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Old 07-08-2009, 12:22 PM
 
Location: Tucson
42,837 posts, read 77,307,501 times
Reputation: 22814

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Wow, lots of big shots here... I drive a '95 Camry on 140K. It was bought in cash 8 years ago. I don't call it a beater or a clunker (she's just a teenager , but doesn't act up like one) and I have every intention of driving it into the ground. Also, the "ground" is looong ways away! I've no desire to replace it with a newer domestic piece of crap, either. Once itís time for its retirement, another Camry will be bought. Granted, this one was made in the US and not Japan as my previous car, but itís still a Toyota.
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Old 07-08-2009, 03:23 PM
 
Location: Lake Arlington Heights, IL
5,481 posts, read 10,092,360 times
Reputation: 2784
If you go for the Astra, check Consumer Reports to see how its reliability has fared.
If its repair history is bad, it may be better to purchase a slightly more expensive but more reliable brand. Some manufacturers also sell certified used cars with extended warranties and offer new car financing deals.
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Old 07-09-2009, 08:59 PM
 
1,116 posts, read 2,548,556 times
Reputation: 1468
Quote:
Originally Posted by sterlinggirl View Post
The costs of engine repair don't have anything to do with the reliability of your car. You neglected basic maintenance (changing the belt), and paid the price.

Now that you've fixed it, it's silly to throw away that repair money.
It's a chain, not a belt. It's not supposed to break at all so there was no neglected maintenance, and when it does break, it whips around in the engine and can damage other things. There was a 50% chance that I would have had to replace the entire engine, but thankfully there was no damage that they could see so I was able to just replace the chain. Buuut they don't know if it will affect anything later on down the line.

Like I said, I'll keep it for another six months at the least, which I don't view as throwing away repair money.
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Old 07-10-2009, 12:06 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
20,944 posts, read 37,686,240 times
Reputation: 21008
Driving a beater vs. a dependable vs. a newer car depends on Time, Talent, and Treasure.

If you have to pay someone to work on your car, buy a dependable car with lower mileage ($3,000-$6000) Preferably a ONE owner sold by owner with maint records)

If you have big bucks and can have a new car, buy it!

If you are frugal and / or broke... consider your time and talent and maybe a beater will work for you. I drive a $35.00 car that gets 50 mpg on free fryer grease. I spend about 10 hrs / yr fixing on it (Less time than most folks spend waiting for warranty / tire / oil change work), and about $200 in parts (in a bad yr). I bought a few extra cars for parts (a Bad Rabbit Habit). The 'abandoned vehicle auctions' in my nearby city sell between 300 and 500 cars per week, many for under $100. In well over 1,000,000 driving miles I have never had to be towed, tho I had to tow one of my kids home. (It was a freak repair issue + a non - discerning ear).

The Saturns can be very cheap, extremely good, and economical to operate, almost as good as a VW Rabbit (1st generation... 1975-1984)

50mpg since 1976, no dinosaurs required. Where have you been?
VW Diesels run forever (almost... 500,000+)
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Old 07-12-2009, 07:05 AM
 
37,072 posts, read 38,527,994 times
Reputation: 14846
Quote:
Originally Posted by sierraAZ View Post
Wow, lots of big shots here... I drive a '95 Camry on 140K. It was bought in cash 8 years ago. I don't call it a beater or a clunker (she's just a teenager , but doesn't act up like one) and I have every intention of driving it into the ground. Also, the "ground" is looong ways away! I've no desire to replace it with a newer domestic piece of crap, either. Once itís time for its retirement, another Camry will be bought. Granted, this one was made in the US and not Japan as my previous car, but itís still a Toyota.
The one reason I bought the car I posted above was because the previous "domestic piece of crap" I owned was also a Buick albeit that one only had the 3.3. Purchased it with 88K and ran it until it had about 198K on it. When I sold it it still ran like clockwork and I put very little money into. Brakes tires... all the normal stuff and nothing major. I wouldn't have doubted that car would have ran for another 100K, the only reason I sold it was because it was beat up.
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Old 07-12-2009, 06:22 PM
 
Location: Denver
682 posts, read 1,832,397 times
Reputation: 337
I just now bought a 2006 Civic. It was a stressful and hurried experience. I had a 2001 Mustang was 142,000 miles and it had been having issues for the past year. On Monday, I stopped to get my mail. When I came back two minutes later, it wouldn't start at all. I figured that was enough, I don't have the time or patience to deal with taking my car into a shop every two months.

