General Question

Thesilvertiger's avatar

Can you get a decent car with 800$?

Asked by Thesilvertiger (264points) March 18th, 2008 from iPhone
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

4 Answers

cwilbur's avatar

Yes, with a healthy dose of luck, if you can find an honest seller with an old but reliable car.

Cars tend to have an interval of time, somewhere around 7 or 8 years old, where they’re all paid off, they don’t really have any remaining blue book value, but they aren’t yet ready to start disintegrating. If you can find someone with a car about that age who no longer needs it, $800 is in the ballpark of what he might ask for it.

(My Toyota Echo is in that age range, is fully paid off and cheap to insure, needs no more TLC than routine maintenance, and you can have it when you pry the keys from my cold, dead fingers.)

kevbo's avatar

I haven’t priced used cars in that ballpark in a while, but I will offer two of my experiences.

1999: My housemate traded in her 92 Geo Metro for $600 to a Saturn dealership for a new(er) Saturn. I followed her down to the dealership when she returned the next day to finalize the paperwork and bought it from them for $600. The best part was that after putting 40,000 miles on it, I got mildly rear ended at a stoplight and collected $1,600. Later I sold it for $450.

2002: I bought a ‘95 Escort in decent condition for $1,250. It lasted about two years before I gave up on it.

The method I recommend is to scan listings on a regular basis to see what the prices are for different models. Eventually, you’ll get a feel for what’s a decent deal. Once you see something that looks good, drop everything and jump on it, because it won’t last long.

Craigslist lets you set price parameters, so maybe check that out.

eambos's avatar

awwwman, kevbo beat me to the punch. One of the best places to look for good deals is CraigsList.

timothykinney's avatar

It depends on what you mean by ‘decent’. I bought a 1989 Toyota Corolla for $1000 two years ago. I have since replaced the radiator and some gaskets, but nothing too major. It has some quirks: the sunroof doesn’t work, the dashboard has big cracks in it, the passenger side window doesn’t roll down, the driver side power lock button doesn’t work, etc.. But all in all, it’s a good car and gets me where I’m going. You couldn’t ask for much more with only $800 anyway. I got the Corolla by looking through the newspaper classifieds, by the way.

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