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  #1  
Old 08-12-2013, 08:41 PM
Saeleofu Saeleofu is offline
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Default Car Suggestions

So, I need a car. My current car has lots of issues, and I don't want to shovel money into it just to have more issues pop up. It's had a history of overheating many times, so it's just a matter of time until something major fails.

I'm looking for a used car for no more than $1600ish (my brother's willing to buy my current car as a fixer-upper for $1000 and I get $600 excess financial aid next month).

Requirements:
Room for dogs. Ideally a wagon or small SUV. A van would be fine, too.
Runs well (enough to travel a minimum of 3 hours one-way for dog shows...ideally good enough to drive across the country when I move!)
Decent gas mileage. I currently get less than 15mpg and it's ridiculous. I may have a 2-hour roundtrip commute to school if I go to WSU-Vancouver some day.
Reliable. Very reliable. I want to be able to have this car for a while.


I know my price range is severely limiting, and I can go up a bit, but I want to get a car as soon as possible before my current car is totally ruined - raising my budget means waiting longer.

So, suggestions? I'm just looking for make/model/possibly year for a starting point. Also, any ideas where to look other than Craigslist?

TIA!
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  #2  
Old 08-12-2013, 08:52 PM
Saeleofu Saeleofu is offline
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Here are just a few I found poking around. Good? Bad? Things to be wary of? Any of them to JUMP ON NOW WHILE YOU STILL CAN?

98 Toyota 4-Runner http://wichita.craigslist.org/cto/3997161774.html

93 Toyota Previa http://wichita.craigslist.org/cto/3964639036.html

00 Hyundai Elantra Wagon http://wichita.craigslist.org/cto/3944029506.html

98 Taurus Wagon http://wichita.craigslist.org/cto/3992855998.html
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  #3  
Old 08-12-2013, 09:02 PM
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meepitsmeagan meepitsmeagan is offline
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Jeep Cherokee sport/classic. The inline 6 is fantastic and run foreverrrr, they are super hardy and light. If you can find a clean one, you are in good shape. I've had both automatics and a manual. I'd get another manual in a heartbeat. Get decent milage (if you aren't lifted running 33's). Just an all around great vehicle. They made over 2 million, so parts are readily available. Look for rust in the rocker panels and the door corners.

The back lays down and you can fit a decent sized crate in there (probably a 32"), a bike, ect.

Yeah. Jeep it all the way. Lol.
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Old 08-12-2013, 09:06 PM
ruffiangirl ruffiangirl is offline
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We have a 99 Taurus wagon and that thing is great on fuel, and parts are super easy to find because it was the same for just so long. We tend to swear clear of imports just because the parts are usually more expensive and harder to find.
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Old 08-12-2013, 09:41 PM
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Beanie Beanie is offline
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Is it at all possible for you to wait until you have more money, or to take out a personal loan with your bank and be able to buy something nicer? I'd be concerned that $1600 will just buy you another fixer-upper, or worse, something that will literally blow up on you shortly. A friend of mine bought a car for $1500 and the engine blew up I think a month after he bought it... maybe even less than that. $1500 completely wasted.
I wouldn't consider a $1600 car very reliable nor something you'd expect to have for a long time - and I wouldn't buy it hoping to be able to drive it 3+ hours to dog shows and not have to worry about it failing and leaving me stranded somewhere.
Even $5000 is going to be able to buy you a far better used car.

If it's at all possible to budget for a monthly payment, I would strongly consider it. $3000 over a year is $250 a month, interest at a bank on a personal loan will be pretty low so not much higher than that. If that's too much you could potentially stretch it out over two years even...
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  #6  
Old 08-12-2013, 10:08 PM
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CharlieDog CharlieDog is offline
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Going to second the Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee.

Mine has been awesome (have the Grand), and I won't get rid of it for anything. I drove it to CO and back (and saw you too!) and it's still going strong. Parts are CHEAPPPPPPP. I always used to make fun of Mopar cars and parts, but for the Jeep, they're readily available and cheap. A new cat is 119. For my DHs VW it was almost 200. The radiator for a Wrangler was 130. A new water pump cost me 35 dollars. And I haven't had an issue out of any aftermarket parts for either Jeep I currently own.

It's going on 250xxx miles and the only issue I'm having right now is a cat code. Could be the cat converter, could just be an oxygen sensor. Not a huge deal. I get around 20mpg average. I can get over 28 on the highway. City driving kills it though, goes down to like 15 or so. It's a 1996 model. I love it.

Also, they're pretty readily avaliable on CL for around 2k. For a super clean nice one, you might spend around 2500, but around 18k seems to be the going price for them.

