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Help with car replacement

jsljrjsljr Member Posts: 6
edited January 2015 in Toyota
Hello. A trusty driver crashed into my daughter's parked 1997 Camry while texting. It is totaled... Problem starts with replacing it with a comparable car (mechanically) for under $3K (I realize it is a tall order but the cash flow is what it is). I am sick over it. The car has been IMMACULATELY maintained and only has 70K miles. It was a gem... She is about to go off to college across the country and I am in need of some advice about where to start looking (makes and models). Thanks in advance.

Regards, SICK Dad

Comments

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    That is going to be very tough indeed. My best recommendation would be to focus on the "lesser" Japanese makes like Mitsubishi, Mazda and Subaru--you might find a fairly decent older model of one of those brands for $3K. A domestic car is not out of the question either, even if it's somewhat larger and harder on gas--if it were owned, say, by an older person who has given up driving--that could be a good score.
  • driver100driver100 Burlington, ON 7 mo/Tampa FL 5 moMember Posts: 28,732
    jsljr said:

    Hello. A trusty driver crashed into my daughter's parked 1997 Camry while texting. It is totaled... Problem starts with replacing it with a comparable car (mechanically) for under $3K (I realize it is a tall order but the cash flow is what it is). I am sick over it. The car has been IMMACULATELY maintained and only has 70K miles. It was a gem... She is about to go off to college across the country and I am in need of some advice about where to start looking (makes and models). Thanks in advance.

    Regards, SICK Dad

    Steve sent your post to Buying and Selling cars. Unfortunately, all I can tell you is
    You probably won't find it at Craigs List or on EBay. Unless you know the seller is trustworthy I think you would be better putting that money towards a little more expensive car. A good car for $3000 is almost an oxymoron. It can be done, but it is almost impossible.

    I just had a friend who was rear ended in his 2002 Honda Civic. His car had 90k miles and no problems, but the insurance company is going to right it off. We know he won't find a comparable car for the $2500 the insurance company will give him.

    He has bought a 2015 Honda Fit or he could have got a Civic. It costs $18000 and he will probably get 6 to 10 years use out of it with his mileage. It has heated front seats, a service monitor system, rear camera, all the latest safety equipment.

    I have a feeling it will cost less to drive a car like that than a $3000 car that will be a total gamble....it may work but may need costly repairs. That $3000 can become $5k or $6k very quickly, and you still have a car worth less than you put into it.

    I know I have had to buy used cars because of my finances. Any I paid too little for weren't even worth what I paid. Few people get rid of cars in that price range that are running well. That's just my opinion.

    Good luck though!

    2017 MB E400 , 2015 MB GLK350, 2014 MB C250

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTMember Posts: 14,659
    My advice is to lease new. She'll be far from home and you won't have to worry about the $3000 beater breaking down on her. You could lease her a Civic LX with CVT transmission for 36 months for about $176 plus tax (if your credit is excellent). Spread across 3 years, it will end up costing you about $6500, then she'll have a nice used car to buy when she graduates. Don't put the $3000 as a down payment, but stick it in your bank account and use it to make lease payments. I'm glad your daughter wasn't hurt.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2017 Pilot Touring AWD, 2019 Tacoma TRD Sport 4WD

  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 29,082
    edited January 2015
    Why only $3k? Is that all they gave you? Granted, its a '97, but challenge them to find a comparable car on the market for that money. Looking at dealer auctions, I actually see several '97 Camrys with under 100k miles, and they sell for $2200-$2500. The dealer will have $3k in it in the end and need to get $4500 for it at a minimum. So $4500 is what I'd expect from the insurance company. I should add that I priced a 4-cyl LE model. If it was an XLE or a V6 of some sort, it would be worth even more.

    ‘21 Camaro LT1, '07 ML63, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '13 Fiat 500c, '14 Town&Country Limited. 54-car history and counting!

  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    If she doesn't need a car once she gets to school, maybe there's another way to get her (and her stuff) to the dorm.
  • graphicguygraphicguy Edmunds Poster EmeritusMember Posts: 13,008
    qbrozen said:

    Why only $3k? Is that all they gave you? Granted, its a '97, but challenge them to find a comparable car on the market for that money. Looking at dealer auctions, I actually see several '97 Camrys with under 100k miles, and they sell for $2200-$2500. The dealer will have $3k in it in the end and need to get $4500 for it at a minimum. So $4500 is what I'd expect from the insurance company. I should add that I priced a 4-cyl LE model. If it was an XLE or a V6 of some sort, it would be worth even more.

    I'm with qbrozen on this one. No way I'd accept only $3K on a Camry with only 70K miles in great shape. I'd start by going toe-to-toe with the perp's insurance company. I'm thinking that car is worth at least twice that amount....maybe more.

