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Decided It's Time To Get A "Beater"...Used Car Shopping

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle, May 31, 2013.

  1. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    under the stars like a cowboy? :)
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  2. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I've nodded off on a horse while the horse was grazing but could never do it while underway.
  3. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Define "very bad". ;lol My C3500 (6 - 8MPG) is by far the worst MPG vehicle I've ever owned. And that's after 4 pickups and a 5.0L Mustang.
  4. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    How many miles/bale does a horse get?
  5. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

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    1/2 a bale a day.

    You're mileage is gonna vary, for sure :p
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  6. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    I'll give another vote for a used Honda or Toyota. Pretty much any small car by either company will go 200-300k without breaking a sweat. Have you heard about the guy with the million mile Accord?

    I am a big fan of Honda's personally. Growing up my parents drove a '77 Civic 4MT as the econo car... saved us many times the Chevy van we also had was broken down. Then my mom had a '85 Civic5MT... that went to abot 240k before we junked it. It was driven very hard (100 miles a day at one point) and poorly maintained but kept giong. Then she got a '95 Civic 5MT that would have hit 200+ but my sister wrecked it. And after that an '04 Civic auto. All of these got well over 30mpg.

    My own first car was an '82 Accord 5MT. That thing got almost 40mpg and I drove it from 140k to 190k but then it rusted out (Honda didn't start galvanizing their bodies until the 90s). After a brief stint with a Dodge I pickup up an '87 Accord hatchback 5MT for $500 and got another 50k out of that before selling it at 220+. That got over 30mpg. Next car was an Acura RSX 6MT, which is really just a fancy civic with better suspension and more power. Still going at 11 years old and 90k, even with 200hp I can average 31+ if I drive it conservatively.

    Looking at used Honda's be wary of any auto V6 from the first half of the 2000's (not likely what you want of course) - they had transmission problems. Other than that you should have an issue

    Toyota's wont steer you wrong either. My wifes '01 Corolla auto used to get 38mpg on road trips. When the kids came we sold it to my Dad to use as a beater car when he isn't driving the Chevy fullsize van work truck to job-sites.

    The only downside of Honda's and Toyota's is the resale value is very strong. As mentioned earlier an alternative is to pickup a late model Nissan Sentra. They can be had cheap, only thing you give up is a little bit of reliability compared to Toyota.

    If you want the absolute most mpg your dollar will buy a diesel VW might be the ticket. Only concern is that most folks I know who own VWs have at least one horror story about breakdowns and maintenance costs.
    firefighterjake likes this.
  7. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    You spoke of resale value earlier with some japanese options, well let me tell you, those diesel VWs hold their value better than any other option. They have a cult like following probably due to their amazing 50+mpg reputation. Their are more reasons than mpg to drive a diesel though and it's hard to explain until you drive one. The power delivery is more effortless. Unfortunately, VW has never been great at making cars.
    Joful likes this.
  8. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Ahem... (cough)

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  9. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I owned and loved a VW scirroco but like that bug, you needed to know how to turn a wrench.
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  10. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

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    Not sure what your experience was with VW but since the early 60's my entire family has had many different VWs both gas and diesel and all but 1 "lived" well over 200k miles (because it was in an accident beyond repair, not anything else) Diesel engines need a bit more care, fuel anti-gel and block warmers for us folks in colder climates but IMHO, VW,is pretty good at making cars. With ANY car, it's lifespan depends on the owners commitment to scheduled maintenance, that plays a HUGE part. My husband wants a kubelwagon, their WWII military model. Quite a few out there, we are just out of driveway ;)
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  11. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    Making a lot of cars doesn't mean you are good at making reliable cars which is what I think he was referring to. The bug was a simple easy to work on design but it could hardly be called reliable in comparison to a Corolla or Civic.
    Joful likes this.
  12. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    NOt intending to turn this into a German vs. Japanese vs. American reliability contest. My experience is only anecdotal not having owned them just I know a lot of folks that have been stranded by VWs and especailly Audis

    Ive seen the Mike Miller magic BMW maintenance schedule, but the reason why late model German cars continue to rank below average in all the reliability statistics are issues that no amount of fluid changes will fix- typically electrical - ignition coils, injectors, ecu problems, fuel pumps, etc. Think BMW 60k cooling system overhauls and all the HFPF problems when they all went to direct injection. Good buddy of mine drives and '06 A6 avant, he has been stranded with failed injectors or coils 3 times in as many years, and needs to fix his sunroof annualy. I also used to have a roomate with an S4 - water pump was an annual job on that thing. Other roomate drove an E26 M3 and had similar problems. In 10 years the only unscheduled job my Acura ever needed was a burned out secondary 02 sensor (knock on wood). It was fun to borrow those other 2 cars though ::-)

    Ive had this discussion with Joful before I think.. I love the styling and performance of German cars. If they would just ditch Bosch/Continental and start buying their electrical components from Nippondenso I would convert in a heartbeat :) In fact I know they can do reliability if they want to, Porsche manages to deliver the performance with Lexus like reliability. Their countrymen need to take notes.
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  13. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    The Germans have great initial quality but as you say, their long term reliability is pretty poor. Much poorer than most other makes out there in fact. I have a neighbor with a mid 2000's Mercedes S500 that he's had to have repaired several times now. It's been in the shop more times than the entire life of my last Corolla.