And I'll second the inline 6 4.0 liter motor being a BOSS engine.
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Old 08-12-2013, 10:18 PM
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noludoru noludoru is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saeleofu View Post
Didn't look at the ad, but in general, YES. TERRIBLE AWFUL NO GOOD VERY BAD fuel economy though. Expect 12-18 depending upon engine/trans.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beanie View Post
Is it at all possible for you to wait until you have more money, or to take out a personal loan with your bank and be able to buy something nicer? I'd be concerned that $1600 will just buy you another fixer-upper, or worse, something that will literally blow up on you shortly. A friend of mine bought a car for $1500 and the engine blew up I think a month after he bought it... maybe even less than that. $1500 completely wasted.
I wouldn't consider a $1600 car very reliable nor something you'd expect to have for a long time - and I wouldn't buy it hoping to be able to drive it 3+ hours to dog shows and not have to worry about it failing and leaving me stranded somewhere.
Even $5000 is going to be able to buy you a far better used car.
This.

So, I do this for a living, and while I have to tell people this all the time, it doesn't make this any easier, especially when it's a friend. What you want is simply not a possibility within your budget. A $1600 car is worth $1600 for a reason. It will most likely need hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars worth of repairs within the first year. I don't think you can find anything reliable for that kind of money. A Civic, if you can find it, I would buy. A 4Runner I would also get - but expect that you'll need to put some cash into it.

A loan on a nicer car is a far better idea.

Not to say I'm going to try to convince you out of the $1600 one. . . just that you need to lower your expectations or raise your budget.

I can't recommend you reliable cars in this price range, but wagons/hatches good on fuel economy that are generally good cars would be some proteges, civics, mazda3s if you can find them..
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Old 08-12-2013, 10:46 PM
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Aleron Aleron is offline
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Well you saw what I just picked up for $1000 lol.

I can't say there isn't some truth to the idea that you "need" more money for a better car. But I tend to try to avoid car payments, so I end up with cars i can afford to buy in cash. The truth is with an older used car, you just don't know. My parents bought a "nice" used van off a lot with a loan as a second car and the engine went within a month. My mom's last car would have sold for around $4000 when it's engine went. You should be able to find something in your general price range this time if year, at least around here. Now Feb through May? Sometimes it's hard to even find a running car for under $2000, that seems to be the high point for car prices - even the crappiest, oldest cars end up going for too much.

If I was going for one of these, I'd be most interested in the Taurus I think since it sounds well cared for and has a newer engine. Unless rust is a major issue where you live. If it is, you need to be extra careful about the rust that you don't see but that can pretty much ruin your car. Especially on older cars. Do you have any car knowledgable people who can go look at cars with you?

In general, I'd avoid SUVs and mini vans if you're at all concerned about fuel economy. You can see what any given year of any car's average city/highway MPG is by googling the car with MPG.
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  #9  
Old 08-12-2013, 10:58 PM
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Hillside Hillside is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meepitsmeagan View Post
Jeep Cherokee sport/classic. The inline 6 is fantastic and run foreverrrr, they are super hardy and light. If you can find a clean one, you are in good shape. I've had both automatics and a manual. I'd get another manual in a heartbeat. Get decent milage (if you aren't lifted running 33's). Just an all around great vehicle. They made over 2 million, so parts are readily available. Look for rust in the rocker panels and the door corners.

The back lays down and you can fit a decent sized crate in there (probably a 32"), a bike, ect.

Yeah. Jeep it all the way. Lol.
I fit a 36 in crate sideways in the back of my Cherokee, no problem with the backseat up. With the seat down, I also fit a 30, but I never tried anything larger, pretty sure another 36 would fit.

Man do I miss that truck. ( Had to sell it when I got laid off a couple years ago. It was a 2000 and worth a decent amount.)

In general, I would go for a Jeep if you are in that price range, unless you can do what my friend Luke did and find a mid 90s subaru wagon for sale that was barely driven by a little old lady who just wanted to get rid of it. All Luke had to do was put wiper blades on and he paid 2000 bucks for that car. I was SO jealous.
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Old 08-12-2013, 11:52 PM
mfan mfan is offline
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I have a '99 Toyota 4Runner and a friend has a '98 4Runner. I love my car. You can fit two bigger crates (two 36s or a 42 in the back and a 36 sideways behind the front seats). I've never had any problems with it besides the normal tire change, oil changes, etc.

I don't get great mileage but it's decent enough for a car of that size. Right now, I get about 16-17MPG city, 20-21MPG highway.
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