Author Topic: Help me buy a beater car  (Read 4894 times)

mozar

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Help me buy a beater car
« on: October 22, 2018, 11:36:21 AM »
Hello, my favorite car is the Honda Fit, but 2009's with low mileage are not easy to find. Kbb says that Nissan Versa, Chevrolet Aveo and Kiario5 are similar.  Is that true or should i suck it up and pay more for a honda fit?
« Last Edit: October 22, 2018, 11:41:34 AM by mozar »

Lulee

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2018, 01:17:29 PM »
My experience with my Kia Rio5 (a 2010 model which I bought for new for cash) is don't buy it.  I'm still running mine because I do that with all my cars --- buy 'em, baby 'em as much as possible, and run them into the ground.

It's decent enough on flat ground but can't do steep hills which is a massive liability around NH.  I'd never run into this before so didn't go up a truly steep hill during my test drive.  The gas mileage is unimpressive for a car this size.  The idiot rounded design of it and many modern cars makes it hard to move items with square edges unless way smaller than the opening plus there's some killer blind spots.

It has had issues like the lock inside the steering column has broken, requiring a new ignition key, as well as new tires & alignment.  I didn't realize the tow truck had pulled the front end out of alignment as it struggled to get the car on the flat bed which is partly due to the terrain the car was in and partly due to the entire front end being "locked" into the position it was in when things broke.  So after the lock was fixed but not realizing it needed an alignment, I ran the tires til they went bald in spots. That the replacement lock has at times acted like it was going to permanently lock up again suggests it's a design flaw of some sort.

I find the gearing odd.  Having reverse and first right near each other makes it hard to get into the one you want and heaven help you if you need to get from one to the other in a hurry like I did in a parking lot where an old fella was backing up into me.  You can't make a 90 degree turn from a stop without shifting up into second which can be awkward as it wants you out of 1st gear around 7 mph.  You have to be in 5th gear around 30 mph unless you are trying to climb an incline and then it fusses that it wants back and forth between 4th and 5th until you get up to around 35 mph, legally or not.

So I'd see about the Versa or waiting to find a Fit.  You might have to accept one with higher mileage because people seem to hang onto their Fits forever, at least around here.

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2018, 02:54:29 PM »
Why are you limiting the Fit to 2009 models? They made that same body style until 2013 or 2014.  Also, I'd look at the matrix too, or if you want something a bit newer but still used, the Scion iM is just a corolla (solid car) with a Hatch. 

Anyways, for a beater car, its generally more important to shop by mileage and condition, rather than make/model and model year. 

aalferez

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2018, 02:56:22 PM »
I would go with a Honda Civic or Toyota Camry.
4 cylinders, very very reliable, super common and if you are handy you can do most maintenance on it. They run easy 300k miles. Find a 120-150k miles car.
Check if they did proper maintenance because around those miles is when they are due for big things that you can do by yourself and find a great deal.
Find a reliable year.

I follow this guy (Chris Fix) in youtube. (https://www.youtube.com/user/PaintballOO7)
He fixes all by himself and I learned most of it from him.

mozar

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2018, 03:49:24 PM »
Fit 2009 because that's the earliest with that body and therefore the cheapest with that body but I know very little about cars.
I will look into the other suggestions too. Thanks.

nereo

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2018, 05:45:58 PM »
Fit 2009 because that's the earliest with that body and therefore the cheapest with that body but I know very little about cars.
I will look into the other suggestions too. Thanks.
+1 to the civic. Honestly I like the Fit over the Civic, but its far easier to find gently used Civics, and you can search much earlier model years since its been around a lot longer.  I recently bought a '06 civic with only 70k and rust-free for under $3k.  Runs like new and should last me another 150k+

When shopping used cars, age of the car matters almost as much as mileage, but mileage tells you how much life is left on it.  Ergo, a car that's 10 or 12 years old with low mileage costs about as much as a 8 year old model with many more miles on the odometer.  THey're harder to find, but they do exist.

APowers

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2018, 06:10:53 PM »
Hello, my favorite car is the Honda Fit, but 2009's with low mileage are not easy to find. Kbb says that Nissan Versa, Chevrolet Aveo and Kiario5 are similar.  Is that true or should i suck it up and pay more for a honda fit?

I'm confused. Are you looking for a beater car, or a really-nice-used car?

Ecky

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2018, 04:53:59 AM »

I'm confused. Are you looking for a beater car, or a really-nice-used car?

Yeah, this. If it's not from the salt belt, 2009-2012 can still be some very nice cars with a lot of life remaining in them. I personally drive a 2000 Honda and expect many more years of reliable operation from it.

The 2007-2008 Fit are good cars too. The only problem they commonly have (which the 2009+ models don't) is they might need a set of ignition coils once or twice in the total life of the vehicle. Amazon has these for $40 for a set and they're easier to change than spark plugs - they sit on top of the motor and have one wire and one bolt. I personally like the 07-08 body style better because handling is better and they feel more "fun", but the 2009+ are slightly bigger and have a little more horsepower.

