Need a car - help with lesser of the evils
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  1. #1
    Registered User Lady_V's Avatar
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    Default Need a car - help with lesser of the evils

    We need a second car. Needed one a month ago actually

    We found the truck we wanted... 2002 Blazer with 62K miles - and then the dealer lost the title and we would have to wait 6-8 weeks for the replacement to arrive. We don't really have that kind of time.

    I found a few other cars

    1990 Toyota Corolla with 69K miles (we could pay cash for)

    2000 Chevy Cavalier with 60K miles (finance)

    1998 Saturn with 68K miles (finance)

    We want the better value. If we financed, it would be 6 months (or less) to pay it off if we paid slowly and 3 months if we tossed everything at it.

    We would prefer to save a little more to avoid having to finance at all, but having one car is not only putting a strain on my family, but my ex-husband since he is taking our daughter to and from school 3x a week (having to leave work early).

    What would you do in our position?

  2. #2
    Registered User Mom2-3's Avatar
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    I would probably go with the Toyota. You could pay cash and the miles are low for that age car.

  3. #3
    Registered User Greebo's Avatar
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    I have owned all three.

    The Cavalier was MY first car - given to me by my parents - I beat the hell out of that car. It was great. If I'd taken better care of it, it probably would not have caught fire at a rest stop. We put the fire out, but I wasn't driving it further - my parents got me a Lemans (PIECE OF JUNK) and fixed and kept the Cavalier for years more.

    The Saturn is a nice enough car, but sits too low for me, and had a nasty tendency to develop transmission problems. I had it after the Lemans.

    The Corolla was my ex wife's car, bought in 93, had it for 7 years, and we bought it used for 5k. We only got rid of it cause I had new car fever at the time. It was an awesome vehicle - drove it up and down the coast several times.

    All in all, I'd go with the Corolla if it checks out ok with a solid test by a mechanic.

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  5. #4
    Registered User druthb00's Avatar
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    Like Greebo, I had a Cavalier given to me by my parents....that I beat the hell out of, and also would have probably lasted even longer had I, ya know, NOT beat the hell out of it...It was a 97 and I sold it to a mechanic when it had 235,000 on it.

    I'm on my second Cavalier now, a 2002 and has 130,000. I don't forsee this car lasting as long as the first. It's a completely different engine (an Ecotech,) which is probably the same as that 2000 will have. They made the newer looking ones in 3 "generations." I believe 95-99 (not sure on that one,) then 2000-02, and finally 03-05. The older ones were notorious for blowing head gaskets (I went through 3) and the 00-02 seem to have issues with the rings going bad quickly....mine are most probably shot at this point. We were 3-1/2 quarts oil low as of Monday when I took it in for a harmonic balancer and belt tensioner, and we just did an oil change 2 months ago....It's a bit odd. So there is a tick in the motor that will always be there. We'll see what happens I guess.....

    My vote is for the Corolla. Those darn Toyotas last forever and the mileage on that car is sooo low. I bet whoever had it was some little old lady that barely drove it.

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    Registered User mek42's Avatar
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    Corolla. Especially if from a private individual. Go wave cash in front of their face, negotiate and watch them agree when the cash starts walking out the door. Don't insult the seller, but a low, yet reasonable offer should work without too much upward haggling.

    Form an individual, I'd expect to pay somewhere between trade-in and low retail from NADA.

    Have you used Hank's Helper to search your local CL ads?

    Another point for the Corolla. In NY, cars older than 1995 are exempt from emissions requirements at inspection time. Not sure about MA, but it might make inspection time easier.

  7. #6
    Registered User imagine's Avatar
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    I had a 1991 Cavalier until I had my first child then we couldn't fit a rear facing carseat in it with out tipping the passenger seat forward. So it literally became useless to us as a family. At the time the slogan for Calvilier was "American's First Car". We now knew why because when you grew up ( and had children) you couldn't use the car anymore and had to get a new one.

    I don't know if that has been fixed in the 2000 or not. If it was me and I thought I would have any more children I would try a rear facing carseat in any car before buying it.

    for anyone needing it

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    Registered User nodmicks's Avatar
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    I vote for the corolla also. I once bought a new Saturn. Worst darn car I ever owned.

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    Agree, Corolla all the way.

    Silly question. I didn't think a bank would finance a car 6 or 7 years old??

  10. #9
    Registered User mek42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Palooka View Post
    Agree, Corolla all the way.

    Silly question. I didn't think a bank would finance a car 6 or 7 years old??
    My credit union will do a secured loan (different than their auto loans, but still with a lien on the car) back 9 or 10 years. This at 3 - 4% higher rate than their used car loan (2 - 5 years old).

    I think it is silly how age is the only consideration and that they don't care about miles. Hopefully will be moot soon as we're on a plan to start paying cash for replacement vehicles and only have one modest car payment now (

  11. #10
    Registered User frugalfriend's Avatar
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    I vote for the Corolla! I had one, a 1988, my first (and last!) new car. I LOVED IT! The only reason I sold it was because we had a growing family and needed more room. It was a two door. I never had a problem with it, awesome car! Oh, and of course I'll ALWAYS vote for PAYING CASH!!

  12. #11
    Registered User Lady_V's Avatar
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    Update: We bought the Corolla... and paid less than what they wanted

    We looked at Saturns in the same price range, but one showed tell-tale signs of a head-on accident, and the other one had 3x the mileage on it.

    We pick it up tomorrow.

  13. #12
    Registered User Mom2-3's Avatar
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    WTG!! So, do we get any pictures of your new car?! hmmm???

  14. #13
    Registered User frugalfriend's Avatar
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    YAY!!! I bet that feels GREAT!!!

  15. #14
    Registered User mek42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mom2-3 View Post
    WTG!! So, do we get any pictures of your new car?! hmmm???
    Yeah! No pics, didn't happen!

  16. #15
    Registered User Lady_V's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mek42 View Post
    Yeah! No pics, didn't happen!
    Didn't happen????

    Quote Originally Posted by Lady_V View Post


    We pick it up tomorrow.
    Now... please smack yourself in the head

    I can't post pics of a car that ISN'T in my driveway. The mechanic is going to clean it and what-not first, but thought that was too boring to add to my happy post.

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