Which used car to get for $8k or below?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by MickeS, Feb 19, 2004.

  1. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    I don't frequent any car forums, so I'll ask here. [​IMG]

    I need to buy a second car, the budget is set around $8k or lower (preferrably lower, of course [​IMG]). What should I get?

    What is best, going with a newer "low-end" car or an older more luxurious one? I'm thinking older and bigger, I've been looking at Lexus LS400 from early to mid 90's (around $7k), and also Volvo 850 from 95-97, and they run about $6k - $7k.

    These are private party prices. Is there an advantage to buying a used car from a dealer? They cost quite a bit more.

    Any other tips? What newer cars with less MSRP originally can you guys recommend, preferrably midsize or large? No SUVs or pickups, just regular sedans or station wagons.

    Thanks. [​IMG]
     
  2. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    A three year old Chevy Prism (Toyota Corolla) goes for around $9k from a dealer. Private party may be in your $8k range. Not as flashy as the cars you're looking at, but should be very reliable and have minimal maintainance costs.

    That's what my roommate did last year, and so far it's been a good decision.
     
  3. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    I bought a 96' Mitsubishi mirage with under 30,000 miles on it for $4000 from a private seller two years ago.


    Still haven't had a problem with it [​IMG]
     
  4. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    I actually made a mistake in my original post, asking for tips on newer "smaller" cars. What I meant was newer "lower end" models versus older more luxurious cars. I would like it to be at least a midsize car.

    I gotta say though that the prices on the two cars you guys mentioned are pretty damn tempting, and they look pretty good... I might be tempted to go for a smaller car after all. Gah, I hate this. [​IMG]
     
  5. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    Nissan Maximas have horrible resale value, I've taken advantage of this with my past 2 cars. [​IMG] Lexus is a good choice too.
     
  6. Bryan_K

    Bryan_K Stunt Coordinator

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    The risk of buying from a private seller is that he/she is most likely selling the car because it has some expensive repairs that they don't want to deal with.

    Buying from a dealer is safer. You'll pay more for the product, but you'll have the peace of mind to know that the car has been checked out & adjusted for price.


    Private sellers have NO risk involved selling a lemon. They are more likely to rip off the buyer.

    Evin better. Buy certified
     
  7. Chuck C

    Chuck C Cinematographer

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    96 or 97 eldorado (make sure you get the ETC, 300hp, close gear ratio) [​IMG]
     
  8. DaveGTP

    DaveGTP Cinematographer

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    HA HAH AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA


    Sorry.


    My certified used vehicle's brakes stopped working 3 days after I bought the car. Turns out the brake calipers (I think, it's been a few years) fell off since there were some loose bolts. Car suddenly had no brakes. No warranty. Car was "certified" with "100 point inspection". Suuuuuuuuure. Dealer wouldn't do anything. Brake rotors and pads were ruined. I worked around dealers enough (at an auto auction) to know how quickly the cars go onto the lot.


    Buy a used car from a private seller after paying a mechanic a hundred bucks or so to do a thorough inspection. Know the car you are buying - is it reliable? Problem prone? (Like my POS car mentioned above which broke more often than I could give it an oil change). More specifically, how reliable are the engine and transmission? If you buy a reliable vehicle you shouldn't have to worry too much about big $$ repairs.

    If the seller won't let you take it to be inspected, don't buy it. Take the couple of thousand dollars you saved over dealer prices and keep it for repairs if you are really that worried.
     
  9. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    in the 8k range you should be able to find a 98 or 99 nissan altima private party with low miles. I sold my 98 with 45k a bit ago for 7 I think. Drove it for 5 years completely trouble free.
    You could also look at a newer sentra, if that's not to small, or an accord in the same vintage or slightly older than the altima.
     
  10. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Are you a good auto technician capable of diagnosing and repairing complicated luxury features like electroluminescent instrument displays, air suspensions, memory power seats, and automatic climate controls?

    If not, spend your 8k on a newer, lower mileage, simpler mass market midrange Japanese import rather than an older higher mileage luxury brand.

    All the gadgets that make that luxomobile so appealing are horrendously expensive to repair and tend to need repairs when the vehicle is old enough or high mileage enough to get down to your price range.

    On the other hand, a more prosaic Camry, Accord, or Nissan Altima in that price range will be newer, lower mileage, not laden with expensive to fix toys, and still offer quiet smooth and reliable transportation.

    I'm especially fond of late 90s to 01 Altimas--they handle better than Camrys or Accords and have gutsy engines with timing chains instead of belts. I think of them as a poor man's BMW 3-series with superior reliability and low maintenance costs. The Maxima is also a great choice.

    I work in a Toyota dealer service department and see lots of folks get suckered into older luxo cars with troublesome gadgets that cost a mint to fix--don't do it!

    Although this isn't your scenario exactly it breaks my heart when some young kid works his ass off in some entry level job, saves up 4k or so, and buys a late-80s Supra with 160k miles and an iffy headgasket, leaky power steering rack, inop AC, etc. instead of a mid-90s Corolla with maybe 60k and nothing wrong or likely to go wrong.
     