OP, you might try http://www.dashboard-light.com/ to get an idea of vehicle reliability. The reason the Fit is as expensive as it is, and the Rio, Versa and Aveo are so cheap is that the Fit is a much better built and far more reliable vehicle. If you want something most likely to be reliable, Toyota is your best bet. Honda and Mazda are good general bets but their whole lineup isn't as solid overall. Some select American and European cars are pretty reliable too, but many are not. Most of all, a car that has been abused and neglected is (obviously) going to have more issues than one which has been driven gently and taken care of.

The 2007-2008 Fit have a reliability score of around 70, from the aforementioned ignition coil failures, but it's a very inexpensive and easy thing to fix so I don't consider it a deal-breaker. The 2009+ Fit score a perfect 100 on dashboard light's system.


nereo

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2018, 05:04:56 AM »
what does that graph say?

tralfamadorian

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2018, 08:06:48 AM »

I'm confused. Are you looking for a beater car, or a really-nice-used car?

Yeah, this. If it's not from the salt belt, 2009-2012 can still be some very nice cars with a lot of life remaining in them. I personally drive a 2000 Honda and expect many more years of reliable operation from it.

The 2007-2008 Fit are good cars too. The only problem they commonly have (which the 2009+ models don't) is they might need a set of ignition coils once or twice in the total life of the vehicle. Amazon has these for $40 for a set and they're easier to change than spark plugs - they sit on top of the motor and have one wire and one bolt. I personally like the 07-08 body style better because handling is better and they feel more "fun", but the 2009+ are slightly bigger and have a little more horsepower.

OP, you might try http://www.dashboard-light.com/ to get an idea of vehicle reliability. The reason the Fit is as expensive as it is, and the Rio, Versa and Aveo are so cheap is that the Fit is a much better built and far more reliable vehicle. If you want something most likely to be reliable, Toyota is your best bet. Honda and Mazda are good general bets but their whole lineup isn't as solid overall. Some select American and European cars are pretty reliable too, but many are not. Most of all, a car that has been abused and neglected is (obviously) going to have more issues than one which has been driven gently and taken care of.

The 2007-2008 Fit have a reliability score of around 70, from the aforementioned ignition coil failures, but it's a very inexpensive and easy thing to fix so I don't consider it a deal-breaker. The 2009+ Fit score a perfect 100 on dashboard light's system.



That chart is amazing. Thank you for posting it!

tralfamadorian

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2018, 08:25:12 AM »
Another data point from the website @Ecky posted.

It appears that the Honda Fit 2009-2014 is the only subcompact or inexpensive vehicle to receive a ~100 reliability. The others are mostly lexus and larger toyotas with a merc g wagen(!) and corvette thrown in for good measure.

Dr.Jeckyl

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2018, 10:20:48 AM »
Buy the Fit. You want the Fit. Nothing is like the Fit. But where are you looking? You won't find many Fits that age on dealership lots, they go straight to auction or they are being sold by individuals on Craigslist or Facebook marketplace. The Fit is reliable and much larger inside than you can even imagine. I checked one out at the Chicago Auto Show a few years ago and was really wowed by the utility of it.

Best alternatives would be the Matrix or the Vibe. The Vibe is cheaper because it has a Pontiac symbol on it but it is just a Matrix wearing slightly different clothes.

RWD

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2018, 10:24:50 AM »
what does that graph say?

It says: "Don't buy a Versa, Aveo, or Rio."

mozar

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2018, 11:13:43 AM »
OK, much to chew on. I'm looking to spend under 3k. Ideally would not have to do any work on it for at least a few months while I get used to driving again.

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2018, 12:58:30 PM »
If you have some good independent mechanics in your area, you might want to stop in and ask them what they have. My mechanic buys and sells cars under $5k all the time. He just got two identical Saturns, one with a blown engine and one with body damage. He's putting the good engine in the nicer car and then selling it.

bognish

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2018, 01:54:21 PM »
I have a 2008 Versa with 115,000 miles on it. I had 1 issue with the engine at 34,000 miles, but no other problems. I think its a great car and fin to drive. In the next month I am going to buy a 2010 Fit from my parents (lower miles and they are upgrading). If you are in Utah or willing to pick it up here I will most likely be trying to sell the Versa for around $3000 in the next month. If it weren't for the family hand-me-down I would keep driving the Versa. Honda's seem to hold their value much better than Nissan, so it seems unlikely that you will find a Honda without major issues for $3k.

nereo

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2018, 05:52:59 PM »
what does that graph say?

It says: "Don't buy a Versa, Aveo, or Rio."

I was asking for something a bit more detailed.  The graph lacks any labels on the x axis.  It seems low is bad and high is good, but what does the numbers 20 or 40 mean?  Is 40 exactly twice as reliable as 20? Seems unlikely since there are 0 values.  So what then?

