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We destroyed one car, so now should we buy two?

My boyfriend and I shared a 2007 Ford Taurus that we bought used at a dealership in 2008. We financed it and got GAP insurance and all that good stuff. We live in Minneapolis (which is pretty compact compared to my home-town of Chicago) and have shared it or used public trans to get around. The thing is that he totaled it last week. We have shared one car for the past seven years (a Ford Taurus before) and we don’t want to share anymore. We want to use the $6,000 check to buy two used cars. He wants to get a Land Rover type of car. I don’t care what I get or what it looks like as long as I have a 4-door that can put up with Minneapolis. We have both city issues like people just hitting you to park and the elements such as 16" snow storms. What used cars that total about 6k should we buy? Remember he wants some boxy-looking SUV thing and I don’t give a damn. Plus, I can drive stick but he can’t so I think both need to be automatic. We both have only owned Honda Accords and Ford Taurus’s in the past and we both are 30. In our search for used cars I think we are being a bit biased based on our past cars. What are good used car models and what millage should we be concerned about? I have been looking at cars up to 150k but I’m I being too conservative? We only drive about 15 miles a day!

Options:
I beater about $1200 and 1 decent car about $4800
2 okay cars $3000 a piece
I okay car about $2500 and a good car for $6000 w/ financing
1 really good car and we still share

What should we do?!?!?

NFC North Girl GO VIKES!!!

I would recommend spending the 6k on one good used car, then save up for a second. (Actually, make that 5k for the car and save 1k for repairs). 2-3k for a car is going to get you something iffy. you may luck out, or you may get a lemon.

When it comes to used cars they’re all a toss-up. Mileage, make of the car, etc may be irrelevant when it comes to reliability because it’s all going to boil down to how the car was driven and how it was maintained. Determining this can sometimes be very difficult or even impossible. A pre-purchase inspection can help increase the odds in your favor but even that is no guarantee of buying a problem free ride.

You can go either way and have things work out well but it all depends on the amount of footwork and patience involved in finding the right car; or cars as the case may be.

One thing I would advise is that a Land Rover be crossed off of the list. They’re a more high end vehicle that could be subject to abuse and certain servicing and parts may be more difficult to obtain and higher service costs are always an issue.
Some Rovers were prone to cylinder liner problems and that in a nutshell means the engine is junk so try to avoid going down that road.

If it was me, I would look for 2 Chevy Trail Blazers. Look for around the 2000-2002 years. I see them with the V6 and around 100,000-130,000 miles for $2900-3500 here in Michigan. There were 2 nice ones for sale near me in the last 3 weeks for that price. They will do real nice for you in the winter and not to bad on gas. As you don’t care and he wants a SUV there you go. Also parts are cheap.

My first thought was an early Hummer for him, and a Citroen for you since you “don’t give a damn”…

(just kidding)

Seriously, I don’t have any ideas about which cars would be right, or one vs two, but I will offer this. You’ll do much better if you take some time to watch the market on cars that you might consider. I’d encourage you to lean toward private sales rather than buying from a dealer or used car lot, especially in your price range.

Keep an eye on Craigslist and any other ways to search for cars, and keep some kind of record of what you find. You’ll probably do that in your head, but it would be better if you keep a written record. Then you’ll have a sense of what is a general price range for a given vehicle. That will help you recognize when a good value comes along, and be able to ask good questions to confirm that it really is a lower price or better condition than all the others you’ve seen. Then when you find a kindly older couple selling something they bought new and maintained well, and want considerably less than the market rate, you can jump on it without hesitating. Your objective is to become an expert about what those cars ought to be worth, and what problems they usually have, so you’ll know when you find a smart bargain on a good practical vehicle which fits your needs.

The one thing you really should be fastidious about is knowing the maintenance history. If you can’t find out anything about how the car has been maintained, I encourage you to be extremely wary, even if it’s a screaming great price. That may be why it’s so cheap. For used cars, maintenance is a more important consideration than mileage, or style, or bells and whistles, or cool factor. If a dealer says it’s a certified value or some such, but has no maintenance records, that means you are buying the car blindfolded. A well maintained car is a better choice than one with all the bells and whistles but with less regular maintenance for the same price. If you are looking at an automatic transmission car, insist on seeing records for transmission fluid changes every 30,000 miles or so. If it’s way outside that range, you are asking for a very expensive repair happening soon. If the interior looks abused, that’s a sign that everything else on the car has been abused too: poorly maintained, driven hard, rarely checked fluid levels, maybe overheated at some point, driven on low oil, etc, all of which shorten the life of a car, sometimes drastically so. I’d also suggest having the seller drive you around as your first test drive. That will be a bit of a clue about how the car has been cared for.

