Why Buying a Cheap Used Car for $400 Is Worth It

Why Buying a Cheap Used Car for $400 Is Worth It


rev up your engines, b1 says Scotty I
found a 98 Plymouth Breeze with sixty-two thousand miles for 400 bucks
the owner says it was in an accident but it runs and drives fine, what’s your thoughts okay
let’s face it 400 bucks these days is nothing for a car, absolutely nothing, if
you get in it and road test it and it drives fine what the heck buy it, I mean when I was
in Boston I had to pay 500 bucks to rent a car for five days, so now then weren’t
the greatest cars in the world but if it runs good and it’s not overheating, you
don’t see it leaking stuff all over the place,
what the heck 400 bucks isn’t much money and if you drive it for even a few
months you’re getting your money’s worth and if something like they’ve got
weak transmissions if it’s an automatic it that goes out you junk it, you
wouldn’t put you know fifteen to twenty-five hundred dollar into the
transmission, I mean what the heck and if it really has 60,000 miles it still might last quite some time, Petoria DPD says Scotty what do you think of
Suzuki cars, well not much they pulled out of the United States years ago from
bad sales here’s the thing, I used to have a Suzuki motorcycle it was a
screaming 750 Suzuki race bike that thing was so fast it scared me, my wife
wouldn’t even ride on it, she took one ride never got on it again, they made
killer motorcycles, but their cars, kind of little crappy washing machine
vehicles, they never sold big in the United States they had problems the
parts were expensive the cars cost a lot to fix and they didn’t have a lot of
problems with their automatic transmissions I’m not a fan but from what I get from
my fans overseas they don’t mind them, if they live a place like England where they
don’t drive much or Australia where gas costs a lot, a lot of people will drive
them around but see there they drive a lot of standard transmissions and
Americans hate standard transmissions because we’re lazy, automatic
transmissions they’re horrible in those cars but the standards they can be okay I
wouldn’t buy one in the United States though you can’t get parts of the stupid things
anymore, RM says I got a 2000 Mazda MPV with 250,000 kilometers it works great
but it eats a lot of gas, I barely get 350 kilometers from a 70 liter tank,
there’s no engine lights and the car is great otherwise, okay here’s the problem
people don’t understand that they are not aerodynamic, they’re like boxes,
you drive a box down the road it’s gonna get crappy gas mileage, that’s just the way
those things are and especially if you have an MPV that’s four-wheel drive, if
you go to two-wheel front-wheel drive to all-wheel or four-wheel drive, it gets
worst gas mileage, the only vehicle out there that gets better gas mileage with
four-wheel drive and it doesn’t really get gas mileage is the Tesla, the 4
wheel drive one actually gets better electric usage then the two-wheel drive
one because of the way they designed it but for gasoline ones they always use
more gasoline and you’re never gonna get good gas mileage out of that thing
because they’re giant boxy vehicles, I mean if you want to make sure there’s
absolutely nothing wrong with your vehicle, take it to a guy like me we’ll
hook up our fancy scan tool we paid 5 grand for, we’ll drive it for only 5-10
minutes then we can analyze the data and I mean we have hundreds of pages of data
analyzed and we know what to look for and if we see that that thing is still
running close to a hundred percent efficiency,
if the equalization rate is like one point zero zero zero it’s a hundred
percent, now I get Toyotas I had one the other day that was still one that way
and it was 18 years old, but then I’ll get one sometimes and it will be 0.998 or
.999 it’s almost a hundred percent efficiency, if it’s running like that
there’s nothing you can do it’s just cuz it’s a square and they’re not gonna get
good gas mileage, it’s just how they go they can get halfway decent if you’re going
60 miles an hour on a highway if they’re running right, but in the city they’re
always gonna get horrible gas mileage william says Scotty I
got a 2000 lexus ES 300 with two hundred thousand five hundred miles on it,
how long will last me, there’s no saying if you take care of it I’ve seen those
things with five hundred thousand miles on my wife’s got a 2002 the same thing,
but it’s only got now seventy five thousand, we bought it was 60, it might outlast us or the world might run out of petroleum before that thing breaks down, they can last an awful long
time, that’s the best v6 engine Toyota ever made and if you maintain it and
take care of it, there’s no saying how long those things can last, the classic joystick
says Scotty my car is shaking at idle any ideas, ok your car’s shaking an idle
there are a few main things to check the first thing is, check for a
vacuum leak, I got a video finding an engine vacuum leaks with a cigar watch
that, if you hear a little sucking noise when it’s idling find it, a hose can come
off, a gasket can leak, also check the motor mounts, if the motor mounts are bad
it’s gonna make it shake when it’s idling and I got a video on that, how to
replace a bad motor mount and it shows how you can check them and the other
thing is if you have a dirty maf or throttle sensor, that can do it I’ve got
a video for that that’s called, make your engine run better with a little spray
cleaner, watch that and it shows you for like fourteen dollars for two cans of spray
clear how to clean it yourself, so if you never want to miss another one of my new
car repair videos, remember to ring that Bell!