In other words, graphs need to either be labeled well or explained. Otherwise, at best they are confusing and often they are intentionally misleading.

(Yeah, pet peeve of mine...) 

RWD

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #17 on: October 23, 2018, 07:27:24 PM »
what does that graph say?

It says: "Don't buy a Versa, Aveo, or Rio."

I was asking for something a bit more detailed.  The graph lacks any labels on the x axis.  It seems low is bad and high is good, but what does the numbers 20 or 40 mean?  Is 40 exactly twice as reliable as 20? Seems unlikely since there are 0 values.  So what then?

In other words, graphs need to either be labeled well or explained. Otherwise, at best they are confusing and often they are intentionally misleading.

(Yeah, pet peeve of mine...)

Sorry, I knew that but I decided to be snarky instead. It's a score based on the frequency of powertrain issues, the mileage distribution of when those issues take place, and the vehicle age at the time of trade-in. I don't think they give the exact formula for how they come up with the number. I also think the scoring is a bit misleading. It's hard to tell how to compare them. Does a 60 vehicle break down half as often as a 30 vehicle? That's probably not how the scoring works, otherwise we couldn't explain the 0 scores. I think assigning it a number was probably a poor decision from a readability standpoint. Maybe they should have portrayed it as something like:
0-20 = One Star
20-40 = Two Stars
40-60 = Three Stars
60-80 = Four Stars
80-100 = Five Stars

In any case I think the more useful information on that site is when you select an individual vehicle model (Example). You can see overall score average for each major model change as well as more detailed info like the actual rate of powertrain defects by model year (in percent).

Ecky

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2018, 08:24:45 PM »
OK, much to chew on. I'm looking to spend under 3k. Ideally would not have to do any work on it for at least a few months while I get used to driving again.

I find $3k is right at the bottom edge of where you see reasonably nice vehicles.

Around 8 months ago my girlfriend bought a 2007 Fit for $3200 on Craigslist. We drove 800 miles to get it. The car had 196,000 miles and dealership records going back to day one - which showed only oil changes, a new 12v battery, tires, and other small things like air filters and a set of brake pads. The car has literally had zero non-routine maintenance in its high-mileage 11 year life. In the last 8 months she has added around 10,000 miles to the car and nothing has come up. I preventatively did the serpentine belt because it was squeaking a little ($8), spark plugs (~$20) and air filter ($8).

That said, 200k and 10 years is where you start to see some things come up even in well cared-for and phenomenally reliable cars. Hers is a manual so there's very little to go wrong, but automatic transmission failure is what sends most vehicles to junkyards these days, and some automatics are known to fail before 150k. Most don't last past 250k. Her Fit might need a clutch in the next two or three years, or the alternator will go out, or something else along those lines like a brake booster or some seal or gasket. I fully expect it to start nickel and diming us before too long if we want to keep it pristine, but luckily parts are silly cheap and we can do nearly all maintenance ourselves - it's a very simple car to work on, and the engine bay is thoughtfully laid out.

Even at 200k miles, I would not call her car a beater, but I felt it was the safer and more economical option than going through a $500 car every 6 months.

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2018, 06:31:24 AM »
VW are solid.

tralfamadorian

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #20 on: October 24, 2018, 06:45:07 AM »

Zola.

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #21 on: October 24, 2018, 09:10:23 AM »
Would love to know who made that, I certainly dont agree with it.....VW in Europe, at least, are one of the most reliable car manufacturers around.

I still have a 2002 VW Bora..... 243,000 miles on the clock, original turbo.

I know lots of people driving old VWs, Skodas and Audis... all owned by the same group.

RWD

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #22 on: October 24, 2018, 10:47:10 AM »
VW are solid.

That is a very unique opinion.

bognish

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #23 on: October 24, 2018, 12:30:49 PM »
My sister has been a VW lover for the last 20 years. They always have wierd issues. GTI dashboard breaking (I don't even know how this is possible), interior door panel fell off a Jetta, door handles broke on the next Jetta. None of these were new cars, but probably in the 75k to 150k miles range. Most telling is she rents cars if they go on road trips because she is worried about reliability and difficulty finding parts in small towns. VW mechanics and parts are fewer and farther between in the western US than in Europe.

Ecky

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #24 on: October 24, 2018, 05:24:38 PM »
Would love to know who made that, I certainly dont agree with it.....VW in Europe, at least, are one of the most reliable car manufacturers around.

I still have a 2002 VW Bora..... 243,000 miles on the clock, original turbo.

I know lots of people driving old VWs, Skodas and Audis... all owned by the same group.

Follow the link in my post. It's data collected from thousands of mechanics across the country.

Radagast

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #25 on: October 24, 2018, 08:53:14 PM »
dashboard-light.com
Great link, thanks! I did not know of that site. Now I just need to reconcile the reliability list with the fuel economy list with the safety list. I bet that will be one lame result...

