Author Topic: Used car options  (Read 7417 times)

Cwadda

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Used car options
« on: February 19, 2014, 12:16:47 PM »
The dreaded subject.

I'm looking for a used car to get me back and forth to work. My once-per-week commute is about 100 miles round trip. My commute over the summer will be about 50 miles per day at least 5 days per week round trip. I need a decent car to do this and what better place to ask than here! My grandpa who knows everything about cars found an older Volkswagen Bug with 100k miles on it for $4000, but I'm looking for something more like a sedan for more room because I'm tall. My budget is around $6000. Here is my financial stuff in more detail http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/ask-a-mustachian/my-finances-advice-welcomed/

In summary, I'm looking for these qualities (in order of priority)

1. Good value in terms of mileage/durability
2. Good on gas
3. Inexpensive fixes/parts/having a mechanic available that knows the type of car
4. Space (leg room is especially important, would also be nice to be able to fit 4 people comfortably)
5. Good in the snow

My mom has a Honda Accord that has been so good over the years. Absolutely zero problems other than normal maintenance. So far I'm interested in Honda, Toyota, and Subaru. I feel like the Japanese cars are really reliable.

Any input is appreciated. Thanks!

schimt

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Re: Used car options
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2014, 12:31:32 PM »
Yea, i would advise against a used VW. For your grandfather it might be ok, but i would not call VW's reliable. I have had a few late 90's VW's and it's never any large issue, just many small things, most of which are centered around electrical issues. Which is ok for someone who likes to tinker and is handy with automobiles, but i would agree to aim for Japanese makes when shopping used.

MMM has a write up on mustachian vehcile choices, have you read it?
« Last Edit: February 19, 2014, 12:35:28 PM by schimt »

schimt

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Cwadda

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Re: Used car options
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2014, 12:35:45 PM »

MPAVictoria

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Re: Used car options
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2014, 01:02:13 PM »
The perfect car for you is a mid 2000s Buick. They are reliable, get good highway mileage and have decent leg space. Plus they are a relative bargain compared to a Honda Accord of a similar vintage.

Cwadda

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Re: Used car options
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2014, 01:22:16 PM »
Thanks for the post, will definitely look into it.

ketchup

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Re: Used car options
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2014, 01:28:00 PM »
but I'm looking for something more like a sedan for more room because I'm tall. My budget is around $6000.
Bigger car does not always mean better leg-room or head-room.  My dad is 6'1 and was perfectly fine driving my tiny '88 Chevy Sprint, but he couldn't see the horizon in my mom's Saturn SUV.  Just food for thought.  Actually try out anything you consider before you make assumptions about fit.

Yea, i would advise against a used VW. For your grandfather it might be ok, but i would not call VW's reliable. I have had a few late 90's VW's and it's never any large issue, just many small things, most of which are centered around electrical issues. Which is ok for someone who likes to tinker and is handy with automobiles, but i would agree to aim for Japanese makes when shopping used.
I would agree with this.  Consumer Reports has them marked as unreliable, and my roommate has a '95 VW GTI with way too many stupid electrical problems and random overly-complex small issues that crop up.

Honda Accords seem to be excellent vehicles that last you forever (I read about a 1,000,000 mile Accord that I believe was an '88), but I have no experience with them.

Cwadda

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Re: Used car options
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2014, 01:29:52 PM »
Yeah that's a good point about trying out all the cars first. I do want space to carry passengers, too. So a sedan is more suitable for that. Legroom and passenger/cargo space.

FuckRx

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Re: Used car options
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2014, 01:36:36 PM »
early 1990 Honda CRX. Can probably be had for about 2-3k. I just bought one of these a few months ago for 1k, put another 1.5k in it and it's an awesome little car.
Mid 1990's Toyota Corolla. Porbably 3-4k. Bought one of these for 3k and using it on Relay Rides to make me some money.