  11. Shoaib Lateef

    Shoaib Lateef Second Unit

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    i've always fancied the '77 Pinto myself, preferably in a nice shade of pea green...

    you know the one...the model where the car implodes when hitting anything more than a pinecone going more than 20 mph...

    can't go wrong [​IMG]
     
  12. Henry Carmona

    Henry Carmona Screenwriter

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    Nissan Maxima!

    Classy, Stylish, and performance!

    You can get, say, a 1997 Maxima SE auto with about 80k-85k miles on it for $8000.


    What i paid for mine [​IMG] Leather & Power everything [​IMG]
     
  13. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    Steve, let me introduce you to my 87 RX7 turbo project car.
    Oh wait, I can't because the engine is in parts on my garage floor being rebuilt [​IMG]

    as a previous altima owner, I think it goes a little far to compare it to a 3 series. But it was a good car. The KA24 is a very solid engine. Aside from leaking valve cover seals [​IMG]
    Should be able to find a 98-99, the first years of the newer body style, in 2k and 2k1 they tweaked the car slightly. 2k2 redesign.
     
  14. Bryan_K

    Bryan_K Stunt Coordinator

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    Know what ... Thats your story & the story about how BAD the dealership you bought from was.

    I just Laugh when i read about people who say this or that is junk/a bad idea just because they got screwed on there deal. Everyones experience is different.

    I've ALWAYS bought used & i've always had good luck. Would never buy from a private owner . Have witnessed friends getting screwed with costly repairs on there " good deal". As the saying goes "you get what you pay for"

    Just to let you know. I've NEVER bought certified. It just sounds good for the people who arnt up on automobiles.
     
  15. Bryan_K

    Bryan_K Stunt Coordinator

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    A couple thousand dollars? Must be expencive where you live. Eather that or you are looking at 40k cars to begin with. [​IMG]
     
  16. DaveGTP

    DaveGTP Cinematographer

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    Price a car from private owners. Then price the same model/miles from dealers. You'll see a big difference. A high price from a private owner = low price from a dealer. Sometimes they'll cross, but realistically, the dealer prices are higher. If you can get the same price from a dealer, by all means, go ahead. If you have a dealer you trust, as in, personally know, then sure. Otherwise, why?
    Perhaps there is more price erosion in the middle ranges, but in general, private sellers are cheaper.

    Example: A car I could get for $1800-$2500 would probably be $2495-$3495 at a dealer. That doesn't mean I couldn't find a similiar car at a dealer, but, odds are, private owners are probably cheaper given some shopping around.


    My story of my "certified" used vehicle is just an example. I'm not a believer in anecdotal evidence (I know my story was anecdotal). It's just to make a point. I'm just saying that certified is by no means a reliable guarantee - in fact, it doesn't really guarantee anything. If anything, the "certified" price premium would be better spent on a warranty than the promiseless certification.


    The money is better spent on an INDEPENDENT mechanic's investigation of the car after you have found whatever vehicle you want, at what price you want. A dealer isn't necessarily bound by the truth - or, they don't want to know the truth or look too closely. Think of the Bose salesmen at those Bose boutique stores in the mall. Do they look closely into the products they are selling?


    Someone you hire to check out the car is going to be much more trustworthy than someone who has something to gain (the dealer).

    Whatever you do, you should always have a trustworthy mechanic check out the vehicle. Odds are, you probably know one, after an experience with an UNtrustworthy dealer. [​IMG]
     
  17. Cary_H

    Cary_H Second Unit

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    Here's the deal.
    Determine first what sort of vehicle meets your needs.
    Next, educate yourself as to what specific models and their ages fall in your price range. Rule out the ones that don't interest you, along with the ones in the group with anything less than decent histories of reliabilty for the ones of those model years. Get your list down to just one, two tops.
    Learn everything around the weaknesses of your choice to look out for. Now pound the classified ads and the pavement. See everything out there 'til you become an expert on exactly what's worth what, what's junk, and what's good.
    You'll eventually cross paths with one that'll jump out at you as one worth springing for, and it's worth right down to well within a hundred dollars.
    The kiss of death is putting yourself under time constraints or pressure to make the buy and going out there uneducated.

    As an aside, I can't imagine any better market than Arizona to find good used cars.
     
  18. ChrisMatson

    ChrisMatson Cinematographer

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    Question: Why $8,000?
    Are you planning on spending all of your money in one lump sum? There are some great financing deals out there on new or certified cars that may offer you an affordable monthly payment.

    In other words, how much can you afford to pay each month and how is your credit?
     
  19. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    Thanks for the tips and recommendations, guys!

    Steve Schaffer, you make a good point about the luxury car features. I've seen many online complaints about problems with smaller "convenience features" in luxury cars, so that's definitely something I'm considering now.

    Cary_H, that seems like sound advice. It's pretty much what I'm trying to do right now, but I think I've still got a ways to go before I can narrow the field down enough to go out and look. In fact, I've widened the field, since I think I sort of started off in the wrong end (deciding not what I wanted from the car, but what car I wanted).

    ChrisMatson, my credit is fine and I could probably buy a new or fairly new car, I just really don't want to spend a lot of money on a car. Having a car (well, a second car in this case, since we already have one) is more of a "necessary evil" to me [​IMG].

    /Mike
     
  20. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    No kidding. I bought a 17 year old car in new mexico recently and the thing has zero rust, even under the dash where the untreated metal usually rusts a little, or under the hood, none.
     

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