Thursday, September 29, 2011

How to Find a Used Car with ESC

Electronic stability control (ESC) it the most important non-retrofittable safety feature in the history of the automobile. It prevents about 1/3 of fatalities. It's standard on all vehicles under 10,000 pounds starting with the 2012 model year. But finding it on an used car can be a challenge, particulary if you are looking for an older car or an economy car.

Web sites that can help you find the models that have ESC are:
http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/safety-features
http://www.safercar.gov/Vehicle+Shoppers/Resources/Vehicles+with+ESC

It is optional on some models, so you have to bore down to the trims to see which trims have it as standard. I have not found a good tabulation page for trims, but Edmunds has information on the trims in its feature lists and reviews:
http://www.edmunds.com/used-cars/
Edmunds uses the term "stability control" for ESC.
If it's optional on a trim then that typically means its could have been purchased as a standalone option, but few buyers did that so its probably going to be like looking for a needle in a haystack. (But VWs might be an exception to this rule - at least it seems to me to be easier to find a used VW with ESC as a standalone feature.)

Finally, you need to be aware that all these web sites, and other information sources, have errors. IIHS and Safecar conflict on the 2008 Malibu Hybrid. IIHS and Safecar both ignore the conversion van aftermarket where cargo van versions of certain passeger van models have been converted to passenger vans that don't have ESC. Edmunds lists the 2008 Malibu LS as having ESC, but it's not available on that trim. You need to confirm that the vehicle you buy has ESC. Used car ads, salespeople, and even window stickers are not reliable. Consulting the owner's manual will help. There is typically an off button for ESC or an icon that lights up during the icon check. (The icon check happens when you turn the key at or before starting the car.) It's not easy because almost every car maker has it's own product name for ESC:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_stability_control#Product_names
(BTW, You will probably never need to use the ESC off button, check the owner's manual for when that is warranted.)

The search function at cars.com allows additional keywords to be specified to modify a used car search.  Adding "stability control" as a keyword with the "Exact Search" option is a useful screen for vehicles with ESC, but I don't think its perfect.

Some of my favorite used cars with ESC:
The 2008 Chevy Malibu New Model (not Classic) LT or LTZ. Car of the Year in 2008.
Toyota 4Runners for the 2001 model year and later models. One of the earliest non-luxury models with ESC.  Might be possible to find a 2000 or later Toyota Avalon with ESC and side air bags for around $5000, but ESC was optional in the early years so it might take some digging to find one.

65 comments:

maheswari said...

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Kate Dunkin said...

This was a really great post! I was actually looking for Used Cars in Brownsville TX when I found your article. This was so informative and helpful, thank you for sharing this with us!

Hailey Andersen said...

Good point. A few years ago, I used to look at the year of the car solely for the purpose of determining its ages, but now I also check to see what features were available or not at that time. Your post now gives me a few more questions to ask as I shop around for used cars in Rio Grande City. Thanks!

Tom Watson said...

My friend mentioned to me your blog, so I thought I’d read it for myself. Very interesting insights, will be back for more! sell used car

Mike Carter said...

Thanks a lot for sharing this information. I have been looking at some used cars to buy because I can't afford to buy new right now. I agree it's good to have ESC, and I'll definitely be on the look out.

abbot smith said...

Depends on what all you want the ESC to do. For me....I find it easiest on the wallet to buy a used car with a real good ESC in it.
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Veronica Villalva said...

good blog. it really make easy to find used cars at affordable prices

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Veronica Villalva said...

This is really a good blog.There are many
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Lauren jonczak said...

Nice post Tom. I have been looking at used cars lately because my son is about to get his license and I refuse to buy him a brand new car. Thanks for sharing this, I will definitely have to look for a car with ESC.

malik yasir said...

Thanks for sharing! I have been deciding between buying a new car or used car, and I think I'm going to get used cars for both my husband and I. It definitely makes more sense, especially getting one that is basically new! 

Arlyne Nelms said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arlyne Nelms said...

Glad there are Toyota used car dealers all over the place. I got mine from one, and I never regretted it. But that is what a Toyota is, you know: it's worth your every penny, second-hand, or otherwise.

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RightCar said...

The post is an well organized and an informative one.

How do i sell a used car and to whom?

The answer i got is a used car can be best sold to the learners starting to drive a car isn't it right.

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Hey my friends I tell you something can you give me answer You need to listen for any types of noises coming from the wheels or axels. Have the car driven slowly toward you and slowly away from you. Watch the tires for wobble. This can mean a problem with the front end or rear end parts. It might also signal a bent wheel. If the car seems to lean or tilt to one side either from top to bottom or front to back, have the springs and suspension checked. Have any noises investigated.
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John Curtis said...

There is no doubt that your article can provide some useful guidance about buying a car with the help of ESC. If anybody follows these guidelines, he can surely have ease in buying a used car.
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Rajesh S said...

Thanks for very informative post.I would also like to say some tips for buying used car and escape from fradulent. They are
1.Research a specific car
2.Check out which second hand cars pay you back.
3)Which will passes crash test and meet any accident.
4)check properly log book details

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Hendersonrose92 said...

Thank you so much! I'm looking to buy a car here soon, but I am dirt poor. (Thank you college.) I really think getting a used car will be the most practical option for me. I want to try looking online for a car with ESC.

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Joey Constanza said...

ESC is one of the cooler features that comes with a modern car. Electronic Stability Control basically helps keep you on the road by providing real-time corrections during extreme conditions. An example of it being used is if you go around a corner too sharp and your wheels skid side to side. When looking for a used car, something like this is a good point to search from. http://www.collegefordlincoln.com/used-inventory/

mike edwards said...

ESC is the most important thing which you should check before buying a used car. Buying a used car with ESC is a better option. I am going to make sure that I keep this advice in mind when I go on a hunt for my ‘new’ old car.

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I agree. Edmunds.com and TrueCars have been famous if you're searching for used cars.I used VINAudit to check vehicle history report before buying the unit. I always do it when hunting for used cars to ensure that it's still in very good codition.

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Such an Amazing post you wrote! I never knew about this feature, I am planning to buy an used car. I have heard about the revs check that it protect buyers against any financial claim and authority, can you please tell me about the revs check. Nice post, keep posting.

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