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Shopping for a Used XJ-S
 

  Experience in a Book
Shopping for a Used XJ-S

 

If you are considering the purchase of a used XJ-S, there is one very important thing to do: insist upon having a compression check performed -- by an independent mechanic, if possible. On a V12, one or two bad cylinders can easily go unnoticed on a test drive if you aren't familiar with how the Jaguar should drive.

If any cylinders read lower than the rest by more than 10% or so, be aware that an engine overhaul will cost thousands. You will probably decide to pass on the car unless it is really cheap and you plan on engine work anyway.

Note that it is unusually difficult to pull the spark plugs on this car, so a compression check will involve a couple hours labor on the part of your mechanic. Money well spent.

One other noteworthy comment regards mileage. If properly maintained, the Jaguar can easily pass 200,000 miles before any major renovation is needed. So, the prospective Jaguar buyer would be well advised to pay a little less attention to what the odometer says and a little more attention to the completeness of the maintenance records.

As far as everything else on the car is concerned, it's pretty much the same as buying any other car. Bodywork and repainting are always expensive, and are more so on a Jaguar. Rust is always a call for concern. Apparent bodges or slipshod repairs are signs of trouble.

If you're really a careful shopper, read the entire section on Maintenance Tips. It will give you a really good idea what details to look for in a used car.

Don Marlin notes that you can check out the Kelly Blue Book WWW page at: http://www.kbb.com/

Or, of course, you could actually buy a Kelly Blue Book. There is another similar product by the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). Both come in both a consumer and a dealer version.

Mike Wilson adds another source of value estimation:

CPI Value Guide
P.O. Box 3190
Laurel, MD. 20709
1-800-972-5312

 

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