By May 10, 2009 Read More →

Help Buying Cheap Used Car

Hi Austin,

I’m a student in the market for a reliable, cheap car to get me from home to work and back. I have been offered an Eclipse (manual) with a rebuilt engine (90,000 miles) by a local mechanic for $2500. On a test drive, when I accelerated heavily and pushed the car, the engine suddenly jerked and the car lurched and the “check engine” light came on.

This happened about three times, everytime after I pushed the car (once in third, twice in fifth). I returned the car and the mechanic thinks its an electrical problem that cuts out the engine, but something he can fix. I dont know if I should trust this guy, or if I should trust a car with a replaced engine. Im a first time buyer with no idea what Im doing. What are your thoughts?

Thanks a lot,


Hi there Dhruv,

I would steer clear of this car, its too old, has a known problem, and if the mechanic really knew what the problem was he would have already repaired it….unless it costs BIG bucks! If you can afford a couple hundred dollars a month for a car note, I would HIGHLY suggest you visit your local KIA dealership and see if they have a Rio or other compact you can test drive. You also might check to see if there is a Rio on their used car lot.

These cars are great for first time car buyers, they are roomy, plenty of power, very fuel effiecient, and economical with a super warranty. As a student you can not afford costly breakdowns, and I would rather pay $200 a month for a NEW car with no chance of breakdowns than an older car you know you are going to have to put big money into.

Kia usually offers first time car buyer and college student discounts, and with your $2,000 downpayment it should get the monthly payment at the $180 or lower level and you will have a brand new car. NEVER pay sticker price, which you can usually deduct $3000-5000 from the sticker price, so dont worry what the sticker says on the car, its a total lie.

You can probably get a new 09 Rio for $11,500 with electric windows and locks and auto trans and a/c. Play hardball!!!! Buying a new car is not easy, its a total con game. I usually make a super low ball offer and then tell them I am leaving and they can call my cell if they change their minds and accept the price.


Austin Davis

About the Author:

Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."

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