It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


The Broke American's Quest for the Holy Grail: A GOOD USED CAR

page: 1

log in


posted on Oct, 19 2012 @ 10:44 AM
Help, team ATS!

I have $5,000 and I need a car. One that does not need major work, that has had routine things done like timing belt, and other necessary updates; doesn't leave a pool of noxious fluid wherever it stops, nor leak the stuff as it moves...

hasn't been wrecked, stolen, chopped, body-shopped, flooded, or allowed to rust out, that gets around in snow/ice AND has good A/C for summer (I live where people die of heat in the summer and die of cold in the winter EVERY YEAR)

Any advice?

I'm thinking:
Toyota (obvi)
Honda (only if it's had the timing belt replaced, else the engine gets ruined)
even....*grimace* Kia (despite those insipid rat-mascot stupid ads they come up with)....

of American brands, I'd choose Dodge, Jeep ANY DAY over Chevy or Jeep or Ford (been there done those, no thanks).

one that is at least from this century, and has it's ORIGINAL engine.

I know how to drive a stick-shift (no problem), I'm not 9 feet tall and I don't weigh 500 pounds. I'm not disabled, either. I need a backseat, but a coupe is my preference, and that it not be "road colored", or "fog-colored" or "beige" *gags*, or look like a blue-hair's ride.

I just want a decent, reliable used car that has some pep and personality for $5000, that will last for another 200k miles or so. Any recommendations for or against anything in particular?

My last car was an '89 Honda Prelude that finally died a timing-belt death in July (it was 105F that day, too!); now here comes the cold season...

posted on Oct, 19 2012 @ 10:48 AM
reply to post by wildtimes

15yo VW golf, will last forever if looked after and hold its value.

posted on Oct, 19 2012 @ 11:12 AM
reply to post by wildtimes

Your best bet would be a toyota most likely, even though they always have rust issues. On basically any modern motor your gonna wanna inspect an replace the timing belt before it breaks, as modern motors are of the interference variety, where the valves come down below where the piston tops out at, so a broken timing belt = bent valves at least, and a broken piston head a lot of the time. So buyer beware, unless they have had it replaced before it got broken.

Toyota makes a superior product, which is why they are number 1 in the world in sales. For $5,000 your gonna be able to find a good car, try craigs list, as any dealer or car lot is gonna want top doollar for substandard products.

If yoou live in a city, try the local or personnals adds. If in the country, take a ride around the local roads, you will see plenty of cars in someones front yard for sale, stop and check a few out.

Hope thbis helps OP good luck!

posted on Oct, 19 2012 @ 11:35 AM
I have a 2003 Pontiac Vibe. I've kept it up with regular maintenance (new tires, belts, spark plugs, brakes, shocks, etc...) at the recommended times or as needed. It's never left me stranded on the side of the road. *knock on wood* (I'm about to do a lot of cross country driving in it.) I bought it with just over 14,000 miles on it in 2005. I'm the second owner. It has about 187,000 miles on it now, though I've only put on about 1,500 this year. We bought a fully loaded 2012 Jeep Liberty and that is just nicer to drive.

It's actually a rebranded Toyota Matrix. The engine even still says Toyota on it! It's always gotten about 28 mpg highway and 17-19 mpg city. It has a cargo skid in the back and along the back seats, which fold back 60/40. The heat has always been great, though I finally had to recharge the air last year and it's back to ice cold. It's great for hauling things around. I pick up about 800 pounds of feed in it every two weeks and it handles that like a champ. The front seat also folds down, but not flush with the back. I also use it to pull a small trailer for hauling things sometimes. Just a small flat bed that holds about 500 pounds. It's slow going on high grade hills, but it's only a four cylinder so that can be expected. Otherwise, it pulls just fine.

I've seen similar cars, with a lot less miles, on Autotrader and CraigsList for less than $5,000. I would definitely recommend it.

It's also a four door, not a coupe. There is a decent amount of room in the back seats for passengers. I have the automatic, but mostly I do city driving so that's fine for me.

It's nothing flashy, but it does the job for me and then some.

edit on 10/19/2012 by cmdrkeenkid because: Added some text.

posted on Oct, 19 2012 @ 11:41 AM
reply to post by cmdrkeenkid

It's actually a rebranded Toyota Matrix. The engine even still says Toyota on it!

Oh, that's right! The AAA tow-truck driver was telling me that. Jeeps are good...

posted on Oct, 19 2012 @ 11:48 AM
reply to post by inverslyproportional

Hiya, yeah, I'm a firm believer in Toyota.
Had a nifty little Celica before my first child was born. The year after she was born, they came out with the Prelude model that I had (although I had to wait til she was out of high school to afford one!
It was a great car. I did not know about timing belt issues until it was too late for my little 'Lude.

Now it's the first thing I asked when talking to people about older cars. My mom's neighbor (a good family friend) is a dealer in another town; I always to go him for advice since my Dad died (who knew EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING mechanical and electrical and drove like a bat out of hell! His baby when he and Mom got married was ....

wait for it....

a '55 Hardtop Thunderbird. Yup. Eat our hearts out, eh??

The ultimate cool guy.

