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Looking for recommendation for older commuter vehicle


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I_Know_Nothing
Novice

Apr 14, 2018, 11:32 AM

Post #1 of 9 (137 views)
Looking for recommendation for older commuter vehicle Sign In

I'm in the market for a commuter vehicle that gets good gas mileage. I'd prefer something older that I can learn to work on myself. I'll be driving it about 60 miles round trip and I'd prefer a truck, SUV or hatchback as I'm commuting to a farm and might need to carry something. 4WD is not really necessary. My budget is $2500 and why I'm asking is I would like something that was a "good year" or parts are cheap, or that particular model is easy to work on. The transmission went out in my son's Ford Explorer and my transmission guy couldn't even get a transmission for that year Explorer because of some problem or other with that particular year.... that's the type of thing I'm trying to avoid. I'm looking at Craigslist and FB Marketplace and I have a couple friends who are very experienced with vehicles and one of them will help me make sure I'm getting my money's worth, but I did want to try to "expand the pool" so to speak of advice on a good year or model that is reliable and stuff to look out for. I realize this is a very subjective question, but I'm just trying to do some research before I jump out there. I hope this is in the right location and is a valid question for this forum seeing as how I just joined. :) Thanks in advance!


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Apr 14, 2018, 2:38 PM

Post #2 of 9 (123 views)
Re: Looking for recommendation for older commuter vehicle Sign In

$2500 isn't going to buy anything but someone else's problems, especially buying it on Craigslist.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



I_Know_Nothing
Novice

Apr 15, 2018, 5:44 PM

Post #3 of 9 (92 views)
Re: Looking for recommendation for older commuter vehicle Sign In

So...... no recomendations on a vehicle that's reliable or easy to get parts for or easy to work on, etc? The question would be the same if my budget was $25,000. :)


I_Know_Nothing
Novice

Apr 15, 2018, 5:47 PM

Post #4 of 9 (92 views)
Re: Looking for recommendation for older commuter vehicle Sign In

The question would be the same if my budget was $25,000. :)


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Apr 15, 2018, 5:48 PM

Post #5 of 9 (90 views)
Re: Looking for recommendation for older commuter vehicle Sign In

Lexus or Toyota, most reliable car made.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



I_Know_Nothing
Novice

Apr 16, 2018, 6:36 AM

Post #6 of 9 (68 views)
Re: Looking for recommendation for older commuter vehicle Sign In

Sorry for the double post, I was on my laptop and the wireless was acting up. :) I've always liked Toyotas. My wife is a "Honda person", I'm a "Toyota person". My only worry about something like a Lexus is maybe parts being higher? I understand what you're saying about buying someone else's problems, but even though I've always had regular maintenance done on my vehicles, I've had just as many problems out of new vehicles as used vehicles. My current vehicle is a 2004 Silverado (that I bought brand new) that I've had all kinds of problems with, just luckily nothing major like engine or transmission. Frustrating to the point where I said, "I will never buy a new vehicle again. I'll buy a used vehicle for $2500 and when it breaks down beyond a cost effective repair, I'll scrap it and buy another one." :) So that's kind of where I am. If I get a year out of the thing, that's way cheaper than buying a new vehicle. If I need to go out of town, my truck is still available or I drive my wife's car. But for driving back and forth to my farm, I don't care if I'm driving a beater.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Apr 16, 2018, 6:47 AM

Post #7 of 9 (64 views)
Re: Looking for recommendation for older commuter vehicle Sign In

I'll guarantee you that I can find more than $2500 in needed repairs to ANY car you buy for $2500.

I am retired and I sell used cars on the side now, mostly in the price range you are talking about and even some of the best condition ones all have things that are worn and should have replacement. It's the nature of a car with over 125K which is considered low in today's market. I fix serious and obvious things but you could still spend a fortune on any of them with a critical inspection. $2500 just doesn't buy much at all.
If you want a reliable car with under 100K, you are going to spend over $6K.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



I_Know_Nothing
Novice

Apr 17, 2018, 5:07 AM

Post #8 of 9 (39 views)
Re: Looking for recommendation for older commuter vehicle Sign In

But are you taking into account cosmetic things also? Trust me, I hear what you are saying and I want to be safe. But I am not your typical American driver that has to have power windows, electronic this and that, heated seats, cruise control, etc, etc. If a power window doesn't work (passenger of course Wink), it has a bashed in fender, the radio doesn't work and it has no heat, I'm ok with that. Smile And things that are not safety issues that I could fix over time, I'm ok with that too. I don't mind putting some money in it, but I agree with you, I don't want to buy a $2500 car and have to put $2500 worth of repairs in it just to get it road-worthy. But I'm also not willing to pick up a $500 a month car payment either..... That's why I was asking the question. Even with Toyotas, there are sometimes recalls, I read somewhere some of their newer trucks have frame issues, etc. Then I've read things about how reliable the 22R engine is, etc. So I was hoping for someone to tell me something like, "You want a 1993 Toyota Corolla with the such and such engine. That's the easiest car to work on Toyota ever built, you can buy a new transmission at Autozone for $200 and there's hundreds of Youtube videos to show you exactly how to do it." Smile Believe me, I'm not trying to be argumentative and I hear what you're saying.


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Apr 17, 2018, 5:54 AM

Post #9 of 9 (31 views)
Re: Looking for recommendation for older commuter vehicle Sign In

If you said you'd go that far back you are right - Toyota's plain Corolla was good that far back IMO too. If you just spend some bucks before you purchase that the car (any) that you want to count on have a pro inspection of all safety items, is car too rusted and would pass a legitimate inspection you may find this that old.
Biggies will be does A/C work at all or were you fooled by seller.
It shouldn't NEED a trans if you have it checked out.
Sure you can have lousy paint, stained interior, dents and things that aren't sharp protruding are on the list where I am or you can't use that car legally on public roads.
Know and have expensive things ruled OUT first and if not an endless mess you can find something. Stick with plain 2 wheels drive don't complicate the drivetrain.
It's not about if a parts place like Autozone has a trans for cheap it isn't always just that and if burned out they add a core charge plus you still need to know such things are exact fit and flush out debris from a burned out one or just wasting time no refunds for trying if not done properly.


Surprises even checking happen new used or any which way there's always some risk it doesn't just work out to be so great or be a loss needing more than trying all over again with another would be.
YES - pay to check out even an older car with a report of what was found by pros is totally worth it. Short $ for taking any risks which it is naturally,


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