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I need to get a new car!
Old 05-23-2005, 08:08 PM   #1
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I need to get a new car!

O.K., so I am done with my VW Passat, another breakdown, this time the ABS controller or somewasit, and it's going to cost me a thousand dollars to fix. This thing has something like this go wrong every six months! I've replaced the airbag, in dash electrical, O2 system/sensor, many more things, and now this! So I'm looking for recommendations for a car to buy, preferably used, a nice car (not a beater) but I have no brand loyalty, just low operating cost. Recommendations? HELP!
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Re: I need to get a new car!
Old 05-23-2005, 08:25 PM   #2
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Re: I need to get a new car!

I have a '98 Toyota Camry that I bought for ~$7k. The engine is easy to work on, and Toyota 4 cylinders are known for going forever (assuming you change the oil). If you do get a used 97+ toyota, have your mechanic take the valve cover off and check for sludge... for some reason the 97+ engines are prone to sludging, but Toyota swears that it won't happen if you change your oil ever 3k miles. Who knows... I checked mine, and thankfully, no sludge

As an aside... this camry replaces my Forester XT... driving 80 miles/day using premium was becoming too expensive.... I like my 32mpg using regular much better
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Re: I need to get a new car!
Old 05-23-2005, 08:34 PM   #3
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Re: I need to get a new car!

What kind of lexus, might I ask? I want to get something that makes me happy (I have to live for the now a little bit) but definitely keep the costs down. I had thought of an IS300 but was ready to go to camry/accord/civic because it's the safe bet. I had an '83 accord which I sold for $500 in 2000 for this hunk of scrap iron I'm driving now. Talk about bad financial move. That vehicle was my mom's before me, and total repair costs for that 17 year period were less than the Passat for the 2 years it's been out of warranty (and the warranty didn't cover much either, plenty of costs then).
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Re: I need to get a new car!
Old 05-23-2005, 08:37 PM   #4
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Re: I need to get a new car!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cut-Throat
2 Words - Honda or Toyota!


I owned 3 Honda Accords - Nice.

Now I drive Lexus (A Toyota Product) - Flawless.

Honda Civic if you can't afford the Accord.
The only Japanese cars I have owned in recent years were
Mazda Miatas; pretty much flawless. *Generally, the Japanese
cars I have owned were superior. Not sure why I moved away from them. *I really have little brand loyalty. *Buy mostly based on eye appeal
and "the deal". *I was looking at newer vehicles today so this is quite
timely.

JG
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Re: I need to get a new car!
Old 05-23-2005, 08:41 PM   #5
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Re: I need to get a new car!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marshac
I have a '98 Toyota Camry that I bought for ~$7k. The engine is easy to work on, and Toyota 4 cylinders are known for going forever (assuming you change the oil). If you do get a used 97+ toyota, have your mechanic take the valve cover off and check for sludge... for some reason the 97+ engines are prone to sludging, but Toyota swears that it won't happen if you change your oil ever 3k miles. Who knows... I checked mine, and thankfully, no sludge*
This means 1997 or newer? If so, I imagine their aren't too many used cars out there that have had an oil change every 3000 miles. I have called on more than a few car ads, to have*the woman owner answer my question about oil change intervals with-"You mean oil has to be changed?"

M
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Re: I need to get a new car!
Old 05-23-2005, 08:43 PM   #6
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Re: I need to get a new car!

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaHa
This means 1997 or newer? If so, I imagine their aren't too many used cars out there that have had an oil change every 3000 miles. I have called on more than a few car ads, to have*the woman owner answer my question about oil change intervals with-"You mean oil has to be changed?"

M
I change my oil religiously every 3000, even in the "beaters".
I have known engineers who never changed it, but just added
oil as needed. Go figure!

JG
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Re: I need to get a new car!
Old 05-23-2005, 09:08 PM   #7
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Re: I need to get a new car!

Still got the 1996 Toyota Corolla basic model. Almost 180K and still going strong. Always change the oil on time, never worrry about the rest. No luck with Nissan p/u. Honda civic was good too.

Will have a Camry next time (Mom & Dad got 350K on theirs, mostly city miles). Hopefully several years from now.

Vicky
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Re: I need to get a new car!
Old 05-23-2005, 09:47 PM   #8
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Re: I need to get a new car!

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaHa
This means 1997 or newer? If so, I imagine their aren't too many used cars out there that have had an oil change every 3000 miles. I have called on more than a few car ads, to have*the woman owner answer my question about oil change intervals with-"You mean oil has to be changed?"