Anyway, yes, my mom's neighbor says that Toyotas don't have the same awful problems as Honda when the timing belt breaks. Toyotas can survive it. Hondas not so much.

Thanks for the thoughts, very good advice!!
I do live in a city, and am checking craigslist daily....I also live on the very edge, and it's country between here and Mom's. Good suggestions (though they're mostly pick-em-up trucks in these here parts, pardner!)

edit on 19-10-2012 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 19 2012 @ 11:51 AM
reply to post by CrimsonMoon

A Golf, eh?
I had a VW (can't remember the model -- got it new off the showroom floor when pregnant [see above] and traded in my Celica for it. Good car.

My mom had a little red Beetle (SLUGBUG!) in the 60s and 70s. Then dad bought a 240Z (candy red, first one in town)...we also had Datsuns (a 1200 was my first - like a toy car)...and I learned in another Datsun (model forgotten).

In those days you had to use a choke to keep the thing idling properly.....

Okay, I'll look into VWs also.


posted on Oct, 19 2012 @ 12:13 PM
Just for chit chat purposes....
other rides I've owned:

1969 3-speed Camaro (aw SNAP I should never have sold it...was moving to the mountains)

197?? Mazda B2000 small pickup (great in the mountains)

full size Ford Bronco (Eddie Bauer - squirrely in 4wd - for pulling horse trailer)

Chevy S10 Blazer (not a bad little truck)

Chevy Corsica (P.O.S.)

Dodge minivan (almost forgot, thank God - that's the one the greyhound ate the upholstery out of while waiting in it one day for all of 15 minutes. dumb dog)

a horrible little station wagon from a car shark....can't even remember the maker -- an obscure American brand that maybe started with "L"? Late 80s, I think...

Ford Escort ZX2 (junk. they break down at 120,000 PERIOD)

Ford F-150 (also junk)

I've never owned a Subaru, Mitzubishi, Volvo (although I read 'volvo' is swedish for piece of crap money pit), BMW, or Mercedes, nothing luxury...
although I have DRIVEN Porsches a couple of times...nice friends who lend you their porsche. We were all drunk, too!

as a kid I remember we had a Ford Galaxy 500 (muscle!! dad, God love 'im)
some sort of wood-paneled station wagon (probably Ford, he preferred those)
Datsun 210 hatchback (EW! Ugly!) That's the one I learned in...

That's all I can remember now.

posted on Oct, 19 2012 @ 04:47 PM
pd $5000 for my buick century (2004) 2 years ago, in great condition, has ran like a dream with no problems except having to replace the battery. Now has 130,000 miles and running strong. It gets 28-29 mpg on hwy.
edit on 19-10-2012 by tinker9917 because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 19 2012 @ 05:56 PM
reply to post by tinker9917

Yeah? Awesome.....
I'll keep that in mind. Thanks!

posted on Oct, 19 2012 @ 07:06 PM
I still have my 1995 Nissan Maxima. almost 300k miles.
Bought it "newsed" in '96
Looks nearly new. Just needs a little suspension work.
I will never sell this car. but others might.

It might be something you would be interested in..

posted on Oct, 20 2012 @ 10:27 AM
reply to post by spacedoubt

...on looking this morning, there are scads of Nissan's on the market by individuals! Thanks for your input!

I know it isn't "acceptable" to some people to buy foreign-made cars; and to be honest, I would prefer to buy a car made at a local plant just for the satisfaction of knowing I'm supporting local workers....

if the product doesn't last, well....

my budget requires that I get the most bang for my buck; I'm not one of those folks who trade in their car every 2-3 years (though recently a dealer told me that's the norm)....
I drive 'em til they die.

And the fact is, Japanese cars are FANTASTICALLY reliable and well-made.
I know many of them now are made in the USA, too...

I feel like it's a gamble from the start to buy a domestic car, based on my own experiences and background.

It's a dreaded chore, buying a car. I hate it. One of the worst "first-world problems" in my opinion.
Just ranting.

Okay...Nissan Maxima on the list.

I'm also checking every car I see on CL against Edmunds reliability reviews. It seems that from model year to model year, that rating changes quite dramatically (i.e. in certain years significant engine problems arise in an otherwise reputable vehicle. Gha.

I was hoping my husband would just show up with a car for me, but that ain't gonna happen. It's on me again
to find one.

Thankfully I have two trustworthy car guys -- a dealer and a go to for support.
And, of course

posted on Oct, 20 2012 @ 11:44 AM
AND....Found one!

We have a winner!!

1997 Honda Accord LX Special Edition with bling trim kit...
siilver, garage kept, only 138k original one-owner miles, washed, detailed and waxed every few weeks, looks like a showroom display! Automatic, 4cyl, gets 27mpg,

timing belt changed at 101k, has awesome reliability reviews, lady-owned (her brother bought it a year ago and is selling it due to he already has a hybrid and just went through a breakup so it was this one or his ex's and he loved this one.)

I'm very excited about it...
Thanks for playing, everyone.

posted on Oct, 20 2012 @ 06:49 PM
reply to post by wildtimes

That's a very nice car.
And to paraphrase Jeremy Clarkson, of Top Gear UK Fame.
"If Honda made People, we would never die"


log in