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    1. Member bificus99's Avatar
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      03-26-2020 07:02 PM #26
      Quote Originally Posted by Sold Over Sticker View Post
      I have this in my condo. Fitting.

      That is Awesome!

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    3. Member Stevo12's Avatar
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      '18 Camry, '08 Outback, '02 K1500, '98 M3, '91 GTI
      03-26-2020 07:02 PM #27
      Quote Originally Posted by Chris_V View Post
      So for me, the "best" car would be (and was) the cheapest you can find and DIY maintenance on, while still finding it enjoyable to own. Brand really doesn't matter.
      Yup, purchase/repair costs are #1 to consider when you're broke. Also, DIY becomes essential.

      Case in point, I always maintained that despite their utility, Subarus age horribly by 100k miles compared to a Honda or Toyota. However, they are super easy to fix. Some fixes are cheap, some not, but if you can score one for cheap, and put a little elbow grease into it, it's good for another 100k.

      I laugh at what I've had to do to the '08 Outback (pretty much everything) that I picked up last year for $2k, and put another $2k into it just in parts to get it up to snuff. It was our budget family hauler to replace a perfectly reliable Mazda3 and the challenge was to not spend any more money than what we got for the Mazda ($5k). Pretty much everything mechanical got touched, yes including the head gaskets. Sure, it still needs a steering rack (pretty much the only thing I didn't do) but it doesn't leak a ton - just marks its spot. It goes down the road safely and soundly, and I haven't had to show it much attention in the 10k I've put on it in the last year. But, conventional wisdom (especially in the NE) shows that Subarus are pretty expensive to buy used, given their popularity. The average one would be a terrible buy - your typical $5k 2008 Outback isn't far behind from needing everything that my car needed, but lop a couple grand off to account for repairs, and it becomes a good buy.

      I'm in the midst of another cheap project - a Silverado I picked up for $1k. Again, it's a perfectly-good truck that could be used to go back/forth to work, and even make a little money on the side. I'm still in the getting-to-trust it phase after it popped a cooler line off the transmission last week and hosed the chassis (and I-91) down in ATF, but I chalk that up to my doing. I'd recently replaced the transmission and must have not seated the retaining clip correctly.

      The DIY aspect is the biggest difference in running costs in some areas. Indie shops in my area are in the $100/hr range, easy. Dealers are near $150/hr (what my local Subaru dealer charges). If I was in rural PA, I might think twice about DIY, where labor rates are almost half. But even still, I wouldn't be making as much working in rural PA, so that $50/hr savings is still substantial.

      One reason why I shy away from Honda/Toyota when balling on a budget, is because of the previous ownership. Because of their durability reputation, previous owners are more apt to defer maintenance (also see: Subaru) but also ask higher prices for those less-than-ideal examples because of that legacy. Sure, if you can score a cheap Honda that doesn't need a ton, it might have a leg up on that cheap Galant, Malibu, or whatever laggards are populating that price bracket. But a statement like "what brand should I buy on a budget" can't really take that into consideration because you're not as likely to find a deal like that on the open market - typically it's a bro deal or an elderly relative-type scenario that is more based on chance than the open market.

    4. Member The_Real_Stack's Avatar
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      03-26-2020 07:10 PM #28
      When I was broke(ish) I bought a 4y/o S2000. Ate Mac and cheese when I had to buy new tires every 6 months. Worth it. 11/10ths would recommend
      Quote Originally Posted by Volkl View Post
      My wife wanted a SUV with a manual transmission. I suggested a Wrangler, she said no way, too masculine

    5. Member kiznarsh's Avatar
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      03-26-2020 07:26 PM #29
      Quote Originally Posted by Lwize View Post
      Wasn't there a Suzuki Kiznarsh sedan that had good underpinnings?
      My underpinnings are phenomenal thank you very much!

    6. Member
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      982, F22, E88, etc.
      03-26-2020 08:11 PM #30
      Depends on what 'broke' means, what the car is needed for, and how mechanically inclined someone is.

      Well-used Corolla/Civic seems like an obvious answer, but I think that's kind of a logic trap--they have a reputation for their reliability and go for more because of it.

      As far as lowest cost to ownership, something like a Chevy Cruze can be had dirt cheap; it probably won't be as reliable as some other options but junkyard parts ought to be plentiful and dirt cheap. Or cars that depreciation hasn't been kind to, like a Focus, Fiat 500 (gamble), Mitsubishi Mirage, etc.

