Opinions on 3 Used Cars under $10K

I posted yesterday about a 2005 Subaru I was looking at and got some great feedback. I’ve decided not to pursue it since it’s too old, even though it had low mileage.

I wonder if I can get your opinions on these 3 vehicles? http://www…re_ods.jsp

I can’t find a newer Hyundai Elantra with less than 40K miles for under $10K with ABS.

I have 2 requirements for a car: ABS and 4 doors. Anything else is negotiable.

I Can’t Access Your Saved Vehicles. I Believe Most (All ? ) Late Chevrolets Have ABS As Standard Equipment, Many Have 4 Doors, If That Helps.


D’Oh! I didn’t realize you couldn’t get to that page. Here are the individual pages.

2008 Hyundia Elantra http://www.cars.com/go/search/detail.jsp?listingId=52550610&tracktype=usedcc

2008 Kia Spectra http://www.cars.com/go/search/detail.jsp?listingId=51519937&tracktype=usedcc

2008 Suzuki SX4 Touring Sedan http://www.cars.com/go/search/detail.jsp?listingId=47434690&tracktype=usedcc

ABS is an option for the Cobalt. Ask the seller if it has ABS. You can verify their claim by getting the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) from the owner. You can also see it through the windshield on the driver’s side. Give it to your car insurer and they can tell you all the factory-installed options. BTW, this goes for any car.

Afterthought: I note that you live in the DC metro area. I suspect that your county has public transportation. I live in Howard County, and we have transportation services for the disabled. Here’s a page for Montgomery County:


If you don’t live close enough to public transportation to take advntage of it, check out the services offered. Call the numbers listed to see if you qualify for special services. If the county offers the service, you may be hurting yourself by not taking advantage of it. If you live in DC or another county, find your local municipality’s web site. Do a web search for something like “fairfax county VA” and you’ll get there.

I’ll Have To Defer To Others Here. I Wouldn’t Know These Models From A Bale Of Hay. They’re No Sold / Serviced Around Here.

Some like these Japanese (? Korean ?) cars, but others will advise that you may get a bigger bang for the buck with a Ford or Chevrolet (resale is lower). Many people (I think, mistakenly ) perceive them to not be as good and that makes for used car buying opportunities.

I believe most Chevrolets also have timing chains instead of belts, but whatever you buy, find out so you can know if it’s in the near future, been done, doesn’t have one, or factor that into the price.

Timing belt replacement intervals vary by make & model, can be costly, and can damage the engine if neglected.


No Fords (any model) listed for my price range and 2 requirements…

That’s very kind of you. My problem is that I go to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore for my care, sometimes several times a week. County transport won’t take me there. I’m immune-compromised, so can’t take Metro or Marc (if they even go there from here). I’m also quite limited in my ability to stand and walk. Most county assistance for rides require 24 hrs notice. My condition is highly variable-- I can’t say what shape I’ll be in the next few hours, much less the next day. This is why I need a car. I have to be able to get to the ER, doctors or things like groceries at a moment’s notice. Make hay while the sun shines, as it were.

I’ve only lived out here a couple years. My friends who help me out confirm there’s no way for me to live without a car given my restrictions.

2005 is old? To me 2005 is practically new.

I own a '96 Subaru and a '97 Acura, both of which are over 100K miles.

Both also have ABS as standard equipment. I don’t see why finding ABS is difficult on a newer car. I thought it was standard on everything for at least the last 10 years.

I thought 2005 was pretty new, too. It has 39K miles on it, which I also thought was good. Others said that because it was already 6 yrs old, some parts would need to be replaced soon, even with low mileage. I’d have to finance it over 60-72 mos also, meaning it wouldn’t be paid off until it was 11 yrs old and had about 100K miles.

I also thought ABS was standard on pretty much everything nowadays. Not so! I was surprised to find that it’s an option (or not even available)on many cars.

One thing about shopping used cars is to not get so hung up on the odometer reading. The car could be 3 years old and have 100k miles on it, but as long as it’s been taken care of, had things replaced, fluids changed on time, etc, it should still last for a good amount of time. Chances are it was a highway queen and the owner needed to keep on top of things to make sure it stayed reliable for those 35k miles each year.

With 40k miles on an 08, it was probably driven about 13~14k miles a year, which is considered normal for today.

The problem with older cars is that there is more time for the previous owner to ignore maintenance, which can lead to earlier repairs. The 2005 Subaru you areinterested in may be a fine car and will provide good service for more than 12 years (6 years old plus 6 year loan). Newer, less complicated cars are not as likely to suffer the cumulative neglect effects, and won’t have as many things that can break. AWD comes to mind. But you need to trade AWD/no AWD against your need to get to the hospital for treatment. On the rare days that you can’t drive due to weather, you could take the train (there I go again…).

Also, it appears to me that owning a car is a quality of life issue for you. And that should not be minimized. I think that I’d test drive the Kia and Hyundai (same company, BTW). Based on price, the Spectra looks tempting.

Thanks for the great info. I bought my current Subaru (1999) when it had 84K miles on it. I have a feeling the prior owner didn’t take the best care of it. It didn’t need many repairs for awhile, but I do wonder if that’s why it’s kind of falling apart now. I’ve taken very good care of it and hoped to get it to 200K.

The CarFax for the 2005 Subaru showed one owner who took it to the dealer for all regular maintenance and inspections, right on time. That’s a good sign that the person took great care of it. (Not that I would go to a dealer for most maintenance and repairs, and not that a CarFax report substitutes for checking it out) That record along with the low mileage (39K) was why I thought it was worth the long-term loan.

ABS is bologna. Why do you insist on abs

Why does the age of the subaru bother you. They are very dependable and go forever



We’ve had numerous debates about ABS. But our opinions of ABS are irrelevant. The OP stated that as a criterion.

Used car purchases always carry some risk. The buyer never knows if the used car is on the market because it has a problem. There are, however, some ways to minimize the risk:

Have any car under serious consideration thoroughly gone over by a trusted mechanic. Unfortunately, that’s impossible with an internet purchase, so your risk becomes far greater. In short, I’d recommend shopping in the local market and having your garage check anything out before signing any agreements.

Consider cars being sold by rental agencies. Regular people often get rid of cars because there’s a problem, whereas rental agencies do so routinely to keep their fellts current. I’d bet that the overwhelming majority of rentals being sold have absolutely nothing wrong with them.

Choose something with a good reputation for quality. Consumer Reports Used Car Buyers’ Guide from the local bookstaore can help you with this.

Without knowing anything about the specific three cars in question, I’d be extremely uncomfortable rendering any opinion.

You made a comment about having to finance it. Check with your bank…they may not even be willing to finance a car that age for 72 months. Most banks limit the available finance terms based on the car’s age.

Consider available loan rates. It may be possible to finance a new econo car for not too different a payment than the used cars you’re considering, primarily because of the lower rates and the longer available terms.

Ignore Carfax. It presents the perception that it has some comprehensive history data of the car, and in truth none exists. It really contains a smattering of often erroneous and misleading sporratic data.

Correct, TSM. Buyer Wants ABS. I Have It And Although I May Not Want It, There Sure Is A Lot Of Support For It.