MicroRN

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Re: Used car options
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2014, 01:45:11 PM »
I had a '91 Honda Accord station wagon that I loved.  It was still running great around 275,000 miles, and the station wagon gives you tons of cargo space.  A friend and I even camped in it by dropping the back seats.  I currently have a Civic hybrid, but the mileage improvement isn't actually that great compared to the premium you'll pay.  I got a great deal on mine from a friend that was leaving the country.  Toyota Camry I seem to recall has the best longevity of any car out there, but they're priced fairly high even with a lot of miles on them.  On the downside, neither of my Hondas have been great in the snow.  My parent's Subaru Forester was fantastic even on slick roads, and also has excellent storage and seating. 

If you drive stick, you'll get a lower price and better mileage.  You can also look for those cars that scare people.  I had a Dodge Neon, in great mechanical condition, bought off Ebay for $1000.  That same vehicle would have been $3000, but the speedometer and gas gauge didn't work.  I drove conservatively, using my gear and the engine sound to guesstimate speed, and tanked up frequently.  I had no major issues with that car for the 2 years I owned it (and never ran out of gas), and I sold it for about $250.

schimt

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Re: Used car options
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2014, 02:19:02 PM »
Mid 1990's Toyota Corolla. Porbably 3-4k. Bought one of these for 3k and using it on Relay Rides to make me some money.

To add a note to the corolla, i have a 99' chevy prism (formerly geo prism), which is actually a toyota corolla with a chevy emblem on it. The motor even says toyota on top of it. And the value of them are lower just because it's a "Chevy" but is just as reliable, efficent and cheap parts. So keep an eye out for things like that.

I got my 99' Prism last year with only 32,000 miles for $2500 and its great

ketchup

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Re: Used car options
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2014, 03:01:10 PM »
Yeah that's a good point about trying out all the cars first. I do want space to carry passengers, too. So a sedan is more suitable for that. Legroom and passenger/cargo space.
Maybe you've already thought through this, but just to throw it out there: think about what you will be using this car for the most, and shop with that in mind.  One of the higher-ups at my company drives a big-ass 12MPG truck because twice a year he has to haul a boat.  A coworker drives a big 7 seater SUV (with a second car at home) because every few months he and his wife want to go somewhere with their two kids and the kids friends.  What I'm getting at is, if the car will be used for strictly commuting 90% of the time, it might not make sense for you to place too much stress on the other 10%.  My girlfriend's sister drives a Prius C, and she delivers for a living, so 95% of the time she's driving alone.  But in a pinch, we can cram four people in there.  So don't restrict yourself necessarily to a car that's ideal for everything you will ever do.  If you're doing 250 miles/week commuting, any gas/depreciation savings will be substantial.

Again, maybe you've already thought of this in regards to your use case, but just throwing it out there.
Mid 1990's Toyota Corolla. Porbably 3-4k. Bought one of these for 3k and using it on Relay Rides to make me some money.

To add a note to the corolla, i have a 99' chevy prism (formerly geo prism), which is actually a toyota corolla with a chevy emblem on it. The motor even says toyota on top of it. And the value of them are lower just because it's a "Chevy" but is just as reliable, efficent and cheap parts. So keep an eye out for things like that.

I got my 99' Prism last year with only 32,000 miles for $2500 and its great
Sweet find on that Prism!  Super low mileage old cars are awesome.  I got my '88 Chevy Sprint with 46k on it (in 2012) and it was pretty great while I had it (got smashed up last summer with 69k on it).

Greg

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Re: Used car options
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2014, 09:17:48 PM »
Maybe you've already thought through this, but just to throw it out there: think about what you will be using this car for the most, and shop with that in mind.  One of the higher-ups at my company drives a big-ass 12MPG truck because twice a year he has to haul a boat.  A coworker drives a big 7 seater SUV (with a second car at home) because every few months he and his wife want to go somewhere with their two kids and the kids friends.  What I'm getting at is, if the car will be used for strictly commuting 90% of the time, it might not make sense for you to place too much stress on the other 10%.  My girlfriend's sister drives a Prius C, and she delivers for a living, so 95% of the time she's driving alone.  But in a pinch, we can cram four people in there.

