Cheap used car

My husband and I are considering purchasing a car with cash, and we would like to keep ourselves at around $4,000. We need to be able to carry at least 4 up to 5 passengers and, of course, reliability and gas mileage are a consideration. We’re not picky about make/model. Any recommendations?

Too many variables to recommend a specific make or model. Whatever late model, one-owner car, all service records, and mechanic inspected car tickles your fancy. Condition outweighs make or model at your price point. My suggestions include all the Japs: Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Subaru, Mazda, etc.


2002 Chevy Prism or earlier Corrolla.

If you need to accommodate 5 people, I ould go for a good low mileage Ford Taurus or Mercury Sable with the basic V6 engine… These cars with V6 engines give reasonable gas mileage and are roomy and comfortable. A Toyota or Honda for that money would l;ikely be a high mileage model which may not have been maintained well.

These are very hard to beat… This seller has MANY vehicles for sale, all former state owned vehicles. I personally have purchased 2 of the cop cars and have been very happy with them…Other states have similar programs…

You might also consider a 2002 Chevrolet Malibu. Reliability drops on earlier years, but it is mostly a matter of how well it was maintained for cars this old.

Make sure that whatever you buy is in top condition. It’s a real bonus when the seller can provide a full set of receipts for maintenance and repairs. And make sure a mechanic you trust checks the car before you buy.

Sometimes you can find a great used car that may have a dent that doesn’t affect the function of the vehicle, or the vehicle has faded paint, etc. This makes the vehicle less valuable on the market. Note that I mentioned a dent or faded paint–not rust. Stay away from a rusted vehicle. Soiled or torn upholstery also knocks down the price, but doesn’t affect the way the car runs. A non-functioning radio can be replaced economically with an aftermarket unit, but use this to beat down the price.

If you have $4000 to spend, shop in the $3500 bracket and put away $500 for brakes, tires, a battery or some other repair that might creep up.

Many years ago, my parents needed a second car when my mother went back to work. This was in 1954. After looking at used Chevrolets and Fords which were essentially junk, my dad found a 1947 DeSoto coupe that he bought for $325. This was the summer before I started 8th grade. The maroon paint was faded, but the interior was clean and the car seemed to run well. I was put to work with rubbing compound and wax and brought the paint back to life. The DeSoto was one of the best cars my dad ever owned.

There are bargains to be had. Toyotas and Hondas are popular, but a less popular car may be a better deal. Shop carefully and have a mechanic check out a car you seriously consider for potential problems.