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Good used car

My young niece and new mother is looking for a car. Must have a Back Seat. $3000 Range

Defining good is the first step. For example car A might be perfect for me, but if I had a large dog, it might be totally unsuitable. More information for us might help get better suggestions.

I will also add the most important factor, and the most difficult to determine. A car that has had good care including having all the recommended maintenance done is a far better choice than a like car that has not had good maintenance.

Since it is not likely you can confirm the kind of treatment the car has had, it is important to take it to your local independent mechanic to have them give it a quick check. He or she will not likely be able to see everything, but should be able to give you a good idea of how the car has been treated.

Good Luck

Must have a back seat and $3k "tells me " it should be usable. I’m thinking early 2000’s Taurus. In the words of Yoda and Robert, “cheap, they are”.

Shopping is your friend.

For use in Alaska or elsewhere? (you are from there, correct?)

Buick Century circa year 2000 would be my choice. They seem to be plentiful on Craigslist. Or maybe a Malibu.

The car will reside in Wisconsin. Joseph ya kinda took me out in left field. Good meaning dependable. Baby…not dog. I made here aware of having it looked over.

Shopping is always a friend…Thanks.

Plentiful on Craigslist worries me.

What im looking for is Make, Model. That type of thing

$3000 Is Nothing For A Car. Condition Is Everything. Make / Model “Take A BackSeat”.

Look for something in good shape that fits the bill and buy it with the 3000 bills.


Thanks for nothing. "Take a Backseat?

“Take a backseat” is an expression that means something is secondary, or less important.

In this context, what CSA is saying is that the make and model should be of secondary consideration, and the condition of the vehicle (including its maintenance) should be the primary consideration.

Thanks for clarifying. However it seems im getting information about information. Mayb its the recent removal of a tumor from my pancreas, Blood transfusion, Morphine ect

“Maybe its the recent removal of a tumor from my pancreas, Blood transfusion, Morphine ect” Sorry To Hear That. I Hope You’re Doing Better. That Certainly Could Make Things Tougher.

Generally a $3000 car is going to be several (many) model-years old and generally could have considerable miles on it. It’s really difficult to zero in on a particular make / model and then find one that has been well taken care of and comes with maintenance documents, etcetera.

Because imminent timing belt replacement can cost 20% of this used car’s cost, many recommend finding a car with a timing chain if a recent belt replacement can’t be verified.

Buying a “one owner” car can be helpful because many times (not all the time) the owner will be honest about the car’s history.

I think we have helped people more if they tell what particular car they are looking at, with as many details as possible, and then we chime in with things to consider and look at pertaining to that particular make / model.

Unlike new cars, the supply of eligible good used cars varies with the location in which somebody is shopping.

Unlike new cars, to say, “You can’t go wrong buying a used _________________ (fill in make / model),” is seldom true with respect to used cars. A car with a known reliabilty record can be trashed by poor care and a car with a less than stellar reliability reputation can make a suitable purchase if it has been well cared for.

Hope this helps.


In that price range, I have done well getting four door sedans, mid-sized. That would include Buick Century, Malibu, Taurus, etc. Key is car condition and a good going over by a mechanic (or yourself) to spot any deficiencies. Own owner would be a plus.

A lot of these cars were sold, so it is not surprising a lot of them show up on Craig’s list. However, I am not sure that is a sign of anything negative.

Don’t remember if Consumer Reports shows good buys in that price range, but that might be a good source of info. Even if the price range isn’t there, some trend info may be helpful.

Some people have recommended Crown Victoria as a solid car and cheap to fix. It sure has a back seat, and if it’s in good condition should be safe. Lesser gas mileage, but if she doesn’t drive much, that might not be a bad idea.

Thanks Hawk

Thanks but she wont like the gas mileage

So now you want a $3,000 car with a back seat and you’ve added good gas mileage. Are there any other requirements we should consider before recommending something?

Details, sir, details.

Whenever I made an arrest, the prisoners in back seldom complained about leg room. Neither did a lost “great dane” I picked up at large. Sure then, second the CV motion !
If you want good mileage cars, they will run a premium used and it will be tougher to get one in good shape. Now back to the Ford Escort…so, so leg room but it does have a seat and is cheap, reliable and economical.