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      03-04-2009, 12:01 PM   #1
xxForgedxx
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The best cheap beater for under $2,000

I am going to be looking for a beater over the summer. I was wondering what the least problematic vehicles for under $2,000 could be. I see cars like Volvos and such with over 200,000 miles for a little under this cap with owners swearing by them as the most reliable car ever but nothing screams red flag like a foreign car with over 200k...

The last car I made the mistake of using as my beater seemed ok but ended up being the biggest hunk of problematic, unsellable TRASH I had ever owned. The heat didn't work, the transmission was like a heroin addict without his heroin, just garbage!

1994 Mazda 626 DX = Fail...

It seems like domestics are cheap but I always worry about them because low mileage on those cars is typically higher mileage on others. Just because it's low doesn't mean anything.

What should I stay away from and what should I shoot for?

Honda, Toyota are seemingly too expensive: This price range gets you a rust bucket that needs work typically.
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      03-04-2009, 12:14 PM   #2
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I still have a bad taste in my mouth from an 03 Hyundai I bought used a few years back. The car only had 30,000 miles on it (at the time), and after 2 days of ownership it was at AAMCO for a transmission problem.
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      03-04-2009, 12:26 PM   #3
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I bought my '91 BMW 318is w/ 183,000 miles for $500.

It needed a few minor things replaced but now it runs flawlessly and it's very reliable. I don't see the harm in buying a Euro car with high miles, they are built to last.
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      03-04-2009, 12:30 PM   #4
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mid 90's camry
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      03-04-2009, 12:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LI E90 View Post
mid 90's camry
You're not gonna get a mid 90's Camry for under $2,000 that doesn't need more money put into it.
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      03-04-2009, 01:03 PM   #6
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if your handy, E30's are a good bet, people actually try to keep them running (unlike most other beater junk) and the problems they have are well known and relatively easy to work with
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      03-04-2009, 01:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xxForgedxx View Post
You're not gonna get a mid 90's Camry for under $2,000 that doesn't need more money put into it.
Every car in that category will need money put into it to be perfect or even nice. The idea at that price range is to leave things non-perfect if they are not completely mission critical. And in this price range, how a car was driven/maintained will have more effect than what brand it is. I've had dirt cheap Hondas and Toyotas that were constantly stranding me, and dirt cheap domestics that didn't. And vice versa.

A couple examples, I had a $700 '83 Jetta that went 250k miles (had 180k on it when I got it) with nothing more than oil changes and brake pads. And a sub $500 '81 Chevy Citation that went from 200k miles to 323k miles. Not everything worked on either car, but the engines did, and neither left me stranded anywhere or failed to start and drive. Neither were very pretty, but that's what a cheap beater is all about.

Can you do repairs on your own or do you have to take a car to the shop for repair?

There are a lot of cars on cragslist in your area, or at least relatively close to it. So in your case, the best cheap beater will be whatever runs best in your price range.

http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/cto/1059359862.html
http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/ctd/1059338965.html
http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/cto/1045910771.html
http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/1059783043.html
http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/1059114779.html
http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/1059041659.html
http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/1057880803.html
http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/1057363865.html
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      03-04-2009, 01:18 PM   #8
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I bought a '91 S10 4x4 about a year and a half ago with 235000 miles for $350. The truck has been awesome! Great in the snow, and really nice to have the utility of a truck for Home Depot runs, and pulling jet skis!
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      03-04-2009, 01:24 PM   #9
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I want something that needs nothing, and if it needs something it isn't a big issue. Small things don't matter to me... the most tempting of the bunch is that 325i...
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      03-04-2009, 01:26 PM   #10
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Not considering an R32, Evo or Vette anymore?
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      03-04-2009, 01:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmer Loyalist View Post
Not considering an R32, Evo or Vette anymore?
I'm trying to figure out if that was a stab at me or a serious question.
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      03-04-2009, 01:38 PM   #12
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You may be able to get a half reliable Miata in your budget.
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      03-04-2009, 01:38 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xxForgedxx View Post
I'm trying to figure out if that was a stab at me or a serious question.
No, it was actually a serious question...I dunno I just thought it'd be sick.

I did just notice that everytime I reply to you it tends to be on the condescending side, apologies.
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      03-04-2009, 01:51 PM   #14
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For 2k, you could probably find a decent Rabbit.
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      03-04-2009, 02:20 PM   #15
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late 90s (early 00's?) Corolla or Cavalier would do the trick for me
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      03-04-2009, 02:45 PM   #16
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fwiw, I once had an old beater Volvo 142 with over 100K and it was the best beater car I ever owned. Actually it was one of the most dependable cars I ever owned. I put another 70K on it with minimal repair. Fun to drive. And a lot more fun than a Japanese appliance car.

You can find them for sale by Volvo nut case fanatics who have kept them religiously maintained.

You, too, could be a crazy Swede:

[u2b]<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/itOL6XuAQAw&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/itOL6XuAQAw&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>[/u2b]
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      03-04-2009, 03:41 PM   #17
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85-89 Honda Accord
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      03-04-2009, 05:18 PM   #18
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I'm worried about owning anything domestic either. A buddy of mine was given a 2000 Cavalier with 50,000 miles on it and in perfect condition minus the fucking cracked dashboard and it broke down on him on the most important trip he could have taken, $700 bucks later it was running. I can't have that shit...
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      03-04-2009, 06:33 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xxForgedxx View Post
I'm worried about owning anything domestic either. A buddy of mine was given a 2000 Cavalier with 50,000 miles on it and in perfect condition minus the fucking cracked dashboard and it broke down on him on the most important trip he could have taken, $700 bucks later it was running. I can't have that shit...
In that price range, ANYTHING you might find could potentially do that, though, regardless of manufacturer or condition when you buy it.
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      03-04-2009, 07:47 PM   #20
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Check out nissan altimas in the 95-97 range.
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      03-10-2009, 04:05 AM   #21
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Quote:
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Check out nissan altimas in the 95-97 range.
Plus one, these cars are good for beaters.
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