Getting a vehicle for around $3,000? (1 Viewer)

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Deleted member 27861

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So traveling is a no-go right now, but I got to thinking, with gas being so cheap now, and with hitchhiking and cycling not being an option for, God knows how long, and I cannot and should not leave my family at home for, God knows how long, what if I just got my own vehicle and went camping on weekends?

Rubbertrampers, what do you know about getting a used, affordable vehicle suitable for a rubbertramp?
 
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OP
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Deleted member 27861

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lol why you gotta put it like that?
 

Faceplant

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I agree. I have bought a couple vehicles in a similar way, with no death requirement, though. Wife had worked at a home based business within a senior mobile home park, and occasionally another resident would decide to give up a second vehicle once they reach mid-70’s. You cannot be married to one particular make and model, though, just being happy to get a well maintained , low-mileage vehicle that may be 12-15 years old. Hang around some places like that and ask around. We got a couple screaming deals.
 

Jerrell

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I have a $400 van I've been rolling in for 1.5 yrs because if I don't know how to fix something, I know people that do.
 

Brodiesel710

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Long story short, last vehicle I got was a from an STP member from Alaska. Talk about serendipitous....she broke down here after her tranny blew on I-80 and gave me the van! 89 Chevy Astro. Rebuilding the transmission now, 700R4...almost done. Then were giving it to a friend in Oakland.

You can get a reliable car for $1,000 if you know what your looking for.
 
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Long story short, last vehicle I got was a from an STP member from Alaska. Talk about serendipitous....she broke down here after her tranny blew on I-80 and gave me the van! 89 Chevy Astro. Rebuilding the transmission now, 700R4...almost done. Then were giving it to a friend in Oakland.

You can get a reliable car for $1,000 if you know what your looking for.
I don't.😢
 

Faceplant

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Surely you know at least one good mechanic friend? Or have an acquaintance that does? Well, then, make your quest his/her quest. Enlist them to help you find and evaluate vehicles. Tell them you’re on a quest to find the best possible vehicle for the little money you’ve got available - and then, trust their judgement when they tell you “This is the one”. Of course unforeseen things do happen, but my guess is they will really look out for your best interests. Good luck.
 

Coywolf

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3000 is more than enough to buy a good used vehicle.

YouTube and Google are your friends. I would reccommend buying toyota. Always. Period. Pre 2000.

If you find a vehicle you like, do some research on the problems others have had with that vehicle/year on google.

The main things that will get you are:

Transmission (buy a 5 speed stick), Engine (especially head gasket issues and manifold gaskets), cooling systems that are older, wheel bearings, CV joints, and driveline issues.

Get a basic understanding of mechanic skills. This will not only benefit you now, but forever to come, if you are able to repair small issues that make an otherwise valuable vehicle, a quick sell on craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.

Use those two, and a few more resources to buy a vehicle. DO NOT buy a used vehicle from a dealership.

My last buy was a 1993 Toyota 5 speed pickup off craigslist for 4 grand. Just because the guy didnt want it, and wanted it to go to a good owner. That truck was 230,000 miles. I replaced alot on it, and it was totally fine afterwards. I sold it for the same price I bought it for, 4 years later.

There is much to say for the resale value of the vehicle you choose to buy.

Also, dont buy the first thing you like. If you give it a while, you will find your ride.
 

Coywolf

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Oh, and also, I have my van now. A 1993 ford E-250 clean AF, bought with 108,000 miles on it for $4000. I looked around alot to find the right vehicle I wanted. I ended up compromising a bit due to the fact I could get a great van with low milage.
 

whfiv

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I believe a majority of state and local governments list vehicles (and other products and equipment) on: www.publicsurplus.com
You can choose what state you're interested, then certain departments or all of them.
Good Luck!
 

Matt Derrick

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DO NOT buy a used vehicle from a dealership.
Curious about your reasoning on this. I bought my prius used from a dealership and it was fine. In fact, I feel like I got a better deal and a vehicle that was in better mechanical shape than if I had bought it from a private seller, but that could just be my imagination.
 

Coywolf

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Curious about your reasoning on this. I bought my prius used from a dealership and it was fine. In fact, I feel like I got a better deal and a vehicle that was in better mechanical shape than if I had bought it from a private seller, but that could just be my imagination.
I would imagine your experience was something like the maybe....maybe 20% of cases that end up that way, when you find a used car dealership that isint shady.

I've been to dealerships that explained away all of the cars issues as 'minor' while selling it for 200% Kelly Blue Book Value.

They will spray clean an engine to hide oil leaks. They will paint over frame rust. They will roll back odometers, or lie about ones that roll over. (yes that's illegal, yes its doable)

In all honesty you end up paying for the middle man's salary, and overhead, when you would just be paying the 'wholesale' price of buying it from an owner, if they have taken good care of the vehicle.