      As far as lowest entry cost, I wouldn't be looking for a specific car, but looking for a deal. Without too much patience you can usually find _something_ that somebody just wants to get rid of for whatever reason. Maybe they don't feel like buying tires, the ac doesn't work and it's June, whatever. Fixing it yourself makes it an even better deal, but sometimes it's stuff you can live with or pay a pro to fix and still be ahead. You just has to keep an eye out, wait a little while, and move quickly when you find it.
      Last edited by ghost03; 03-26-2020 at 08:13 PM.

    7. Senior Member Sporin's Avatar
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      03-26-2020 09:08 PM #31
      Folks I know in my community that really have to pinch pennies drive GM W-body’s. Way cheaper to buy than used Honda’s and Toyota’s but cheap as heck to keep running.


    8. You can't look at my avatar for just a second, can you? Just Another Sweater's Avatar
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      03-26-2020 09:17 PM #32
      Quote Originally Posted by Lazypop View Post
      Buick Lesabre 3800
      Spamtastic. Thanks for the botpost.

    9. Member worth_fixing's Avatar
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      03-27-2020 12:40 AM #33
      i'm gonna go with the best maintained Toyota/Mazda/Honda compact you can find.
      http://badges.fuelly.com/images/sig-metric/286588.png
      Any car which holds together for a whole race is too heavy.

    10. Member Yuppie Scum's Avatar
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      03-27-2020 12:58 AM #34
      Volt, used

      Or a cheap ass lease, if your credit is up to it.

      Or, metro card.

    11. Member
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      03-27-2020 03:49 AM #35
      How broke are you?

      Around $5000 will get you a pretty decent 9th gen Corolla or 1st gen Matrix/Vibe

    12. Member Mikepea's Avatar
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      03-27-2020 05:00 AM #36
      Quote Originally Posted by Sporin View Post
      Folks I know in my community that really have to pinch pennies drive GM W-body’s. Way cheaper to buy than used Honda’s and Toyota’s but cheap as heck to keep running.

      Quality far too low. Springs are always saggy..those old Buicks are a mess. I see them all the time, though.

    13. Member TSchuettinger's Avatar
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      03-27-2020 05:27 AM #37
      Quote Originally Posted by Sporin View Post
      Folks I know in my community that really have to pinch pennies drive GM W-body’s. Way cheaper to buy than used Honda’s and Toyota’s but cheap as heck to keep running.

      These were reliable in the sense that the engine and transmission might not blow up, and the parts are cheap and plentiful. But everything else? It was business as usual as far as non-Japanese stuff at that time were concerned. Iffy electrical stuff? Check! Constant oil leaks? Check! A typical Japanese car faithful would never be able to handle one of these, even given the strengths they do have. They expect every single aspect of the car to run at tip top shape, forever. Many Japanese cars of that era *can* do that. These? You can count on the engine and tranny themselves. Everything else? Not so much. There's been a 2000 LeSabre in my family for 20 years; It started out being owned by my grandparents (how shocking) and they gave it to us when they gave up their license. Every single known thing that can go wrong with these cars has, most more than once, plus other things. BUT the engine and tranny are fine. The other GM cars that my parents have owned did not have any as many small little stupid issues. Those had far more show-stopping breakdowns requiring a flatbed.

    14. Member
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      997 GTS | BMW M2
      03-27-2020 05:54 AM #38
      I went for an NB Miata. Would pick the same again, given the same scenario.

    15. Member Nealric's Avatar
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      03-27-2020 09:19 AM #39
      Depends on what flavor of broke you are and what you need a car for.

      1) Cheap commuter (and have a charging spot): Subsidized EV lease. Bolts are going for $199/month right now. Should be no maintenance during the lease except maybe a tire rotation. Bonus points if you get free charging at work or your apartment.
      2) Still want to have some fun: NA/NB Miata (always the answer)
      3) Recently evicted, but have some cash and need somewhere to sleep: GM full size van
      4) Cash car that will last a long time and get good MPGs: Late 00's Toyota Yaris, MT
      5) Just need a running and driving car as cheap as possible that has some prayer of working for a while: something with a Buick 3800

