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Thoughts on buying a Used Camaro

Hello CarTalk Community!

I am very interested in buying a used Camaro, and I’ve been searching around for deals and such. I would like to ask the community for opinions, tips, and cautions for doing so. I am currently 22 years old, a recent college graduate and debt free. A Camaro has been my dream car and at this point I am working, and I think now would be the time to enjoy such a car. What can you suggest?

Thanks!

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Buying a used Camaro is just like buying a used anything. It should be checked out first by a competent mechanic and preferably given a healthy test drive of 20 minutes or so while paying attention to various things.

Both of my sons have owned Camaros and they’ve been great cars. One was an '88 (met its end on the side of a Crown Vic…) and the other is a '96 which my oldest son still owns. He’s had that car since '99.

My youngest (the crashed '88) now owns a 2013 Camaro and it’s been a great car so far.

Since I’m the maintainer I can’t think of anything bad to say about any of them other than the cheesey plastic on the '88.

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I don’t know what’s going on with my post, but I meant to say:

I don’t know much about them except these cars probably would be ridden hard and put away wet so a pre-purchase inspection by a good mechanic would be a must, like any other used car.

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How much do you want to spend? Do you want a V8 or a V6? The newer V6s have over 300 HP and should provide plenty of power for you. If you want a V8, I suggest you contact your auto insurer and find out what it will cost to insure the V8. This might convince you to consider the V6 more seriously. High insurance rates are the norm for both men and women those days. You can get a 2015 LT with the V6 for less than $20,000 unless you add a lot of options.

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You should check on insurance rates first. Most insurance companies really charge until a person reaches 25 years of age.

Thanks everyone for the replies!

I would love to have an older model like the '67, but considering maintenance, safety, etc. I’d rather have a newer model.

@ok4450 and @Bing For sure! As of yet I haven’t found a private seller close to me, so taking it to a known mechanic may be a little tricky.

@jtsanders For now under $20000 would probably be my budget. I currently have a V6 Impala, and it is great. As long as it purs that’s fine with me! I don’t want all the fancy gadgets but an LT with RS package would be nice.

@VOLVO_V70 That is true. I will need to check on the insurance side, I would imagine for this car it would jump from what I pay for my '06 Impala

Also, is it horrible to even consider driving this as a “normal” car yearlong including the winter? I would hate to, though I can’t see being able to pay for two cars/insurance.
This may be a deal breaker point.

Thanks again everyone!

If it was me this is what I would do with your 20000 dollar budget : Buy from dealer and have a mechanical inspection ( I don’t trust private sellers because I am paranoid ) - Keep price under 15000 to have reserve funds for repair, this is a used vehicle purchase. - arrange financing before finding something you like.
Just for fun I looked at Autotrader.com for Camaro’s and apparently they less expensive than I thought they would be and saw some from the 1980’s that were appealing.

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If you are going to finance and 20K is your budget, you might be better off buying new. Interest rates tend to be lower on new car loans and you won’t have to buy a car that might have been abused.

Camaros, Mustangs, BMW coupes etc are horrible winter car, usually the first cars you see up on top of the guardrail. But this is true for any car with a lot of throttle responce, stiff suspension, wide tires and low ground clearance.

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I figured as such. I don’t have a far drive to work, though theres a need for caution. I’ll have to consider this more. If only there was a test track that simulates all seasons!

For 20 grand you can get into a near new model. The 2013 my son bought new set him back about 21k. The new models will get vastly better fuel mileage as compared to the much older carbureted models from the 60s, 70s, and early 80s…

The '88 my youngest son had ticked off 27 MPG all the time on the road with TBI fuel injection. That was his going to college car and it served him well all through school and for another 7 or 8 years after he graduated; until some moron tried to make a left turn across 5 lanes of traffic from the outside lane…

I suspect in this case you’ll need to use good winter tires instead of all-season tires. It’s more convenient to have them on a separate set of wheels if your budget allows for that.

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YES Camaros can be a year-round vehicle. GM tests it that way because it is a just a car.

I 4 seasoned a Corvette, a Chevy Monza and a Firebird. I recommend a second set of wheels with 4 winter tires. Order from a site like Tire Rack and swap them at the start of snow season and back in the spring.

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Okay! I think that is doable! Or at least a set of snow tires could go on my Christmas list :laughing:

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That’s crazy. I hope your son wasn’t hurt.

About 10 years ago, while driving North on very congested US Route 1, in Linden, NJ, I very narrowly missed being hit by someone in a similar situation. In my peripheral vision, I spied a Bonneville (which was headed south) suddenly veer in my direction, and hop over a very low lane divider.

God was truly with me that day, as I saw the rest of the event play-out in my rear-view mirror. All told, that guy traveled across 4 lanes before finally hitting a fence on my side of the road. If I had been driving in that location only one or two seconds later, he would have broadsided me. Somehow, the only things that he hit were the low lane divider and the fence that finally stopped him.

Agree! A young single person buying a sports car really gets socked when it comes to insurance,. forget fuel mileage; check the insurance cost first.

You would be better off with a used compact until you reach 25 years of age!

Me too.
I’ve had two friends that had '68s, one a smallblock and one a 396SS. Of course, both were bought new in '68. Those were good times.

Last summer I bought a 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T as my dream car.

Mine has a V8, I’m well over 25… and even I was kind of stunned at the increased insurance premium vs my older Honda Fit car. It may also have something to do with a V8 vs a V6… but still. The insurance cost is definitely something to check into before you buy it.

Good luck.

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Where do you live? I live in Central Maryland, and I would not get winter tires here. You would need them only if you get a fair amount of snow. What is a fair amount? You have to decide based on when you must drive. If you don’t have them on the Impala now, see if you can get through the winter without winter tires on the Camaro. Do you know anyone with a Camaro where you live? What do they do?