Private sellers will also try to screw you, but that is on you. If you know basic mechanics, how a vehicle operates, and how it should normally feel while driving (basically doing you due diligence the same way you would buy land, or a house) you can get screaming deals.

Some people just want cars gone, or they dont know what they have.

Also, forgive me for the bias, but I have this nagging suspicion that salesmen are like a level up in 'CAPITALISM: THE FINAL CHAPTER', and there is no way in hell I'm giving an organization like a used car dealership my money. That part has much to do with the way I feel.
 

Groundscore

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Curious about your reasoning on this. I bought my prius used from a dealership and it was fine. In fact, I feel like I got a better deal and a vehicle that was in better mechanical shape than if I had bought it from a private seller, but that could just be my imagination.
I have to echo Coywolf's warning on this as well, as years ago I worked at a car dealership in the auto-detail section, and saw firsthand some of the tricks done to used vehicles were. A few highlights were cars bought at auction (who knows how they were taken care of), and were driven to the dealership over 1,000 miles with the odometers disconnected to not show the additional mileage. Clear spray-paint on anything plastic that was scuffed up or worn to make it look shiny again, until about a week of use of course, then it would look worse, but the dealer didn't care; it would be the new owner's problem at that point. And yes, the engines/transmissions etc were always heavily degreased to hide oil leaks. Painting over rust and poor quality auto-body work (lack or proper prep) also happened. And while I never saw it first hand, I have heard of putting saw dust in clunking differentials, transmissions, etc. to quiet them down, for a while...

Anything you pointed out to the salesmen about a car; it's problems you found were dismissed and you were told not to talk about it, just get it cleaned up, ready to sale, and move on.

I'm sure not all car dealerships are like that, and on newer cars it probably isn't done (due to their general better condition), and of course there isn't anything stopping a private seller from doing all of those things as well. And that's why it pays to have a vehicle inspected by someone who knows what to look for, but even then, they can't find everything.
 

Older Than Dirt

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Having never driven a car since driver's ed (except once around a college campus to scare my band mates), i do know a bit about buying them, and about scams and hustles:


 

Groundscore

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I'm sorry to the OP; I totally forgot to address your post. I would say yes, you can get a good vehicle for around $3,000. I've seen them as low as $1,500-$2,000, but you really need to look them over well and ask a LOT of questions. If the seller seems shady, doesn't know a lot, can't tell you when the oil was last changed, etc. then walk away; there are other vehicles that you would be much better off with. The best vehicles I owned were bought from the first three owners, and had maintenance records; nothing fancy, but at least it showed a pattern of routine maintenance, which is one of the things to look for.

I'll give you some tips; but this is by no means comprehensive; that would take all day, and more experience than I have by far.

Check the tires all around; not just for wear and weather cracking, but is the wear even? If not, it could be a sign of an alignment issue, or something worse. If it has an automatic transmission, put it into drive with your foot on the brake, then put it into reverse, then repeat; does it make a loud cluck or is it a smooth shift? If it's a manual, where is the clutch petal at when it releases? When you push the clutch in, does it make any odd noises? Does it shift smoothly through all the gears?

Check for oil leaks, not just the engine, the transmission, differential, etc. Check the tailpipe for any signs of it burning oil. Make certain it doesn't smoke, as that's a sign to run away. Check the oil and coolant levels. Are the hoses pliable? Do any of the belts have cracks?

Test all of the features to make sure they work, as any repairs will add up, especially if you can't do them. If the paint is different colors or has primer, was it in an accident? Check all the gaps around all the body panels to look for signs of prior collisions; if things look uneven, it probably was in one.

Does it idle smoothly? Check the date on the battery and look at the terminals for corrosion. Does it drive straight doing down the road? Does the steering feel smooth? Are there any wobbles with the steering? How about when you are braking? Check the heater and AC. Don't run anything loud while driving, and keep the windows rolled up, as you need to listen for anything that sounds odd.

I'm sure I have missed a TON of other things to check, but that should get you started, and I would also suggest taking any vehicle to a good mechanic that you find (not one the person selling the car recommends), and have them check it out.

I hope this helps and I wish you luck in finding a vehicle that is right for you and your travels!
 
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Matt Derrick

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Regarding dealerships, they're just another manifestation of low-grade capitalist hustle. @Matt Derrick - I'm glad your Prius experience was an exception, but most dealers fit every clichéd stereotype we've all seen
for sure, there's a reason most people call them stealerships, instead of dealerships.

but my main point was that buying a car from a dealership has the same rules as buying a vehicle anywhere else, get it inspected by a mechanic.
 
OP
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Deleted member 27861

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I keep finding results on Craigslist for some guys called "Light Hit Rebuilders", and I'm pretty sure they're a dealership.

Anyways, I'm gonna get started now. I'm gonna take some notes, watch some YouTube videos, and talk to my father to see if he knows anyone who's a good mechanic.
 

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