New to online forums but love cartalk

I am looking to buy a used Toyota. I had a Rav 4 in the past and loved it. I am not sure what model I want but price is the biggest consideration. When I start looking at actual cars - what are the years that I should avoid. My Rav had great manufacturing tolerance. The car would seal itself when you closed all the windows and make your eardrums wobble. I was told that that was because of the high level of precision that the car was manufactured with. When did Toyota relax its standards - i don’t want one from that year. Never bought a car on my own before. Thanks

Addendum: sorry those years. and if anyone has tips on buying old cars that might still have life left in them- for a relative dummy Thanks

It’s best to arm yourself with as much overall knowledge as possible. Being the second biggest purchse you may ever make, listening to opinions instead of reputable advice from publications like Consumer Reports is not the preferred way to go. For example, most modern cars with decent weather stripping can give you a closed feeling and make your ears wobble. Though I am a Toyota RAV fan too for example, it’s really only because of the dealership proximity and reputation overall. When I lived elsewhere, I was a fan of other makes and would be just as happy with some Fords, Hondas, Nissans, GMs etc. IMO, Toyota didn’t relax any standards, other makers are catching up which is an overall bonus for consumers.

You really need to start doing more publication research and not listen to bias opinions of owners on your own. The sample is too small. Basic knowledge of car components is very important to understand possible trouble spots as well as purchasing strategies. Use your computer and start googling these areas as well as taking out an on line subscription to Consumer Reports. This in my opinion, is your most important first step. Best of luck.

I would have to second Dagosa’s suggestions. And after you’ve done all that, and you go out and search for a vehicle you like, be absolutely sure to have a local, trusted mechanic give it a thorough once over. Deciding a car is nice isn’t that hard. Getting one in good-to-great shape is a different matter.

You’ll want to find a real mechanic, not a chain, and not a shadetree wanna-be, although there are some that really do know what they’re doing. Just be sure you have a good one, and expect to pay him for the services, too. Somewhere in the $100 region.

How much do you want to spend? If you are looking for something under about $7000, you should forget about brand and look for a well maintained car or truck. This is not a knock on Toyota, but anything can be abused, and Toyotas tend to have high resale value. I’d look for an unpopular car that has been very well maintained. You said that price is paramount, right?

thanks people, I have a good mechanic- knew that pre- rec but I wasn’t sure how to narrow down from all the makes and models. I am fairly mechanical is there a book or site anyone recommends for basic beginning car functions? This is what happens when you let your dad and now ex do the brain work without insisting on a cerebral and hands on play by play.
oh - I will get on consumer reports but I have heard that decommissioned cop cars are (usually) good.
Maybe if I had the cash or the helpless female look down pat I could just bring my mechanic(really almost retired) and sweet on a day trip.

If you’ve ever paid attention to cops, they tend to beat up their cars. They’re (for the most part) well maintained, but they also have had to put up with chasing people down (speeders), the occasional bullet hole, and lots and lots of sitting running.

If you can find a detective car, it’s more likely to have been treated a tad nicer.

You can check, and for some reviews and information, too. I’m sure there are more.

While police cars may be well maintained, they are sold when the is very little, if any life left in them. Why would they sell a car that had a lot of good service life left?

I feel your pain… I am looking for a new car… but I am a woman who has relied on hubby when it comes to cars in the past. We have a different focus I think. I have really enjoyed my Ford Escape… it is similar to your Toyota Rav 4… everyone raves about that Toyota… I like looking on You can list your criteria and look close to home… you could just search by price and location alone if you wanted to … and see who is selling good used cars close by… word of mouth reputation is still good. Good luck.