RWD

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #26 on: October 24, 2018, 08:59:22 PM »
dashboard-light.com
Great link, thanks! I did not know of that site. Now I just need to reconcile the reliability list with the fuel economy list with the safety list. I bet that will be one lame result...
Yep, looks like you're buying a Prius.
https://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/vehicle/v/toyota/prius-4-door-hatchback/2013
http://dashboard-light.com/vehicles/Toyota_Prius.html
https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=33324&id=33335

Radagast

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #27 on: October 24, 2018, 11:05:08 PM »
dashboard-light.com
Great link, thanks! I did not know of that site. Now I just need to reconcile the reliability list with the fuel economy list with the safety list. I bet that will be one lame result...
Yep, looks like you're buying a Prius.
https://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/vehicle/v/toyota/prius-4-door-hatchback/2013
http://dashboard-light.com/vehicles/Toyota_Prius.html
https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=33324&id=33335

Zola.

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #28 on: October 25, 2018, 04:28:07 AM »
Would love to know who made that, I certainly dont agree with it.....VW in Europe, at least, are one of the most reliable car manufacturers around.

I still have a 2002 VW Bora..... 243,000 miles on the clock, original turbo.

I know lots of people driving old VWs, Skodas and Audis... all owned by the same group.

Follow the link in my post. It's data collected from thousands of mechanics across the country.

I definitely don't think it should be taken as gospel. The collect their data from auctions etc.

Pinch of salt for me.

Ecky

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #29 on: October 25, 2018, 04:49:52 AM »

I definitely don't think it should be taken as gospel. The collect their data from auctions etc.

Pinch of salt for me.

Fair point, but I don't know of any better data. Most of the problem vehicles which get very low scores on dashboard-light tend to be vehicles which have known issues.

Take Acura for example. I initially was very surprised by the score, until I remembered Honda's huge issues with V6 automatic transmissions in the early 2000's, which would have affected nearly every Acura.

nereo

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #30 on: October 25, 2018, 05:48:42 AM »

I definitely don't think it should be taken as gospel. The collect their data from auctions etc.

Pinch of salt for me.

Fair point, but I don't know of any better data. Most of the problem vehicles which get very low scores on dashboard-light tend to be vehicles which have known issues.

Take Acura for example. I initially was very surprised by the score, until I remembered Honda's huge issues with V6 automatic transmissions in the early 2000's, which would have affected nearly every Acura.

How does it compare to Consumer Reports reliability rankings? 
I know those data are from members' self-submitted reports, which have their own biases...

RWD

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #31 on: October 25, 2018, 07:04:31 AM »

I definitely don't think it should be taken as gospel. The collect their data from auctions etc.

Pinch of salt for me.

Fair point, but I don't know of any better data. Most of the problem vehicles which get very low scores on dashboard-light tend to be vehicles which have known issues.

Take Acura for example. I initially was very surprised by the score, until I remembered Honda's huge issues with V6 automatic transmissions in the early 2000's, which would have affected nearly every Acura.

How does it compare to Consumer Reports reliability rankings? 
I know those data are from members' self-submitted reports, which have their own biases...

Consumer Reports goes back to 2000 model vehicles, while Dashboard Light goes back farther. On the other hand, Consumer Reports includes newer vehicles while Dashboard Light waits a few years before publishing the data. This is probably because Dashboard Light gets its data from vehicles that are traded in. The main issue with Consumer Reports though is that you have to pay to see the reliability for all vehicles (as far as I am aware).
https://www.consumerreports.org/car-reliability-owner-satisfaction/consumer-reports-car-reliability-faq/

Another good reliability site, True Delta, used to be free but now requires a subscription. You can still use it for checking a couple vehicles without a subscription but then it cuts you off. I suppose you can work around this by clearing your cookies or something but it's a hassle so I've switched to Dashboard Light for all my casual research.

nereo

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #32 on: October 25, 2018, 07:15:17 AM »

I definitely don't think it should be taken as gospel. The collect their data from auctions etc.

Pinch of salt for me.

Fair point, but I don't know of any better data. Most of the problem vehicles which get very low scores on dashboard-light tend to be vehicles which have known issues.

Take Acura for example. I initially was very surprised by the score, until I remembered Honda's huge issues with V6 automatic transmissions in the early 2000's, which would have affected nearly every Acura.

How does it compare to Consumer Reports reliability rankings? 
I know those data are from members' self-submitted reports, which have their own biases...

Consumer Reports goes back to 2000 model vehicles, while Dashboard Light goes back farther. On the other hand, Consumer Reports includes newer vehicles while Dashboard Light waits a few years before publishing the data. This is probably because Dashboard Light gets its data from vehicles that are traded in. The main issue with Consumer Reports though is that you have to pay to see the reliability for all vehicles (as far as I am aware).
https://www.consumerreports.org/car-reliability-owner-satisfaction/consumer-reports-car-reliability-faq/

Another good reliability site, True Delta, used to be free but now requires a subscription. You can still use it for checking a couple vehicles without a subscription but then it cuts you off. I suppose you can work around this by clearing your cookies or something but it's a hassle so I've switched to Dashboard Light for all my casual research.

