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Old 01-11-2014, 03:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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how many miles breaks the deal, buying for around $2000?

So i'm budgeting around $2000 for a commuter (drive around 120 miles a day)

Obviously how the cars been cared for matters, but is there ever a point where the miles are just too high?

One of the main cars i've found in my search is a 2001 echo. The owner has had it for quite a while, tires are around 75% tread, brakes are good in back and he has a set of pads for the front, and yes it's a manual. He's had it for around 4 years and never had to do anything other than oil/filters/brakes and such. The downside is it has 225k miles and he's asking 2500 (i'm sure i could get it for 2000 though)

on the other hand i could get a 99' civic/corolla with around 130k miles for about 2k (most likely an automatic)

thanks for any input

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Old 01-11-2014, 04:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Highway miles put less wear on a car then city driving.

I would check compression on the engine, wheel bearings and steering linkage for play, figure the transmission needs a fluid change and that the alternator might need to be rebuilt or replaced, but assuming that it ran and drove well I'd say to go for it.
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Old 01-11-2014, 06:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I have no problem with high mile vehicles if they are in decent shape. But just remember that things like syncros, bearings, etc are parts that will eventually need to be replaced, no matter how well maintained a vehicle is. I usually tell people looking for a cheap car that if they are somewhat mechanically able then you can save a lot of money by owning one, as long as you are willing to fix all the small things that will just fail. Say the door handle breaks, or the window comes off the track, or the rear defrost stops working. If you can sort that out yourself, then go for it, but if you have to take the car in to have things like that repaired, it's not a great deal anymore. But the most important thing about buying a high mileage vehicle is only paying high mileage prices for it! $2500 sounds like a lot for a 13 year old Echo with that high of mileage on it, but then I don't know what used cars are worth in your area. If one with half the mileage is twice as much, then the high mile one is maybe worth it. If one with half the mileage is only say $500 more, then pay extra for the lower miles IMO. Good luck!
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Old 01-11-2014, 09:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Agreed. You need to eval the whole vehicle and if it doesnt run, low ball.

I was a brief owner of the geo metro and it was a costly adventure. Although I purchased the car from an estate sale for 100 bucks it was nothing but work. No sooner I fixed one problem, drove 3-5 miles down the road I got a new noise, smell or problem that cost hundreds in parts and hours in labor. I spent just under 3 grand and sold it at a loss when the tranny started to make noises like it was full of marbles.

Funny thing was it was owned by a mechanic, looked well all over despite being parked, but the evap can was missing under the hood. It even had recaro seats and a nice 200 watt cd/casette system and piaa driving/fog lamps.

It had I think 180 thousand miles.

I purchased a tacoma that was parked for 5 years with 42 thousand miles on it. 10 thousand miles later the engine was rattling and tranny not liking over drive. This was even after servicing everything. Traded it for the insight for what I paid for it.
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Old 01-11-2014, 09:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
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good points

i can do basic mechanical (gaskets, brakes, all that stuff)

might even be able to swap a trans, and if i can't i have a buddy with a garage who would charge me almost nothing

I'm in the detroit metro area (way north of detroit but the craigslist is detroit metro) and there are very few insights, echos, and the like. There are a ton of automatic corollas and civics but a lot of junk from detroit mixed in, so it's kind of hard sorting them out.

My 95 civic has a bad input shaft bearing (hear it in gears 1-3) and 198k miles, but it's beat up and i'm selling it for 600 more than i paid for it this week, so i do have to make a choice fairly quick. It seems all 4 cars i inquired about got sold a day later.
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Old 01-11-2014, 10:01 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Regardless, don't buy an automatic. You tie one hand behind your back, efficiency wise, when you do that.
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Old 01-11-2014, 10:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Nice thing with a 5 speed is that no transmission problem is going to end up costing very much because you just spend $200 on a low mile transmission and swap it in, automatics wear out and die.
Same with engine issues, if worse comes to worse you buy a used engine.
if it doesn't drive straight because the body is twisted or the stearing is wore out then it can cost you because there are a lot of parts to replace and adjust.
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Old 01-13-2014, 04:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Did you end up buying the Echo?
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Old 01-13-2014, 07:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Pre 2000, 1.6L Sentra:
1998 Nissan Sentra
Don't buy that one though, it's an auto. There don't seem to be too many to choose from in your local CL at the moment.

I see them all the time in my local CL. Here's a very clean one for $2500:
**price drop** 1999 nissan sentra sx clean car
Most are in the $750-2000 range, and probably 1 in 5 have manuals. They seem like solid little cars with good potential for fuel economy.
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Old 01-14-2014, 12:00 AM   #10 (permalink)
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didn't buy the echo just yet. I bought a scion Fr-s last weekend to resell (i own a dealers license and buy and sell cars part time to pay through college) so i've been driving that around. I've been managing 35+mpg, around 40 at 55mph!

But nice car, might make a trip out to WA if i could negotiate it down a bit!

i put an ad on craigslist asking for them, had a 2005 civic offer today. $2500 asking, 200k miles, newer tires clutch and brakes, timing belt done at 180k owned for 5 years.

i'm willing to travel (plane tickets 1 way are $64-150 short notice) so i should be able to find something soon!

thanks for all the input so far.

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