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Old 05-28-2018, 05:07 PM   #1
SomeGuyJeff
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Default looking at a car for my daughter - 08 Astra XE

Hello all - probably a typical first post. i did search and have found some stuff but want your thoughts please.

looking at an 08 XE for my daughter (she turns 16 next week). owner is asking $4500. it has 49000 miles auto trans and interior is great condition - black/dark gray cloth. exterior is typical for a black car that was parked outside in florida. couple minor dings and a few scratches typical of someone who really doesn't take awesome care of their car. looks excellent at 15' - but i am also very particular about how the cars are kept.

runs and drives well - brakes work very well. the only issue i saw was a gasket on the pillar between the front and back doors (not the actual door gasket). the other door gaskets look good and i see no evidence of water leakage.


mechanically, everything i see online points to these as being reliable and thats what i am looking for. looking for insight as to some maintenance bombs that the cars might have or things to look into before i purchase. it was owned by a friend of friend who recently passed away. obviously with the miles, he didn't drive much. carfax checks out as no issues.

thoughts?

thanks in advance

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Old 05-28-2018, 11:38 PM   #2
AstraFasta
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Default Re: looking at a car for my daughter - 08 Astra XE

Well, these are fun cars that are cheap to buy. Frankly, these are not easy cars to sell so $4,500 is not a fantastic price on a private party sale (even if the car checks out fine by the mechanic).

If you like to DIY mechanical work, that makes them a better value. They have some quirks and mine has required a lot of maintenance (has 68k miles now and is same black XE auto model).

The auto transmission has a defective cooling system. If coolant mixes with transmission oil, you will need a replacement transmission. If that has not happened yet, you should have a separate transmission cooler installed ASAP. Look at the clear coolant tank - if the coolant is a milky brown color, run away as you will need a new transmission installed. The seller could have recently changed the coolant so the color test is not infallable. Regardless, I would pay an independent mechanic to look at the car (you can read the threads here carefully to list typical trouble areas to concentrate on).

Many of the driver's side airbags have been recalled. You can check the VIN with GM to see if this was in the Takada recall program and if the free replacement was done; it took GM a long time to receive the part for my Astra. I think this defect is a bigger problem in hot and humid environments but do your research there.

Some parts are getting a bit difficult to source but if you like to DIY you can find parts online or from junkyards. Worst case scenario you can import from Europe. There are no Saturn dealers so I use independent mechanics and on ocassion Chevy dealers (who often don't know what an Astra is).

That failing B-Pillar rubber gasket is no longer available. I just purchased some black gasket silicone and filled in the missing rubber. Looks good enough.

My experience seems to be among the worst here. That said, after a lot of maintenance, the car runs almost like new. It is fun to drive and carries a lot of stuff.

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=208132

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Old 05-29-2018, 11:44 AM   #3
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Default Re: looking at a car for my daughter - 08 Astra XE

Thanks for the info. Much appreciated. Coolants and fluids looked good so hopefully that mitigates some of those issues. I have no problem with DIY but you always hope to save some mo eye somewhere. Thereís no such thing as a decent cheap car anymore - and reading the forums can be a doomsday. Iíve had Honda Odyssey minivans but apparently the trannyís explode (never had an issue). My Porsche engines are time bombs waiting to throw a 20k bill my way - but theyíre the most reliable cars I e ever owned.

She looks Eva the way it drove - even over a new Honda Fit and I liked the feel of the car. Hopefully itís long term for her and Iíll keep reading through your posts on some diy items. Thatís the fun of owning a car - keeping it fixed (though we all only hope for gas oil and tires)

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Old 05-29-2018, 03:12 PM   #4
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Default Re: looking at a car for my daughter - 08 Astra XE

Astra is a car you buy if you really want an astra. Not nessesarily an easy car to own. One year car with only abt 10000 built that took 2 years to sell when new. Other choices with more places to get parts and service

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Old 05-29-2018, 04:57 PM   #5
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Default Re: looking at a car for my daughter - 08 Astra XE

Quote:
Originally Posted by SomeGuyJeff View Post
Coolants and fluids looked good so hopefully that mitigates some of those issues.
Even if the radiator has not yet failed, this needs a separate transmission cooler installed ASAP.

