Car Suggestions

Discussion in 'The Fire Hydrant' started by Saeleofu, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    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!
     
  2. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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  3. meepitsmeagan

    meepitsmeagan Meagan & The Cattle Dog Crew

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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.
     
  4. ruffiangirl

    ruffiangirl New Member

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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.
     
  5. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

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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...
     
  6. CharlieDog

    CharlieDog Rude and Not Ginger

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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.
     
  7. noludoru

    noludoru Bored Now.

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    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.

    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..
     
  8. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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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.
     
  9. Hillside

    Hillside Original Twin

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    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.
     
  10. mfan

    mfan New Member

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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.
     
  11. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    I'd be okay with this. It's better than what I get now, and at one point I was considering a conversion van, which gets MUCH worse than that. I can deal with this as long as the car freaking runs.


    I know and I'm SO JEALOUS lol. That's actually what prompted me to take a peek at CL today :rofl1:


    This helps. I mean, ALL of this helps, everything everyone's said, but...yeah ;) I can live with a sedan if it runs. Gavroche's isn't showing/trialing anymore except for lure coursing, and Logan can be put in a soft crate at shows, so crate space isn't absolutely mandatory, it would just be nice.


    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 :rolleyes: 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 :p


    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.


    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.) :(


    My older brother has a Jeep of some sort, and has had Jeeps in the past. I don't think he's had any trouble with this one, but I know the last one he had fuel pump issues. Don't know if that's common or not. I also don't know what kind of jeep it was.

    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.

    I could pour the $1600 into my current car, but I honestly don't think it would help much.

    What I REALLY want is a Honda CR-V or Element. But that's out of the question for $1600 :p


    Thanks everyone for all the input! I really do appreciate it, even the parts I don't want to hear ;)
     
  12. CharlieDog

    CharlieDog Rude and Not Ginger

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    Just so you know, I have seriously considered stuffing what I can into my Jeep and moving to CO. I have no qualms that it would totally make it there and be fine after a tune up to deal with the altitude.
     
  13. blue

    blue Jerk.

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    Jeep with the 4.0. 1999 or older Subaru with less then 200k miles. There is a Ford 4 banger that will do 300k+ but I dont remember what it is or what it came in.

    Cash for clunkers really FUBARed the used car market for cheap cars.
     
  14. xpaeanx

    xpaeanx Active Member

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    The overheating may not be as big of a problem as you think. When my ca was overheating it was just the connector that relays the message for the fan to kick on and off. It was a pretty cheap part too. And your wheel falling off followed by a horrible noise was your wheel bearing finally dying. For whatever reason I've had some cars that never need one and some cars that need multiple. It most likely has to do with quality of the beering to begin with mixed with driving style and environment(ie dusty area vs non-dusty). I wouldn't write a car off bc of a bearing problem though. The key is to fix these small things before they be one big things...or your tire falls off.

    If I was in your situation I would FIRST have my car evaled by a mechanic I trust and get a work estimate written up. Total amount that *must* be fixed and total that *should* be fixed. I'd make my decision after that.

    IME unless your frame is rusted you're usually better off sticking with the car you already have if you can't buy something in a much higher range. Ideally 6-8k+ but even a 4-5k car can be reliable enough.

    Both of my cars were flooded during Sandy, I ended up with whatever I could find that wasn't flooded and I could afford. Which meant I sadly over paid on my current car, it was probably only worth $1,000 and not the $2,000 I spent on it. But, the problems were all mechanical... From inside and out it looked like a really nice car. I have since spent over 1K in parts... Luckily I only pay parts cost.... If I had to pay labour and shop fees it would probably be closer to 3-4k in repairs. And on top of broken pieces, there are general things that always need to be replaced when you buy a used car(breaks, tires, timing belt, etc). So you'll need to sink that in right away.

