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Need a used car - $4000 budget


flipper

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My bad, I keep forgetting that not everyone knows cars like me. I apologize. BTW, if she is willing to finance, I know a perfect car that she can put $4k down and $500 a month. ;)

I don't know cars like you do, but I know enough :) I just would rather not sort through dozens of shifty characters on CL when I can go straight to the shify HAIF family.

flipper

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I know this isn't going to fly with the gearheads, but since you're on a tight schedule with a specific price in mind, you might swing by CarMax and see if it has anything that meets your needs. Sure beats roaming around town all day chasing weirdos from the classified ads or Craigslist.

I sold two cars there and had good experiences both times.

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I'm a gearhead and I second the CarMax idea. A lot of those are returned lease cars and are in pretty good shape. It's also a quick way to see a lot of cars. IIRC you can check inventory online so if you do see a car you might be interested in you will know which location to go to.

Edited by marmer
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I'm in the same buying situation, except I was t-boned downtown last weekend. Pretty sure they will want to total it and will have about the same budget. Cannot finance a car, as I have too much student debt atm to take on another monthly payment. Too bad I wasn't injured and am too honest to game the system. Maybe I'll downgrade to a motorcycle..

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Buy a used Honda. If it's been reasonably well-maintained, it should be good for 300K miles or more before major components wear out. $4000 will limit you to older models, but this link at AutoTrader should give you an idea of what's near Houston in that price range.

You will definitely want to have an independent mechanic that you trust give any used car you're considering the once-over before you buy it. This is particularly important with the higher-mileage models that you're going to find in the $4K price range. And don't hesitate to pull a Carfax report as well - the one-month membership will more than pay for itself.

I had some very specific requirements for the last car I bought about a year ago: it had to be a '99-'00 Honda Civic Si. Those who are familiar with these cars know that it's very hard to find any that haven't been unmercifully thrashed by street racers, or heavily modified (or both). Took me three months, but I finally found one in very nice condition with only 53K miles at a dealership - it had just been traded in and they hadn't even cleaned it up or put it on the lot yet, but I got a heads-up to it on Carfax while I was pulling a report on another car I was going to look at.

There are some great deals on clean used cars out there, but you have to be patient and persistent, and ready to close a deal (i.e., cash in hand or financing already lined up before you go shopping).

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Thanks for the tips. I was kinda looking at the same criteria. I hope to find something like a 97 or 98 prelude or integra. It's discouraging sorting through all the salvage title jobbers on the interwebs.

flipper

Buy a used Honda. If it's been reasonably well-maintained, it should be good for 300K miles or more before major components wear out. $4000 will limit you to older models, but this link at AutoTrader should give you an idea of what's near Houston in that price range.

You will definitely want to have an independent mechanic that you trust give any used car you're considering the once-over before you buy it. This is particularly important with the higher-mileage models that you're going to find in the $4K price range. And don't hesitate to pull a Carfax report as well - the one-month membership will more than pay for itself.

I had some very specific requirements for the last car I bought about a year ago: it had to be a '99-'00 Honda Civic Si. Those who are familiar with these cars know that it's very hard to find any that haven't been unmercifully thrashed by street racers, or heavily modified (or both). Took me three months, but I finally found one in very nice condition with only 53K miles at a dealership - it had just been traded in and they hadn't even cleaned it up or put it on the lot yet, but I got a heads-up to it on Carfax while I was pulling a report on another car I was going to look at.

There are some great deals on clean used cars out there, but you have to be patient and persistent, and ready to close a deal (i.e., cash in hand or financing already lined up before you go shopping).

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I'm in the same boat. I've been looking into a car in the $10-12k range.

Anything prior to '85 I'm totally clueless on, so I've been keeping an eye on Carmax's inventory for quite some time. They may be expensive, but I have to admit that the Carfax and their inspection process puts my mind at ease against getting a previously totalled or "cloned" car.

Of course, I might save up a bit more and get a new Yaris or Camry with a large down payment, but I have to be realistic and I don't want a carnote.

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Here's a good example of why it's frustrating to look for a car on Craigslist. From an ad: "This is a gray Honda Civic.It has 118,000 miles.Its in a good shape nothing is wrong with it.Actually i went down on the deal this car is in a offer.We can make a deal for a lower price it will do."

Yahoo_Bang_Head_Emoticon_by_WhiteDragon1983.gif

flipper

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I have a family member and friend selling a toyota tacoma and a toyota camry. I'm not sure about the tacoma, but I do know the Camry has been well maintained. '05, 60K miles, $7500. '06 Tacoma, 20K miles, $11K.

De

Sorry, the budget is only $4,000 :(

flipper

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  • 2 weeks later...
I'm in the same buying situation, except I was t-boned downtown last weekend. Pretty sure they will want to total it and will have about the same budget. Cannot finance a car, as I have too much student debt atm to take on another monthly payment. Too bad I wasn't injured and am too honest to game the system. Maybe I'll downgrade to a motorcycle..

My situation is similar, except my car is new and may end up being totaled out. Don't know yet. I hope they fix it. As a used car (used only by me for 5 months) They may give me $13,000 for it and I still owe my creditor $14,000! I'm saying the same thing, too bad I wasn't hurt, if you're not hurt it seems all your get is a royal screwing, out down payments, trade in, and what I've paid on the loan so far, I lose $11,000... have nothing, and it was all the other guys fault, talk about fair... but we will see how my situation plays out... anyhow...

As for a car for $4,000 total, maybe look into Liquidations of used cars where people defaulted on the payments, or police auctions? It's possible but takes so much time to find the best deal, if you can find one at alll. You may get lucky and see an offer written in someones car window, best part about that is you know the car runs, you've seen it do so, so keep your eyes peeled.

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^Does your insurance include GAP? I think it is pretty common for new buys...

And Flipper, I had just what you're looking for about a year ago...alas :(

I'm not sure, actually I hadn't heard of it before earlier today when I was reading about it, so ironic that you mention it. Even if I did, I'd only save an extra $1,000. I guess keeping a thousand is better than losing a thousand tho...

We found something for her :)

flipper

Awesome, glad you were able to find something and stay within her budget for it. Out of curiosity what did she end up buying?

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