M
You got it, '97 on up until 2001. Some people speculate that the PCV valve was too small, others claim that it's due to the hotter burning engine (to control emissions). Who knows. If you look at the Camrys and the Lexus ES300, you will see 'oil jelling' as a potential problem... it's a nicer sounding name for sludge.

Oil is not hard to change on the Camry... the filter is right up front with the drain plug right below it.... no real reason not to change it at least every 3mo (this is when I change it @4500mi). The oil is real easy to get rid of too... just find a salmon stream or storm drain and pour... kidding... you do that, and you should be shot... Shucks will take used oil for free.
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Re: I need to get a new car!
Old 05-23-2005, 09:56 PM   #9
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Re: I need to get a new car!

Nissan Altima, Honda Civic/Accord, or Toyota Camry.

When you're shopping the classifieds, sign up for CARFAX's $24.99 unlimited vehicle history reports. *

Then when you're setting up a test drive appointment with the owner you can get the car's VIN along with all the other details. *Research its reliability in a library copy of Consumer Report's Used Car Guide, get the car's value from Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds, and check the car's history from CARFAX. *If you like the test drive then you can whip out the reports and show the owner what the car is really worth. *

It sounds like a great idea to have a mechanic check over your prospect, but I've had a hard time finding a mechanic who'll take my last-minute appointment on a car that's only available for a short test drive. *I guess this is when it really helps to have a friend in the business whose laptop has all the engine-diagnostic software.

If you run your Passat's VIN through CARFAX and the valuation websites, you might be able to get a few hundred bucks for it from a shadetree mechanic who's not afraid of working on his own ABS.
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Re: I need to get a new car!
Old 05-23-2005, 10:01 PM   #10
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Re: I need to get a new car!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence
O.K., so I am done with my VW Passat,
Laurence,
What year Passat, may I ask? We have a '2002 1/2' the new version released in early 2002, I think, and it has had no probs. Maybe you just got a lemon, but I'd be interested to know if it is one of the new passats or the old kind.
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Re: I need to get a new car!
Old 05-23-2005, 10:36 PM   #11
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Re: I need to get a new car!

Thanks to all, I have a 2000 Passat, same basic design as the 02. I will tell you that we loved the car the first couple of years, then it started to come undone. It's not the engine, always starts etc. and I run full synthetic and change it regularly. But all the little things. Have you had the plastic on the inside door handles start peeling yet? Plus the required high octane is a drag too. I'm paying for a BMW while driving a "practical" car.
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Re: I need to get a new car!
Old 05-24-2005, 07:52 AM   #12
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Re: I need to get a new car!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cut-Throat
Lawrence,

I also had friends that think of themselves as 'race car' types. They have to drive German cars. Some of them have Passats. They have also had all kinds of trouble. One them had the engine freeze when going down the highway. It was under warranty, but what a hassle!

I have a 99 GS300 and a 2003 ES300. - Both Flawless, albeit a little on the expensive side. But like you said, being ER'd doesn't mean you can't have some fun too. 8)
I still have the '83 Ford pick up I bought at a yard sale. No one has
bought it so far. I've been driving it some with no problems whatsoever.
I paid $400 for it. If it breaks down, I will just sell it for scrap/parts.
That's the beauty of driving a beater. My sense of style won't
allow it on a daily basis, but who knows? Maybe someday I will
just be a "beater pickup guy". That's the way things seem to be headed.

JG
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Re: I need to get a new car!
Old 05-24-2005, 08:10 AM   #13
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Re: I need to get a new car!

Bought my wife a brand new VW Jetta Wagon Diesel about 1 year 2 months ago. So far, its been flawless. Very classy looking car. It provides a very taunt ride and feel which is nice cause it makes it feel so well made, (as compared to some american cars which feel loosely bolted on both the inside and out). I'd definitely buy another one if i could do it over.

I think you just got a lemon. Consumer Reports does show lower reliability for VW's, but the way cars are made today, "bad" reliability means maybe 3-4% of the cars are problematic instead of 1-2%; point being, most cars today are relatively reliable, regardless of the brand you buy.
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Re: I need to get a new car!
Old 05-24-2005, 10:25 AM   #14
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Re: I need to get a new car!

