Have been looking at a 2011 Smart Fortwo Pure with 123,000 miles, body and mechanically is seems sound. The mileage
seems rather high. Could anyone give me some info on what to look for etc. Thank-you..
Let me first say "Welcome to SCCA". I have owned my 08 since new and currently have 70K on the clock. It's one of the best cars I have ever owned. And at 68 that's a lot of cars. That said. I wouldn't give that car a second look unless they were paying me to take it off the lot. Have you looked around much on cars.com, auto trader, eBay, etc. The prices of low mileage smarts with lots of options seems to be less than $5,000.00 some as low as $2500. Plus for a little more coin you can get a Cab. Please realize that this is just my opinion. I even seen many 13's 14's still under warranty for little money.
Lots of smarts pass the 175,000 mark with few problems. Tires last around 30K if you use the stock size, as they can't be rotated. There have been some with valve failures, and it is quite noticeable when you lose 1/3 of the motor. The 2011 did have a bit better in the shifting and transmission area. The Pure does not have the paddle shifters, but you can manually shift with the floor shift (if you want to) You shouldn't see much with the body as being plastic, it won't rust. Might want to listen for any clunking sound from the front end as they don't have much suspension travel and you learn to drive around potholes.
If it has the manual windows with the hand cranks, take a look at where they are located in comparison to your knees when driving. That was my only complaint on my Pure(s) being a taller guy, my knee was right where the window crank is located. The powered windows are a bit more comfortable for me. Right now there are a lot of used and almost new smarts out in the marketplace and they are selling quite cheap. I have buddies at work that have bought 2013 with less than 20K miles for around $5k-$6k with full warranty and lots of options.
Other than that, depends on how much you want it, and how much they want to sell it. Most smarts at independent dealers sit on the lot for a long time.
Thanks for your replies, l took the car for a test drive and was pleasantly surprised. Handled well, needs a front wheel bearing though.. Tranny was good and plenty of room. The car had one owner who took really good care of the car. While it has high mileage, l have no doubt it has been well maintained..
You might want to make sure your mechanic is familiar with the brand as it would be easy to overlook something unless he is familiar with it. Most auto repair places have a standard fee to do a pre sale inspection, might be worth a call to the dealer
At that mileage I would be considering an alternator and possibly belts. But make sure if you do belts that they are correct and that they are tensioned properly. Otherwise you can severely damage your motor if the V belt running your alternator and water pump fails as the car will overheat and damage the motor.
I’d say give the alternator a check, but if it’s okay you’re probably good to go. Of all the things to fail or get “fired up” on my 136,000 mile 2012, the alternator wasn’t one of them.
If you’re in a state that gets super cold, check the battery too. These batteries get weaker starting in cold weather through the years. I think this winter will be the last that my 2012’s original battery will go through.
If there aren’t any service records on the car or the belts were changed a long time ago, change the belts. Both Niteshooter and myself had the alternator belt completely fail. I was lucky enough to have mine fail in the parking lot of my old apartment...Niteshooter wasn’t so lucky...
Also, the wheel bearings in this car should be replaced in pairs. The fronts require a press, the rears I believe are bolted on. I got my bearings from RockAuto as the dealer-supplied bearings are basically 10x the cost because they include the entire hub assembly.
The job should be able to be done by any competent independent.
In regards to fire, make sure the oil was changed by someone somewhat competent (DIY is super easy). If a super cheap oil filter is used or it isn’t secured correctly, oil can spray out, get caught on the catalytic converter, and your car can catch fire. Don’t ask how I know.
Finally, 2011 is a pretty awkward model year. It’s the model year the 451s got a facelift, but kept the short warranty. Early 2011s also retained the side skirts of the pre-facelifts (pure excluded as black side skirts are standard on the pure).
With that year, being the lowest trim (with bad bearings) and the mileage, I hope that dealer is letting it go for dirt cheap. In my opinion, if they’re asking for more than $3500-4000 there are way better deals out there with way more options, colours, and without a safety item that needs an immediate fix.