Vehicle Shopping - civics, trucks, or...?

kashka_katApril 17, 2007

yeah a car forum, didn't know it was here.

Ive had several civic hatchbacks, which I've loved-- amazing what you can haul in those -- including 8' long countertops and boards!

I was going to get another but the prices around here are astounding- people asking for and getting WAAY over the blue book pricing, and way beyond what I was expecting based on previous Civic buys. That's if the car is still available by the time I get out to see it! I'm not sure why this is, I'm thinking maybe the high gas prices coupled with there not being that many used hatchbacks since they stopped making them for a while in late 90s/early 00s.

(And whats the deal with the tricked out hot rod Civics? Yikes. Is it worth looking into those? Assuming it doesnt look too weird and is something I, a nice middle aged lady, wouldn't be embarassed to be seen in! Do I assume if its been rebuilt they couldve done a good job?)

Since I don't need a car for commuting or for a lot of day to day stuff-- mostly for hauling ( I have a house I am restoring and need to transport lots o stuff) and for vacation/ camping -- I'm rethinking the civic and now thinking of small SIMPLE trucks or station wagons. Not interested in big honkin trucks or SUVs.

Saw an ad for example for a 93 toyota truck - no frills,no AC or power steering, with camper top - in great condition for $3,000. 2x4. What does 2x4 mean and why would I want or not want one?

Is it 2 wheel drive. If so what would the disadvantages be compared to 4 wheel. I'm not going off road, just urban and/or paved midwestern rural roads. Occasional driving in snow.

Also what other comparable vehicles would y'all suggest. I would want something with REASONABLE gas mileage (I think the Toyota truck would get something like 20-25), not huge, and completely reliable. Prefer SIMPLE NO FRILLS. Maybe a station wagon or other type of hatch?

T.I.A. for your input!!!!!!!!!1

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2x4 means 2 wheel drive (the rear wheels in a pickup, with the standard differential, i.e., not locking). 4WD could be the difference between going and not going in snow, otherwise it is just more places for high cost maintenance cost and will reduce gas mileage for the same vehicle with/without. I'd not count on anything like 25mpg, maybe on the highway and empty.

You didn't say what you can afford. I purchased a new Chevy Colorado in 2005 with a auto-locking differential to give me some of the go in the snow, it does help and has few if any disadvantages (cost) relative to the standard differential (rear end). I get 20+ mpg with the 2.8L 4Cly manual transmission in rural with some towing of a small boat, but mostly empty.

Reliability is a hallmark of Toyota, but if the truck you're looking at was not well maintained and/or has high mileage much of the reliability is not history.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 12:37PM
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Thanks Jerry. I have a limited budget, around 3,000. Maybe up to 5,000 if its a fantastic deal.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 2:07PM
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I think in the small pickup trucks you'll find Toyota to be more reliable, for equivalent mileage and maintenance, than say a Chevy S10 or a Ford Ranger. For that reason you should be able to find a newer/lower mileage Chevy of Ford for the same money. The market tends to carry the same relationship new or used, pay more for the Toyota but get more reliability. But, when used, one can hope to find a Ford or Chevy, or Dodge (I had a 1988 Dodge Ram 50, really a Mitsubishi, that wasn't any better than the S10 or Ranger, but then I didn't pay any more either, it was a 4WD) that has fewer miles, thus it may be quite equivalent value-wise to a Toyota. I now people who have put many miles on a Chevy S10. Consumer Reports gives it average to below average marks, but some say they run them for 200,000 miles without any major repairs.

I don't know what the used market prices look like, check the Kelly Blue Book to get some idea on what may be available in your price range... then look at for sale advertisements, and bounce those prices against the Blue Book "private sale" market, if that the source...should be lower price than what you'd pay a reputable dealer who (may have) checked the vehicle to be sure it has no major faults.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 8:59PM
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I can tell you from past experience that a 14 year old Toyota will soon need a rear main oil seal , no matter what the mileage may be . They go with age , my old 94 Toyota truck needed one last year at 76k miles as the oil started to pour out , luckily I caught it in time and didn't blow up the engine . That's a 1000-1300 dollar repair , not what you want with your budget . I'd keep looking for a slightly newer hatchback , Civic or Accord wagon . I don't believe that older Hondas have the oil seal issues the Toyotas have .

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 5:30AM
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Just a few comments. '94 Accords, for example, did indeed have an "oil seal issue," for which there was a recall. I'd stay away from that particular year/model (check the recall info for Honda for the exact years and models) even if the recall repair has been made. I'm a big fan of Hondas (my D just bought her first Civic), but they aren't perfect and require the same maintenance as any car. Sounds like the poster really needs a truck more than a car. Get it checked out by a mechanic first, especially in that age and price range.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 8:40AM
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No offense to any previous poster, but the older toyota trucks were built to last. I have seen many more run to over 300,000 mi w/o major probs than ones w/ an oil seal prob. The truck he/she had is an acception. Find a vehicle you like and have a mechanic go over it to check for things like an oil leak or any other obvious probs.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 8:57AM
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Gotta love these forums! Greatly appreciated the heads up on the oil leak problem. THAT explains why this 93 truck w/ 76,000 mi and no rust hasnt sold yet at $3,000 - thought it sounded too good to be true.

Are those Toyota trucks otherwise good? If I was to get it at a low enough price to cover the $1300 repair might that be a wise move?

Yes mechanic check- point well taken. Even though around here I seem to be competing with people with pocketfulls of cash who are willing to buy on the spot - like, just because its a Toyota or a Honda its GOT to be good.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 9:44AM
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I also had an 86 Toyota Celica GTS that developed a dribble from the rear main seal in 2001 .I told that to the guy I sold it to , but he neglected to get it fixed and drove that car for 2 years before it let loose and blew the engine . I bought a new leftover 06 Tacoma last fall and am not down on the brand , but leaking rear main seals on older Toyotas are something to watch out for when shopping for one . By all means get a mechanic to go over whatever vehicle you are interested in buying . Spending a little now can save a heck of a lot later !

