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Disappointed car search

For the past twelve years, I have owned a 1999 pontiac grand prix. I absolutely loved the car. Didn’t have any major problems until recent years. Since I needed a new transmission after 150,000 miles and the car was really rusting out on the bottom, I decided it was time to say goodbye. If it wasn’t for the rust, I would have considered actually putting the money into a new transmission because that’s how much I loved it.

Have been very disappointed so far in car searching. Either it is being recalled for something or in my opinion should be recalled, uncomfortable, or just nothing with any style which I feel I can buy a reliable $4,000 car with no style.

Cars that have gotten my interest are: Ford Fusion (concerned after driving and reading reviews of transmission problems early (not sure why this is being recalled), Chevy Malibu (concerned about recalls and especially with newer models lower front end, also since it is a cheaper car quality issues), Toyota Camry (comfortable but dull also concerned with recalls of Toyota), Chevy Cruze (cute but a little small also concerned with recalls and Chevy pulling it off the line). Others cars looked at that I determined uncomfortable (Hyundai Sonata, Buick Verano, Chevy Impala, and Honda Accord). I also looked at Nissan Altma and Subaru Impreza but disappointed in the look. Also I have heard they have the CVT Transmission which my transmission specialist told me to stay away from.

I can see why everyone is holding on to their cars. I just want another prix! Any advice.

I don’t like sitting down in a tub.
The newer vehicles seem to all have a high belt line…I want to SEE out there.
And my one-eyed wife NEEDS to see more than the average joe.

We’re gonna have a hard time car shopping next time too.
We really like the visibility and fit of our ; 08 Expedition, 06 Escape hybrid, and 79 Chevy pickup.

I wouldn’t worry about recalls. While there are small problems, they will be fixed. Just about all car brands and models have some recalls. If you use that as a metric, you won’t find a car. Most car makers are much more proactive in making recalls since Toyota paid a $1.4 billion settlement to the government for their unintended acceleration problems.

I am fond on the Accord. I have a 2005 with 128,000 miles and it has been excellent so far. The current generation is a midsize car again. The previous generation was a large car like the Avalon. The 4 cylinder Accord will have a CVT as will the Nissan products.

Since you want a car with some extra style, why not consider the Porsche Boxster? Used ones can be found at reasonable prices. I think Consumer Reports rates them as fairly reliable, more so or less so depending on the model year and configuration. Still, even if the car is reliable, a used car, you’ll need to repair it from time to time, so you do need to figure into your budget the higher repair costs for both parts and labor associated with this type of sporty/stylish car. To get an idea, ask your mechanic to compare the price of a water pump job between the Boxster and the Camry.

What’s your budget?

I was hoping to buy something under $15,000 but could go up to $18,000 if really happy with it. A friend of the family has a 2006 chevrolet monte carlo. It has 90,000 which is higher mileage than I would like but thought of buying it because it seems to have been a really good car for her. Her husband has done all of the mechanic work and has records of all the work. She said she has had no problems with the car so far so it appears to be a good car. Thought of having the car for a couple years until I find something else. What are your opinions of the Monte Carlo?

By the way I grew up with my dad’s 1977 monte carlo so style is really important! Sad they don’t make cars as cool looking as that anymore :slight_smile: Yes there are some millennials who enjoy style!

If the OP is looking for a make and model of car that has never had a recall, he is probably going to have a very difficult time finding one.

Oh, wait! How about a 1953 Buick?
Despite a design defect that allowed the power brake booster to suck the fluid out of the brake hydraulic system, GM never issued a recall on these cars–several deaths not withstanding.

I hope the OP realizes that–despite my sarcasm–I am trying to point out that cars have always had design defects, that recalls are certainly preferable to failure to do recalls, and that in the modern age, you should anticipate the possibility of recalls on any make or model of vehicle.

for 18 grand you could probably get a resto-mod or restored 1971 monte carlo SS…

oh yeah…, but that’s a car that must be driven maturely, if you want to live

oh I guess you aren t that young. exactly how old are millenials?

I guess my question is why all of a sudden are we hearing more about them? I don’t remember hearing this many recalls in the past.

