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Need car buying help and advice with very low budget

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Groovecenter, Aug 16, 2007.

  1. Hi fellow bassplayers,

    go to school in Buffalo, NY, and moved somewhere where I'm going to end up needing a car. My price limit is $2000, though I'd prefer to spend less as I'm already borrowing money from my dad to make this purchase.

    I have no grand ideas about getting some awesome ride, I know that whatever I get will have a lot of miles and very little in the way of amenities. I don't care about that, but what I do care about is reliability. There's no point in me buying a cheap car only to have to throw another 500-1000 into it to get it working, or to keep it working.

    Basically, I'm just looking for general advice. So far I've gotten the idea, from reading car forums and such, that an older toyota corolla or honda civic would be my best bet in terms of reliability and lack of issues.

    I'm also looking for a manual, as I prefer the feel of it, even though I'm not particularly experienced driving them.

    If anyone has any experience buying or selling cheaper cars, what did you do?
  2. Fontaine


    Apr 27, 2006
    used hyundai

    or mitsubishi, those things last forever.
  3. Mike Money

    Mike Money In Memoriam

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    the civic or corrolla is a great way to go...

    also, if you aren't too worried about passengers, you could get a little 4x2 toyota pickup in that price range.

    more gear space.... and they dont break. ive tried.
  4. I have bought at least 20 cars for less than $2000. Look for someone that just had their car wrecked. If it is older, then it won't take much damage for the insurance company to call it a total loss. At that point you could give the owner $x to buy the car back from the company. I bought an 89 civic with low mileage for $150 dollars that way. All I had to do was take off the bent parts, hammer them straight, then reinstall. I got 50,000 miles out of that car before I sold it for $300.

    I would also look for 70-83 model 4 cylinder anything. An early eighties Nissan pickup will have the most simple carburetor and ignition. You can work on it yourself, and parts are cheap. I bought an 85 Nissan pickup that had an electronically controlled carb that wasn't working, the replacement parts would have cost $800. I bought a $300 Weber carb, and it has worked great ever since.
  5. Thanks for the advice guys, keep it coming.
  6. I'll second the Corolla, Civic statement.
    Both are cheap, good on gas, and known for reliability.

    I would be careful buying wrecks unless you know exactly what you are looking at. That goes double for cars that have been totaled by an insurance company. You can get these cars at a considerable discount, but you really will only save a lot if you can do the work yourself, not to mention in most cases you are talking about some down time before you can drive it. Totaled cars also require you to document the work in order to apply for a new title. May not be that way in every state though.

    Just get the best car you can with that $2000.00. Also keep in mind it will cost a few bucks to register and insure it, so keep a percentage of the 2G's aside if you have to.
  7. Visirale


    Mar 23, 2003
    Do you need to carry stuff at all?

    You could get a motorcycle in that range... a used ninja 250 will be there... and get you 70 mpg...
  8. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York

    Out of curiosity, how much road salt do they use in Arkansas? Here in western NY, cars as old as you've mentioned are all pretty much rotten out and in the junkyards.

    To the OP- pay close attention to undercarriage condition on anything you're looking at in the $2000 range. Look closely at frame/floorboard condition, and the fuel/brake lines and fuel tank.
  9. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    Unlike Orlando, it snows in NY.

    Motorcycles are useless in the winter.
  10. Visirale


    Mar 23, 2003
    What's snow?
  11. Hate to say it, but in that price range, you're asking alot of reliability. Sure, you could go foreign and four cylinder, but there's no guarantee on the longevity of that engine, especially high-mileage-wise...they don't last forever...

    But if you found a great sunday-driver grannymobile in that segment, consider yourself lucky....but realise you'll have to drive it like a grandma, or you could kill it quick.

    Good luck on the hunt man. I'd say civic or corolla by default, but still have someone look at it...it's worth the 60 or so bucks.
  12. Any car with a GM 3800 series V6, those motors last FOREVER

    my Monte Carlo has about 80k on it and the motors typically last about 300k if they're maintained properly.
  13. Go to the local retirement homes and check the noteboards. Many of the residents will want to get rid of the older cars that they have had forever, but put very little milage on. If you can stand driving an old ladies car you will probably have the most reliable ride in your price range.

    Stay away from older Chrysler prducts. They have great motors and transmissions, but the suspensions will put you in the poorhouse.
  14. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    The plastic upper intake manifolds don't last. That's the only weak link on the 3800.
  15. toytech


    Mar 22, 2004
    San Leandro
    a corolla wagon, you can fit your gear in it and it will usually last until you can't stand to look at it anymore ;)
  16. kserg


    Feb 20, 2004
    San Jose, CA
    late late 80's/early 90's/90's Nissan/Honda/Toyota... In 99 I got my 88 Nissan 200SX for $800 it served me 4+ years with no problems what-so-ever. And that's while pushing the engine to 7500rpm and shifting with out clutch on daily bases... on hourly bases, hell, every time i take off. I had fun in that car and still got 30mpg, it lasted me for 4+ years and finally I had made a mistake of giving it to charity because steering was licking from start, few other problems would have cost me around $700 to fix it. Besides brakes, oil change, maintness and 1 o2 censor I didn't do anything to that thing in all those years... So I made that mistake, then looked around for BMW 535i for a while, then went with a jeep because I do a lot of off-roading... :D

    Oh, and slap the man who said Hyundai, Mitsubishi and who ever wants to say Mazda.

    Or just get a Jeep... 4x4 FTW in snow...

    Oh OH!! Also since you live in snow country, look around for mid 90's Subaru... 4x4 AWD comes in handy...
  17. kserg


    Feb 20, 2004
    San Jose, CA
    Not the 88-92ish... Those last pretty good... You are talking about 95+ right?
  18. Jiggybass


    Nov 15, 2005
    Sudbury, Canada
    Hyundai Accent. Great gas milage, pretty reliable, and CHEAP!
  19. Rarely does it snow enough for salt, some years they don't even salt. My 85 pickup is rust free, I had a 68 Chevy that was rust free. The worst rust around here will be a little around the wheel wells.
  20. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Late 80's Mazda 626 or 323 would be a good choice.

    Look what I found on your local CL....

    95 Camry
    87 4-Runner
    94 Civic
    91 Civic

    Those Honda's are way under your budget, so you would have a little cash left over to make some improvements to if needed.


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