Would you consider buying this car with a rusty frame/floor?

A shame, those Saturn Vues are surprisingly very reliable GM cars. I've seen those running great at 200k+ miles. Imagine if it had been rust proofed annually. It could serve another 5 years or so.
 
This reminds of working on my sister- and brother-in-law's Windstar a few years ago. The van was about 14 years old, had a lot of miles on it, and had lived here its whole life.

I was trying to find the brake fluid leak - tried to jack up one corner, and the jack was rising faster than the jack point, accompanied by the sound of crunchy oxidized steel. Uh oh!

We did find eventually lift the van safely, and replaced a rusted brake line, so they had brakes again, but they did retire the van not too long afterwards.
Many of the Windstars here in the rust-prone US states got bought back by Ford due to rust issues-- IIRC it was the rear axle separating, and there was another major rust issue that could warrant a buy-back as well. Ford issued a bulletin/recall about it around 2010-2013ish where they would inspect the van and possibly buy it back depending on what they found. I worked for a company that owned one around that time, and Ford bought it back for $6,500, a 200K mile van. That was in southern Illinois which is not exactly rust belt central. I'm shocked people further north still owned those things after the recall.
 
I'm considering buying a high mileage 2009 Saturn Vue from a family member. They've owned it since it had only 10,000 miles on it and it's well maintained with tons of maintenance records. Extremely clean interior and the outside is in very good shape aside from one rust spot on the rear quarter panel as well. It wasn't beat on, either. Runs and drives well aside from a few other known issues that wouldn't have completely stopped me from considering it. Anyway, I noticed on some of the service records that the techs constantly noted a rusty frame. I decided to get under it and do an oil change on it to see if they were exaggerating or not. The front had some surface rust on the frame, but it didn't look seriously bad. I did notice a few spots though, about halfway down the vehicle that looked fairly bad where there were some holes/splitting:

Spot 1)



Spot 2)



Would you consider this serious/dangerous and make you avoid even making an offer, even if the vehicle is quite cheap?


Thanks!
Never.
 
Many of the Windstars here in the rust-prone US states got bought back by Ford due to rust issues-- IIRC it was the rear axle separating, and there was another major rust issue that could warrant a buy-back as well. Ford issued a bulletin/recall about it around 2010-2013ish where they would inspect the van and possibly buy it back depending on what they found. I worked for a company that owned one around that time, and Ford bought it back for $6,500, a 200K mile van. That was in southern Illinois which is not exactly rust belt central. I'm shocked people further north still owned those things after the recall.
My parents-in-law had bought the van new in '97. It was expensive for the day (C$27K IIRC), and they didn't negotiate at all, just paid the asking price. It was good for about the first seven years, but required some very expensive repairs thereafter.

We borrowed it once in late 2004 (took two vanloads of kids to a birthday party) and I thought it sounded a bit noisy. Checked the oil and it was off the dipstick. It turned out a gasket had failed, on the water pump I think, and the oil was disappearing into the coolant. (Why have an oil passage through the water pump? I could be remembering this wrong. But better that than coolant in the oil!) But anyway, that was an out-of-pocket repair for big bucks at the dealer, well over $2K as I recall, the first of several.

But it went about 15 years and was up around 320K km (200 miles) and had been passed down to my wife's sister, so the family got lots of use out of it.
 
A shame, those Saturn Vues are surprisingly very reliable GM cars. I've seen those running great at 200k+ miles. Imagine if it had been rust proofed annually. It could serve another 5 years or so.
This one has 265,000 on it. They got their money’s worth. :) it’s been pretty good to them aside from an intermittent no-start issue over the past 2 years.
 
I wouldn't buy a car with that much rust but if I already owned it, I'd just keep driving it. I bet every fifth car in Chicago and vicinity has as much rust, if not worse. Not saying that's right, just that it's reality.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JTK
I'm considering buying a high mileage 2009 Saturn Vue from a family member. They've owned it since it had only 10,000 miles on it and it's well maintained with tons of maintenance records. Extremely clean interior and the outside is in very good shape aside from one rust spot on the rear quarter panel as well. It wasn't beat on, either. Runs and drives well aside from a few other known issues that wouldn't have completely stopped me from considering it. Anyway, I noticed on some of the service records that the techs constantly noted a rusty frame. I decided to get under it and do an oil change on it to see if they were exaggerating or not. The front had some surface rust on the frame, but it didn't look seriously bad. I did notice a few spots though, about halfway down the vehicle that looked fairly bad where there were some holes/splitting:

Spot 1)



Spot 2)



Would you consider this serious/dangerous and make you avoid even making an offer, even if the vehicle is quite cheap?


Thanks!
Thatrail requires replacement and is a structural component. I would avoid this care like the plague. You are going to spend much more than the vehicle's value.
 
No.

Edit: actually if I could afford it I would so that I could scrap it to prevent someone who doesn't know better from buying it and killing themselves and others.
 
No.

Edit: actually if I could afford it I would so that I could scrap it to prevent someone who doesn't know better from buying it and killing themselves and others.
50% of the cars in Wisconsin look like that or worse, would take billions to solve the issue

Does explain why a wheel occasionally falls off the vehicles though
 
Last edited:
50% of the cars in Wisconsin look like that or worse, would take billions to solve the issue
Hey, one less dangerous car on the road is still an improvement. This is why mandatory state inspections are a good idea... That car would never pass NY inspection.
 
Funny, if that was a Jeep they would be asking 15k for it with a note that it had minor rust issues. I would not touch it.
True. I've been on the lookout for an inexpensive ZJ/WJ Grand Cherokee for a while, and periodically one comes up but they are almost all completely rotted out.
 
Hey, one less dangerous car on the road is still an improvement. This is why mandatory state inspections are a good idea... That car would never pass NY inspection.
I'm not so sure about not passing the NYS inspection thing. Depends on how busy the shop is that is doing the inspection.

If it had bad tires, brakes or had the check engine light on, it would fail instantly.
 
50% of the cars in Wisconsin look like that or worse, would take billions to solve the issue

The problem is that the people in my area of Wisconsin would still drive it until it literally rusted apart because they would feel like they didn't get their money out of it until it did.

A couple of years ago a buddy of mine bought a 2006 Chevy Venture van for $200 which had only 120,000 miles on it from a granny in Manitowoc that just wanted to get rid of it. It ran great, drove great, and the interior was still in good shape. When I first put it on ramps to look at the underbody I was appalled at how much of a rust bucket this thing was. Those vans were notorious for having issues with rust but this may very well have been the worst vehicle I've ever seen especially when you compare the condition of the underbody versus how nice the rest of the van appeared all things considered. It ended up falling apart about 6 months later and got picked up by a flatbed to go to the junkyard.
 
The problem is that the people in my area of Wisconsin would still drive it until it literally rusted apart because they would feel like they didn't get their money out of it until it did.

A couple of years ago a buddy of mine bought a 2006 Chevy Venture van for $200 which had only 120,000 miles on it from a granny in Manitowoc that just wanted to get rid of it. It ran great, drove great, and the interior was still in good shape. When I first put it on ramps to look at the underbody I was appalled at how much of a rust bucket this thing was. Those vans were notorious for having issues with rust but this may very well have been the worst vehicle I've ever seen especially when you compare the condition of the underbody versus how nice the rest of the van appeared all things considered. It ended up falling apart about 6 months later and got picked up by a flatbed to go to the junkyard.
 
Top