miles) of a Mercury Mountaineer

ask for receipts of work done and go from there. I've heard after they went to the 5 speed auto in 2002 they weren't very good for a while, at least for 2002 and 2003. I have a 2004 which is supposed to have all the bugs worked out but who knows. I have 140,000 miles on mine with only minor repairs that you would expect to run into like a alternator and egr vavle(knock on wood). The only other part of the drivetrain I would focus in on would be the rear differential. They can be a little noisy but as far as huge failure I'm not entirely sure.
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Old 10-13-2013, 20:03   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Typical Longevity (in Miles) of a Mercury Mountaineer

If it's a good deal and as mentioned, comes with at least some previous maintenance records, it might be worth while. The test drive will either make it or break the deal for me. It's imperative that you test everything. If something doesn't work, and the seller tells you after a short story on why it doesn't work, that can spell neglect, and the question you need to ask yourself is what else is the seller hiding or not disclosing.

If there is minimal maintenance history, you might be able to get a slightly better deal on the price, but, you'll want to invest that saved cash into the vehicle. Change all the fluids, engine oil, transmission fluid, differential fluids, transfer case fluid, power steering fluid and if you feel the need (as it never hurts), the brake fluid. All told if you were to get those services done at a local shop I bet it would cost in the $700 range. More, for full synthetic fluid.

Most buyers ignore basic maintenance schedules. They know the vehicle has some minor issues but they wait until it breaks down somewhere before they wish they had brought it in for regular checkups. If the owner has records, and is very inconsistent in even changing the oil, that's a red flag in my book. Say he goes one oil change for 3K miles, and the next 7K miles to make up the difference he didn't drive on the previous oil change... Yeah. Believe it, they are out there.

It's a good idea to check with the dealer about any software updates, TSB's, etc. In most cases, only original owners get notified of those things.

If you only plan to put 10K miles a year on the vehicle, and you maintain it, it should last a couple years, but the same goes for any vehicle today. Older vehicles need more care, as bushings/suspension components wear out, wheel bearings can be an issue along with axle seals around 200K. If you can do some of the work yourself you'll save quite a bit right there.

If you're really after something to get you from A to B and cost is an issue, I speak from experience, you do not want a V8. A V8 of any size will cost you to run. My Durango R/T gets at best 12mpg in mixed driving, but it's geared lower than any Mountaineer/Explorer. If you go to the EPA website Fuel Economy you can see what drivers in fact get with their vehicles. Being in a small town will help, but on a budget, it's best to stick with 4 cylinders as it will also save you on insurance as well.

My first vehicle was a 1990 GMC C1500 with the 5.0L V8. I did contract work so getting a first 'car' wasn't an option. I paid $250/month about 15 years ago for insurance. Now I pay that amount for two cars, my Durango, and a T100 Triumph. My old Dodge Spirit that I picked up as a second vehicle to commute (for military work) cost me a mere $110 a month on top of the truck and I was insured for 40,000kms a year, versus half that for the truck.

Long story short it pays to shop around and do your homework on all fronts. If you decide to get it, once you go V8...you'll never go back to owning anything less!
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