Thanks.  I've tended to use CR just because my local library has a subscription so the paywall isn't a problem (for me).
In their reviews they do tend to prioritize comfort more than I'd like and efficiency much less, but their ratings of previous model's repair history seems like a pretty good way of judging overall repair costs and reliability.

RWD

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #33 on: October 25, 2018, 07:22:35 AM »
Consumer Reports goes back to 2000 model vehicles, while Dashboard Light goes back farther. On the other hand, Consumer Reports includes newer vehicles while Dashboard Light waits a few years before publishing the data. This is probably because Dashboard Light gets its data from vehicles that are traded in. The main issue with Consumer Reports though is that you have to pay to see the reliability for all vehicles (as far as I am aware).
https://www.consumerreports.org/car-reliability-owner-satisfaction/consumer-reports-car-reliability-faq/

Another good reliability site, True Delta, used to be free but now requires a subscription. You can still use it for checking a couple vehicles without a subscription but then it cuts you off. I suppose you can work around this by clearing your cookies or something but it's a hassle so I've switched to Dashboard Light for all my casual research.

Thanks.  I've tended to use CR just because my local library has a subscription so the paywall isn't a problem (for me).
In their reviews they do tend to prioritize comfort more than I'd like and efficiency much less, but their ratings of previous model's repair history seems like a pretty good way of judging overall repair costs and reliability.

Ah, that's right, I forgot to mention that Dashboard Light only focuses on powertrain issues. This is good because you know that all the problems affected the vehicle's ability to move (and nothing like "the navigation UI sucked"). But it also misses other things that may bother the owner that could be costly to repair (broken HVAC, for example).

If you're serious about trying to find out which vehicles are the most reliable you should cross reference as many sources as possible. Consumer Reports, JD Powers (mostly crap), True Delta, Dashboard Light, vehicle-specific forums, etc.

radram

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #34 on: October 25, 2018, 07:33:12 AM »
I recently replaced a 2009 Aveo5 with 140,000 miles with a 2008 Honda Fit with 73,000 for $5,500.

I will not complain about my Aveo. We put 80,000 miles on it in 7 years, and paid $6,500 ( it was about 3 years old with 40,000 miles when we bought it.). When something gave on the engine (??? valve, gasket, ???), we immediately felt like we used its reliable life, and had no interest in making the repair, only to start having more and more go wrong with it. It was almost trouble free driving until then, but I will say it really seemed to use up tires something awful.

The Honda Fit feels like a MUCH better car, and I expect more from it. Time will tell.

That said, with your price point, in order to get into a Honda, it will just have too many miles on it. I think you would be better off with an older, lower mileage Aveo, like this one:
https://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/cto/d/chevy-aveo-2008only-66k/6707828677.html

If you can go a few thousand more, get a Fit like we got. I think you would come out better in the long run.

Where do you live? You can come buy my Aveo for MUCH LESS than $3,000 (almost $3,000 less, in fact) lol.

Let us know what you end up doing.

magnet18

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #35 on: October 25, 2018, 08:06:11 AM »
Since you don't know a lot about cars, and don't want to repair them, my top tips would be

1. Do NOT buy a Hyundai
2. Do NOT buy a Kia
3. Do NOT buy anything with less than 4 cylinders
4. If you want to do highway speeds, do NOT buy an Aveo, it's an Indian car built for city driving

Kia has apparently improved quality by leaps and bounds lately, somehow ranking above Honda this year, but you're looking older used


I'd be looking at any 4 cylinder Toyota, or lot of the 4 cylinder Hondas.  You're better with a Corolla with 150,000 miles than you are with an aveo with 50,000.

Id also advise against getting the first year (oldest) of a generation, get the second year, as the companies are often working out bugs in the new designs and factories.  I've also researched, and mileage is definitely the dominating factor in the price equation, with year being secondary, so older doesn't correlate strongly enough with a price drop to justify boxing yourself into a specific year.

Don't forget accuras are just Hondas, and Scions are just Toyotas

I'm looking for a winter beater that can haul construction equipment, and I see Toyota siennas with a lot of life left pop up under $3k regularly

mozar

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #36 on: October 25, 2018, 03:56:50 PM »
I live in the DC area. I'm still trying to wrap my head around all the replies. Might take awhile...

