Want to buy a used car

My credit is screwwed up and want to buy a sed car to finace to reestablish my credit. I have been approved for 10,200.00 on a used car. the two cars I am looking at are a continental ls 2002, or a pt cruiser 2003. both are running at about 5,000. My qustion is both are at 110,000 miles, I do not have the money to pay cash, so what should I do, I need a car now. Oh and both come with 6 month warranties

The Lincoln LS is likely to be the more reliable of the two, but if you live in an area that typically gets snow in the winter, you should be aware that the Lincoln LS is a RWD vehicle and will be at a disadvantage in terms of winter traction, as compared to the PT Cruiser.

The most important factor to consider is the maintenance that these cars have received over the past 8-9 years. Personally, I would not even consider buying a used car unless it came with full maintenance records, plus an Owner’s Manual that would allow me to see if it had been maintained at least as well as the mfr specified. No matter how reliable a particular model might be per se, if it has not been maintained well, it WILL be an unreliable money pit after 8-9 years.

And, even if its maintenance turns out to be decent, the car still needs to be inspected prior to purchase by a mechanic of your choice. This can detect both accident damage and developing mechanical problems that would give you dollar-related issues after purchase.

The used car arena is littered with both bad cars and sellers who will attempt to conceal the problems with these cars. Unless you put yourself in defensive mode by doing what I suggested above, an 8-9 year old used car can turn into a major headache for you.

Find a dealer, Ford, Chevy, etc who has a buy here pay here lot. Make sure that they report to the credit bureaus. If you are approved for 10K I would look at different cars. Neither of those has the best longevity in the world. I would look at a Honda or Toyota and spend a little more of your money. Dependent on who you are approved with, a bank, I would look at the for sale by owner market you can usually by more car for less. The reason is a dealership can get more money for the same car. I could go on but there is the basics.

Buy the automotive edition of consumer reports first. Read it and consider using some of their guidelines in purchasing a car in this price range.

Be careful not to overextend yourself. A used car generally requires more maintenance and repairs in the first year or two you own it. The 6 month warranty isn’t long and isn’t all inclusive. Things like brakes, tires, and suspension parts are commonly worn on cars with over 100K miles.

You seem to be on track, shopping in the $5,000 price range. Hopefully that will allow you some cash for repairs after you make payments on the car and insurance.

Of the two the PT Cruiser should use a bit less gas, but in fact they aren’t very fuel efficent even though they are small. The LS will use only a bit more gas. Repairs to the Lincoln could be more expensive, but repairs to the PT will be more frequent. The PT just aren’t very well built and tend to have lot of part failures at the age and mileage you are considering. Of these two, I’d go with the LS.

If you have some time you might want to do some more shopping. A Ford Escort might work, Pontiac Gran Am, high mileage Civic or Corolla. Stay clear of VW’s, European cars, and Chryslers; used cars from these brands just have more problems in general.

The Contintental would be the better of the 2 cars more than likely and as mentioned, driving a car requires money for upkeep, unless you plan to ignore that. Warranties do not cover any maintenance or wear and tear items such as brakes, belts, etc.
My feeling is that both cars could be overpriced.

Personally, I think buying a used car is a poor way to reestablish credit and if you deal with those BHPH lots (Buy Here, Pay Here) you will normally get hit with a very high interest rate. Some lots like this even use immobilizers. If you’re late with a payment not only will the credit you’re trying to reestablish take a ding it’s also possible for them to electronically disable the car so it will not start; no matter where the car is.

With no credit and no cash, I think you would be better off trying to round up some cash (relative, suffer until a slush fund is generated, etc.) and buy something outright and much cheaper.
My youngest son has a good job, good credit, and can afford a new car if he wants one. However, he does not want one. He had an opportunity last year after selling his Lincoln Aviator to buy a '95 Toyota Camry for 500 bucks. The car was pretty straight (one small baseball sized dent in RF fender that I popped out), runs great, has ice cold air, and even had a just installed 400 dollar Kenwood stereo in it. While it’s a ho-hum car this has become his daily driver and has been since May of last year.

My daughter ran across a Mitsubishi Galant a few years back from someone she knew and bought that to use as a secondary vehicle. It was also straight, bland, and ran great along with having a new transmission in it. She gave 500 cash for it and drove it for 2 years before deciding to sell it. A little cash, footwork, and patience can pay off and is a better alternative than going into hock on a high interest auto loan in my opinion.

I would stay away from these 2 models and pick one from this list: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/used-cars/cr-recommended/best-used-vehicles-under-20000/overview/

I’d opt for a $5k Hyundai Sonata.