About the Author: Michael Flood

100 Comments

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    This was an excerpt from one of my Live Car Talk shows where I answer your car questions Live. If you enjoyed it, every Thursday at 1 pm CST and Saturday 10 am CST I live stream and answer your questions!

  2. 3:50 I disagree with your statement. The 1mz-fe motor had huge engine sludge problems. Also the BEST v6 Toyota ever made is hands down the 3.4 liter 5vz-fe! Thanks for the video

  3. Hey Scotty, I found a 1994 Toyota Celica, auto trans, silver, no rust, over 200k miles but the owner says it runs like a clock. He is asking $800. Should I go for it?

  4. I have bought several vehicles for $300 or less. Best value was a 1982 Civic for $80. I spent $400 to fix the engine and brakes and drove it for 13 years. A great simple vehicle that got 40mpg on open roads and never less than 27 on short trips around town in the winter.

  5. My friend bought a 1998 Mitsubishi Verada 3.5L V6, that had been sitting for about 6 months. The guy who owned it was a lawyer and he gave the kid a 1 year warranty with it. I was the first person to drive it, it fired up straight away, after I’d braked all the rust and crap off the brakes, let the engine warm up and run for a good long while, filled it with new fuel, that thing went hard!

    You could smoke the tyres off the line. The most expensive thing it needed, were new front tyres, and new CV joints. Otherwise, absolutely everything worked perfectly, drove really nice, cruise control worked, climate worked, interior and exterior were both mint condition, it was a genuinely nice place to be. Just jump on the highway and you could sit there for hours, perfectly confidently. I borrowed that car a few times while doing work to my own.

    The price? $250.

  6. Only drawback is fuel economy – fuel costs a fortune in the UK so I couldn't afford to do anything in my 12MPG '91 Honda. Can pick up turbo-diesels for about twice as much that get 60MPG though – that's what I always go for.

  7. Rev up your bank account! My first car was $200, plus a windshield. Put almost 100k on that raggedy ol 88 Nissan. It forgivingly taught me alot about mechanics as well!

  8. I had a Chrysler Cirrus, got it upto 325,000km on it before the transmission started to go. My buddy bought a late 90's Honda Civic for 500 dollars, put 1000 into it for repairs and it runs great.

  9. My first car someday will definitely be a Wv Bug..easy to fix and mod, barely anything to break..lasts forever. Will also get a older Charger when I have more money

  10. Wish me luck my 2003 civic ex 2 door with 174K miles costed me $450 and so far lasted 1K miles I hope it goes to 200K

  11. Deal of my life. Bought an old Ford Courier (Mazda pickup) for 50 bucks. NO clutch. Put it in gear, lean on it and it would roll away with you. Put a clutch, pressure plate and throwout bearing in it (cost 50 bucks) and drove it two years, till the engine blew up. Sold it for a hundred bucks, what I had in it, and drove over 30,000 miles in it. Nope, no A/C, no power steering and brakes, no power windows, and UGLY, but cheap. REAL cheap. You can STILL find cheap transportation today, but everyone wants to impress somebody. Cheap as that old clunker was, it was reliable. Started every time I turned the key. Never broke down till the engine gave up the ghost. BUT. Always carry jumper cables, a couple of screwdrivers, channel locks, a cheap socket set, some old rags and distilled water and fluids. A test light. Fuses. Gloves if you have dainty hands. And be either a gearhead or just an old fart like me.

