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18 year old kid needs a car!

Smooham Smooham
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 06/08
Posted: 06/28/08
10:56 AM

Gonna have to bring the typical price range down a bit to around 4k's  Frown

I just turned 18 and I live in Missouri.  My family just built a house in a more rural area, however we are all city people.  My commute consists of about 7 miles of hilly windy rural driving and anywhere from 5-10 miles of highway driving, then usually 10 or so miles of city driving depending on how much I drive in town.

A while after I turned 16 we saw an 89 Nissan Stanza for $1400 and jumped at the offer.  You can probably see where I'm going with this.  About 8 months later the engine was shot.  I've had to share my mom's '02 Durango for almost a year now, which isn't too much of a problem, we've learned how to adjust our schedules to share it and still do what we both want to do, however I don't think I can keep dumping $40 worth of gas in that hog every 5-6 days.

I need a car of my own anyways, I'm an 18 year old kid.  Although I'm very hesitant to throw my money at anything because of my last experience (however I now realize how much of a mistake that was.)  I've been reading guides on how to buy a used car for about a month or two now so I am aware of a lot of the common knowledge things.  Here are some of my criteria for buying things;

1 - $4000
2 - Fuel economy is paramount
3 - Reliability
4 - Power is not a problem, I don't have ego issues, I don't need to go 0-60 in 4 seconds.
5 - I don't really care about comfort or room, occasionally I have a single passenger but typically I do not.  I play guitar so I need a little bit of space for my amps but they would fit in pretty much any car.
6 - Comfort is not an expectation
7 - I don't care about road noise

So now some questions:

1.)  How old should I go?  And how should it weigh against mileage?
2.)  Should body condition really affect anything?
3.)  Private or dealer?
4.)  What kind of car do YOU think I should be shooting for?

A few cars I've found:

The one was really looking at was a 1996 Corolla.  It only had 109k miles, it was in really good condition.  The only thing that had me was it being a 96, also that it was a 3-speed.  Would a vehicle of this calibur be worth it?

There is a 2000 Protege I'm also looking at.  It has 107k miles, and is in what looks to be pretty good condition.  They are putting a new alternator in it right now, which I realize is a pretty easy fix, but "once problems start they never stop", so I'm not sure if that's a warning sign.  It's also got a 1.8L which still puts the car at around 24 avg mpg but I think I'm only looking at that negatively because the same model and year comes with a 1.6L.

I know that was long but I appreciate the response!  

lisawylde lisawylde
New User | Posts: 6 | Joined: 06/08
Posted: 07/17/08
03:44 PM

Avoid anything over 100k. Age isn't as much of a factor as mileage. A decent Toyota or Honda would be too expensive for your price range. Recent Fords are pretty reliable and have low resale value. Here's a used car site to aid your search. Good luck!  

jthecarguy jthecarguy
New User | Posts: 29 | Joined: 05/08
Posted: 07/22/08
10:18 AM

Have you considered using that $4000 as a down payment to buy maybe an $8000 vehicle?  I only mention this, because it would give you the opportunity to buy a newer lower mile vehicle and at the same time build some credit.  Car credit is one of the best kinds of credit.  

I'm sure you've probably got limited to no credit, but with half down I'm sure a local credit union would consider a small loan like that for you.  Of course there are other things to take into consideration, i.e. job time, residence history, etc.  but it may be another option for you.

If possible try to stay away from the higher mile vehicles, which will prove to be tough with only $4000, maybe you can get lucky and find an older couple that are selling a vehicle that they did not use too often.  I personally would be more scared of a 12 year old vehicle then I would a 100k mile vehicle.  Put both age and miles together and you'll probably run into the same situation you did with the Stanza.

Lastly, you currently have a ride, although it may a little inconvenient for you and your mom, so I wouldn't rush out and buy something just to buy something.  Give it a little time and eventually the right vehicle will pop up.

Let me know if I can help further.

Take care and beware,
J the Car Guy  

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