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #37 on: October 26, 2018, 07:48:54 AM »
OK, much to chew on. I'm looking to spend under 3k. Ideally would not have to do any work on it for at least a few months while I get used to driving again.
...
That said, 200k and 10 years is where you start to see some things come up even in well cared-for and phenomenally reliable cars. Hers is a manual so there's very little to go wrong, but automatic transmission failure is what sends most vehicles to junkyards these days, and some automatics are known to fail before 150k. Most don't last past 250k. Her Fit might need a clutch in the next two or three years, or the alternator will go out, or something else along those lines like a brake booster or some seal or gasket. I fully expect it to start nickel and diming us before too long if we want to keep it pristine, but luckily parts are silly cheap and we can do nearly all maintenance ourselves - it's a very simple car to work on, and the engine bay is thoughtfully laid out.

Even at 200k miles, I would not call her car a beater, but I felt it was the safer and more economical option than going through a $500 car every 6 months.
My experience with my 225k-mile car is consistent with this.  Nothing majorly expensive, since I've kept up with the fluid changes, but the little things seem to come up more frequently.  Like a radiator a couple years back ($60 including shipping, only took me about half an hour to install), an exhaust pipe a few months ago (ok, that one took me most of a Saturday, because rust, but still only $80 of parts).  Sway bar bushings ($5 per end and 20 minutes once the car was jacked up), a steering rack/tie rod baffle ($12 and half an hour), and reupholstering the headliner ($50 for the fabric and glue, 2-3 hours total labor).

We've been saving $100/mo towards eventually replacing this car over the last few years, but it costs a lot less than $100/mo to keep it running and in good shape, and waaaay less than the $300/mo a new car payment would cost.

daverobev

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #38 on: October 26, 2018, 02:46:47 PM »
European VWs are very reliable. Stuff in North America is not. Dunno why (Made in Mexico, perhaps? Crappy automatics?). Seat, Skoda, VW are all good, at least in the UK.

Avoid Civics from 2006-2009ish; Honda automatics are not great generally.

mozar

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #39 on: October 26, 2018, 04:30:32 PM »
Thanks for the information.

letired

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #40 on: October 26, 2018, 05:59:57 PM »
do not under any circumstances buy an aveo.

radram

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #41 on: October 27, 2018, 12:13:21 PM »
do not under any circumstances buy an aveo.
I find comments like this rather silly. It kind of reminds me grade school when kids would bash Ford trucks or Chevy trucks based on what their dad drove.

Please tell us why you think so.

Resale value of Aveo's are crap. To me, looking at buying older cars with low miles, that is a great reason to buy one. The absolute WORST car made today is miles better than cars made a few decades ago.

I have had very little troubles with our 2 Aveos, after putting on combined mileage of 140,000 miles. What little that did break I was able to repair myself for very little money. Admittedly, the deer that gave our hood a nice hug did a good job to take away several years of use. Of course it was the one with fewer miles..

As I have stated, paying more for a Fit would be better, but if you can not do that an Aveo at the right price can work out.

letired

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #42 on: October 27, 2018, 01:51:37 PM »
do not under any circumstances buy an aveo.
I find comments like this rather silly. It kind of reminds me grade school when kids would bash Ford trucks or Chevy trucks based on what their dad drove.

Please tell us why you think so.

Resale value of Aveo's are crap. To me, looking at buying older cars with low miles, that is a great reason to buy one. The absolute WORST car made today is miles better than cars made a few decades ago.

I have had very little troubles with our 2 Aveos, after putting on combined mileage of 140,000 miles. What little that did break I was able to repair myself for very little money. Admittedly, the deer that gave our hood a nice hug did a good job to take away several years of use. Of course it was the one with fewer miles..

As I have stated, paying more for a Fit would be better, but if you can not do that an Aveo at the right price can work out.

I'm the not-so-proud owner of an 04 Aveo. On the one hand, you could say it has held up reasonably well, but that's not really saying a ton when it just hit 70k miles. Every non-trivial repair I've had has had super high labor costs, and I think 20 years/250k miles isn't an unreasonable expectation for a modern car. There is no reason to by an aveo at this point.

radram

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #43 on: October 28, 2018, 08:20:54 AM »
do not under any circumstances buy an aveo.
I find comments like this rather silly. It kind of reminds me grade school when kids would bash Ford trucks or Chevy trucks based on what their dad drove.

Please tell us why you think so.

Resale value of Aveo's are crap. To me, looking at buying older cars with low miles, that is a great reason to buy one. The absolute WORST car made today is miles better than cars made a few decades ago.

I have had very little troubles with our 2 Aveos, after putting on combined mileage of 140,000 miles. What little that did break I was able to repair myself for very little money. Admittedly, the deer that gave our hood a nice hug did a good job to take away several years of use. Of course it was the one with fewer miles..

As I have stated, paying more for a Fit would be better, but if you can not do that an Aveo at the right price can work out.

I'm the not-so-proud owner of an 04 Aveo. On the one hand, you could say it has held up reasonably well, but that's not really saying a ton when it just hit 70k miles. Every non-trivial repair I've had has had super high labor costs, and I think 20 years/250k miles isn't an unreasonable expectation for a modern car. There is no reason to by an aveo at this point.

How much do you want for yours? What work has been done? How many years have you owned it?