  12. Where other than Craigslist should someone look for something cheap? I want to get something manual and about 20 years old to beat on (have been thinking of a Ford Escort ZX2) and teach myself how to wrench on without worrying about losing $30 grand if I break it.

  13. I currently have a 2002 Alfa Romeo 147 which i paid £200 for. Great condition and drives really nice. I`ve had it 3 years and the only thing that has needed replacing in that time is the battery along with 3 oil and filter changes. Not bad for 30000 miles.

  14. In eastc-europe everybody who doesn't want to pay for a car, drives a suzuki swift. 1.0 liter engine, really light chessy, goes okay in the city, never breaks down, needs little fuel. It's a good car over there. But again, I never saw an automatic ever. All of them are manual, like 90% of the cars in Europe anyway.

  15. That cat pillow conjures up repressed memories of when I was……oh no …….. abducted by aliens……they um…….were about to probe me up the back road when they started going crazy. They realized I was driving a Celica. They took it and dropped me off on the side of the road. Left me there for dead the bloody bahstards.

  16. I'm in NJ, so I'm flabbergasted that you guys are even finding something that doesn't have a blown head gasket or gutted for that much. I'm lucky if I get $800 on a for parts car.

  17. Bought a Ford Mustang 2004 for $1400 last year as my first car, I was 17. Put about 6k miles and hasn’t caused me any problems. It does burn oil a bit and I know I shouldn’t be speeding but I went 110 on the highway and it started smoking. Any ideas what could be wrong with it? Is it just old?

  18. I bought my 2003 Passat for $250 because it wouldn’t pass emission. I did a complete timing belt change. All in all it cost me $1000 in repairs. It’s bullet proof now.

  19. Bought a 1997 prelude sh, new tranny, newer f20b engine, tasteful mods such as megan exhaust, intake, lowered on coils and some nice rims. Paid $1400. 156k miles on chassis. I think it was a good deal

  20. My experience of Suzukis in the UK is that they are decent little cars for in-town driving. Not my cup of tea for motorway driving though.

  21. I know someone that bought a 1976 Plymouth Volare (Slant 6) for abour $500.
    It lasted 10 years.
    A woman had 1 with about 1 million miles.

    Have to take care of them to make cars last long.
    Use non-ethanol gas on classics.
    It will make gas lines, gas tank and engine last longer.

  22. "Shaking at idle" Could mean that the Car is misfiring – In which case it could be the oil sensors and/or the timing chain – This was my recent problem in my '05 Holden Crewman Utility – Cost me $2,000 and it still isn't wholly fixed.

  23. Bought a 1997 Toyota Tercel for $600. I only fixed what was absolutely critical on the car and nothing else. It lasted about 5 years before it was too far gone for me to bother with it. I now have a 2002 Toyota Corolla.

  24. I had a 2000 Toyota camry 4 cylinder – It had done 200,000 km (bought it at 65,000 km). Fitrt real problem was it started running rough on idle at 200,000 km and I cleaned out the throttle body and Idle Air Control that linked to it.
    It ran like a charm after that.

  25. my first truck was a 1990 ranger that was $300 didn't run when I bought it, owner couldn't figure out why, just needed a starter. It had 4×4 that he said didn't work either, well i got really bad road rage one day and got really pissed and hit the 4×4 switch really hard and out of nowhere the 4×4 worked like nothing was ever wrong with it.