Maybe the 4 cylinder engines in older Toyota trucks were the bulletproof ones as the 3 liter V6 motors had recalls for headgaskets and the leaky rear main seals were a common problem . In fact the guy that sold it to me said the rear main seals usually went around 100k and one of the first questions people calling me about the truck when I sold it was if the rear main seal was ever replaced , so I'd say that was a common problem with the 3 liter V6 rather than an exception . An decent experienced mechanic will be able to tell you if that Toyota is mechanically sound and what problems may arise down the road . The reliability of Toyotas is better than most , but a 14 year old vehicle is a 14 year old vehicle .

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 4:46PM
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I don't know anything about the seal problems, but a Toyota with only 76K miles could have a lot of life left. As for $3K, I again say look at the "book value" to see what it should sell for and look at the private sale value, that should be less than what you'd have to pay at a dealer.

Again, I'd look at the book on Chevy and Ford (S10 and Ranger to be in the same size range as the Toyota) and see if it is possible to get one a couple of years newer and a few miles less used for the same money.

I was talking to a fisherman I "bumped" into a couple of days back. He had noted my Chevy Colorado and asked how I like it. He had a Chevy S10 of some years, don't remember, but I do remember he said he had about 300,000 on it. Yes he had replace a number of things, but he engine/transmission/drive-train was original equipment.

My 1988 Dodge Ram 50, similar size, had about 100,000 on it when I traded it in (gave away) on the Chevy and the only problems I had were: Head Gasket and Carb. It was a 4WD and the drive train/clutch seemed to be in "perfect" shape. A mechanic at the dealer bought the truck, and I see it from time to time, he's still driving it to work. He said he replaced the carb, I don't know if anything else has gone. Point? 76K miles isn't a lot of miles on a vehicle if it has been maintained (mostly just oil change/filter change).

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 7:54PM
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Also the use is a determining factor , vehicles used to commute long distances on the freeway with the engine and powertrain getting low rpms tend to be the ones that go 100s of thousands of miles . A friend got over 200k on an 86 Mazda and is working towards 300k on a Ford Ranger driving 650 miles a week to work and back . So the miles on that 93 may be misleading if the truck was used in stop and go traffic and not given regular maintenance . And there's always the possibility that the odometer was turned back , which might show up in a carfax check if the truck had more than one owner . Looking at a truck once at a dealership I did a carfax on it only to find the 71k miles were really 124k . I made copies of that report and turned it into the DMV , but I doubt anything happened to that dealer .

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 10:06PM
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Hmmm. Would you say that the Ford, Chevy,Dodge etc. trucks are built better than their cars? It kind of sounds like it-- I mean I've never heard of 300k on a Ford or Chevy car. They never seem to get much above 100k. While its common for Hondas & Toyotas to go to 200-300k... hence their reputation as better vehicles. But maybe that doesn't apply to trucks?

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 8:56AM
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I've never heard of 300k on a Ford or Chevy car. They never seem to get much above 100k. While its common for Hondas & Toyotas to go to 200-300k... hence their reputation as better vehicles. But maybe that doesn't apply to trucks?

On craigslist I often see ads for American cars with 150,000+ miles on them that appear to be nowhere near clapped out. I can also point out many Toyotas which suffered from the deadly engine sludge problem and died well before 200,000-300,000 miles. I don't think you can generalize from this experience.

That said, "light" trucks play by different rules. They have not had to meet many of the safety or fuel-economy regulations that affect cars. The pickups (not the cute-utes or some of the SUVs) are built body-on-frame and built to haul more than cars (both in and behind them). Many of the compromises that need to be made for cars have not had to be made for trucks. As a result, they can be designed with less regard to things like crash- and handling standards. They -- especially the larger ones) are designed for a commercial environment.

You pay for this, of course, both up front in dollars and options, and later in maintenance and fuel. But those are some of the reasons trucks seem to fare better than cars as far as longevity.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 9:58AM
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I have experience with one Toyota 1986 Tercel 4WD Station Wagon, good but not perfect ran it about 200K, it needed work, but I can say it still had its original drive train, it did need a clutch. Two Mitsubishis, a Galant sedan 150K gave it away a few months ago, needed work, and a 1988 Doge Ram50 pickup. They were all good but not perfect, but I think in general "smoother" than US built equivalents...these were all built in Japan.

From Consumer Reports I consistently read the Japanese light trucks and full size, albeit until recently Toyota didn't make a full size, are more trouble free than Ford, Chevy, Dodge...for this reasong you may be able to buy a used Ford, or Chevy small truck in "better shape" (newer, fewer miles, cleaner, maybe not all three) for the same money you'd spend on a Toyota.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 11:35AM
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To further explain my friend's 200k plus Ford Ranger he's had his share of operating expenses the most costly being head gasket replacement , valve work , and a new clutch . He meticulously changes the oil every 3k miles and routinely washes and waxes it to prevent rust . Despite all this it still leaves a sizable oil spot on my drive whenever he visits . He's trying to nurse two more years of commuting out of it until he retires . Frankly the urban myth stories of 300k miles with only oil changes and inexpensive regular wear out items being replaced are just that - myths and I wouldn't believe them unless presented with receipts from all repairs done since brand new . A high mileage vehicle loses compression as internal engine tolerances wear out and get progressively worse fuel mileage as a result . They are a crapshoot , unless you know the original owner or have detailed service records for the vehicle since new .

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 12:52PM
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