    Start with the insurance companies evaluation and get that settled. Then, we can help find a car based on the size of the check.
    2021 Acura TLX A-Spec-Platinum White Pearl
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    Insurance co's don't care! They also don't care if you threaten to take them to court!

    They MAY raise their offer a little but I wouldn't count in this happening.

    It's an 18 year old car but I agree it's more than a 3000.00 car!

    I do wish you well.

    I like Bradds idea of leasing a new Civic. They have great leases going on and she will have all of the latest safety features and a new, troublefree car under warranty.

    And, it'll probably get 10 MPG more than the Camry did!
  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Member Posts: 17,789
    It may be possible to get a decent transportation prince but you'll probably have to kiss a bunch of frogs first. Most $3 k cars will have defects seen or unseen so don't expect perfection. Decide what you can live with (broken AC) and what you can't (broken transmission) and go shopping. If using Craigslist avoid flippers (same phone # for multiple cars) and dealers who advertise as "owners". These people start off lying to you. Best bet is buying from someone you know or buying a car who's history you know. Be prepared to spend another $1000 fixing up your $3k purchase. Get a pre-purchase inspection from a mechanic if you don't know cars and maybe even if you do.

    2019 Kia Soul+, 2015 Mustang GT, 2004 Chevy Van, 2000 Chrysler Sebring convertible

  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJMember Posts: 10,379
    Well, I started with an Autotrader search within 100 miles of my place at the Jersey shore. No Camrys but some Corollas. No Accords that you'd touch but some Civics. 1 Mazda - a Protege and no Subarus at all. I tried Buick for the heck of it and got maybe a dozen hits. It would be a different feel than a Camry but there's some perfectly good ones out there.

    I'd go with oldfarmer's advice that you get a mechanic to check it out carefully. I also second the thought that the Camry you had was worth more than what her insurance is offering.

    If you have retirement communities around where you are look around. A shame that classified ads have gone the way of the dodo.
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJMember Posts: 10,379
    Old farmer posted this one elsewhere - http://tampa.craigslist.org/hdo/cto/4830750873.html

    Must be something like that in your neck of the woods. Where is your neck of the woods? We could put our crck team on the assignment.
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 29,082
    well, the OP hasn't checked back in, so we can probably stop talking about this.

    ‘21 Camaro LT1, '07 ML63, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '13 Fiat 500c, '14 Town&Country Limited. 54-car history and counting!

  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJMember Posts: 10,379
    My thoughts exactly. I tossed him a note that we were working on it to no response.
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    Yep, another "one hit wonder". Maybe he didn't like what he was hearing from us.
  • jsljrjsljr Member Posts: 6
    Sorry folks. Just getting back on after being in bed with the flu for days... When it rains, it pours. I appreciate the advice and the responses more than you know. I have never been on a blog (if that is what this is) and the outreach was outstanding. I am in Albuquerque NM, btw. Meeting with the insurance company tomorrow or Tuesday. They are supposed to call. I will let you know how it goes. Regards, Jim
  • ClairesClaires Chicago areaMember Posts: 1,222
    Jim, if you've made any improvements to the car recently, ask the insurance adjuster if they'll give you allowances for the car's good condition and any improvements you've made. I was in a head-on this past summer and Nationwide wanted to give me 4900K for my totaled 2002 Jetta. Between the condition adjustment and my receipts for tires, detailing, and a recent timing belt/water pump replacement, they wound up giving me $900 more. They may also pick up part of the sales tax on your replacement car. Good luck!

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  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    Good point - just a little negotiation will usually get you an extra $500, per Confessions of an Auto Claims Adjuster.

    Hope you get to feeling better soon!
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJMember Posts: 10,379
    Hey, Jim! Glad to see you back and over the flu. Flip me an Albuquerque zip code and I'll hunt. Not promising wonders, but you're in a good area in that cars don't deteriorate at the rate they do here in the northeast.

    I was in Albuquerque years ago. Loved it, which unusual for me to say about a place without a nearby ocean.
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 187,348
    fezo said:

    Hey, Jim! Glad to see you back and over the flu. Flip me an Albuquerque zip code and I'll hunt. Not promising wonders, but you're in a good area in that cars don't deteriorate at the rate they do here in the northeast.

    I was in Albuquerque years ago. Loved it, which unusual for me to say about a place without a nearby ocean.


    87107

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  • jsljrjsljr Member Posts: 6
    87144. Thx.
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJMember Posts: 10,379
    Tough nut to crack so far but I'll keep at it...
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJMember Posts: 10,379
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • jsljrjsljr Member Posts: 6
    Nice. Thanks for the leads!
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJMember Posts: 10,379
    You're welcome. Will look more if none of those pan out. I think that CRV looks great. Of course that's me 2,000 miles away from it....
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • carandetccarandetc Member Posts: 22
    I hear all the time insurance just writes off a car as totaled but it is totally fixable. Do you think you can put that 3000+ back into the car? or is it really impossible to restore for 3000?
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJMember Posts: 10,379
    my former almost wife had a habit of totaling cars and coming out with out a scratch herself. Her father always collected the pieces and got the car is usable shape again. low balled the insurance company - you'll give me $4K? How about 43.5 and the car? he always seemed to come out on the good end of these deals. The fact that was so adroit at totaling cars may be why I never took the plunge there - plus we could both be rather stubborn.