  26. I had an 05 Suzuki Forenza. Worst transmission I’ve ever had. It slipped and would often get stuck in 4th with only 103k. The radio also died at 111k. Coolant tank also busted and had to pay $125 for a new one. Had a Chrysler that was more reliable than that thing. Note to self, buy a car from a brand that still sells cars in the US.

  27. Recall the movie Beverly Hills Cop with Eddie Murphy playing Axel Foley and his trashed `72 (or so) busted up blue Chevy Nova. Axel drives up to the valet at The Beverly Hills Hotel, and the valet turns his nose up and rolls his eyes at Axel. Axel says, "all this stuff happened the last time i parked it here". " Here`s $50, park it next to a limo". Later Axel is riding in Jenny Summer`s shiny new red Benz convertible and Axel asks to drive Jenny`s car. Jenny says, "have you ever driven a Mercedes"? Axel says " a car is a car". Jenny replies, "i`ve seen your car,,, i`ll drive"!! ** In the movie, Jenny was far sexier than her car was to me.

  28. I bought a 2000 Chrysler Cirrus, 2.4 auto a few years ago for $225, ac was ice cold, everything worked, rust free, almost perfect condition but had a rod knock, I drove it like that for 2 years. I still have it but it rests peacefully in the back yard.

  29. As of September 2018, the average monthly payment for a used vehicle had reached $378, with an average payment of about $523 for new cars. This according to credit bureau Experian. For a used car that runs OK, $400 is a steal.

  30. Got an 04 Kia sedona LX for 450 bout 3 years ago. Still running. Haven't done much work. May have to replace soon but I'm driving her till the wheels fall off lol

  31. Would you buy a car for $300 thats doesn't crank or start? But everything electronic turns on. Specially a dodge neon sxt

  32. I had an 2000 Pontiac Montana with an 3.4l motor that 32 miles a gallon on the highway and had an old 1995 GMC g20 van with a 4.3l that got 21 miles a gallon at one time so it is possible to get better gas mileage

  33. Its so good to have a car person to listen to about cars. Car talk in my adult lifespan has been non-existent until Scotty and YouTube happened.

  34. I paid $250 for my grandmas 2008 Camry last winter the $250 was scrap value for it my uncles hate hondas and Toyota’s she could drive anymore it only had 22,000 miles on it in mint condition ice cold ac and hot heat it’s a great running car they were crazy to scrap it

  35. Hey Scotty. I hope you see this question:
    I have a 2004 Peugeot 405, 2.0 HDi Diesel (manual). It runs instable in idle. Could it be an air leak?
    Also what I've noticed, if I roll down the hill (in neutral) engine will run at 900-1000 tr/min, while standing it would be 600-500 (and shaky). Any ideas please?

  36. The best way to buy a car is to buy an older Toyota for less than $1000 and spend $1000 to $2000 on parts fixing it up. I am nearly 40 years old and I have never spent more than $800 buying a car.

  37. Actually the Suzuki SX4 has been a great car both the sedan and the hatch AWD.
    I have both they have 2.0 engine with a chain no timing belt and auto tranny.
    The sedan has 184K, the AWD 202K.
    Both running like new.
    Just oil brakes ac compressors.
    Just very reliable.
    Now if we talk about the Forenza then yes they are junk.
    The Kirachi it's a nice car as well and so far i have found plenty of used parts for them.

  38. Just bought a 2000 ford explorer with 219,473 miles on it for $450 beautiful inside and out just needs a couple sensors replaced. Gotta love old people.

  39. A $400 car??? NOT SO FAST! You need to smog it and pay all fees to get the car in your name. And very RARELY comes out easy! From experience, these $400 cars are often fallen behind on the registration and a ton of hidden problems. Very RARE, a $400 car will not need any repair before using it for longevity

  40. Hey Scotty I have a 2000 Volkswagen Jetta gls 2.0 liter it a gas engine and I am getting about 52 miles city and highway combined per gallon what do you think about that 4 cylinder automatic

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