I am looking at picking up a 1998 Jetta TDI. It is going to auction next week, and unfortunately has a salvage title. I can not imagine why, as it is in better shape than some cars with clear titles that I have worked on. Anyways, the car has 120,000 miles on it, and it looks to be in good shape, and just needs a couple dents pounded out and a new bumper.
So, the question is, how long should I expect to be able to drive this thing? People say that diesel engines last longer than gasoline engines, and I have driven cars past the 150,000 mile mark. I think that with proper care I should be able to do this with the Jetta as well. Anyone have any experience with the TDI line of Volkwagen cars and can attest to their longevity (or lack thereof)?
Since it is old, and it does have a salvage title, I expect to be able to pick it up really cheap. I highly doubt it will hit the $1000 mark. $500 worth of parts and it should be 100% driveable, barring any mechanical problems, or regular maintenance that it needed before the wreck.
omg: Thank you for the info. I figured that the TDIs could hit high numbers like that. What is surprising though is how you say, "I've seen TDIs for sale", emphasis on the 'for sale' part. In other words, people would buy them and then put on even more miles! I wonder what they end up being junked at, or if that ever happens?
Hockey: I will probably get it, as long as my dad gives the ok after he goes to the auction to check it out. It looked alright in the pictures, but I still wouldn't buy an auction car (or any car for that matter) without visually inspecting it. As for biodiesel, I am undecided. If I do anything with it, it will be making biodiesel myself from stuff that I can salvage from restaurants. I have not studied up on this enough to make a decision yet though.
As for the price of the car, remember that AFTER buying the car I will have to work on it. BEFORE driving it, I may have to put in about $500-700 and up to 8 hours of intense work.
The car has only been hit in the front, and a little bit in the rear quarter panel. It just needs new parts, and some buffing out of small dents. There is definitely no flood damage to it. The auction that I use rarely has cars come through with water damage. Sometimes the front or rear windshield is blown out and the interior gets rain or snow in it. That is about it.
Consider reading up a bit on these A3 bodied VW diesels over at www.tdiclub.com . These 1997 to 1999.5 Jetta TDI have some known issues that need to be considered before purchase. Don't be surprised if it goes down at the gavel for 3 or 4 times your $1000 estimate. Even at that it will still be profitable re-sell for the winning bidder.
Lug Nut: Yeah, I have been reading up on it at www.tdiclub.com for the past few days. Do you know of any threads in particular that I should be sure to read? The main thing I noticed is that (as with all diesels) it needs to be religiously cared for. Especially the timing belt.
I have since checked resale values on the car, and realized that my original estimate was probably quite a bit off. I am prepared to buy at $3-4k. Keep in mind though, I do live in Michigan, so many people are biased towards American cars. There are actually import-targeted crimes here, and are not all that uncommon. Point being, import cars usualy go REALLY cheap. I got a Nissan 200SX for $700 that I lated resold for $2500 after driving it for 2 years. This wasn't a rare sought-after diesel though...