Someone I know who used to be in used car biz said Toyota or Honda for long term reliablilty. Second best: most other Japanese.
When I was looking in 1999, the Camry seemed like the safest reliable used car for the money. There are crash test sites in US, Australia, and Japan, maybe others. And insurance data on deaths, tho that is confounded by who buys which car.

If someone were less concerned with reliability and safety, some used American cars might be cheaper in the long run, since their resale value is so low (for you as the buyer). Heard a rumor about someone getting a Ford pickup for only $400.
(Have read about low prices on 1 to 3 year old American cars, maybe the lower price could make up for more repair costs, but there's also peace of mind, and personal safety)
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Re: I need to get a new car!
Old 05-24-2005, 10:30 AM   #15
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Re: I need to get a new car!

Quote:
Originally Posted by azanon
Bought my wife a brand new VW Jetta Wagon Diesel about 1 year 2 months ago.* *So far, its been flawless.* Very classy looking car.*
A former boss of mine had the exact same car, and came to work late one day.... Her husband had gone to fill up the car with fuel (something every husband should do, no?), but rather than filling it with diesel, put in regular unleaded. Doh! I believe the repair bill / cost to flush the fuel system was around $3k.... he bought her flowers to make up for it.

Say... she got the car about 1.2 years ago too... where did you say you lived? *
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Re: I need to get a new car!
Old 05-24-2005, 10:51 AM   #16
 
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Re: I need to get a new car!

The opinions here are great, but you need to get the consumer reports buyer's guide that has the reliability ratings based on thousands of survey respondents. You can get it at the library.

Personally I'd say that for frugality you can't beat the Toyota Echo. About 40 MPG on the highway, and top reliability scores.
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Re: I need to get a new car!
Old 05-24-2005, 10:57 AM   #17
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Re: I need to get a new car!

Quote:
Originally Posted by azanon
Bought my wife a brand new VW Jetta Wagon Diesel about 1 year 2 months ago.* *So far, its been flawless.* Very classy looking car.* It provides a very taunt ride and feel which is nice cause it makes it feel so well made, (as compared to some american cars which feel loosely bolted on both the inside and out).* *I'd definitely buy another one if i could do it over.

I think you just got a lemon.* *Consumer Reports does show lower reliability for VW's, but the way cars are made today, "bad" reliability means maybe 3-4% of the cars are problematic instead of 1-2%;* point being, most cars today are relatively reliable, regardless of the brand you buy.
I bet Laurence is feeling better already!

What are you proposing, that he buy another VW? Whether it's 1-2% or 3-4% it still seems that his lemon odds are halved by going with just about anything else...
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Re: I need to get a new car!
Old 05-24-2005, 11:27 AM   #18
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Re: I need to get a new car!

We have an Accord and a Lexus SUV. Very reliable and low maintenance.
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Re: I need to get a new car!
Old 05-24-2005, 11:35 AM   #19
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Re: I need to get a new car!

The first two years we had the car, it was flawless, and the ride is still great. When we bought it, it was the consumer reports #1 car, breaking the hammerlock honda/toyota had on that spot for half a decade. We though it was a no lose. I have two friends who own jettas, one had the oil pan go bad, VW told her it wasn't covered under warranty because it must have happened when her oil was changed/mechanic error. $2000 charge. The other had various mechanical problems including the drivers side window slide down and refuse to come up again. Pretty chilly driving to work. Again, all three of us enjoyed flawless driving for a couple of years, then all the little things started to fail. Autos at msn has a huge list of common engine problems for my car - now they tell me!

I don't know anything about the VW diesels, they may be more reliable. Certianly the performance of the Passat is wonderful, I can corner at full speed and it's given me a lot of good times. Maybe it is a lemon, but between that and the poor customer service I've recieved from the three closest dealers I'm done with my relationship with VW.

CT, a used lexus is looking very likely at this point.
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Re: I need to get a new car!
Old 05-24-2005, 12:03 PM   #20
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Re: I need to get a new car!

Just to add my own experience with VW. I bought a new Jetta VR6 in 1998. It had some very strange electrical problems that left me stranded twice in two years. The car would not start. It was just totally dead. So both times I got a jump start from the free roadside service and then took it to the dealer. The first time they replaced the battery which was odd because the car was so new. The second time the problem disappeared at the dealership and they never did figure it out.

So I traded it in just before the 2 year bumper to bumper warranty ran out and got a low end Infiniti which has been pretty reliable. The instrument panel was flaky for a while (it would just go dark and stop working sometimes). They replaced it under warranty and I've had no other problems in 5 years.
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