    The SO and I have decided that when my tranny or engine blows up we'll just fix it. This is going to remain a dog car for the next 5 years(maybe more?) as long as the frame is intact. We fixed so much already it doesn't make sense to buy another used car and start over on repairs.

    So that was my long winded way of saying get your car really evaluated before you buy an unknown time bomb.... Even if they look nice on the outside they could have lots of mechanical problems underneath. With super cheap cars you tend to be better sticking with what you have and saving for a more expensive car down the road.
     
  15. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    This was on my Caliber - we made a wild guess that the lug nuts just somehow got loosened. I got it fixed on the go and still made it to the dog show, and drove it for several more months. Ultimately the alternator and the computer went out, and each would have been close to $2k to fix (alternator is a PAIN on a Caliber, ugh), so $4k to fix, and then it would still have had a lot of problems.

    The frame IS rusted. I'm afraid to jack it up anymore, really. I can't change the fuel filter, either, because of rust.

    The primary reason for overheating is that it's leaking coolant, likely from the intake manifold gasket, but possibly the head gasket. OR both. I've been trying to track down this coolant leak for a year, and so far everything I've fixed has only slightly improved it. It also has a misfire on the 3rd cylinder that leads me to believe it's likely the head gasket (plugs, wires, ignition coil, etc have already been tried). An a vacuum leak I can't get the right part for (apparently my car's not common enough to have a match readily found in a junk yard). It's got a lot of smaller issues, too, but those are the big ones. And since it's not exactly safe to jack up due to rust, it makes doing anything on it kind of tricky.
     
  16. Lizmo

    Lizmo Water Junkie

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    Just FYI, my dad has this car (same year even, I think) and it's not a car he drives beyond to work and home. He just doesn't trust it.

    My main point in posting was about the A/C bit. The heat doesn't work either. Actually, I think this is a problem many Taurus people have to deal with as a friend of ours who has a Taurus says their heat doesn't work either. Anyways, the reason he hasn't fixed it is because it is going to be very expensive to fix the heat because of where it was located. They are going to have to do alot of moving parts around to get to it.
     
  17. xpaeanx

    xpaeanx Active Member

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    If your frame is rusted the car is unsafe. The unfortunate part is that with any car in your price range you are pretty much guarenteed repair bills from the get-go.

    Something to keep in mind that has worked great for me numerous times are police auctions. Between myself, family and friends several decent cars have been bought for under $500. There are of course all prices, but I've always had luck with getting cheap ones and they compared mechanically to the 4-5k price range.

    Otherwise, Sandy took out my Taurus wagon but I LOVED that car. Space, comfort, and gas mileage... Plus parts were cheap.

    I like the older style Cherokees... But the 2 in the family had gremlins. But, it could have just been bc of their owners.... So idk. They didn't get great mpg as compared to a wagon... But the shape/space was awesome.
     
  18. joce

    joce Active Member

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    Wait for the right one. We look for people who have had fender benders and no cash to fix or are just desperate. Sounds bad but we have gotten some great cars.

    Husband had a couple older model nissans with over 300,000 on them. Couple civics and crxs to. He go hit with a giant Chevy diesel and was fine in one of the sentras.

    For super easy to fix and cheap beaters we go for zx2s now. People are fighting over the nissans and Hondas so cheaper to buy.

    Don't be afraid to look at higher priced and offer lower. We looked at trucks around ten thousand and got ours for 3500. Cash talks and so does rattling off how much each thing will cost to replace. And sometimes you just have to walk.

    Jeeps are good to but test on highway speeds to make sure no death rattle because it could be a million different things. I've heard bad things about the patriot.
     
  19. Red Chrome

    Red Chrome New Member

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    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.
     
  20. SpringerLover

    SpringerLover Active Member

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    My Toyota Corolla was over 10k when it was bought in 2005 (it's a 2003). I've put less than $1000 into it, and it should run for another ten years with me if I want it to.

    I'd buy something known to be reliable.
     

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