Super high labor costs is a problem of your mechanic, not your car. Ask around to find a better one.

Your expectations for cars is double mine. Have a great day.

daverobev

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #44 on: October 28, 2018, 08:57:47 AM »
do not under any circumstances buy an aveo.
I find comments like this rather silly. It kind of reminds me grade school when kids would bash Ford trucks or Chevy trucks based on what their dad drove.

Please tell us why you think so.

Resale value of Aveo's are crap. To me, looking at buying older cars with low miles, that is a great reason to buy one. The absolute WORST car made today is miles better than cars made a few decades ago.

I have had very little troubles with our 2 Aveos, after putting on combined mileage of 140,000 miles. What little that did break I was able to repair myself for very little money. Admittedly, the deer that gave our hood a nice hug did a good job to take away several years of use. Of course it was the one with fewer miles..

As I have stated, paying more for a Fit would be better, but if you can not do that an Aveo at the right price can work out.

I'm the not-so-proud owner of an 04 Aveo. On the one hand, you could say it has held up reasonably well, but that's not really saying a ton when it just hit 70k miles. Every non-trivial repair I've had has had super high labor costs, and I think 20 years/250k miles isn't an unreasonable expectation for a modern car. There is no reason to by an aveo at this point.

How much do you want for yours? What work has been done? How many years have you owned it?

Super high labor costs is a problem of your mechanic, not your car. Ask around to find a better one.

Your expectations for cars is double mine. Have a great day.

Thing is, they - unlike some things - are cheap for good reason. They are crap cars. They have a mugh higher failure rate, they are poorly designed. You aren't getting value for money. Here - you apparently need to change the timing belt ever 40k miles?! Our civic was at more like 100k! https://www.carcomplaints.com/Chevrolet/Aveo/2004/engine/timing_belt_failure.shtml

radram

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #45 on: October 28, 2018, 09:23:15 AM »
do not under any circumstances buy an aveo.
I find comments like this rather silly. It kind of reminds me grade school when kids would bash Ford trucks or Chevy trucks based on what their dad drove.

Please tell us why you think so.

Resale value of Aveo's are crap. To me, looking at buying older cars with low miles, that is a great reason to buy one. The absolute WORST car made today is miles better than cars made a few decades ago.

I have had very little troubles with our 2 Aveos, after putting on combined mileage of 140,000 miles. What little that did break I was able to repair myself for very little money. Admittedly, the deer that gave our hood a nice hug did a good job to take away several years of use. Of course it was the one with fewer miles..

As I have stated, paying more for a Fit would be better, but if you can not do that an Aveo at the right price can work out.

I'm the not-so-proud owner of an 04 Aveo. On the one hand, you could say it has held up reasonably well, but that's not really saying a ton when it just hit 70k miles. Every non-trivial repair I've had has had super high labor costs, and I think 20 years/250k miles isn't an unreasonable expectation for a modern car. There is no reason to by an aveo at this point.

How much do you want for yours? What work has been done? How many years have you owned it?

Super high labor costs is a problem of your mechanic, not your car. Ask around to find a better one.

Your expectations for cars is double mine. Have a great day.

Thing is, they - unlike some things - are cheap for good reason. They are crap cars. They have a mugh higher failure rate, they are poorly designed. You aren't getting value for money. Here - you apparently need to change the timing belt ever 40k miles?! Our civic was at more like 100k! https://www.carcomplaints.com/Chevrolet/Aveo/2004/engine/timing_belt_failure.shtml

And the average cost to repair the timing belt is twice that for the Civic as for the Aveo.

I got lucky twice. Never changed a timing belt on either Aveo.

I am glad there are people that refuse to give some cars a look. It lowers the prices for the rest of us. Just as I am glad that not everyone is Moustashian, as my rate of return would be lower.

Based on the title of this thread, I stand by my recommendation. Aveo is fine if properly discounted, Fit if you can pay the extra cash. As always, it is the specific car that matters.

nereo

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #46 on: October 28, 2018, 11:00:27 AM »

Based on the title of this thread, I stand by my recommendation. Aveo is fine if properly discounted, Fit if you can pay the extra cash. As always, it is the specific car that matters.

The title (specifically the word "beater") does suggest a very cheap automobile, "a dilapidated but serviceable car"
KBB puts Aveo's of similar mileage and model year at a 43% discount to same-year/condition Civics  ($2,400 vs $4,200 for a 2009/100k/sedan/standard equip/'good').  Is that $1,800 'saved' worth over the next several years? Debatable, but for many (especially those of us who our own moderate car repairs) it fits the bill of a 'beater'.


ChpBstrd

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #47 on: October 28, 2018, 11:51:01 AM »
I will second the motion to shop by mileage within the broader category rather than by make/model.

