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Looking out for a cheap, reliable and a friendly car

Hi, I currently own a very hostile and a drama queen, expensive to maintain BMW 528i. Though its fun to drive, its very unreliable and I dread taking it on long weekend getaways. Planning to sell it off and get a cheap and easy to maintain car to and from work and those weekend trips. Any suggestions please… Thanks

Your budget is? How much stuff do you need to carry? Lots of cars to choose from. I like Honda Civic’s myself.

Yep, we need a $ amount. “Cheap” compared to a new BMW = $40,000, compared to a 1990 BMW = $4,000…

I too am getting inclined to the japanese. Honda or Toyota maybe… I expect my BMW to sell for 4.5 to 5 grand. Leaving some part of it aside, my budget would be around $4000. I dont carry too much stuff on the trips. i ve rented a Nissan Versa a couple of times and I find the boot space sufficient.

oopps yeah did not mention my budget which is around $4000. my BMW is a 2000 model.

$4,000 is not enough to guarantee a reliable car. You might get lucky and get reliability, but it’s not guaranteed.

For that budget, I’d be looking at an old Civic or Accord.

My 1998 328i is still running strong with just maintenance and wear parts for six years now. For $4k, I’d go with a Hyundai Sonata – basic transportation and no BMW excitement (or drama).

"Any suggestions please… "
A $5,000 BMW Probably Wouldn’t Be Reliable.
A $4,000 __________ (Whatever) Probably Won’t Be Reliable, Either.

You are pretty much treading in Pig In A Poke territory.

Although not totally reliable the old BMW might be your best bet until you can save enough money for a good car. Driving what you’ve got is often the best used car choice. You could jump out of pan and into the fire.

Regarding those “weekend trips,” You may be living a Champagne Lifestyle on a Beer Budget. Driving beater cars usually limits one’s range of motion. If you can’t afford weekend trips then stay closer to home and save for a car.

I have bought reliable $4,000 cars, but I know how to do it and it’s not easy and not easily explained. I don’t like to do it because no matter what precautions are taken there is still a little Pig and a Little Poke that are built into any such purchase. Just ask the person you’re buying from if they’ll guarantee that the car will be reliable (Picture buying an old BMW).

Your time here may be better spent telling about the reliability issues of the BMW and seeking advice to make it more reliable.


you should very very very seriousy consider getting a Hyundai Elantra or Sonata, most folks don’t know how reliable and good they are yet so that’s why they’re cheap.

i drive a 2007 corolla btw.

go for hybrid cars…or an accord :slight_smile:

Everyone wants a cheap reliable car at some point. I’m an Accord fan too but that’s no guarantee you’ll get a reliable one. As the years/miles pile up, it’s the peripherals in all cars that give you the most trouble and not necessarily the motor/trans, even with an Accord. So give first preference to base models in your search with as few bells and whistles as possible. Power windows/sunroof stuck in the open position can make the car indri able in the winter too.

I don’t think you can find a hybrid car for $4000, and if you can, would you want it?

Subaru, toyota, honda, jeep wrangler or cherokee. All are generally reliable if taken care of and with all with the exception of the toyota are actually fun to drive in there own way. I like VW’s but I also like to tinker :slight_smile: May I suggest keeping the bimmer and investing in a nice set of craftsman tools and a manual. You will be a better person for it. If properly maintained even a yugo could be a good car.

A Crown Vic…You put the key in here and the gas in there and that’s it…

Maybe a wrecked, first generation Prius or Insight. Not a good choice for a $4k budget.

With all the talk of the Accord and Civic here, it should be noted that a $4k budget puts a buyer squarely within the range of model years when those two (the Accord, in particular) had horrendous failure rates in their automatic transmissions.

As others have indicated, in the $4000 or less range you’ll have to choose from what’s available. The best bet is to put the word out with your friends and relatives and hope one of them has something they’re considering getting rid of.

Your second best bet is to choose something that had a good reputation when new, test drive it under stress conditions (highway, hills, broken up roads), and if it seems okay have it gone over thoroughly by your mechanic.

By the way, I loved your description of your BMW. “Drama queen” says it all perfectly.