    16. Member
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      03-27-2020 09:54 AM #40
      Quote Originally Posted by TSchuettinger View Post
      These were reliable in the sense that the engine and transmission might not blow up, and the parts are cheap and plentiful. But everything else? It was business as usual as far as non-Japanese stuff at that time were concerned. Iffy electrical stuff? Check! Constant oil leaks? Check! A typical Japanese car faithful would never be able to handle one of these, even given the strengths they do have. They expect every single aspect of the car to run at tip top shape, forever. Many Japanese cars of that era *can* do that. These? You can count on the engine and tranny themselves. Everything else? Not so much. There's been a 2000 LeSabre in my family for 20 years; It started out being owned by my grandparents (how shocking) and they gave it to us when they gave up their license. Every single known thing that can go wrong with these cars has, most more than once, plus other things. BUT the engine and tranny are fine. The other GM cars that my parents have owned did not have any as many small little stupid issues. Those had far more show-stopping breakdowns requiring a flatbed.
      Most people don't fix the other things. That's kind of the unique thing about this era of GM product. These cars will more or less faithfully start and get you to point A so long as you maintain them with 20k oil change intervals, 120k interval spark plug changes and an alternator or two, despite the rest of the vehicle becoming completely decrepit. No one keeps the ancillary issues on any type of factory maintenance schedule once they've depreciated below $3,000 (which was sadly only 5-6 years after being new from the showroom floor). These cars only get brakes, tires or suspension components when a shop refuses to let the car out on the road after they've witnessed how dangerous a condition they're in. When you see one of these in that condition, that's the car you give wide berth to in traffic. If that driver is under 70, chances are it's likely not even insured.

    17. Member Lifelong Obsession's Avatar
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      03-27-2020 10:54 AM #41
      Quote Originally Posted by Lwize View Post
      Wasn't there a Suzuki Kiznarsh sedan that had good underpinnings?
      The problem with a decade-old uncommon orphan car only built for a few years - good luck finding parts for it.

      At least with a Grand Marquis, every AutoZone in BFE has parts for it.

    18. Member Crispyfritter's Avatar
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      03-27-2020 11:24 AM #42
      Quote Originally Posted by Sold Over Sticker View Post
      I have this in my condo. Fitting.

      Oh my goodness. I need this.

      I'm not art connoisseur, but I know beauty when I see it.

      Got a link where I could get this?

      Chris
      | 20 Ram | 13 Altima | 00 Tahoe | 94 Integra GS-R | 74 SuperBeetle | 62 Ford Unibody |

    19. 03-27-2020 11:28 AM #43
      new spark with 84 month 0%

    20. Senior Member Sporin's Avatar
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      03-27-2020 11:29 AM #44
      Quote Originally Posted by Mikepea View Post
      Quality far too low. Springs are always saggy..those old Buicks are a mess. I see them all the time, though.
      You see them all the time because it's a good car for the working poor.

      Quote Originally Posted by oidoglr View Post
      Most people don't fix the other things. That's kind of the unique thing about this era of GM product. These cars will more or less faithfully start and get you to point A so long as you maintain them with 20k oil change intervals, 120k interval spark plug changes and an alternator or two, despite the rest of the vehicle becoming completely decrepit. No one keeps the ancillary issues on any type of factory maintenance schedule once they've depreciated below $3,000 (which was sadly only 5-6 years after being new from the showroom floor). These cars only get brakes, tires or suspension components when a shop refuses to let the car out on the road after they've witnessed how dangerous a condition they're in. When you see one of these in that condition, that's the car you give wide berth to in traffic. If that driver is under 70, chances are it's likely not even insured.
      All of this.

      Folks who drive these aren't car people, they don't care if little stuff is broken, they care if it starts and gets them to their **** job every day so they can pay their rent that month. They care that they can afford to buy one. They keep it up well enough to always start and to pass yearly inspection.

    21. Member
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      small car that does it all, incredibly reliable too
      03-27-2020 11:46 AM #45
      Quote Originally Posted by puma1552 View Post
      new spark with 84 month 0%
      Just for the fun of it I built a stripper Spark with manual tranny that wound up costing $155 a month if I could really get 0% financing for 84 months. That doesn't sound too bad unless you're so freaking broke $155 plus insurance, and maintenance is just too much. I'm surprised with the manual it can't get better than 29 mpg city/38 mpg highway considering it has a 1.4 liter 4 banger and weighs 2246 pounds. I'd still stick with a Corolla beater.

    22. Member 4.OMG's Avatar
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      It varies.
      03-27-2020 11:59 AM #46
      Quote Originally Posted by Sporin View Post
      Folks I know in my community that really have to pinch pennies drive GM W-body’s. Way cheaper to buy than used Honda’s and Toyota’s but cheap as heck to keep running.
      Something like this or the Ford Panthers gets my vote. No Toyota Tax on the purchase price and will run and drive (admittedly poorly) with minimal maintenance. Almost anything that does break is cheap and available off the shelf at any parts store. There's a million of them in the wrecking yards, so used parts are easy to find and cheap.
      Now this was a superior machine. Ten grand worth of gimmicks and high-priced special effects. The rear windows lit up with a touch like frogs in a dynamite pond. The dashboard was full of esoteric lights and dials and meters that I would never understand.

