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Old 03-18-2011, 01:51 AM
Location: West Michigan
654 posts, read 3,032,939 times
Reputation: 567


This question will bring various answers (I value opinions), but wanting to do more research.

I'm currently working to save up for a decent used car perhaps in the $5,000 range and would like to see if anyone has bought a decent car for that price. I am no stranger to doing car work as I have worked on my '84 Olds for a long time and knew that car inside out (until it finally drew its last breath last week) so I don't have a problem doing work on a car if needed.

What I really need though is a small pickup truck as I am getting increasingly frustrated at having to call and ask people to use their truck/SUV to haul things that I cannot fit in my car, and though I could rent a truck if needed, I'd rather have my own so that if I needed to haul/tow anything I can do it myself without any issues.

Now the question is, has anyone been able to buy a reliable small truck for about $5K? I know with me living up here in Michigan, rust may be an issue depending on how well the body was maintained. And then there's the high mileage issue. Do you think its best to avoid the high mileage vehicles? Usually the only way to truly test the engine mechanically is to have it dynamically tested for compression and such.

I would like to look into something that is reliable and that can do long distance driving from time to time as I go to Ohio to visit my dad on occasion.
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Old 03-18-2011, 05:53 AM
10,139 posts, read 22,414,398 times
Reputation: 8239
Stick to 2WD and you won't have a problem getting a nice truck in that price range. I'd be looking for a 6 cylinder Ford and lower the price target to $3000.
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Old 03-18-2011, 06:01 AM
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
28,398 posts, read 50,602,810 times
Reputation: 28626
Look at 1998-2002 Ford Rangers, the 4 cylinder will get you close to 30 mpg.
With something in that price range it will have some miles on it, I'd suggest a manual trans to avoid a big repair bill if over 100k miles. Automatics may go at about 120k miles.

A quick search came up with this:

Cars for Sale: 2002 Ford Ranger 2WD Regular Cab in Bellevue, WA 98005: Truck Details - 293146263 - AutoTrader.com
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Old 03-18-2011, 06:26 AM
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
24,718 posts, read 59,596,711 times
Reputation: 26823
Rangers are really cheap and ours has been very reliable (2003, 120,000, $4,000). If you get the one that has only two doors and no back storage area or seats, it should be well under $4000
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Old 03-18-2011, 07:14 AM
Location: Pomona
1,955 posts, read 9,201,186 times
Reputation: 1531
Shouldn't be an issue. As a S10 owner, I too suggest looking at a Ranger.
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