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Old 05-30-2018, 10:08 PM   #6
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Default Re: looking at a car for my daughter - 08 Astra XE

Have to agree on exterior trans cooler being a must. I have a short cut to my home up a mountain side and can smell how displeased the transmission is by the top. Also, had my fluid changed at 86k when I got my car 6 years ago, and after around 115k changed it again every oil change until recently when it was a bright pink at the dipstick again (since there are no real flushing techniques available) to prolong its life.

If it's of any use, bought my car 6 years ago whole sale as i worked at a dealer for $6500 that had just come in on trade, loaded xr 5 door (roof, stereo, sport package), loved everything about it. Had a couple initial issues with it needing a coil pack (unique to astra even tho same motor as newer Chevy cruze), and vvt solenoids (super easy to change). The motors are very particular about service, namely oil changes. If you love your car, dont listen to its service reminder as it will have you take her 11,000 miles between services (which I do BTW out of laziness). I say this because the oil will break down IMO earlier than that, and eventually fubar the vvt solenoids, which enjoy fresh clean oil to function. I use synthetic and still have put a few vvt solenoids in myself.

Past that I've had a reoccurring evap code that disappears almost religiously by filling the tank, which has helped me passed the car in NYS for the past 3 or 4 years without repair. Also, not sure if I just have miserable luck, but my exhaust flex pipe needs replacing roughly every 3 or 4 years. Not a huge chore, but just something I noticed. Can say I've always had a tiny seal leak between trans and engine since I got it at 86k, oil pan had signs of weeping at around 125k, and valve cover around 140k. Also had a wire to the driver side front window break causing the window to not work until repaired recently. Other than the window, everything has been ignored with no issue and nothing has progressed out of control in a bad way. Other than that it's been a dream, with the only other maintenance I did do was all new front struts, sway links, rear shocks and rear springs at around 130k. The car handles like it's on rails, not a race car but enough pep to get out of it's own way, and will average 28-30mpg with relative ease.

If you wanted my opinion, would I purchase the car again, absolutely. So much so, I'm at 171k, still going, with newly discovered bad bearings inside my trans, causing the transmission to eat cv axles and vibrate on occasion at 65+. I just went and acquired from a u pull it yard, an engine, transmission and axles from a 76k mile car, and as soon as the axles or trans gives out, doing a transplant to give my car back some youth and get many more years from her. Certain parts are hard to get, but not impossible between rock auto, other online sources, and Europe a computer mouse click away. Fun cheap car that i wouldnt hesitate to put my child behind the wheel of if they were old enough.

I wish you luck in whichever way you go though. Sorry for the book!

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Old 05-31-2018, 10:00 PM   #7
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Default Re: looking at a car for my daughter - 08 Astra XE

Quote:
Originally Posted by AstraFasta View Post
Well, these are fun cars that are cheap to buy. Frankly, these are not easy cars to sell so $4,500 is not a fantastic price on a private party sale (even if the car checks out fine by the mechanic).

If you like to DIY mechanical work, that makes them a better value. They have some quirks and mine has required a lot of maintenance (has 68k miles now and is same black XE auto model).

The auto transmission has a defective cooling system. If coolant mixes with transmission oil, you will need a replacement transmission. If that has not happened yet, you should have a separate transmission cooler installed ASAP. Look at the clear coolant tank - if the coolant is a milky brown color, run away as you will need a new transmission installed. The seller could have recently changed the coolant so the color test is not infallable. Regardless, I would pay an independent mechanic to look at the car (you can read the threads here carefully to list typical trouble areas to concentrate on).

