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Buying a used 2012 model- first time buyer

Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:50 pm

Hello, this is my first time on this forum. I am soon moving to Seattle for an Americorps service term, and am looking to purchase a car while I am there. Now, after a few days of scrounging around online I found the iMiev, a 2012 model with 17558 miles on it and I am extremely hopeful about this possibility. I have a few questions for you experienced owners, and would greatly appreciate any help or advice you can throw my way.
I was apprehensive about this dealer, who is a private dealer, and is telling me that he has no maintenance records for brakes or anything else. I got the VIN number and performed a search on It doesn't have any records of problems, but tons of recalls (which I assume were standard for all the models as Mitsubishi fixed problems, but please correct me if I'm wrong). The dealer struck me as a bit shady however, but told me he does provide a ~$2000 2 year warranty with Wayne auto warranty (though wouldn't that mean that he isn't providing it, but a third party is?) that "covers everything but not seals." What are seals? Are they important in the iMiev? I know some things aren't concerns with electric vehicles like they are with gas powered cars, so is this one of them?
My other option is enrolling it in Mitsubishi's certified pre-owned vehicle program, which I'm waiting to hear more about currently.
Has anyone been in this situation? It would be incredible for me to own a little electric car while I'm there since my commute will be short but hilly, and I will be living off a tiny stipend. Does anyone own this car in Seattle?
To sum up my questions: Does anyone have info on the Wayne auto warranty, and would it be enough to cover this model? What are seals, and are they important in the iMiev? Does anyone know about the certified pre-owned vehicle program, and has anyone ever bought through a private dealer that they would be able to tell me about? Anyone in Seattle that has this car, and advice?
Thanks ever so much!

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Re: Buying a used 2012 model- first time buyer

Wed Sep 14, 2016 3:22 am

Welcome to the forum!

You've come to the right place for info about the car. You didn't mention the asking price for the car and that would be helpful to know

These are very reliable little cars. You can forget about 'seals' as the car has very few of them compared to a gas engine car and I can't recall even a single reported seal failure and we've been reading here about the most common failures now for nearly 5 years. I would not worry about the brakes at all - These cars have very aggressive regenerative braking (the drive motor recharges the battery when you lift your foot off the accelerator and that slows the car, reducing the need for friction braking) so your conventional brakes should last you well beyond 100,000 miles

There have only been 4 recalls - A Carfax should tell you if they've all been done. You could also check the VIN on the Mitsubishi website

Your factory 'bumper to bumper' warranty is gone on a 2012 car, but you may still have a bit of the 60 month, 60,000 mile drivetrain warranty and the battery is warranted for 10 years/100,000 miles. There have not been very many 'serious' problems reported here, given the number of cars our readers represent. An inverter/charger problem or two, but those were covered by the drivetrain warranty and 2 or 3 reported air conditioning failures which would not be covered now. I'm not sure how well an aftermarket extended warranty would cover this car, but if the dealer is offering you one for free, that's a plus

About the car - There are three basic trim levels. The most basic is the ES which has steel wheels and the most minimal stereo. ES models come both with and without DCQC (the quick charge door on the drivers side - ALL cars have a charge port door on the drivers side, but if there isn't a release handle for that door near the drivers seat, then it doesn't have DCQC). The next step up is the SE model, which has alloy wheels, a better stereo, DRL/Fog lights and a different interior fabric. SE models DO NOT have DCQC and it was not an option. The most deluxe model is the SE Premium which came with a much upgraded stereo/Nav system with Bluetooth for your phone and they automatically have DCQC. The Premium package was about a $3500 upgrade over the standard SE package. Used 2012's sell for roughly the same amount, no matter which package they are, so if I was buying one, I would really look to find an SE Premium to buy. I did buy a used one which came off lease about 18 months ago - It had 3,900 miles when I bought it and I paid $8,700 for the car, to give you a pricing reference. DCQC would be pretty important for you, as Seattle has one of the best Quick Charge networks of any city - You could drive the car to Portland and back in a single day if your car has DCQC

In short, they are very reliable cars with few failures, although an A/C failure could cost you some serious money to have fixed, though it's pretty unlikely you'll experience that. We have a 'what to look for when buying used' thread here - I'll post a link for you

One of our most experienced owners (over 80,000 miles on two cars) is jray3 in Tacoma and I'm sure he'll be posting here soon - Pretty sure he'd be very happy to help you with your purchase and he can give you some very good advice

Again, welcome and I hope you find the car suits your needs - It sure sounds like a prefect fit for you!