1) If you are shopping for a $3000 car, you could have a Fit with 200k miles or, say, a Versa/Spark with 100k miles. Which one do you think will face a major drivetrain failure first? The truth is, it's a gamble! On the one hand, a top-quality car that's completely worn the fuck out, or a car with a slightly worse reputation but far less wear. The market is efficient because people at this price range are thinking very hard about the financial implications of their decision, unlike new car buyers. At a given level of size/status symbol, you get a given level of reliability. Example: My SIL found a $2500 Corolla that was about 13 years old with only 90k miles. Top brand. Low miles. Seems logical. Transmission was toast three months later.

2) Mechanical problems are distributed across a car's lifespan. Design and manufacturing factors create a risk, but not a certainty, of an important part failing prematurely. Also, there are tens of thousands of such parts in any car. The cars we call unreliable have a handful of parts with a high risk of failure. However, the parts either fail or they don't. Statistically speaking, some subset of "low quality" cars will provide their owners decades and hundreds of thousands of miles of reliable service because the entire handful of vulnerable parts happen not to fail in that particular car. Also, some subset of "high quality" cars will be disappointments because of one improbable but consequential failure. I've seen Aveos running 200k miles and I've seen nearly new Toyota's with blown head gaskets. So reliability is driven partially by chance, but wear and tear are easily measured certainties.

3) A Honda Fit with a blown engine is worth more than a Chevy Aveo with a blown engine. This is because when a Chevy Aveo gets into a minor fender bender or bends a valve, it typically goes straight to the scrap yard (increasing supply of parts with no increase in demand). Why spend $2k fixing a car that will be worth $2k after your labors? When a Honda Fit gets into a fender bender or suffers mechanical failure, it's higher fixed-up value justifies the repair expense (increasing demand of parts with no increase in supply). It makes sense to spend $3k fixing a Fit that will be worth $5k after the repairs. So part of what you are paying for when you buy a Fit is the high price the salvage yard could get for your fenders, doors, and drivetrain. This is also why you see more Fits with 200k+ miles than Aveos; people keep fixing them instead of scrapping them. So to buy the fit is to essentially lock away money that you'll partially get back at resale time or when insurance totals it. On the other hand, you could buy a younger, lower mileage car for the same money, and arguably get more reliability/longevity for your money.

We have a 2012 Fit that we bought new for $16k. It is now worth about $7500. My main complaint is that the seats are so uncomfortable we don't want to use it for long trips. I mean sadistic uncomfortable. My DW got a horrible back spasm on a 6 hour journey. That's a shame because this is exactly the type of car you'd want to use for long journeys. In all our analysis of costs, reliability, depreciation, new vs. used, and how to avoid dealer add-ons, we failed to think about how uncomfortable the seats are! Now I think a lot more multi-dimensionally about cars than I used to.

If I was shopping in the $3k range, I would look for lower-mileage, later-model cars that have salvage titles, body damage, rust, or bad paint. Those cosmetic/fear factors lower the price but don't generally affect the drivetrain. Also, DO NOT STEP FOOT on any car lot unless the cars are sitting on dirt or gravel. Negotiate hard if you have cash, and remember that at this price range any dealer is making a 70-100% markup - i.e. they paid $1600 at the auction for the car they're offering for $3500, so don't be shy about offering them $3k cash.

radram

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #48 on: October 28, 2018, 12:01:47 PM »

Based on the title of this thread, I stand by my recommendation. Aveo is fine if properly discounted, Fit if you can pay the extra cash. As always, it is the specific car that matters.

The title (specifically the word "beater") does suggest a very cheap automobile, "a dilapidated but serviceable car"
KBB puts Aveo's of similar mileage and model year at a 43% discount to same-year/condition Civics  ($2,400 vs $4,200 for a 2009/100k/sedan/standard equip/'good').  Is that $1,800 'saved' worth over the next several years? Debatable, but for many (especially those of us who our own moderate car repairs) it fits the bill of a 'beater'.

At 100k, I might very well agree with you, however:

Consider 2009 65k miles good private party base models.
Aveo: $1729 - $2988
Fit: $4939-$6462

I would have confidence in putting 40k relatively worry free miles with an Aveo . I would not have that same confidence with your Civic(nor your Aveo for that matter).

At the OP's price point, he can not get into a Fit I would purchase. The miles would be too high. I could get him into an Aveo with a good chance of getting 40k or so.

As far as repairs, you simply do not make a major repair with the Aveo example I gave you. Save the $1,000, take the scrap cost, and you are over half way to buying your next 10 year old car with what should be 40k miles with few minor repairs.

radram

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Re: Help me buy a beater car
« Reply #49 on: October 28, 2018, 12:04:42 PM »
I will second the motion to shop by mileage within the broader category rather than by make/model.

1) If you are shopping for a $3000 car, you could have a Fit with 200k miles or, say, a Versa/Spark with 100k miles.

Versa with 100k, or an Aveo with 60k. Which would you choose? I would go with the Aveo (or spend an extra $1,500 for a Fit with 15k more miles, which is what I actually did about 4 months ago).