Advice on which used car to get

Discussion in 'Motorized Vehicles' started by QueenOfSpades, May 1, 2011.

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  1. KLF

    KLF NBR Super Modernator Super Moderator

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    As it has already been said, it depends on person who likes what. A6 C5 chassis is something that just works for me. 1998 and 1999

    My own is 1998 and green. Being stock look in everything, that's the best picture of it at the moment.
     
  2. QueenOfSpades

    QueenOfSpades Notebook Consultant

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    You're a Prince, really, thank you! I've done some more research and discussion since I posted. Basically I came to your same conclusion and decided against the Jeep - mostly based on gas, and secondly because more than a couple of people have pointed out reliability concerns.

    I will probably keep a Jetta in the running, partly because I really like them, but most importantly because my brother-in-law, who has some experience with cars (father was a mechanic, he fixes cars as well) told me that they're not really more expensive to fix, and since he drove one, he would be of some service in that department.

    Saturns - it's funny you mentioned them, I totally forgot to look at Saturns. Good call. I was checking the local ads, and found a 2007 Saturn Ion with 100k miles for $4500. Would that be something worth looking at, or is the quality of Saturns relegated to those specific models you mentioned? I may go and look at it, simply because it's such a newer model car than what I've been finding.

    I have found some Accords in my price range in my area, I will continue to look into those options. Thank you so, so much for your help. I know I'm some random stranger on the internet, but I really do appreciate it. Buying a used car is really daunting when you know absolutely zilch about cars. Luckily I have gathered some good reading materials, and I also have my brother-in-law, who has offered to go with me to check out any car I'm thinking about buying.

    That's another great idea. I'm kind of a moron when it comes to cars, but the idea of checking out repair costs for certain models vs. other models makes a lot of sense. Thanks!

    I didn't mean to start a little war about what makes an attactive car vs. reliability, but I do appreciate the helpful responses. Like I said, I know $4000 isn't a ton of money, but it's what I have at the moment, and I think it will be enough to get me something I can drive for a couple of years. Hopefully after that, I'll have an agent and an Audi. ;)

    One last question - what would guys consider incredibly high mileage? I know it used to be 100k, but that's definitely changed. Obviously I wouldn't buy something with 200k on the meter - but what would be a decent cutoff?
     
  3. QueenOfSpades

    QueenOfSpades Notebook Consultant

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    Well, damn, so you had a crap experience with a 2000 Jetta? I feel like this is 50% a crapshoot, but I do appreciate the suggestions.

    I've been browsing car forums quite a bit - but so far they're either enthusiast sites (thus, they love the car) or places where people come to complain. Googling is helping, though, as there are a lot of different types of reliability reports. That, coupled with you guys' suggestions, is definitely narrowing the search and giving me some things to look for.

    Thanks.
     
  4. Kaelang

    Kaelang Requires more Witcher.

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    What I said about reliability is absolutely NOT opinion. Anyone with basic internet skills can research cars. The 90's were NOT good to domestic brands. Does that mean every Dodge, GM, and Ford are bad? No, but they are higher risk and generally just cost more to maintain than a "foreign" brand (which, by the way, most "foreign" car companies already had plants in the US building cars, such as the Camry, which has been made in America with North American sourced parts - generally more American sourced parts than domestic brands - since the 80's).
    It all comes down to research.

    As far as the Jetta, they are very pretty cars, especially for their age. But they have had a long history of electrical and transmission issues.

    I highly recommend you find a good, local mechanic (doesn't have to be a dealership - in fact, you may be better off) - independent, not part of a chain. They tend to be the most honest. Before you buy any used car, have your mechanic look it over - it doesn't hurt to ask him/her what they recommend, either. My mechanic (who is a family friend) will tear a car apart to find an issue and not charge a dime to do it (he doesn't throw parts at it). He's honest and his prices are pretty good too.

    I do most of the work on my car (well, did on my 1993 Camry, not sure if I can on my new Nissan - might as well enjoy the warranty while it lasts, eh?). It's not hard to do usually, unless you get a large engine, or a van. A side note, most VW's that I've poked around in have been a massive pain to work with.

    And use the tools you have. Edmunds, Consumer Reports, ect, are all great tools. Of course, don't judge your decision on a bad editors review, but I know CR has owner ratings there, and you can read their experiences. Something to remember is that most people go on the internet to complain, not to praise, so, don't necessarily take it with a grain of salt, be weary of common complaints, but don't forget that these people may be over-exaggerating.

    Like I said, just because, for example, the Dodge Stratus has dismal reliability and common issues across the board, doesn't mean every Stratus owner is looking to crush the thing. It comes down to luck - the risk is mitigated with research.

    Also, don't buy a car with 200k miles. It may have worked out for habilis, but it's just common knowledge that you shouldn't do it. Too much risk involved. UNLESS you get a MASSIVELY good deal and it's still in good shape. Again, take it to a mechanic before buying it. If the seller doesn't let you, tell them to shove it.

    When I was in the market, I didn't even bother looking at cars that had more than 30k miles (I was looking between 2007 and 2011).
     
  5. QueenOfSpades

    QueenOfSpades Notebook Consultant

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    I do have a local mechanic I trust, and I am definitely going to let him check the car out before I buy it. I've dealt with him for years and I trust him completely, so there's that peace of mind. Thank you for the suggestion.

    Of course that would be ideal, but it's impossible within the constraints of my budget.

    I'm sure I will find something that fits within my needs, it's just a matter of being patient and continuing to do some research. I've already found a few cars I wouldn't mind checking out. Thanks for your help.
     
  6. Kaelang

    Kaelang Requires more Witcher.

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    Certainly, take your time. Find something good and it will reward you.
     
  7. Kaelang

    Kaelang Requires more Witcher.

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    User reviews are unimportant then?
    http://www.edmunds.com/toyota/camry/1992/?sub=sedan#fullreview
    Where do you see anything negative?

    I'm not saying base your decision on just editorials or user reviews, but what I'm saying is to tread lightly. When you're buying a used car, you're usually buying someone else's problems. Edmunds and Consumer Reports offer important information on repair costs, factual statistics and owner testimonials. That information is not damaging unless you misuse the information you're given.

    I think you're over-reading into those websites.
     
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