Edit - This one would certainly be worth a look. It has the Premium package with Nav and DCQC ... =152942656
2012 iMiEV SE Premium, White
2012 iMiEV SE, White
2017 Chevy Volt Premier
2014 Ford Transit Connect XLT SWB wagon, 14,000 miles
1979 Honda CBX six into six

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Re: Buying a used 2012 model- first time buyer

Wed Sep 14, 2016 8:57 am

ERar, welcome to the forum.

Just for fun, I looked up CraigsList for the Seattle area and found this raspberry i-MiEV for $4950:

Very good price. Judging by the wheels, it's an SE, but, since it does not have the Nav package, it probably does not have DCQC - that's a pity, as the quick-charging network is very well developed in Washington. It all depends on your intended use for the car in addition to your "short but hilly" commute.

In addition to all the normal visual and functional inspections and tests, be sure that the Mitiusbishi 120vac EVSE (J1772 charging adapter) and a Remote are included with the sale. The Remote allows you to time the car's charging and pre-heat or pre-cool the car while it is still plugged in. Presumably you have at least a conventional 120vac outlet at home so you can charge overnight?

As long as the Range Remaining (RR) display shows >50 miles when fully charged and all 16 'fuel' gauge bars show up when full, I wouldn't worry about the state of the battery as it is fully covered by the Mitsubishi warranty. As far as any extended warranty (especially the one you mentioned), I personally would NOT do it. The car has proven to be incredibly reliable, so the chances of getting a lemon are minimal.

From a purchase and operating-cost standpoint, there is no less-expensive car out there.

Hopefully member jray3 chimes in and may be able to assist you.

Wishing you well, and do let us know what happens.
EVs: 2 Wht/Blu SE Prem., '13 Tesla MS85, 3 156v CorbinSparrows (2 Li-ion), 24v EcoScoot(LiFePO4)
EV Conv: 156v '86 Ram PU, 144v '65 Saab 96
Hybrids: 48v1kW bike
ICE: '88 Isuzu Trooper. Mothballed: '67 Saab (orig.owner), '76 MBZ L206D RHD RV

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Location: Tacoma area, WA
Contact: Website

Re: Buying a used 2012 model- first time buyer

Wed Sep 14, 2016 12:17 pm

Hello ERar, and welcome to the forum. There are four i-MiEV owners in the Seattle EV Assoc, which had its monthly meeting last night, and you'll meet a few if you come to the big Drive Electric Week show this Sunday at the XXX Drive-In rootbeer stand in Issaquah on Sunday from about 10am-2pm, including the former club president from 1978-2014, whom I helped into i-MiEV ownership. I'll be down at the other area EV show at Sunnyside Beach Park in Steilacoom from 12-2 pm, but plan to bring a couple of my other EVs, not the i-MiEV. You'd be welcome to a long test drive of my car next week if still researching.

I like the car so much that I bought another, and then convinced my wife's boss to buy one two weeks ago. They got a 2016 for $14,400 BEFORE the tax credit, so $6900 net. I think they've sold out at the Edmonds dealer that had ten in stock, but worth a check... That deal could at least be used to bargain down a used car.

I think is a great place to search, and Seattle has an independent used dealer that specializes in EVs and hybrids. I have no experience with them so can't endorse, but check out
2012 i-SE "MR BEAN" 105,400 miles
2000 Mazda Miata EV, 78 kW, 17 kWh
1983 Grumman Kurbwatt EV,170 kW, 32 kWh
1983 Mazda RX-7 EV 43 kW 10 kWh
1971 "Karmann Eclectric" EV 240 kW 19 kWh
1965 Karmann Ghia Cabriolet

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