Things to check and consider before buying a used AV or EXT


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Many threads have been started by members asking if an AV is a good deal or does it have problems etc. While nobody can come up with an all inclusive list of ideas and concerns here are some areas to consider and will be added to over time. Those replying to this post feel free to add your knowledge and expertise so we can try to help answer the questions raised by potential buyers.

1. The Av first came out as a 2002 model and last year was 2013 so it has aged as any 7 to 18 year old vehicle has aged, rust possibly along with leaks. The amount of deterioration depends on many variables such as the individual vehicle's maintenance and exposure history. So it depends more on individual history over any particular "trend" based on year or model AV or EXT.

2.To figure out a fair sale price for any vehicle look to sites like or where you can input more info and the local zip code to get a more accurate estimate then just asking on the web for people's opinions. As some have pointed out imputing the selling location's zip may be more accurate then your home zip if it is out of your area.

3.If you as the buyer are not a trained mechanic you may want to bring one along or consider taking the vehicle to a shop you trust for an inspection, get it on a lift and check the underside. If the vehicle is far away and hard for you to travel to but you are seriously interested consider a nationwide car appraisal company to inspect and report on the vehicle to you with photos and a written review. It may cost a couple hundred dollars but may save you in long run in travel expenses.

4. Info supplied by Carfax and other type sites can be helpful but you should realize that they only show records that have been reported to them. If the vehicle owner fixed damage or other problem themselves or through a small shop it may not show up in the report. Look for things like vehicle changing hands through multiple owners in a short time, it may hide totaled/flooded/lemon vehicles.

5.Potential buyers should be understanding in that an AV is a large heavy vehicle and is not made for gas economy, it has more gaskets and seals to age over time compared to a standard pickup due to the midgate and removable rear window. It needs to be put in perspective though since many threads deal with leaking bed panels where the bed gets wet from heavy downpours but think about an occasional leak v. an open pickup bed and it's wetness. Same thing with a sunroof being wetter then a vehicle that has a solid roof.

6. You can look at owner sites like this one that have "Problems" sections to look for specific areas of concern or specific model year issues. Some say 2002 had unique electrical setup and may affect doing upgrades or replacing/fixing electrical things. Some also say try to avoid 2007 AVs since they were the first year of the second gen AVs and may have oil issues concerning the AFM (active fuel management) system. That being said, you should take all of the complaints with a grain of salt and realize that not all AV owners join this site and that even the majority of members don't post when things are going well.
You can balance the negative posts with other ones in other areas that discuss things like high mileage owners, multiple owners and the yearly hope of a third generation AV coming out.

7. Each option or feature of an AV can have pluses or minuses. Ex. The first gen AVs with the lower plastic cladding can protect from brush and parking lot dings but over time could hide lower body rust under that cladding. The auto air suspension of the LTZ model AVs are great but if they malfunction they will be more expensive to replace then a more stock type suspension.

8. Just about anything wrong could be fixed with enough time and money. While many body parts are unique to the AV and no longer made you may have to scour junkyards or the internet to find specific things. Many mechanical parts are shared with a Suburban or other models and may be easier to replace.