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We are in the market to purchase a Ford Transit Connect looking for a 2010 to 2013 with lower mileage. We want to convert it for travel. Our question is some pretty interesting deals are available in Illinois about 30 to 50 minutes from our location in Milwaukee Wisconsin. We would like to have any vehicle we're very interested in inspected and are looking for recommendations. Thanks so much for your time and interest

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You are in the market for a used car, 5 - 8 years old.  You need to look out for everything!  As with any used car, check the VIN to see if there are any recalls or TSB work that needs to be performed by a dealer.  Then have a good mechanic inspect it, and do all the service work that the previous owner may or may not have overlooked.  All fluids should be replaced.  Transmission, coolant, oil.....doesn't hurt to inspect the brakes, front wheel bearings, front axles......new air filter, cabin air filter, recharge the A/C, and it's probably due for new spark plugs.  With the 1st generation, most of the vehicles were used for commercial purposes.  If you get the commercial ladder racks, pipe carriers, or bulkhead screen divider, then consider that a bonus since those are very expensive.  Even better if they installed a rooftop cooling unit and drove the van as a mobile walk-in freezer.  They were driven harder.  Sometimes overloaded.  Shocks and springs may need a little attention.  Any car that age could have from 50,000 miles, to hundreds of thousands of miles.......between service work & wear items, budget yourself accordingly.  Don't spend $$$XXX on a used car, that you will have to put $$$XXX after you buy it.  You could easily find within the first year of ownership, that you just paid for the privilege of paying for all the deferred maintenance that the last owner did not pay for.  Even a new set of tires could be $300 - $500 - and that may the first thing you'll need.  Look at the interior.  Is it the configuration you have in mind?  What condition is the cockpit?  Do all the knobs & buttons work?  Is the seat sunken in, worn, faded, and ripped?  Is the spare tire still there?  How about the body work?  Is there rust?  Are body panels straight?  Do all the lights work?  Is there a residual odor which makes you want VapoRub in your nostrils?  Are there still logos or lettertype which identify that the van was used to transport  cadavers?  If the van was used to cater soup, salad, and sandwiches, it may be in better shape that a plumbing van with worn suspension.  

 

With any used car, you will luck out if you find one that belonged to a little old lady, who kept it in her garage, and only drove it 2 miles to worship services on The Sabbath.  Or you get the Animal Control van with assorted animal odors of urine, feces, and different stages of decomposing roadkill.  If you're paying attention, the dog catchers are carrying automatic rifles.  

 

Related imageImage result for sf animal care & control van

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I'm a fan of used government vehicles.  My 2010 Transit Connect was a county vehicle from California with 23k miles on it when I got it about a month ago.  It replaced a full sized Chevy van that was a Washington State vehicle before I got it.  You probably don't want the dog catcher's van, though.  I'll admit both of my vans needed a good cleaning when I got them.  The Ford smelled like dust and the Chevy smelled like cheap cigars and crushed aggregate.  Cleaning solved those problems.

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