With all do respect, engines stalling, transmission problems, ignition switch problems, and unintended acceleration don’t sound like minor problems. Looking at jd power and consumer report reviews there seems to be major problems with new vehicles still.

“why all of a sudden are we hearing more about them? I don’t remember hearing this many recalls in the past.”

I believe that car makers are learning (slowly, perhaps) that timely recalls are almost always cheaper than paying out tens of millions of dollars to survivors (and the families of victims) of accidents that can be attributed to vehicle defects. And, even if many of the recalls are for relatively minor problems, the idea of limiting liability awards to litigants is probably something that drives the increase in the number of recalls. In other words…Better safe than sorry…

“engines stalling, transmission problems, ignition switch problems, and unintended acceleration don’t sound like minor problems”

You are correct, but in the case of sudden unintended acceleration, the cause is still unclear in many cases. Driver error has been shown to be the cause of a large percentage of those incidents, and in the case of Toyota, poorly-fitting floor mats may explain some of them. Ergo–a minor problem with unintended major consequences.

The internet.

Problems were just as common in the '70s, '80s, and '90s, but the word didn’t travel to millions upon millions of people and countless news outlets at the speed of light.

And, with the internet, millions of people who HAVE problems can report them at the speed of light. Prior to the internet, one had to seek out the forms, complete them, mail them through the snail mail, and NHTSA had to manually sort, categorize, and analyze the reports. Few people had the endurance to go through all that. We just wanted to get our cars fixed and move on. Now, we immediately report the problem over the internet.

Yes social media has played a huge role and has grown immensely in the past five years. I guess my concern is quality. All companies have been cutting corners since the recession, so it does make me concerned about the quality. Also technology has seemed to make things not last as long as well which is sad.

I’m not referring to social media. I’m referring to the readily available and convenient reporting system that the internet provides for the consumers, the greatly enhanced ability of NHTSA to retrieve and analyze the data, and to the instant and worldwide news media venues that simply didn’t exist before.

Compared to the cars we drove in the '60s, 70s, and '80s, today’s cars are downright reliable and long lasting. Cars in the '60s didn’t last 100,000 miles. Now, the sparkplugs last 100,000 miles. Everything about cars today, the fuel delivery systems, the cooling systems, the engines, the brakes, the bodies, even the suspension, is more reliable, maintenance free, and longer lasting than any '60s car ever dreamed of being. The perception that cars used to be much better built in the old days is inaccurate. It would be more accurate to say that people weren’t as aware of the problems as they are today.

I suggest you buy a Consumer Reports car buyer’s guide and look at the listings for recommended used cars, you should find something you like there. Most recalls signify a problem solved, as others have noted.

I wasn’t born until 1985 (yes I’m young!), so I can’t say I know a lot about older cars even though my dad’s 1977 car lasted I believe about 200,000 miles.

But I can say for example that my 1999 pontiac grand prix didn’t have any transmission problems until 149,000 miles whereas a 2013 ford fusion I just drove that only has 35,000 miles needed its transmission reprogrammed (why after only 35,000 miles and only a year old?). My mom’s 1991 cadillac lasted for a whopping 314,000 miles!

It seems at least the 90s and early to mid 2000 cars are better than what is on the road today.

That’s not correct. You’ve had some good experience with some cars, but on average cars have become more reliable. Reprogramming a transmission control module is far different than an actual transmission problem.

I’ll “second” Texases’ suggestion. Based on what you’ve posted so far, the cars you’ve been selecting have not been as reliable as the cars I’ve been buying. CR data can help with this by improving your odds.

Since reliability is important to you, allow me to point out that in the price range you’re talking you can buy a brand new economy car and maintain it properly. If you instead decide to buy a used car in order to get something snazzier, you’ll be very likely to sacrifice the reliability for snazz, and, frankly, in that price range the difference in snazz isn’t going to be great enough to justify the sacrifice.

Frankly, I’m not impressed with the service you’ve gotten out of your GP. I understand that you liked it, and I’m not dissing it. I had a car in the '70s that I really liked even though it had terrible reliability. But you can do much better using the CR data, buying a new econobox, and properly maintaining it.

When you’re on a budget, you need to make compromises in life. Which ones you decide to make are your choice.