    23. Member
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      03-27-2020 12:51 PM #47
      Quote Originally Posted by antilock View Post
      Just for the fun of it I built a stripper Spark with manual tranny that wound up costing $155 a month if I could really get 0% financing for 84 months. That doesn't sound too bad unless you're so freaking broke $155 plus insurance, and maintenance is just too much. I'm surprised with the manual it can't get better than 29 mpg city/38 mpg highway considering it has a 1.4 liter 4 banger and weighs 2246 pounds. I'd still stick with a Corolla beater.
      You know, this reminds me of when I was a young man carrying my own insurance policy (my mom couldn't afford for her rates to increase by adding me under her policy at the time ) - being able to insure a car for people with bad/no credit makes a huge difference in whether they can lease or finance a car (even used) because the lender requires full coverage insurance.

      Full coverage on my own independent policy for me as a typical male driver under 25 was over $250/mo (this was in early-mid 00s) and would have been even more if I'd financed or leased something newer with more value. The cost of ownership savings of buying an inexpensive commuter car were erased by the difference in cost between liability only insurance and full coverage, and so my options were limited to whatever I could save up for out of pocket after factoring shelter, food and clothing, and then carried liability only policy to keep the rates below $175 a month. A lot of low income individuals are in this situation. My options truly opened up for me in many many ways once my car insurance rates went down. It was a significant portion of my income that was freed up to apply to pay for a reliable car that made better job opportunities, which helped then in saving for a house, which built equity.

    24. Member adrew's Avatar
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      03-27-2020 01:17 PM #48
      Toyota with a stick shift

      Mine was $13k new and has only needed tires, a battery, a couple wipers and fluid/filter changes. The only issue is peeling clearcoat on the roof from my neglect + Texas sun.

      Timing chain, distributorless ignition, no valve adjustments = pretty much maintenance free until 100k when it gets plugs and some add'l fluid changes.

      Quote Originally Posted by oidoglr View Post
      Full coverage on my own independent policy for me as a typical male driver under 25 was over $250/mo (this was in early-mid 00s) and would have been even more if I'd financed or leased something newer with more value.
      Yeah... I bought a Civic Si new in 2003 when I was 24 - for a few months the insurance was more than the car payment (I think it was $245 or something like that after my trade-in, only paid $15,990 for it and got 1.9% financing).
      Last edited by adrew; 03-27-2020 at 01:19 PM.
      Improving the signal-to-noise ratio

    25. Member Shmi's Avatar
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      03-27-2020 01:22 PM #49
      Quote Originally Posted by Sold Over Sticker View Post


      Did we ever figure out what to do with the poop bags?
      ......huff it? You gotta get high on a budget when you're living in a Previa down by the river.
      ಠ_ಠ

    26. Member Biff Beltsander's Avatar
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      03-27-2020 05:08 PM #50
      Quote Originally Posted by kiznarsh View Post
      The premise isn't to buy 5, it's to pick one of the best 5.
      Oh, what?

      Quote Originally Posted by Sporin View Post
      Folks I know in my community that really have to pinch pennies drive GM W-body’s. Way cheaper to buy than used Honda’s and Toyota’s but cheap as heck to keep running.
      Quote Originally Posted by Mikepea View Post
      Quality far too low. Springs are always saggy..those old Buicks are a mess. I see them all the time, though.
      A big car such as a LeSabre (often Impala or anything on that platform) with its quality issues and thirstier engines seems like a bad choice. These area also some of the reasons their resale is so low. They're big old fashioned cars and many were the last new car someone bought. They're sold off cheap when that person stops driving by either the original buyer or their family. Many are third owner former fleet vehicles. They can be bought for very little money in compared to many other vehicles. A struggling family could make good use of six person seating, a huge trunk, and solid reliability. Sure, all the nice things will stop working like power windows and seat heaters, however, it's still gonna get you to work.
      Due to platform sharing, their age, the amount of time they were on the market, and sales success, parts are plentiful in any domestic salvage yard.
      A low-cost Corolla or Civic will sell quickly due to their track record and as a result, their resale is often higher meaning lower cost examples are often in poorer condition with higher miles.
      That might not hold true for all markets, however, I find that to be the case where I live and the surrounding states and provinces.

      Overall, the best choice is almost always going to be the newest vehicle with the lowest miles you can afford that you can find parts and service for when needed.
      Quote Originally Posted by BRealistic View Post
      You are in the land of rust and honey.

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