This is so very important.  Need to haul something 2x a year? Rent.  Need to haul 7 people 6x a year?  RENT.  Drive daily what you need daily.  All the 8-passenger uber-utes with one driver on the road are just silly.

greaper007

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Re: Used car options
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2014, 10:26:34 PM »
I had a '91 Honda Accord station wagon that I loved.  It was still running great around 275,000 miles, and the station wagon gives you tons of cargo space.  A friend and I even camped in it by dropping the back seats.  I currently have a Civic hybrid, but the mileage improvement isn't actually that great compared to the premium you'll pay.  I got a great deal on mine from a friend that was leaving the country.  Toyota Camry I seem to recall has the best longevity of any car out there, but they're priced fairly high even with a lot of miles on them.  On the downside, neither of my Hondas have been great in the snow.  My parent's Subaru Forester was fantastic even on slick roads, and also has excellent storage and seating. 

If you drive stick, you'll get a lower price and better mileage.  You can also look for those cars that scare people.  I had a Dodge Neon, in great mechanical condition, bought off Ebay for $1000.  That same vehicle would have been $3000, but the speedometer and gas gauge didn't work.  I drove conservatively, using my gear and the engine sound to guesstimate speed, and tanked up frequently.  I had no major issues with that car for the 2 years I owned it (and never ran out of gas), and I sold it for about $250.

What are you getting with your Civic Hybrid?   I have an 07 and I was able to pull 52 mpg consistently for a year.   Granted it was all highway and I kept it at 55 mph, still that's a pretty big jump from a normal Civic.    With all the tax rebates, that one year paid for premium over a normal civic.   Though it was the year gas went over $4 a gallon and I was driving 86 miles to work everyday.

thurston howell iv

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Re: Used car options
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2014, 10:07:17 AM »
Late 90's, early 2000's Honda Civic.  (my friend who is 6'7" could drive it)
Great gas mileage, cheap to buy, cheap to maintain, easy to work on.

Someone mentioned early 2000's Buicks. They are cheap and comfy but, the automatic transmissions are a royal PITA. When they break, the repair (unless you can do it yourself), is more than the value of the car...

I encourage everyone to stick with a stick shift car. It's cheaper to own, cheaper to fix and they get better mpg as well.

MicroRN

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Re: Used car options
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2014, 10:13:39 AM »
I had a '91 Honda Accord station wagon that I loved.  It was still running great around 275,000 miles, and the station wagon gives you tons of cargo space.  A friend and I even camped in it by dropping the back seats.  I currently have a Civic hybrid, but the mileage improvement isn't actually that great compared to the premium you'll pay.  I got a great deal on mine from a friend that was leaving the country.  Toyota Camry I seem to recall has the best longevity of any car out there, but they're priced fairly high even with a lot of miles on them.  On the downside, neither of my Hondas have been great in the snow.  My parent's Subaru Forester was fantastic even on slick roads, and also has excellent storage and seating. 

If you drive stick, you'll get a lower price and better mileage.  You can also look for those cars that scare people.  I had a Dodge Neon, in great mechanical condition, bought off Ebay for $1000.  That same vehicle would have been $3000, but the speedometer and gas gauge didn't work.  I drove conservatively, using my gear and the engine sound to guesstimate speed, and tanked up frequently.  I had no major issues with that car for the 2 years I owned it (and never ran out of gas), and I sold it for about $250.

What are you getting with your Civic Hybrid?   I have an 07 and I was able to pull 52 mpg consistently for a year.   Granted it was all highway and I kept it at 55 mph, still that's a pretty big jump from a normal Civic.    With all the tax rebates, that one year paid for premium over a normal civic.   Though it was the year gas went over $4 a gallon and I was driving 86 miles to work everyday.

