Buying a Camry

I am a first time car buyer and I would like to buy a Camry because it is reliable and I have a 2 month old. I am a teacher so I don’t have too much money. I saw some older Camry’s for around $3500 that have between 90 and 100K miles on them. Is a Camry with this many miles on it still considered reliable, or should I save to buy a newer model? Thanks!

If the Camry was serviced properly then it should easily last 250k + miles. Check the service records.

It’s great to get the service records as Mike suggested. You should also get the car inspected by a mechanic before you buy it. Make sure the mechanic knows that it is a pre-purchase inspection. Expect to pay a couple hundred bucks for a thorough inspection.

At $3500 for a Camry it must be really old. 90k-100k is irrelevant if the vehicle is over 10 years old. Cars not only age by miles but also time. If its older than 10 years look into a newer model.

“I am a teacher so I don’t have too much money.”

I had to laugh at that. My mom’s a trustee on a local school board, and is frequently complaining about teachers complaining they don’t get paid enough… looking at the figures, it seem the teachers in my mom’s board do just fine.

Anyway, back on topic, I would look at a Hyundai Elantra. For your budget, you can get a much newer Elantra than Camry for the same money, and the Elantra will be cheaper to repair when something goes wrong. Also, an Elantra may get better gas mileage.

I don’t know if you can get a new enough Hyundai for the OP’s budget. I’m sure a few years down the line you will be able to, but for that price she might be looking at one from the bad old days of Hyundai.

Are teachers’ salaries better than they were years ago? Without question.

Are teachers overpaid? In order to answer that question, one should first ask himself/herself the following question:

Why are there chronic shortages of people to fill teaching positions, especially in the areas of math and science?

If the salary was truly commensurate with the responsibilities of the job, there would be more than enough people vying to enter the profession, and there would not be chronic shortages of qualified personnel.

I had to laugh at that. My mom’s a trustee on a local school board, and is frequently complaining about teachers complaining they don’t get paid enough… looking at the figures, it seem the teachers in my mom’s board do just fine.

You must live in a city or town that actually pays their teachers well.

Here in NH where cost of living is very high…and teachers average salary is about 45th in the country…MOST teachers who are fresh out of college are still living at home with parents because they can’t afford a house or appartment (average rental unit in my town is $1800). Spend $120k + on college for a college degree and based on the hours you work you get paid slightly more an hour then the high-school dropout working at McDonalds.

The situation with the salary for new teachers is pathetic in many parts of the country, and we have lost good potential teachers to other fields. I started my college teaching career in 1965 and I did a lot of work with future teachers. At that time, many women went into teaching. With affirmative action, many of these top female graduates went to higher paying fields. I had three really good female students who became top notch high school mathematics and science teachers. All three of them left the field in less than 5 years, and found industry positions that paid at least twice as much. They got tired of principals trying to force them to pass athletes who were lazy and wouldn’t do anything in class. The principals wouldn’t back them up if there was a dispute with the parents. The school administration wouldn’t do anything to discipline disruptive students.

It is sad that most teachers who are fresh out of college have to live at home because they can’t afford their own housing.

I don’t have any suggestions for the OP. I do know that after I had taught four years and decided to go back to school to do the coursework for a doctorate that Ralph Nader helped me. He wrote a book, “Unsafe At Any Speed”. This knocked the resale value out from under the Chevrolet Corvair and I could puchase a newer Corvair with the limited funds that I had than almost any other automobile. Maybe we could make up something about the Toyota Camry that would help our teacher.

The fact the car has a Camry badge on it does not automatically mean that it’s reliable at all. Just like any other used car, the main factor is how it was driven and maintained in the past.

It’s entirely possible that a 100k mile Camry can be a great car and will easily go 300k miles IF it has been taken care of. It should be looked over very carefully by someone who is mechanically knowledgeable and you should also figure in a few repairs.
It’s unlikely that you will ever find a used car that does not need something or the other.

Something to keep in mind if buying from a dealer is this. Some used cars are in wonderful shape and traded in simply because the owner is bored. Others are vehicles that have been neglected and/or possibly have some serious problems.
Some people will dump off the headache on the dealer who may not even be aware of a serious problem or the dealer may decide to simply dump the problem car at a dealer only auction. Other dealers may buy these problem cars and then resell them on their lots.

This is why a careful inspection is preferred and at the very, very least a vehicle should be given a long test drive to see if any problems surface. A 2 mile hop is not a test drive. Make it a minimum of 50 miles and note that everything on the car appears to work with no oddities in the engine/transmission operation.