And of course, do not decide on a car without a complete check by a reputable mechanic. Expect to pay something close to $100 for that evaluation.

I’d consider a used Jeep Grand Cherokee or Liberty for him. They are not the most reliable vehicles compared to some others perhaps, but they are rugged, cheap to fix, and are light years more reliable than any Land Rover. I would avoid used small trucks and SUVs from GM, as the ones you will be able to afford with your budget are from years where they seem to fall to bits after 100K miles, IMHO. For you? Probably any small-midsize domestic or foreign car that can be had on your budget, and that you can stand to live with.

A older Ford Explorer for him. And another Ford Taurus for you.

One vs. two is a purely personal issue. But you have another alternative…one inexpensive used car and an investment. Remember, two cars for $6000 vs. one car for $6000 both cost the same up front, but the cost of ownership of two cars will be roughly double. Two registrations, two plates, a bit higher insurance, mor eoil changes, etc. Is it really worth it?

I would stay away from Land Rovers no matter what you decide. They’re known for being very unreliable.

For $6,000, you would have trouble finding one good car, so when you try to add a second car under that amount, you’re bound to end up with two unreliable cars.

As long as you can afford paying for insurance, registration, and maintenance for two cars, my advice is to spend $5,000 on a used SUV for him (and by $5,000, I mean total purchase price, including all taxes and fees, which means you might end up with a $3,800 car). For you, I recommend you use the remaining $1,000 for a down payment on a good two-year-old used car. I know you say you don’t really care what you get, but this frees you up to get the most fuel efficient and reliable car you can find; something like a Ford Focus would probably do.

This way, the next time your boyfriend totals a car, it won’t be the better of the two. I’m not saying he was responsible for totaling the car, but most collisions are in some way avoidable. Even when a collision is someone else’s fault, the party not at fault can find some risk factor that, if eliminated, could have prevented the collision from happening in the first place. The one who wrecked the last car isn’t the one who should get an upgrade. You should get an upgrade.

Have you considered sharing one car and using Zipcar when you really need a second car? That may be cheaper than buying another car and insuring it if you won’t use it that much.

Dependable ugly cars are available, just invest in the time to research and you will be fine.

Thanks guys! I think this at least helped talk him out of a Land Rover. I think a Jeep Cherokee for him and any old thing for me will do. We’ve been spoiled with this 2013 Ford Taurus rental insurance has been paying for since the accident though…

[what: 30yo, 7+y together] here’s my vote:

$4K on the wedding
$2K d/p on a new electric car to share

An electric car in MN where it can get to 40 below isn’t a very good idea unless it has an onboard generator like the Volt does. And 2k d/p on a Volt would leave you at least 48k in the hole, which is probably a bit much if they’re looking to spend 6 grand on TWO cars.

If a Volt cost $50K then chevy needs to make an Amp.

I would look at operating expenses and needs, not wants for $6 k. A small compact for the city and save for a second is good advice from everyone else. The money you save on upkeep and insurance over time will get you a second car. If you got by with a Taurus, you can do ok with a compact with change over winter tires which is safer then getting an SUV with worn all season tires. You really can’t afford to run a larger SUV for winter driving as a second car. You are in the category that if you try, you could find yourself in a ditch or worse yet, a statistic. SuV s with poor tires in winter snow with inadequate tires are more, not less dangerous then a compact fwd with snow tires. You can’t afford it. Cheap used high mileage Jeeps and the like could cost you thousands in repair bills in nothing flat. STAY away from older SUVs if you can’t afford to maintain them.

With all due respect, there is a little loss of practicality going into this discussion.

“If a Volt cost $50K then Chevy needs to make an Amp.”–LetsPlayArmis
Have you heard of the new Chevy Spark minicar? The EV version would seem to fit the Amp name.