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  #21  
Old 08-13-2013, 11:26 AM
JessLough JessLough is online now
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Originally Posted by Red Chrome View Post
I find it ridiculous that people think a good car HAS to cost at least 4k. I can tell you, I've never paid over 2k for a car and they've always been reliable and decent looking. I have an 00 Ford expedition now that was 2500$. It has had more issues, the issues are all cosmetic, than my 98 Ford explorer that I paid 800$ for. Go to a tow yard auction and look. But don't let people get you thinking you have to have at least 4k to get a decent vehicle. They're wrong.
This. We've always paid $500-750 for our car, and they've lasted 6+ years, plenty of driving/distance, with very few fixes, other than general maintenance.

It really comes down to knowing the car was taken care of before you got it, and continuing the care.

ETA: so yah, I wouldn't be discouraged, though it can take some time to find the right car.
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  #22  
Old 08-13-2013, 11:45 AM
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The lug nuts probably did just come loose. It's not common, but it happens. There's really almost no chance it was the wheel bearing. That doesn't affect the wheel being held on at all. It'll sound obnoxious, but your wheel won't come flying off.

I feel like we've discussed your coolant leak endlessly (), but what does your oil look like? Is it brown, or milky and frothy and white? You can just pull the cap off and look at what's on the bottom of the cap.

My friend has one of these fabulous Jeeps everyone here is referring to. They really do last forever, so my vote goes there. I have a VW that everyone will swear up and down is unreliable, but mine was made in Germany, not Mexico, and has never given me any problems. Whatever you choose, I would ask about standard maintenance items. You don't have to automatically assume a need to replace brakes, tires, and timing belt. Checking the life of the pads, rotors, and tires is simple enough. My front pads and rotors were never replaced and I ran them for about 45k after I bought the car. The pads are still beefy. Timing belt I didn't do, but I don't have one, lol. I haven't done my chains, but I'm about to hit 200k and they're not noisy at all. If the person says the belt was done, I'd ask for a receipt as proof. Timing belt isn't something I'd trust on a higher mileage car.
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  #23  
Old 08-13-2013, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by JessLough View Post
It really comes down to knowing the car was taken care of before you got it, and continuing the care.
This this this! My parents said I was stupid for buying a car with 145k on it, but guess what... It's been perfect. It was owned by a VW tech who loved his car and had receipts. I even have the window sticker, lol. And it's an extremely rare color that I just HAD TO HAVE.
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  #24  
Old 08-13-2013, 12:25 PM
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If you could put the tire back on it's just the lug nuts. If it's the bearing the whole **** thing breaks. I had one come off a boat trailer and on current car I kept pushing the bearing repair off until it turned into a horrendous noise an 2 inches of play in my tire so it was flopping around while driving. That was a good time. I fixed it as soon as it seized and gave play though so luckily only the bearing needed to be fixed. Maybe I'm just the unlucky one everyone talks about. :P

IF you can get a car that was maintained your in good shape. In my old town there was a Volvo with 1 mil miles on the original engine.... He was maintenance crazy though... Like to the extreme. Most people now though treat cars like they're disposable razors. I know a few people who didn't even know cars had fuel filters until they were clogged and the car was driving funny. Seriously. These are the main reasons buying a high mileage older car is a gamble.

Also, if you have the ability/know how to evaluate a used car and fix problems as they pop up buying a cheap/high mileage car is really nothing. If not, I always think you're better off a newer, lower mileage car and ensuring you keep it maintained so that it will last. We always get cars up to/over 300k.... But we have the ability to fix a lot without paying shop fees.
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  #25  
Old 08-13-2013, 01:56 PM
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An upper 90s saturn, they come in wagon form too.

Mine is an SW1. I bought her for $2000 cash, with 75K miles on her. She is THE BEST CAR IN THE WORLD.

She gets 30 MPG in the city. On the freeway I've gotten a range from 35-45mpg. It seems to depend on the quality of gas and how much of a leadfoot I am. She likes Chevron and Safeway brands the best.

