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Buying used car under 5,000

ebertiniebertini New YorkPosts: 4
edited October 2018 in General
This is the first time I buy a car in the US and I have a budget of around 5k. We live in NYC and need the car only for day trips during the weekend with family (we are 5 but can squeeze). I have zero experience with buying.

A few questions.

The most important one: what are the most reliable cars in this range? I don't want to buy a car and then have to pay a lot for maintenance. How much should I expect to pay in maintenance for a car like that?

Should I try to get cars with lower mileage or newer cars? What is the mileage range I can aim for? And would you rather go to a dealer or a private owner?

I hope this is not too many questions!!!

Thanks.

Comments

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 148,769
    Sub-$5000 car does not equal reliable, no matter what make/model.

    A car that sells for that much is 75% used up, at least.

    For best reliability, choose a car that was very low priced when new. That model will be the newest and lowest mileage example you'll find under $5000, and will give you a better chance of fewer problems.

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    Edmunds Moderator

  • texasestexases Posts: 9,103
    edited October 2018
    You can do a lot of weekend rentals for $5000, and avoid all the other costs, parking, maintenance, and repair in particular.
  • ebertiniebertini New YorkPosts: 4
    Rental cars in NYC are very expensive. It's hard to get anything below $100-$150 a day.
  • MichaellMichaell ColoradoPosts: 141,306
    ebertini said:

    Rental cars in NYC are very expensive. It's hard to get anything below $100-$150 a day.

    You aren't kidding.

    Just looked up Enterprise in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

    $140/day for an Elantra, on the weekends.

    But, you do have to look at the whole picture - not just the purchase price and maintenance/repairs, but insurance and parking, as well.

    Where in the 5 boroughs are you, specifically?

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    2015 Subaru Outback 3.6R / 2014 MINI Countryman S ALL4

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 148,769
    Insurance on a rental is an issue, if you don't own a car with insurance. That's another cost.

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    Edmunds Moderator

  • ebertiniebertini New YorkPosts: 4
    edited October 2018
    We are in Greenwich Village. I could hypothetically park on the street (with all the hassle that comes from it). My thinking is that if we use the car only on weekends maybe reliability is less of an issue? If I can find a car that is not way way too old and is as dependable as possible? Any ideas?

    My back of the envelop calculation is the following.

    If I buy a car for $5k-$6k and use it every weekend it pays off in about 50 weekends, which is about one year of rental. Of course I have to consider insurance on top of this.

    But my biggest trouble is that I don't know how to quantify expenses for potential issues with the car. This is why I am asking this.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 148,769
    Your analysis is good. But, the information you are looking for, quantifying expenses? It's impossible to do on a $5000 vehicle. You could go a year, with minimal costs (under $1000), or you could end up with a $3000 repair in the first week.

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    Edmunds Moderator

  • texasestexases Posts: 9,103
    Any relatives with an old car they’re not using? At this price you need to use whatever contacts you have to find a well-maintained car. 
  • ebertiniebertini New YorkPosts: 4
    It’s good to know what the risk is. From your feedback it looks like the risk is way too high.

    No, unfortunately I don’t know anyone who can sell me a well maintained car.
  • MichaellMichaell ColoradoPosts: 141,306
    ebertini said:

    It’s good to know what the risk is. From your feedback it looks like the risk is way too high.

    No, unfortunately I don’t know anyone who can sell me a well maintained car.

    Only you can decide how much is too much risk.

    Just a hard price point to gauge, is all.

    If you lived in FL, you could get low mileage cars for that price, all day long, from estate sales.

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    MODERATOR

    2015 Subaru Outback 3.6R / 2014 MINI Countryman S ALL4

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