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New car..on the cheap?


ccap41

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Hey everybody,

 

Well, my first car(1995 Chevy Beretta Z26!! - It was purple) that was handed down to my brother has been sitting a lot the last year and when running something new is wrong almost all of the time. Well, my brother has been in college and he will still be for the next couple of years but now he will be bringing his car with him as he has an apartment and lives a little further from campus next year. Well, my dad is looking for a car for him in the 5-7k price range. Nothing fancy, special, literally just something cheap and reliable and hopefully less than 100k miles. That's the hard part,,miles and price..(as with any used car purchase). Now, I know he doesn't really want to spend 7k so absolutely nothing north of that.

 

So far the best I've found locally is an '07 Saturn Ion(my sister used to have one actually) with 74k miles. I know I could look older and probably find something cheap with decent miles but age alone can damage cars so I was hopeing to find something in the mid 2000's.

 

Opinions? What do you guys think? Any long term opinions and thoughts of cars personally owned? Anything to look for on said older cars? I guess I'm mostly hesitant on the 100k miles and above aspect. Mostly because I will never actually know how well it was or wasn't treated. I didn't know if I could/should look closer to 2000 and at Neons/Cavaliers/Focuses and stay closer to 5k price or if it is worth it to go a little newer for the next generation of basically all of those above cars. Japanese cars aren't out of the question fyi.

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Would it not be worthwhile if he likes the existing car to fix it up so all the nagging little things that are wearing out are solid for his last few years?

 

At least this way you know what the current state of the auto is in and can then fix the issues that need attention.

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I think we are running into electrical issues now though..which are just a PIA. I do see what you're talking about though. I think some of it is that when my brother is away(and he isn't a hands on car-like guy like my father and I) is if something happens when he's away at school. At least, I think that is part of the problem.

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I think we are running into electrical issues now though..which are just a PIA. I do see what you're talking about though. I think some of it is that when my brother is away(and he isn't a hands on car-like guy like my father and I) is if something happens when he's away at school. At least, I think that is part of the problem.

Yup, I can understand that the Electrical can be a PIA, but consider how cheap it is to buy new harnesses and then it is the labor of putting it in, but you could verywell end up loving the car all over due to being solid and dependable if the rest of the powertrain is solid. 

How many miles are on the car? What specific electrical issues have shown up?

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I think there are "only" about 130k. The trans did just get rebuilt at the beginning of the summer.

I'm not 100% but when going to start it it will almost feel as if it drains the whole battery, then you turn the key off let it sit for a second and try and start it again and it will turn over, sometimes.

Minor thing that needs replacing is the muffler. I got under it a week or so ago while charging the battery and it rusted off right at the front side of the muffler. That's a cheap no worry fix but just "another thing". That leads to believe that the cat(s) and the rest of the piping could be on its way out as well. Under the hood really isn't too bad or messy or anything. When j was 16 I bought a ram air intake for it and this last summer my dad ad I took it off and put the factory air box back in. Also, the oil pressure gauge is almost constantly bouncing around. Put it in gear and it will drop, accelerate it will come back up, and it just moves around a lot more often that it probably should.

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I think there are "only" about 130k. The trans did just get rebuilt at the beginning of the summer.

I'm not 100% but when going to start it it will almost feel as if it drains the whole battery, then you turn the key off let it sit for a second and try and start it again and it will turn over, sometimes.

Minor thing that needs replacing is the muffler. I got under it a week or so ago while charging the battery and it rusted off right at the front side of the muffler. That's a cheap no worry fix but just "another thing". That leads to believe that the cat(s) and the rest of the piping could be on its way out as well. Under the hood really isn't too bad or messy or anything. When j was 16 I bought a ram air intake for it and this last summer my dad ad I took it off and put the factory air box back in. Also, the oil pressure gauge is almost constantly bouncing around. Put it in gear and it will drop, accelerate it will come back up, and it just moves around a lot more often that it probably should.

 

Ok then you could have a possible oil pump dying, not uncommon in the Berretta, more time than work to replace it. Also I would think your starter is shorting out and dying as they will drain the battery when they start to go. Since this is not multiple little electrical things in the car, then these are pretty easy to fix, even a complete exhaust with cat is not that much. 

 

If you do not have the time, you could still have them all done at a reliable 3rd party shop much cheaper than spending 7K on a new used auto with it's own issues.

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White Honda Accords have been the running joke 'round these parts for quite some time... Except, I found beige. Perfect car right here. ;)

 

On a more serious note (that Accord actually isn't that bad of a choice), You might be able to find new Focus's in that price range with decent mileage. They seem to be reliable according to Consumer Reports' data. Here's one in my area that meets the criteria: Second perfect car right here. And another: Third perfect car right here.