I've only had to do one major repair on her. She's a manual transmission and something in the linkage came apart. I opted to get an entirely new transmission + new clutch since things were getting worn anyway. It only cost me $1200 for labor AND parts. <3

Other than that, absolutely zero problems with her. She's compact but has tons of space for kids and dogs. I regularly transport two borzois and two children strapped into bulky child seats in mine. Squeezing in a third isn't a big deal either. If I'm dog sitting Bella she just squishes between the kids in the back seat, lol.

This car is seriously never allowed to die.

ETA: This isn't her, but it's her exact twin. You can see the awesomness. She has over 170K on her engine now, and I wouldn't hesitate to drive her to Tennesee and back. I'd buy roadside assistance first, but still.

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  #26  
Old 08-13-2013, 04:21 PM
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My new $1000 find...


It's ok to laugh...it's funny!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saeleofu View Post

My little brother is going with me, but...I had to retrain him from buying a Sunfire with a blown headgasket last year because OMG IT HAS A TURBO AND IT'S A CONVERETABLE And then he drove his own $500 Sunfire to death after the thermostat failed - it overheated and he just kept driving until he blew the head gasket. And then drove some more. So...depends on your definition of knowledgeable
LOL well...I guess having another set of eyes doesn't hurt. Really, you sound pretty knowledgeable anyway, I think you know what to look for as much as any non-professional car person does.


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Originally Posted by Saeleofu View Post

I'm really eyeing that Taurus. I used to have a Taurus sedan and I LOVED that thing. And then some asshole ran a red light and killed it My brother's girlfriend has a Taurus sedan and it runs well too, and it's late-90s. But I also had a Sable (Mercury's taurus) and it was a piece of junk and I WAY overpaid for it. I emailed the guy about the Taurus and he said "nothing major except a/c doesn't work, should be able to drive anywhere." Of course I know people can hype up their cars, but I think it may be worth a look. A/C doesn't matter much longer at the moment, so I can save up to have it fixed. Or get it fixed with my excess financial aid.
Yeah the AC thing...it's pretty hard, at least around here to find cheap, old cars with functional AC unless the owner has had it fixed at some point. No AC is usually a given when looking for under $2000 cars and definitely in no way means something else major is wrong with the car. Sometimes all they need is charged, which is a fairly easy fix. But if they need a new compressor or other new parts, it can get pretty pricey to repair. This wagon is the first car I have had in forever with functioning AC but the heat has worked just fine in all of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saeleofu View Post
A loan is pretty much out at this point. My credit is shot...as in, planning to file for bankruptcy shot. And then my stupid Caliber was a voluntary repossession, but a repossession all the same. I've also had AWFUL luck with car loans. My first car loan, for my Taurus, it was totaled after 6 months and I was out several thousand dollars because I didn't have gap insurance. My second one was for my Sable, and that car lasted a year and then died, so then I got the remainder of that loan put on my Caliber loan. My Caliber was awesome for 2 year, and started to go downhill the third year. And then by the end of the third year it was also dead dead dead without putting several thousand dollars I didn't have into it (hence the voluntary repossession). I still owe a few thousand on my Caliber, so technically I am still making car payments. On a car I don't have anymore. My Caliber was only 5 years old. My Taurus was 2 years old. My Sable was I think a 2001, so it was only 6 years old. And that's sort of why I want an older car. New ones have been shitty in my experience (except my Taurus. I LOVED MY TAURUS. WHY DID YOU SQUASH IT YOU STUPID BITCH. I'm still not over it.)
UGH! This is one reason I always balk at getting a car loan. There's something to be said for not buying things you can't actually afford for sure. The car I had a loan for really didn't last any longer than the cars I got cheaper because the frame broke. Rust is a huge issue here and was the ultimately the reason my beloved 1994 z24 has to go. It had 197k on it and still ran fine but Jeff didn't know how many more times he could jack it up. Was very sad to see that car go, my parents bought it "nearly new" with 1,700 miles on it in 94, I learned to drive in it. And still remember taking a 400 sized crate to the dealer, just to be sure it would fit in the backseat LOL. My parents have a $2500 used Cavalier now that runs good but the frame is rusting. Their 2003 van that only has 50,000 miles on it is starting to suffer from rust too. Ohio winters are just really, really hard on cars.

So I have had...

$3000 89 Camaro RS, my first car and only loan car. I drove it for 5+ years but it got a new transmission at some point in there. Frame broke, can't remember the mileage 150ish?