    That being said not everything Bosch did was bad. The Bosch solenoid fuel injection on the 1976 Volvo that was my first car was downright bulletproof. That car had 515k miles on the original engine with no rebuild and all the original fuel injection system except for the fuel pump.
  14. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Hope we didn't derail the thread too badly. I would love to have a VW diesel in my driveway, I love diesels that much and VW is the only option. Same diesel engine performance in a honda or toyota car would be much much better than the VW car.

    This also happened with the cummins turbo diesel in the 90s. People loved (still love) that cummins engine and many hated that they could only get it in a dodge truck.

    Looking for a used "beater" with the idea of saving money you would want to avoid a diesel engine. Old gas engines are quite reliable and cheaply maintained and fixed. Not so much on a diesel. Diesel engine repair is expensive.
  15. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    I know people who have purchased older diesel vehicles and just opted to put a new engine in the car. That's not a bad route to go.
  16. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Agreed, they have made some great cars, but they don't excel at making low maintenance cars. Some of the later models are ridiculously over-complex so getting a used one can set one up for lots of annoying failures of relays, connections, etc.. They're fun when they run right, but that can be a crap shoot on the later models. They are tightly engineered and require special fluids and good electricals to function correctly. Add my vote for getting a used Honda or Toyota. I have had good luck with Subaru and Nissan as well.

    Highbeam, Chevy is selling the Cruze with a diesel now if you are looking for an alternative. Mazda and Subaru diesels sound imminent.
  17. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I knew about teh cruz a while ago from an "upstairs" meeting at our chevy dealership. I think it is great news that these new cars are putting mpg as a high priority and using diesel, electric, turbos, direct injection gasoline, and combinations of all to get there.

    I'm just not a new car buyer.
  18. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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  19. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Regardless of what beater you buy (my preference is Toyota), my guide for purchase price for any vehicle is that the purchase price divided by $0.10 should be the minimum miles you will be able to drive it with only "normal" maintenance and gas for cost (other than insurance and registration). By normal maintenance I mean oil and filters, and as needed battery, tires, wiper blades and maybe a major scheduled maintenance IF the car is nearing 100,000 miles on it since the last scheduled maintenance. This means that if you spend $2000, you should be able to drive at least 20,000 miles with only the cost of gas, oil and filter changes (every 5000 miles for oil/filter for me, which I do myself).

    This has been my guide since the '80's and hasn't failed me yet. And is why I only buy used cars. As for Toyota, I buy Camry's, plenty of room comfortable, and 30+mpg. Our '05 bought used has 170,000 miles on it, looks new as it should, and get 33-34 mpg on the highway. Our '07 bought used has 125,000 miles on it, looks new as it should, and gets 34-35 mpg highway. We drive the Camry's to 250,000+ miles, and our '97 with 265,000 miles on it still sold for $1900.

    As for maintenance, I speak only for Toyota Camry's, since that has been my car since 1986: one major service at about every 100,000 miles and nothing else, other than oil/filter, tires, wiper blades, etc. Since '86 only one Camry had mechanical part failure while we owned it: the '97 had a rear wheel bearing failure and the water pump failed. I am sure there are other highly reliable vehicles out there, some having been mentioned by others.

    The $0.10/mile purchase price amortization pretty well rules out lots of new vehicles, but you aren't looking for new anyway. But 30+mpg should be the minimum you are looking for.
  20. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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  21. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Wow... you own one of those?
  22. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

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    You guys & gals keep talking... I'm to busy right w/ 7 + hours of over time a week...getting me closer to my goal ;)
  23. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

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    How about 1 of these??

    1991_chrysler_le-baron_convertible_gtc_fq_oem_1_500.jpg

    V-6, yes a convertible, and red :cool:, with 68,000 original miles. I took pics, will upload tomorrow (they are on my phone ).

    Kelly & Edmonds say between $1500 - $2500.... no asking price yet, but will be reasonable, I am sure. Belongs to the brother of the woman who owns the farm where Dixie & Matisse are.

    http://www.edmunds.com/chrysler/le-baron/1992/consumer-reviews.html
  24. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    A v6 K-car??


    I thought you where looking for good mileage and reliable...... .
    343amc likes this.
  25. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Price a replacement convertible top. <>

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