Help me decide which used car to buy

Hi all,

I’m hoping to buy a car in the next week and would love someone to review the ones I’ve found and offer some insight. Unfortunately my car was totaled last week and I’m in grad school, so I’m on a budget ($14k is really my max). Looking for something reliable and hopefully with good gas mileage. Anyway, I’ve compiled a handful of options on this spreadsheet. Thank you for taking time to check them out! I really appreciate it. Used Car Options - Google Sheets


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I was leaning towards the Mazda until I saw it had a Salvage title. Altima probably my second choice after an independent inspection. You may need to set aside money for brakes and needed maintenance etc… An Independent inspection is needed for any car you choose. imhop.


You are going to get pretty much the same replies as in your other thread .
Forget the one with a salvage title . Door dings should not salvage a vehicle so there has to be more damage than that.


Make sure you have the car you like inspected by a certified mechanic before you buy.

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Nissan’s have had a lot of problems with their CVT transmissions.


None of these cars are a particularly good deal, and despite being newer, they are over the mileage limits of the basic warranty. It does not make sense to pay $11k+ for a car which has just as much warranty remaining as, say, a 1998 Camry, i.e. none.

In general, when buying a car, it makes sense to either buy something which is new enough and low enough in miles to still have factory warranty remaining, or to buy something which is much older and cheaper, such as a 15-20 year old model. It does not make sense to pay the “newness premium” to buy something which is 5 to 7 years old, and completely out of warranty. And under no circumstances would I buy a salvage titled vehicle unless it is very old and very low value, and the incident which resulted in it being salvaged occurred when the car was old and worth very little.


Good point there, withdrawing Altima recommendation. Can’t keep up with everything!

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I work on salvage vehicles once a month. Out of curiosity I search the VIN on the internet and can often find auction pictures of the damaged vehicle.

This is the Hyundai Elantra from your list, auction notes “major suspension damage”. Estimated repair cost $10,500, impact probably also broke the transmission case. Final bid $2975.



Thank you very much for this feedback. Do you have thoughts about leasing at this time? It feels prohibitive to buy something newer, given the increased prices, but I also don’t want to invest in a much older car and pay more in repairs.

Thank you for this feedback. Would you personally steer clear of older Nissans, then? Say 60K+ miles?

Definitely will do!

yes. they have been having problems with their CVT trannys for over a decade. we bought a 2008 altima for my wife new. we went through 3 transmissions. every 30k miles before we sold it. nissan knew about the problem be cause they sent a letter to all owners extending the warrant to 10 years 120k miles. I still do not think they fixed the problem.

What year Nissans have CVT transmission? -

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Okay, all. Based on your feedback and some research, I’ve updated the spreadsheet of options to include older cars and I let go of the Nissans. Nearly every car is priced over its Kelley Blue Book value - I think that’s just part of the inflation we’re seeing at this time. It really is slim pickings at the moment.

Would love your thoughts. Thanks! Used Car Options - Google Sheets

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First take the Hybrids off the list because they might be fine but if not repair will be expensive . Second remove the Mitsubishi as they may not be in the US much longer .
Third just go look at one and if you like it then have a shop inspect it and hope for the best .

For my money a Toyota Prius would be the best choice. They have a stellar reputation. I have an acquaintance who has one with over 300,000 miles with original batteries and no major problems. I have friends who have a c max, have had several electrical issues. I would also consider the Kia’s and the Hyundai options. I would check Consumer reports, lots of useful information. Good luck with the decision.

A lot depends on how long you plan on keeping the car and your planned usage.

Agree with elimination of hybrids because of their high cost for battery replacement, elimination of Mitsubishi because of possibility of future exit from the market and agree with any car over !00,000 miles.

Most important, your mechanics evaluation of the car

. .

Maybe not. I recall that around 2014 Mitsubishi was only selling the Outlander. In 2022 they offer four. Three are Outlander variations, but that could indicate a commitment to the US market.

I am a mobile Mechanic, so my views are somewhat different than most, Most everyone that is looking for a used vehicle, has a price range. $14K max is very limited since the used cars & trucks, have increased in price even the vehicles on the parking lots of Dealers has also increased. I would seek the vehicle which gets good gas mileage, and with the fewest miles on it. You should have a mechanic check out the vehicle before you purchase it. I had a friend who could not wait and purchased a used vehicle which lasted about 150miles and then would not start again. He was out of cash purchase because he purchased as is. I see a lot of talk about salvage vehicles. These vehicle need an extra check on the underside to see if any accident caused frame damage. If not then evaluate based on the mechanic function & drive status. Co-parts is a insurance wrecking yard they have a code on each vehicle letting one know the reason it came in. You can go their and inspect the vehicle in person. or hire someone to check them out. Before you bid or outright purchase. bare in mind the hidden fees when getting a vehicle from there. Like all vehicle you get for you paid for. Ask before you buy.

While their sales figures have improved, overall their sales figures in The US are still truly anemic.

Thinking about that brand, I worked with a guy back in the '80s who insisted that it is pronounced “Massa-bushy”.
Thinking that he might actually be correct, I asked a Japanese woman whom I knew, and she got a good laugh over his mangled mispronunciation.

Then, I remembered an earlier incident when he had talked about buying a “Toyota Subaru”. :roll_eyes:
I asked him whether he was interested in a Toyota or a Subaru, and he showed me a brochure for the Toyota Supra.
And, of course, he insisted that “Supra” was pronounced “Subaru”.