$1200 91 5 speed Cavalier that lasted me 5+ years but had to have a new clutch during it's time with me. Pretty rough body and such a base model it didn't even have a rear defogger but I drove that car all over. I killed it by accidentally running over landscaping rocks and breaking the flywheel. It was a $400 repair but by that point the rust was so bad that it wasn't worth fixing. It must have also had around $150ish.

94 Cavalier z24 mentioned above which was free to me and the best car ever. RIP Blue Car.

$250 97 Lumina that was in decent shape and very reliable. My friend sold it to me for scrap price because she had 4 cars and didn't want to get a battery for it or try to sell it through the papers, so she was going to have the junk man take it. I drove it 2+ years and a rod went bad in the engine. Ended up selling it with a bad engine for more than a bought it for. 170ish miles. So that's what...1 month's car payment for 2 years of driving?

$300 91 Caravan originally came from the same friend the Lumina came from. Another friend bought this off of her for $600 around the same time and drove it for a few years. It's gas tank fell off and scared her, so she didn't want to drive it any more LOL. It only had 120k something but having always been in OH it certainly had some rust issues by time I got it. Too bad, I liked it - smaller and better on gas than modern mini vans. I sold it for around $300 when I got another car so probably only had it 6 months or so.

$850 97 Cavalier...the dreaded Gold Car. Bought this car when car prices were high. It ran ok but OMG was it a bad looking and poorly cared for car LOL. Someone had decided to spray paint it gold, after scratching it all up with sandpaper. If that wasn't bad enough, they put Walmart tribal decals on all over it. It's radio only worked sometimes...then not at all. It's turn signal to go left was manual. It was...beat up. Looked like a teenage boy's car. But it did run and all we ever put into it was a couple new gas lines, a "new" used tire and patched the gas tank, so I shouldn't complain I guess. When the engine went on my parent's "nice, good, reliable" Stratus that they had just paid off after 5 years, my dad drove it all winter to and from work. Sold it after we had it a little over a year for $600 just because I didn't like driving it - it really needed to be with a teenage boy LOL. I don't remember the mileage but I want to say around 130k.

$750 Grand Caravan has a rough body but very solid frame and under body (was a FL car originally). Bought it off of a friend who was a mechanic, so mechanically it was well cared for. It's been pretty good and reliable, expect for some coolant leaks which I had to have repaired. Have had it for a year and a half maybe. Not currently running, needs a new ignition switch. I definitely see why people like these vans so well, it's got a lot of cool features that my other vehicles didn't and it's really comfy. But it's probably going once we get the ignition switch fixed since the wagon gets better MPG and there's always a decent market for running mini vans around here and I can probably get more than I paid for it. Around 188k right now.

So that's it...my car history LOL. I have spent under $8000 in my entire driving life (14 years) purchasing vehicles.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Saeleofu View Post
It might also be worth mentioning my standards for "Can drive to dog shows" are probably lower than average. I mean, my Caliber had a freaking wheel FALL OFF on the way to a dog show, and I had a bad feeling the whole time that something was going to happen because it was making bad noises. But I still went. I do have roadside assistance that guarantees me a tow home if worst comes to worst, and my brother would come rescue my sorry ass out of Nowhere, OK if I needed it. I mean, it would be very nice if I could stuff everything I own in my car and drive to the west coast when I move, but I know in reality that won't happen (I wouldn't even have trusted my Caliber for that). But...driving 30 minutes to the stable without overheating would be lovely.
This made me LOL! Yeah different people definitely have different ummm...minimum requirements from their cars. Also the things I have had happen with vehicles going to dog shows. My mom's Transport died...like died for good on the way to a show. It started overheating and because we were "almost there" she didn't want to stop and it blew a head gasket. My friend's Caravan decided that it's front heater wasn't going to work on the way to a show that was 3 hours from home in the middle of a huge snow storm. We drove for over 2 hours through the snow storm with me kneeling between the seats wiping the frost off the inside of the windshield. She finally couldn't take the stress of driving in such bad conditions with no heat or defroster and we stopped at a hotel thinking we must be most of the way there. Turns out...we were about a 40 minute regular drive from where we started. Heater worked just fine in the morning and though it was a close call, we got to the show in time for me to get into the ring...and finish Loki!
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  #27  
Old 08-13-2013, 11:14 PM
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noludoru noludoru is offline
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Aleron, I am creepily attracted to your new CL find.