    It;s a shame. I'd be living in Fernandina Beach instead of up here in the ice but in the end I have the better deal and if we need a car totaled I do it myself......
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • jsljrjsljr Member Posts: 6
    Update - Insurance is offering $4,138 right now. I have offered maintenance records to increase $. They are recalculating...
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    An LE in ABQ retails for around $3,500 when I appraise it here (no options, good condition). So you're getting better numbers from the insurance company.

    You can dial in the trim and options better yourself through that link, but you may not want to tell the adjuster what the number is. ;)
  • MichaellMichaell ColoradoModerator Posts: 182,312
    One other thing to consider is to use a car shopping site and look to see what 1997 Camry's are being sold for with miles similar to the one you had. You're looking for replacement cost.

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  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 187,348
    stever said:

    An LE in ABQ retails for around $3,500 when I appraise it here (no options, good condition). So you're getting better numbers from the insurance company.

    You can dial in the trim and options better yourself through that link, but you may not want to tell the adjuster what the number is. ;)


    Insurance has to add sales tax to the payoff, as well.. so, the number should be somewhat higher

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  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    edited January 2015
    Good suggestion and there's a "Shop For This Car" button hanging off my appraisal link above you can use to search. You'll have to go out, oh, 500 miles from ABQ to find more than one older Camry and there's very few with less than 150,000 miles. I see one, a '98, down in AZ for $4,405 that only has 72,000 miles on it. Here's that link. (Remember that $4,405 is just the asking price).
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJMember Posts: 10,379
    Nice little find, Steve. And yes, asking price is just someone using their freedom of speech. Doesn't mean it's a firm price.
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • jsljrjsljr Member Posts: 6
    Nice work, Steve. Unfortunately, already sold. I am willing to drive 500-600 miles for the right car. Thanks again!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Says it runs well, but a boatload o miles on it: http://albuquerque.craigslist.org/cto/4825845049.html
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    edited January 2015
    jsljr said:

    Nice work, Steve. Unfortunately, already sold. I am willing to drive 500-600 miles for the right car. Thanks again!

    That is a bit of a drive for you, but I was thinking more in terms of using that Camry (or others you find with the search tool) for the insurance quote, although it would be better to stay with the same year for the adjustor.

  • zandorzandor Member Posts: 67

    That is going to be very tough indeed. My best recommendation would be to focus on the "lesser" Japanese makes like Mitsubishi, Mazda and Subaru--you might find a fairly decent older model of one of those brands for $3K. A domestic car is not out of the question either, even if it's somewhat larger and harder on gas--if it were owned, say, by an older person who has given up driving--that could be a good score.

    With a budget of 4-6k (insurance money plus maybe a little more) I definitely wouldn't count out domestics. Older Japanese cars may generally be more reliable in general, but there are still some solid domestic models. The up side to them is they have domestic resale prices. You just have to cherry pick models.

    A few domestics I like:
    * 2004 or slightly older Buick Regal. It's an old man/old lady car. Mom bought a 2000 Regal GS back in 2003, and at the time Consumer Reports had it right up there with the Accord and Camry. Time proved out that prediction. It was totaled last year when a 22yo "Cruzed" into it in a Chevy.
    * First generation Ford Fusion or Mercury Milan (2006-2009). That could be doable if you can get a bit more out of insurance or toss in a little more money. CR also likes these, particularly the V6 models.
    * Ford Crown Vic/Mercury Grand Marquis/Lincoln Town Car. Gas guzzlers, but quite solid and also an old man/old lady car. They could be good if she lives close to school and doesn't have to drive a lot.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350

    Says it runs well, but a boatload o miles on it: http://albuquerque.craigslist.org/cto/4825845049.html

    177,000 miles may be a lot but it is a Camry. If the maintenance has been done, timing belt replaced etc it could easily do another 50,000 miles or even more.

    For someone driving 10K a year it could last them a long time.

    I would have a trusted shop look it over.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    When an ad says a car is "fast" I get scared.
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJMember Posts: 10,379
    Oh, as the former owner of a Celica convertible I encourage that one. Fun Fun Fun until the roof falls apart. Loved mine.

    If you want a 04 Mazda wagon with a stick and a six cylinder heap big fun and dependable and don't mind paying a wee bit more come to New Jersey, You might start my GTI quest...
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
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