Edited by blackviper8891
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i test drove a 2008 Saturn Aura XE a week ago, with 63,000 on it.  Car was clean inside, overall was a peach.  Eight grand would have bought it.

 

It was a 4 popper with only the 4 speed auto though.  And it was missing some goodies.  So I passed on it.

 

But its an example of that there are lots of Auras under 100k, 75k even available.  Saturn did a lot of low mileage leases, and saturn drivers often took good care of their cars and didn't put many miles on them.

 

There was another one recently, an 08 with leather and only 20k miles on it, but I didn't look at it.

 

Recently it seems the similar vintage Malibus are going for more coin, so the Aura is perhaps a cost effective option that is easy to find if you just auto trader out some distance and you'd be surprised i think.

 

Similar deal, lots of 2009, 2009.5, 2010? Pontiac G6's with low miles also.....

Edited by regfootball
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White Honda Accords have been the running joke 'round these parts for quite some time... Except, I found beige. Perfect car right here. ;)

 

On a more serious note (that Accord actually isn't that bad of a choice), You might be able to find new Focus's in that price range with decent mileage. They seem to be reliable according to Consumer Reports' data. Here's one in my area that meets the criteria: Second perfect car right here. And another: Third perfect car right here.

That third car actually would be PERFECT, sub 7k and only 49k miles.  Honestly.. I'd drive one of those just to reap the benefits of fuel economy and probably dirt cheap insurance as well.

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I think there are "only" about 130k. The trans did just get rebuilt at the beginning of the summer.

I'm not 100% but when going to start it it will almost feel as if it drains the whole battery, then you turn the key off let it sit for a second and try and start it again and it will turn over, sometimes.

Minor thing that needs replacing is the muffler. I got under it a week or so ago while charging the battery and it rusted off right at the front side of the muffler. That's a cheap no worry fix but just "another thing". That leads to believe that the cat(s) and the rest of the piping could be on its way out as well. Under the hood really isn't too bad or messy or anything. When j was 16 I bought a ram air intake for it and this last summer my dad ad I took it off and put the factory air box back in. Also, the oil pressure gauge is almost constantly bouncing around. Put it in gear and it will drop, accelerate it will come back up, and it just moves around a lot more often that it probably should.

 

Ok then you could have a possible oil pump dying, not uncommon in the Berretta, more time than work to replace it. Also I would think your starter is shorting out and dying as they will drain the battery when they start to go. Since this is not multiple little electrical things in the car, then these are pretty easy to fix, even a complete exhaust with cat is not that much. 

 

If you do not have the time, you could still have them all done at a reliable 3rd party shop much cheaper than spending 7K on a new used auto with it's own issues.

 

Yeah I see what you mean. I think a big part of it is my dad just not really wanting to screw around with it anymore. Starter shorting out sounds exactly like what is happening, which could be an easy fix, really. All depends what it looks like.

 

Well, the Ion that I found the other day has 74k miles, auto, power windows/locks(basic stuff, nothing fancy) and my dad offered them 5500. I'm not really sure why my dad seems to be in a rush, but he does.

 

This is the car I'm talking about. http://www.steveschmittauto.com/VehicleDetails/used-2007-Saturn-Ion-4dr_Sdn_Auto_ION_2-Highland-IL/2626861173

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I know lots of people love their Saturn, but I have to say any auto with a center mounted dash is a deal breaker for me. I like it right in front of me. These types of dashes scream cheap to me by the auto company. Over all looks clean but I would rather have the Beretta and fix it up with the money your dad is willing to spend.

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I completely forgot to add that it leaks water inside.. we don't know where from though. My dad was driving it once while it was raining but couldn't find a drip or line of water or anthing but it will puddle up on the passenger side only.

I actually drove it last year to class a couple of days and ended up having to buy my book because I got in when it was below freezing so the water was frozen(and I forgot about it because it isn't like it is super deep or anything) and put my backpack behind the passenger seat and when I went to return my school books(my school is rental and it's thrown in to the tuition) the bottom of the book had water damage and I had to buy the damn thing.

 

I always forget about that part of it... With water comes mold evenutally..

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My first thought was 2005-2007 era Saturn Aura, Malibu or Pontiac G6. They are usually in that price range. If he wants a coupe or more youthful car, Scion tC of 05-08 should be affordable. The Focus got a redesign . 2008, could probably get one for under $7k.

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I completely forgot to add that it leaks water inside.. we don't know where from though. My dad was driving it once while it was raining but couldn't find a drip or line of water or anthing but it will puddle up on the passenger side only.

