So as you all know, I like to drive cars which have very basic features, and none of the high-tech BS which has become common today. Specifically, I want non-powered windows and seats, no sunroof/moonroof, no alarm or immobilizer system, no touch screens, no “drive by wire” throttle body, no electric power steering, and nothing which communicates wirelessly with a remote server or acts to override the driver’s inputs.
I also need this car to be easy enough to work on that I could perform routine maintenance and even many kinds of repairs myself at home using a floor jack, jack stands, and standard tools. By “easy enough”, I mean that this car should be no more difficult than say a 4-cylinder Caravan/Voyager or Spirit/Acclaim to do things such as replace the timing belt kit, replace the water pump, replace the radiator and coolant hoses, replace the accessory belt(s) and tensioner(s), replace the spark plugs and ignition wires, change the transmission fluid and filter, replace gaskets and seals, etc. So no multiple timing chains, no unreasonably difficult timing belts, and no internal water pump driven by a timing chain.
A search of the local Craigslist shows the following vehicles, which offer the features I need, all with approximately 140,000 to 150,000 miles:
- 1998 Ford Escort with the SOHC engine
- 1996 Toyota Corolla
- 1997 Chevrolet Cavalier
- 1999 Chevrolet Metro with the 4-cylinder engine
- 2005 Kia Rio
- 1999 Toyota Corolla
All of these cars are similar in cost and appear to be in excellent condition, and I would be happy driving any of these models. So it’s just a matter of deciding which will provide the easiest DIY maintenance and servicing. Any advice (besides “don’t buy a car that old”)?