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Old 02-05-2019, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Falmouth, MA
5 posts, read 762 times
Reputation: 15

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Hi everyone,

So on Saturday 1/5/2019, a car hit me when I was turning left at an intersection on my way to work and it hit my rear passenger side door and even though I ended up driving away the car turned out to have been a total loss because of how old it was. My insurance company took their time but finally sent me a check for $4,126.56. I'm now looking for a used car that I can buy for that amount or less, 2005 or newer, preferably with a good amount of interior room, with a level of mileage on it that will be conducive to driving across country from Falmouth, MA to Los Angeles, CA when I move there this year sometime between March 15th and June 7th. I don't know what level of mileage would be acceptable in a used car that I can be reasonably assured that it will safely make the journey without breaking down. The car I had was a 2004 Toyota Corolla and I would go with a Toyota if I could find one in my price range that would fit my criteria (which is somewhat flexible). My mom also says maybe a Hyundai would be another good make to check out, but I am open to any make/model of vehicle. Any suggestions would be helpful.
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Old 02-05-2019, 01:08 PM
 
Location: on the wind
5,330 posts, read 2,063,738 times
Reputation: 18628
The odometer reading itself probably won't matter much (unless its something over 300,000 miles on a relatively new vehicle), but the overall condition and documented maintenance of the car may (like receipts for service or a notebook the owner kept). If the used car seems like it has had the proper maintenance and care at the correct intervals chances are it will make the trip without trouble.

Every make/model has lemons. Every make/model can be neglected or abused. If you find one that seems clean, maintained, and has the capacity or features you want, I'd check the mileage against that model's maintenance schedule to see what major replacements/repairs are due soon. I would take a contender to an independent shop you trust and have them check it out from one end to the other. There are lots of flood cars around so check for water damage/rust/mold.

You may find any car needs something but it might be minor. OTOH, it might be major, like a leaking head gasket. I'd also buy it so you have some time to drive it and get familiar with noises or "habits" before your trip and get it serviced very well before you leave.

Last edited by Parnassia; 02-05-2019 at 02:21 PM..
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Old 02-05-2019, 06:27 PM
 
1,025 posts, read 972,305 times
Reputation: 1273
Generally I would recommend you leave your car in MA and buy a different car when you get to CA. I've seen a lot of cars come from snowy states and rust up. That's been my observation from working on a few cars that came from Chicago and Boston.
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Old 02-05-2019, 07:14 PM
 
Location: Florida
4,781 posts, read 2,660,613 times
Reputation: 8447
If you have a lot to move, rent a truck. Otherwise fly and buy a car there. It could save you hassles with state inspection.
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Old 02-05-2019, 07:18 PM
 
10,172 posts, read 14,590,415 times
Reputation: 11259
Set on driving? rent a car. Will cost you much more to buy a junker. If something happens.
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Old 02-05-2019, 08:21 PM
 
5,101 posts, read 5,164,035 times
Reputation: 5153
Quote:
Originally Posted by ReubenWalton View Post
Hi everyone, Any suggestions would be helpful.
Have you done a search of City-Data?

The good used car has been mentioned multiple times.

It's not the brand. It's the car.

One owner. No accidents. No rust. 4 cylinder engine. Timing belt engine. No CVT. Service records. Miles on odometer.
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Old Yesterday, 12:25 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
10,802 posts, read 25,912,409 times
Reputation: 6802
You have a few weeks to find a good used car if you want to make the drive, as opposed to looking for a car in California. California cars may actually be priced a bit higher, so I can see looking for a car in the Northeast, but make sure that it's in good condition, and as said before no rust. Condition is subjective, however, as you can have a full service and maintenance done on the vehicle before you bring it to California. I would factor any repairs, such as brakes, but would go further with fluid changes, especially the cooling system, and check for any leaks, and pay attention to the tires. A comprehensive mechanic's inspection before purchase is a good option for those vehicles you are seriously considering, to include an inspection of the undercarriage for any rust/damage.

I would look for something reliable, and then narrow selections from there. The Corolla and Civic as mentioned are good, as is the Prius. With the Prius, the car is very reliable, overall, and the hatchback is practical. You can find one somewhat locally, at least some potentials from CarGurus and Craigslist searches that have some with asking prices around your preferred range. The Prius may not be fast or the most unique vehicle on the road, but it is reliable, and as proven by their use in fleets and taxis, the battery packs are reliable for many miles. I'd still try to stay under 100k miles, if possible, but people I know who have Prii and Lexus CT hybrids have never had a battery issue, and one has over 200k on his Prius as it's a commuter car.
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Old Yesterday, 04:55 AM
 
37,969 posts, read 39,386,956 times
Reputation: 15342
With budget like that it's a gamble no matter what you are buyig especially for common items like brakes, belts and hoses.

With that said you can usually pick some cars reasonably cheap. I always buy Buicks. I've had a lot of success with them but more importantly most people do not set out to buy a Buick.

You can usually find them in the $3k to $5K range, less than 100K, single owner that is typically middle aged or older in nice neighborhood. Those people usually keep up the maintenance well.... Look for one with a 3.8 engine, those engines are pretty rock solid and you'll even get decent fuel mileage on the highway.

Here is one that fits the bill near you, 2003 Lesabre with 87K for $2700. That car sold for $25K new in 2003. Probably has power everything, leather seats and you can fit the Prius mentioned above in the trunk.

https://southcoast.craigslist.org/ct...812092976.html

Last edited by thecoalman; Yesterday at 05:06 AM..
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Old Yesterday, 05:16 AM
 
37,969 posts, read 39,386,956 times
Reputation: 15342
Quote:
Originally Posted by kwong7 View Post
Generally I would recommend you leave your car in MA and buy a different car when you get to CA. I've seen a lot of cars come from snowy states and rust up. That's been my observation from working on a few cars that came from Chicago and Boston.

Any used car you buy in the Northeast will usually have at least moderate rust on the components and underside of the body. You can fix most things, you can't fix rust. Sometimes you get lucky, you need to look around. Last car I bought I was actually thinking about going South for it but I did manage to find one that was really nice underneath. Whenever I look on CL for a car I always want to see an engine photo if not underneath, if there is any corrosion on fasteners and other things in the top side of the engine compartment that is usually a good sign it's bad underneath.
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Old Yesterday, 05:47 AM
 
8 posts, read 1,500 times
Reputation: 10
Nice informative are given by this blog.
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