Many of the driver's side airbags have been recalled. You can check the VIN with GM to see if this was in the Takada recall program and if the free replacement was done; it took GM a long time to receive the part for my Astra. I think this defect is a bigger problem in hot and humid environments but do your research there.

Some parts are getting a bit difficult to source but if you like to DIY you can find parts online or from junkyards. Worst case scenario you can import from Europe. There are no Saturn dealers so I use independent mechanics and on ocassion Chevy dealers (who often don't know what an Astra is).

That failing B-Pillar rubber gasket is no longer available. I just purchased some black gasket silicone and filled in the missing rubber. Looks good enough.

My experience seems to be among the worst here. That said, after a lot of maintenance, the car runs almost like new. It is fun to drive and carries a lot of stuff.

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=208132
No offense AstraFasta, I believe my experiences with my XE are about the worst here. As for a father helping his 16 year old daughter purchase a 10 year old Astra? Please do not do it. They come with too many headaches, even when owned by an experienced do it yourselfer. If you can find one that has not been beat on worse than a rented mule, fine. My thoughts would be not to buy one.

Today TrueDelta sent me an email wanting to know if I truly had only 19,000 some miles on my 2008 XR3. I told them that it was not a mistake, I did. Yup, my XR is pretty reliable because now I do not drive it much. Any other low mileage Astra out there?

...
PaulR

2008 XR3 5 speed, heated seats, leather, premium sound , 18" wheels, center armrest
2008 XE5 5 speed, heated seats, panoramic moonroof

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Old 06-01-2018, 12:40 AM   #8
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Default Re: looking at a car for my daughter - 08 Astra XE

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulR View Post
No offense AstraFasta, I believe my experiences with my XE are about the worst here.
No offense taken!

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Old 06-01-2018, 07:15 AM   #9
maschinenbauer
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Default Re: looking at a car for my daughter - 08 Astra XE

My XE 5-speed will hit 100,000 miles this summer, owning since 15k miles, which has been pretty trouble-free. They are perfectly fine, simple, reliable cars. Change the oil with full synthetic every 5k miles and you might avoid the camshaft solenoid issues, like I have. Change the plugs every 25k miles and you might avoid the coilpack issue, like I have.

My A/C compressor was the only major issue at 55k miles. I also had the MAF sensor/throttle body code around 70k miles, but it just needed cleaning. I did the timing belt myself at 80k miles as preventative maintenance. Otherwise just oil, plugs, filters, and tires.

$4,500 for a 50k mile car is pretty darn cheap to me, especially if you know and trust the original owners. Astras are easy to buy, hard to sell right now, just like Saabs and for the same reasons. Do a craigslist search for all Astras in your area. See what people are asking. Typically much lower than KBB value because no one knows they exist, since Saturn hasn't made a car in 10 years.

...
'08 Astra XE 5-speed
'72 Chevrolet El Camino
'31 Ford Model A pickup

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Old 06-02-2018, 09:39 PM   #10
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Default Re: looking at a car for my daughter - 08 Astra XE

Looks like the car was well treated. Good for you!

Timing belt change is needed (critical maintenance)

If you hear the engine sounding like diesel (rattle noise), then change the cam sprockets, cam solenoids and cam actuators. Engine wise you have trouble free the next 50k miles. The rattle noise is a well-known problem of the Ecotec Z18XER. cam = camshaft

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Old 06-06-2018, 06:40 AM   #11
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Default Re: looking at a car for my daughter - 08 Astra XE

4500 is WAYYYYY too much for an Astra. I have a very nice XR that I paid $500 for. Now, that is on the cheap end of what you can get these for, but I honestly don't think I could get a dime over $2000 if I resold it. I love the car though. Handles really well, and I've been hypermileing with it and averaging 34 mpg.

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Old 07-19-2018, 05:02 AM   #12
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Default Re: looking at a car for my daughter - 08 Astra XE

it is a good deal i think. you should go for it

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