First-time Car Buyer

So, I’m seventeen years old, have very little money to spend, and need to buy a used car between now and the end of summer. Are there any suggestions on what year range or model or make that I should be looking out for? I need something cheap and reliable. What should I be searching for?

Get a copy of the Consumer Reports Used Car Buyers Guide (available at many news stands, and at all book stores), in order to see the actual repair records reported by owners of the listed makes and models. This publication also has pricing info that will be helpful to you. Use the repair and pricing info in the Guide to narrow down or to refine your list of desired makes and models.

Then, only consider a used car whose maintenance records are available to you. If a car can thus be verified to have been properly maintained, you can go to the next step, which is to have it examined by a mechanic of your own choosing.

If a car has been cleared by your mechanic, then it is worth making an offer. However, whatever your total car purchase budget may be, be sure to spend only 2/3 of that amount, and reserve the other 1/3 for repairs and maintenance. Even the best used car can be prone to nasty surprises, and if you don’t have repair money budgeted, that car will soon be parked at the curb for a very long period of time until you can accumulate the money needed for repair.

Good luck in your search, and come back with further questions!

And be sure to spend the bucks to get the car checked out by an independent mechanic. There are numerous posts about a cream puff that someone bought 2 months ago and now have an expensive repair to keep the car running.

A Chevy Prizm would be one to look out for, it’s actually a Toyota Corolla with a Chevy badge on it. If a truck tickles your fancy, then look for a Ranger. Parts are cheap and most shops know how to work on them.
Without knowing your budget, you might be able to find a new Pontiac for cheap, the Vibe would be an excellent choice

How Much Is “Very Little Money”? Give Us A Price Range, Please.