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What are best "beater" cars?

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  • #16
    2002 mazda protege 5

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    • #17
      I have bought every single one of my vehicles according the the ratings on Consumer Reports, and it's been spot on for pretty much all of them. You can get a really cheap subscription on consumerreports.org (I think it's like $6/month or something, and you can cancel anytime.) The vehicles that are consistently rated highest are Hondas and Toyotas, although Nissan and Ford have had some good ones, as do some others, but those are just what I remember. The used car guide on there will rate cars back to 10 years based on engine, transmission, electrical, etc. But as I said, Hondas and Toyotas are about the only ones that pretty much get great ratings on all areas, for all years, on all makes. Those are often harder and more expensive to repair, though, so I think it would be worth it to check into some ratings on the domestics.

      I know you mentioned you were looking at the Indiana Auto & RV and CL. I'm not sure what area you are in, but in the Louisville area, be very careful about where you purchase a car. ALWAYS check the Carfax or Autocheck report. The Clark County Auto Auction is a massive auction open to anyone, and there are a lot of shady people buying cars there, fixing a few things, and trying to sell them for a profit.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by papie View Post
        I have bought every single one of my vehicles according the the ratings on Consumer Reports, and it's been spot on for pretty much all of them. You can get a really cheap subscription on consumerreports.org (I think it's like $6/month or something, and you can cancel anytime.) The vehicles that are consistently rated highest are Hondas and Toyotas, although Nissan and Ford have had some good ones, as do some others, but those are just what I remember. The used car guide on there will rate cars back to 10 years based on engine, transmission, electrical, etc. But as I said, Hondas and Toyotas are about the only ones that pretty much get great ratings on all areas, for all years, on all makes. Those are often harder and more expensive to repair, though, so I think it would be worth it to check into some ratings on the domestics.

        I know you mentioned you were looking at the Indiana Auto & RV and CL. I'm not sure what area you are in, but in the Louisville area, be very careful about where you purchase a car. ALWAYS check the Carfax or Autocheck report. The Clark County Auto Auction is a massive auction open to anyone, and there are a lot of shady people buying cars there, fixing a few things, and trying to sell them for a profit.
        Thanks for the warning. I am in Indianapolis. I saw on Auto Trader about carfax and it seemed there were some free carfax on there too. I had not been aware of carfax before (the last few vehicles I have purchased were always new from dealer).

        I am kinda excited about this, even though I am going to miss my Jeep. I think my husband wants to keep his truck, so at least by removing one payment, that will save us about $500 monthly not counting the full coverage insurance.

        Thanks again!

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        • #19
          Originally posted by HHM View Post
          2002 mazda protege 5
          Only the 2002 year?

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          • #20
            Originally posted by basketsbears View Post
            Only the 2002 year?
            The Protege 5 was made for only 2 years, I couldn't remember the other, I believe it was 2003. In any event. it is the one you can typically get for $5k or under.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by basketsbears View Post
              How do you look up a carfax?
              Just go to carfax.com . You can buy packages to check 1 vin # up to unlimited (within a time period). It will tell you about accidents, title changes, etc. Good stuff to know.
              ~~ Filed Over Median Income Chapter 7: 12/17/2010 ~~ 341 Held: 1/12/2011 ~~ Discharged: 03/16/2011 ~~
              Not an attorney - just an opinionated woman.

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              • #22
                We picked up a honey of a 1989 Chrysler New Yorker that was a one owner car with about 90,000 miles on it, for $1,500. The owner had died, and the relatives didn't want it. It worked great, and had cold A/C. Unfortunately, the person we loaned it to, didn't appreciate it, and wrecked it.

                Another time I bought a 1993 Pontiac Grand Am SE at an auction for $800.00. It also had only about 95,000, ran well, and had cold A/C. I drove it for four years. Then we lent that car to another friend, that didn't appreciate it and wrecked it. Which also wrecked our so-called friendship.

                We are officially out of the car-lending business....
                "To go bravely forward is to invite a miracle."

                "Worry is the darkroom where negatives are formed."

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                • #23
                  Toyotas & Hondas have good, solid reputations - and that tends to mean they demand a higher price. One tip: The Pontiac Vibe is a Toyota Matrix. Same body, made in the Toyota plant, just minor differences in the trim package. And the Vibe is well rated, gets good gas mileage. I believe around 2000-2004 they also made a Chevy that was the same body/plant as the Toyota Corolla.

                  This is kind of common these days. Such as the GMC Acadia/Chevy Traverse/Buick Enclave are all the same vehicle. (There was a Saturn of it too but its no longer made and I can't recall the model.) But different price levels depending on the make. Wouldn't recommend these, as they're huge SUVs but its an example.
                  ~Staci
                  Not an attorney, and never played one on tv. My responses are based on my own experiences & personal opinions.)

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                  • #24
                    We just bought a Volvo 240 "brick". They are supposed to last virtually forever. A friend is still driving an 82. Wish me luck!