I actually drove it last year to class a couple of days and ended up having to buy my book because I got in when it was below freezing so the water was frozen(and I forgot about it because it isn't like it is super deep or anything) and put my backpack behind the passenger seat and when I went to return my school books(my school is rental and it's thrown in to the tuition) the bottom of the book had water damage and I had to buy the damn thing.

 

I always forget about that part of it... With water comes mold evenutally..

And that is easy to address as there is a service bullet about just such a thing,

 

Beretta WATER LEAK DIAGNOSTIC GUIDE.pdf

 

or the web site

 

http://beretta.net/how_to/waterleak.htm

 

Also, many people have inspected and found the following which causes the leak also, got this off the Chevrolet forum on Beretta's.

 

Check the case & cover for the heater core. If they are cracked they will cause a leak into your vehicle. Not very expensive parts either about $20/ea.

 

Then replace the carpet and pad new for a fresh new experience and no mold smell. :)

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Pontiac G6 or Saturn Aura or 2008ish Malibu.  Reg doesn't like the 4-speed auto for some reason, but it's dead reliable which is important for someone shopping this type of car.  Might even be able to find an elusive Pontiac G5 - the Coupe Only Pontiac Rebadge of a Cobalt.  They depreciated like a rock, so you might be able to find a cheap and clean example out there.

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Pontiac G6 or Saturn Aura or 2008ish Malibu.  Reg doesn't like the 4-speed auto for some reason, but it's dead reliable which is important for someone shopping this type of car.  Might even be able to find an elusive Pontiac G5 - the Coupe Only Pontiac Rebadge of a Cobalt.  They depreciated like a rock, so you might be able to find a cheap and clean example out there.

 

 

Still see those bad boys around here.....

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Pontiac G6 or Saturn Aura or 2008ish Malibu.  Reg doesn't like the 4-speed auto for some reason, but it's dead reliable which is important for someone shopping this type of car.  Might even be able to find an elusive Pontiac G5 - the Coupe Only Pontiac Rebadge of a Cobalt.  They depreciated like a rock, so you might be able to find a cheap and clean example out there.

you're not really accurate, I don't have anything against the 4 speed other than the 6 speed had better mpg, paddle shifters, and drove better.

 

i can't endorse cobalts for pleasure or sport, or luxury, as mine (sedan) is coming up on 100k, but i can say its been reliable.  Apart from recalls, only the window switches have really been an issue.  Still on the original brakes.  Literally have just changed oil and tires and put gas in it.  It's actually going to be for sale pretty soon, i would LOVE to pass it on to another, but you'd have to be jiggy with a 5 speed.  G5 would be a neat find.

Edited by regfootball
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"Sporty Mileage Maker! Here's an '09 Pontiac G5 Coupe with just 60k for only $8988! This Dark Slate Metallic two-door is nicely equipped with AM/FM/SiriusXM/CD with MP3 and aux input, remote keyless entry, power windows, power mirrors, spoiler, fog lights and a 5-speed manual transmission! Up to 37 MPG with this one!"

 

Stop by and check this out. It's a super nice car! Call me at 724-626-0500 or 412-874-7677 for an appointment! Ask for Dominic - Tell them you heard about it on CheerandGears.com

More info here: http://www.brooksautogroup.com/…/used-2009-Ponti…/2645563733

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Wellllll, my dad ended up buying that Ion. Right at 75,000 miles and before TTL it was 5700. It was at our local Chevy/GMC/Buick dealer so that helped a lot. My dad isn't like me with cars where he will travel for what he's looking for. Most anything else in the area was a lot of either same price/era of cars but 115K+ miles or similar miles and ~$1500 more.

 

So far it seems like a good little car. Before the dealer sold it they replaced all of the brake pads, front rotors, wiper blades and the usual "inspecion things". It had tires with about 95% tread left(some cheap-o brand thought).

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I bought myself a 2006 ION 3 sedan a year ago for $5,500 plus tax and license, and it had 52,000 miles on it.  This car replaced my Prelude as the daily driver/beater, and I have put 8,000 miles on it (I still have my Silverado and IS300).  I was actually searching for an ION because they are cheap and I like the plastic body panels.  Some days I feel like a Sentra would have been a more substantial and less crude car, but for the most part, I like it and it's been trouble-free other than the driver's door window stopped going down (window actuators seem to be a common problem).  Mileage isn't great overall, around 25 mpg, and acceleration is leisurely unless it's punched.

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That's some good new to hear about that gen Ions. My sister actually has an 07 as well with around 160k and I believe the only problem she's ever had was accident induced, some front suspension pieces replaced. I think powertrain-wise it's been bulletproof, hers is a manual. She bought it new in 07 and has driven the wheels off of it ever since.

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