So I bought this new car, which I like so far. But I really wish I had more time to plan my purchase. I was desperate and in a hurry, since I had no other way of getting around. I also didn't have a down payment saved up and, since my Mustang wasn't working at all, they wouldn't take it as a trade-in.

Long story short, maybe waiting until the last possible second to get a new car isn't such a great idea. I think I could have got a much better deal if I'd had more time to plan and save up a down payment. Not to mention the fact that I could have traded my car in if it worked.
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Old 07-13-2009, 02:55 AM
 
Location: Upland, CA
3,542 posts, read 6,236,601 times
Reputation: 3929
I will also go against the grain and tell you to get it.

I myself, am not handy, and, living usually far away from family and friends, I need something that is reliable, not just in my town, but, if I need to take a trip out of state.

That sounds like a really good deal, and, if you can afford it without strapping yourself, I say do it.

That Saturn you have now will keep nickeling and diming you forever now if you keep it. I would estimate that, over the next year, if you keep it, it will run you 200 bucks a month just to keep it going.
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Old 07-14-2009, 05:38 PM
 
5,748 posts, read 10,532,462 times
Reputation: 4494
I currently drive a 10-year-old Honda, and I'm going drive that thing until it absolutely falls apart even though I can absolutely afford to buy a new vehicle. What's keeping me out of the showroom? Mostly, the cost of registration and insurance. Right now, my annual registration is a pittance, and I carry the absolute minimum in auto insurance allowed by my state. Sure, the old car costs me a bit each year to keep it running smoothly, but it's still way less than the carrying costs for a brand new version. Before you make your decision, take the time to add in all those extras like insurance deductibles, registration, and taxes.
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Old 07-16-2009, 02:44 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
7,091 posts, read 10,520,162 times
Reputation: 4105
I always drive it till it drops, my last car was my parents and I drove it till the only way to move it was tow it off at 19. I love my new car, and I take care of it, because it's going to have to last till it's at least 10.

The big thing is the clunker must be reliable and not consume too much maintenance, I've seen some people buy a case of oil every two months for all the crap it burns and spend days fixing it's latest breakdown. Once it gets at that point to me, the plans start to get a more reliable car.
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Old 07-17-2009, 07:19 AM
 
12,870 posts, read 12,812,959 times
Reputation: 4446
Quote:
Originally Posted by spiderbear View Post
It was in pristine condition until I moved to my current location....and I've been hit three times while stopped. The past few years have been hard on the car, but it is out of the ordinary for me. The $1500 was replacing the timing chain and the damage it did when it snapped and replacing the wheel assembly/rim and re-alignment.

I definitely agree with not buying a brand new car, but I've seen just how much money gets sunk into beater cars that are supposedly reliable. The amount that my husband has paid in "reliable" used cars in the past five years could have bought a brand new car in cash. I really don't buy it, because even though he's taken care of his cars, they still always end up with repairs that exceed the value of the car. I'll pay a litle bit extra to know that the car is still covered under warranty.

Plus, we have disposable income now. We won't have that when we're both in grad school...I'd much rather put a good downpayment now, and have a low monthly payment that I'm not paying interest on rather than having to buy another car halfway through because my beater died. Insurance is a concern, but the insurance would be no more on the new car (not counting collision).

I haven't fallen in love with the car so much as the dealer/brand. I can really appreciate customer service, and I'll pay more for that because I know I'm not getting ripped off. Call me a sucker..but I'd rather keep honest folks in business. Anyone who tells me to think it over for months if I need to (while offering to extend their financing special for whenever I do decide to buy) and actually directs me to the barely-used car when they could easily sell me the new, I can respect. I've always owned Saturns, and always been happy with the cars and the service centers.

Overall, I think I see the pros and cons of both, and it's a pretty tough decision.. My husband turns 25 this December, so we've decided to wait until his premiums drop again before getting a new car. I figure also if we wait until next year, the cars that we're looking at will be effectively two years old, and the price will drop even more (with little sacrifice in mileage).
if you are looking for reliability you might want to stay away from the astra. they did really good in appearance but not so good in reliability:Best Affordable Small Cars - Best Cars & Trucks - U.S. News Rankings and Reviews
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