I want a wagon with wood trim.
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And it's a turbo so it gets good mileage.
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  #28  
Old 08-13-2013, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Red Chrome View Post
I find it ridiculous that people think a good car HAS to cost at least 4k. I can tell you, I've never paid over 2k for a car and they've always been reliable and decent looking. I have an 00 Ford expedition now that was 2500$. It has had more issues, the issues are all cosmetic, than my 98 Ford explorer that I paid 800$ for. Go to a tow yard auction and look. But don't let people get you thinking you have to have at least 4k to get a decent vehicle. They're wrong.
Do you buy and sell cars for a living? Do you work in a shop? Do you get to see the carfaxes and service records of hundreds of cars on a regular basis? I find your attitude offensive.

I'm not saying it's impossible to get a decent car for less than $2k, but I will stand by my assertion that wanting a car with good fuel economy that's in good condition that's reliable is very unlikely in this price range. It depends on the market you're in, as well. But once you're at the point of 100-150k+ miles you're looking at cars with questionable service histories and major routine maintenance that needs to be done. You're looking at wear items that need replacing and the occasional part here or there that's going. You're often looking for new suspension components and usually tires, too - most people wont sell you a $1000 car with $400-800 worth of nice new tires on it for $1000.

We send all the cars through the shop and the techs give us their laundry list of concerns. . . even on a $4,000 car you'd be surprised at the amount of work that gets done.

You don't need a loan or $4k to get a decent (or even nice!) car or truck. But you need to have expectations in line with reality or you need to get lucky.

Now that Sael's explained her definition of reliable, I think she has reasonable expectations and I think there's a lot of options out there that would fit the bill. It's hard to look for a specific model when you're in a specific price range, though, so my advice would be to keep looking at CL and posting individual cars on there for our opinions. I <3 looking st CL cars.

Sael - if you get to the point of buying and want a carfax done, shoot me a call. They don't tell you everything but they can be helpful.
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And it's a turbo so it gets good mileage.
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  #29  
Old 08-13-2013, 11:51 PM
Saeleofu Saeleofu is offline
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Sael - if you get to the point of buying and want a carfax done, shoot me a call. They don't tell you everything but they can be helpful.
Thanks Nolu! I may take you up on that offer.

Sadly, the Taurus wagon was sold today while I was at work But I'm sure something else will come along.

I've been eyeing some Volvo wagons, specifically V70s. Anyone familiar with those?

My brother wants me to get this one http://wichita.craigslist.org/cto/3984764781.html I don't want to take it on with the issues it lists. I really do want at least ONE working window I have two working windows in my Intrigue lol.

I'm really liking this one. I just wish it was up here NEXT month when I get my refund instead of now :/ At least they seem to be pretty common? http://wichita.craigslist.org/cto/3974147748.html

I really wish this was a tenth of the asking price http://wichita.craigslist.org/cto/3989801783.html


I wish this wasn't 3 hours away. Why is it showing in the Wichita CL? Ugh. http://tulsa.craigslist.org/cto/3936177628.html
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  #30  
Old 08-14-2013, 12:01 AM
Saeleofu Saeleofu is offline
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I feel like we've discussed your coolant leak endlessly (), but what does your oil look like? Is it brown, or milky and frothy and white? You can just pull the cap off and look at what's on the bottom of the cap.
I didn't get a chance to check today and now it's dark, so I'll check tomorrow. But last time I looked at it...it was't promising. The cap had some stuff on it that I can only describe as soft margarine. Yellowish and sort of milky. The oil inside didn't look like that, but obviously it had to come from SOMEWHERE.

I changed the oil when I first got it and it was gross gloppy muddy crap. I got the oil changed 2 months ago (too lazy to do it myself when doing it myself only saves me $2), and they couldn't change it the first time I went in because it was too thick. It WAS overdue, but not so overdue that it should have been like that. The guys at the shop said it looked like 50,000 mile oil - they actually said they had a car come in at 50,000 for an oil change and it wasn't even as thick as mine. It was at maybe 5,000 miles when I got it changed.
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