what type of car for $4,000

marcia824January 27, 2006

I am a 55 years old and recently widowed. My BMW that bought when it had 181,000 miles on it five years ago finally gave out on me. Can you give me so ideas of used cars in the 4,000 price range that would still have some life left and not be as costly to repair as the beamer was. Thanks, Marcia

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$4000 - You can get a nice low milage GM midsized sedan around my neck of the woods usually from a retiree who gave up the driving habit, maybe from one too many margarita's sometimes with a fresh paint job too.
You can be choosy here there are so many Only Driven on Sunday deals.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2006 at 7:22AM
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My condolences ...

Your best bet in that price range will be an American car, probably with close to 100,000 miles on it (if driven the average annual amount). Foreign cars will tend to be either considerably older or quite small or early models from companies which did not initially have great reputations for high quality.

The "midsize" sedan that mikie mentioned might be a good choice; in that price range you might also find a Ford Taurus or a Chevy Malibu. There are some Ford Focuses available at that price; they're a significantly better car than the Escort they replaced in those years. Ditto for the Malibu -- a better car than the Lumina it replaced. All of these cars can be maintained and repaired just about anywhere and should give you several years of service.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2006 at 9:49AM
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Good advice from Steve
fresh paint job ? This ,IMO, is a minus. "Low" mileage is not necessarily a plus..
The pluses are a complete service record and greater honesty a man can find from the private seller. Many used car dealers are honest, but their prices must be higher..

    Bookmark   January 27, 2006 at 11:13AM
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Theres a lot of older low milage Buicks around.Ussually driven by more responsible older owners.That took very good care of them and kept them garaged.Perhaps they have had it 10 years or more and must give up driving.Because of health and age or perhaps its for sale to settle an estate.Best to find something locally from a private owner.But if you must go to a used car lot.Becareful it was not brought in from New Orleans get a CarFax report.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2006 at 12:15PM
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Thanks for the responses. Marcia

    Bookmark   January 27, 2006 at 7:20PM
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Ditto on the car fax report!
We looked at a "bargain" truck once that had moist sand in the ash tray. I asked the salesman if the truck had been flooded and he never answered me...
Lots of these flood cars end up in people's front yards for sale esp. around major towns.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2006 at 5:05AM
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Avoid certain years of the larger sized V6 Ford engines around 1995 - 1998. Look back a couple of years in posts of this forum to see the many complaints about the Ford V6 blowing head gaskets around 70,000 miles. The smaller, 3.0L Ford V6s was ok. Its the larger engines in the vicinity of 3.6 to 3.8 L. Not all years were similarly affected. Ask your friendly local mechanic which ones he sees the most problems with. This was an expensive problem.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2006 at 8:26AM
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4000.00 wil buy a nice older v-6 mustang or camaro, or a 2x4 s-10 blazer, also check out a prism chevys version of a corola same car but never had the resale value, the chevy tracker/suzuki sidekick, also a good used value for the buck. found my mom a chevy/suzuki metro, for 3995.00 like new air, and auto with 20000 miles and a g.m. warranty on it. also picked up a 02 cavilier a couple of months ago for 4000.00low miles and loaded. so look around theres many good deals out there.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2006 at 10:39AM
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Earthworm, why do you say low mileage is not necessarily a plus? Just curious, Marcia

    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 5:03PM
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Check out a Hyundai car made after year 2000. I had a '01 Elantra since new and it ran great for 50,000 miles without any trouble and usually got 30+ mpg from a peppy 140 hp engine. I just traded it in and got another one. I'm sure you can get an used one for around $4000, especially from private parties.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 6:17PM
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Marcia, IMO, a car that sits, or is just driven short distances, has a rougher life than the one that is driven long distances, and relied on every day..

Generally the high mileage vehicles are comfortable, handle well, are enjoyed by their owners - and a bit hard to find as good used cars..Also I think they can even be more reliable as they spend no more time than necessary being repaired - as opposed to a fragile troublesome vehicle that spends half its life in the repair shop..

    Bookmark   January 31, 2006 at 12:26AM
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Try to find out about the car's history, though. A high-mileage vehicle that belonged to a salesperson who drove lots of highway miles has been kinder to his/her car (and likely will be a much better deal) than one owned by a person who racked up lots of miles delivering pizzas.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2006 at 12:55PM
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i sencond mister h, a 2000 and up hyundai, can be had at agreat price, and very trouble free. i know from my own experience with the 4 hyudais i have owned, trouble free. but if you do have a problem the 10/100 warranty is only good for the original owner, the 5/60 is transferable. also make sure you have adealer avaiable, dont want to have to travel 100 miles for service.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2006 at 3:35PM
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If gas mileage is not an issue, some of Ford's rear drive cars like the Crown Vic, Grand Marquis and Town Car are good buys. They've usually been taken care of and owned by mature adults.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2006 at 6:50PM
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IMVHO, I strongly recommend the 95-97 Chevy Camaro z28 series. very peppy, very good gas mileage,(if you don't punch the pedal all the time) and quite affordable to keep up. they keep their value through the years. and they are affordable to buy. the 94 is a bit of a lemon, so avoid it unless you want to spend a bit of cash upgrading it with sports parts. under 200K should be just at the point of needing transmission work. suspention wears out at this point also. you may want to factor this in when purchase price comes up. but 150K Z28's should easily be found in the 4K price range. another bonus with these vehicles is most repair shops enjoy working on them. and parts houses always stock just about any performance upgrades you could want.
the 98-2002 models have the newer LS series small block, and I think they are a bit too expensive for what you get. I also don't like the EURO look headlights on the 99 and up camaro. but it's your money.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2006 at 10:04PM
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