Mine is an '04, and I get about 45 highway.  If I drove my non-hybrid accord carefully (also stick), I got about 35 on the highway.  That little Dodge Neon would actually get 40.  I also didn't get any tax rebates for the hybrid since I bought it used.     

jhartt3

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Re: Used car options
« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2014, 10:16:54 AM »
check out a Ford escape Hybrid.  I get 35-40 out of this seriously no joke.  you want to stay under 55 MPH if you want those kinda MPGs but if you're in traffic to and from work the gas engine will turn off a lot.  Large big car.  with amazing gas mileage.  You really cant beat it.  you'd be looking pre 2007 in your budget.  but there is one in kc for 8k 2007 100k miles ... so i bet you can find one they are just hard to come by.

jhartt3

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Re: Used car options
« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2014, 10:17:54 AM »
oh and did i mention i'm 6'4" so this car should fit you well ... and you dont have to sit down into it as low as a sedan. 

jhartt3

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Re: Used car options
« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2014, 10:22:24 AM »
where are you from cwadda

jhartt3

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Re: Used car options
« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2014, 10:24:51 AM »

Cwadda

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Re: Used car options
« Reply #20 on: February 20, 2014, 10:50:51 AM »
I'm from Connecticut.

Thanks jharrt

Cwadda

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Re: Used car options
« Reply #21 on: March 12, 2014, 07:54:43 PM »
Sorry to dig up this topic, but where do people shop for used cars? Any websites particularly good?

schimt

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Re: Used car options
« Reply #22 on: March 13, 2014, 06:54:23 AM »
Sorry to dig up this topic, but where do people shop for used cars? Any websites particularly good?

personally? Craigslist. Any commercial site has associated fee's for the seller, so generally you will not find as good a deal as craigslist where we are blessed with the opportunity to post things for free.

That said, you need to be a little car savy or have a friend that is and willing to help assess a car your considering for purchase, to avoid crappy deals and lemons.

IMHO, A lot of the "mustachian" vehicles you should be looking for, slightly aged, small, efficient, reliable cars should be easier to find at better price on craigslist also, over the big sites like cars.com ect which push mostly newer vehicles through dealers. Just have to keep your eye open and look for a while, don't jump on the first thing you find.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Used car options
« Reply #23 on: March 13, 2014, 07:01:48 AM »
I typically do craigslist and cars.com. I actually prioritize used-only dealers. Private party is typically annoying.

CT isn't snowy enough to recommend a Subaru, IMO. I'd go with a Civic or Accord depending on how much that 4 passenger space is worth it to you. My 93 Civic had TONS of leg and head room for 2.

Hondas are a cut above everything and hold their value. The other Japanese cars are solid, but Hondas are ROCK solid. The only thing I would avoid would be the VTEC engines. Most people I know who have high mileage ones have some headaches.

Cwadda

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Re: Used car options
« Reply #24 on: March 13, 2014, 09:09:19 AM »
Sorry to dig up this topic, but where do people shop for used cars? Any websites particularly good?

personally? Craigslist. Any commercial site has associated fee's for the seller, so generally you will not find as good a deal as craigslist where we are blessed with the opportunity to post things for free.

That said, you need to be a little car savy or have a friend that is and willing to help assess a car your considering for purchase, to avoid crappy deals and lemons.

IMHO, A lot of the "mustachian" vehicles you should be looking for, slightly aged, small, efficient, reliable cars should be easier to find at better price on craigslist also, over the big sites like cars.com ect which push mostly newer vehicles through dealers. Just have to keep your eye open and look for a while, don't jump on the first thing you find.

Gotcha. Yeah, I have a mechanic and a family friend who are both car savvy. The friend is a high-end client Porsche dealer who has memorized every price range for every car on the market taking mileage, year, model, everything into account.

Cwadda

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Re: Used car options
« Reply #25 on: March 13, 2014, 09:10:35 AM »
I typically do craigslist and cars.com. I actually prioritize used-only dealers. Private party is typically annoying.

CT isn't snowy enough to recommend a Subaru, IMO. I'd go with a Civic or Accord depending on how much that 4 passenger space is worth it to you. My 93 Civic had TONS of leg and head room for 2.

Hondas are a cut above everything and hold their value. The other Japanese cars are solid, but Hondas are ROCK solid. The only thing I would avoid would be the VTEC engines. Most people I know who have high mileage ones have some headaches.

Yeah, I absolutely love Hondas. My mom has had Accords for the past 15 years and they've never had problems!
« Last Edit: March 13, 2014, 09:15:49 AM by Cwadda »