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Am I naive?

cmurray1cmurray1 Posts: 1
edited January 2016 in General
Howdy folks! New to the forum here, and I registered to ask this question: As a 38 year-old who has never owned a car, I've been shopping around, mostly at dealers here in south Louisiana, and it seems like everything I'm looking at within my budget (around 10k, after tax and title) is junk! One SUV I test drove smelled of burning oil after just 3 blocks; another Tacoma had a squeak coming from underneath and when I asked what it was, the salesman told me that the exhaust wasn't connected properly, that they knew about it and hadn't bothered to fix it. Am I naive in believing that I can get a decent used car or truck for 10k that will last me for years and not have any major issues? It seems everything I'm finding online (, eBay motors, Craigslist) points to me needing to spend more like 20k to get that reliable vehicle that I need. I know people who have spent far less than I have in my budget and wound up with some solid wheels, but maybe they've just gotten amazingly lucky? I'm feeling way out of my league here and getting very frustrated, so any advice, help, soothing words would be greatly appreciated!



  • texasestexases Posts: 8,809
    It's difficult, but it can be done. I'd ask some of those folks how they did it. I'd check with friends and relatives to see if they know of a vehicle for sale. I'd click on 'car research' then 'tips and advice' and read up.
    Here's an article from there that might help:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    edited January 2016
    you are better off buying from a private party in that price range, as Texases suggests to you, and yes, it's possible to get a pretty decent car for $10K. The trick is a) patience; b) a rigorous test drive and c) taking it to a mechanic for a thorough pre-purchase inspection after you're satisfied with it.

    It also helps to research the more reliable, easier-to-maintain makes, and try to keep mileage under 100,000 miles if you the best car you can afford, let someone else have the "fixer-uppers".

    "oh, a cheap Porsche SUV with only 178,000 miles on it!"

    Also, keep in mind that a $10,000 car that needs tires, an AC "recharge" (ahem), and a passenger side window motor is not a $10,000 car, it's an $11,000 car, or more.

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