                    Keep On Smilin'

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by SMinGA2 View Post
                      Toyotas & Hondas have good, solid reputations - and that tends to mean they demand a higher price. One tip: The Pontiac Vibe is a Toyota Matrix. Same body, made in the Toyota plant, just minor differences in the trim package. And the Vibe is well rated, gets good gas mileage. I believe around 2000-2004 they also made a Chevy that was the same body/plant as the Toyota Corolla.

                      This is kind of common these days. Such as the GMC Acadia/Chevy Traverse/Buick Enclave are all the same vehicle. (There was a Saturn of it too but its no longer made and I can't recall the model.) But different price levels depending on the make. Wouldn't recommend these, as they're huge SUVs but its an example.
                      I have heard that about the Honda's and Toyotas. I have been looking at them on CL. Thanks!

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by keepsmiling View Post
                        We just bought a Volvo 240 "brick". They are supposed to last virtually forever. A friend is still driving an 82. Wish me luck!
                        I will be interested how you like your Volvo. I have seen some of them and old Mercedes on CL. They look nice, and I thought they were to be like a tank. I have been concerned that they may have to take premium gas though. Does yours?

                        Keep me posted!

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by basketsbears View Post
                          I will be interested how you like your Volvo. I have seen some of them and old Mercedes on CL. They look nice, and I thought they were to be like a tank. I have been concerned that they may have to take premium gas though. Does yours?

                          Keep me posted!
                          When the so-called friend blew up my Pontiac, 'Hub bought me a 1990 4 door sedan Volvo 740. It had been well maintained and the service records came with it. It was 'loaded' and drove nice. But to us, it was a nightmare. For one thing, the insurance on a 1990 Volvo was far more than what it had been for a 1993 Pontiac.

                          Volvos are notorious for wiring problems and this one was no exception. It blew Fuse #5 right off, and Fuse #5 controls almost everything. But not everything. There is something like 28 different fuses in it.

                          'Hub is very 'handy' and can work on cars, but he became very stymied and frustrated by this beast. Then the fuel pump went out and stranded me in the middle of a busy highway. With that, we had had enough, and sold it as 'a collection of parts' for $500.00, to be towed away. The guy who bought it, apparently 'clicked' with it, because it has been repaired, and we have seen it on the road a couple of times...

                          Good luck with yours....
                          "To go bravely forward is to invite a miracle."

                          "Worry is the darkroom where negatives are formed."

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                          • #28
                            Thanks AC. Apparently Volvo went thru a period of using biodegradable materials in their wiring for a while and they were notorious for igniting. Ours is a 92; by then they had come to their senses or so I have been told.

                            I don't have a quote for the insurance yet but now I am worried. I really hope ours won't be higher than my old van. KBB says one of the pros is that they are cheap to insure. Con? No cupholders. LOL.....

                            There are entire websites devoted to "brick" enthusiasts. These people just adore these cars. I'm hoping we'll be new converts. The seller is a local guy who specializes in fixing them up and reselling . He's supposed to be very fair and knowledgeable. I like the safety factor for my ds. Bloody thing weighs a couple of tons, really built like a tank.

                            Keep On Smilin'

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by keepsmiling View Post
                              Thanks AC. Apparently Volvo went thru a period of using biodegradable materials in their wiring for a while and they were notorious for igniting. Ours is a 92; by then they had come to their senses or so I have been told.

                              I don't have a quote for the insurance yet but now I am worried. I really hope ours won't be higher than my old van. KBB says one of the pros is that they are cheap to insure. Con? No cupholders. LOL.....

                              There are entire websites devoted to "brick" enthusiasts. These people just adore these cars. I'm hoping we'll be new converts. The seller is a local guy who specializes in fixing them up and reselling . He's supposed to be very fair and knowledgeable. I like the safety factor for my ds. Bloody thing weighs a couple of tons, really built like a tank.
                              So for Volvo - is it better for newer ones, like 1992's and after?

                              If I'm being too personal please excuse question, but how much was your Volvo? Is the 240/brick the most reliable, without the electrical problems? Can it use regular unleaded?

                              I am also maybe considering some type of mini-van as I have 3 grandsons that I take around from time to time.

                              Thanks!

                              Lynn

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                              • #30
                                Ours used regular unleaded gas. There was no problem with that. The fuel pump went out; it had been changed about two years before we got it. I can't say how well it did on gas mileage. The trip odometer was broken.

                                Some of the 'pros' of this car was that it was very attractive looking. It was also very sturdy and safe. It drove well and did have cup holders. It also had seat warmers. The 'cons' were the wiring, fuses, and the fact that the interior plastic was very brittle (time and the ultra-violet light from the sun) and cracked and broke with the slightest little tap.

                                ETA: This car had belonged to 'Hub's daughter, and to a doctor before that. She was selling it because they had gotten a newer car and this one was extra. She was originally going to sell it for 3K or best offer. When 'Hub expressed interest, they agreed on $1,500. She said she had never had any trouble with the car. But we certainly did.
                                Last edited by AngelinaCat; 08-09-2012, 10:16 AM.
                                "To go bravely forward is to invite a miracle."

                                "Worry is the darkroom where negatives are formed."

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