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So my employer decided to not pay us on Friday, and didn't have the decency or balls to say anything until I asked where my paycheque was, so I am looking for a cheap beater vehicle in the event that my next gig doesn't come with a company vehicle. I see a lot of cheap VW's. Is there a reason? I'd prefer a small SUV but they are either too old or more than I want to spend. Prefer $5K or less.

I live rural, so I don't want anything too low to the ground (winter driving)

What are the lemons and what are the cars that never die?
 

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This is terrible!

PM me if you feel like having breakfast or burger or coffee, etc to rant.

I don't know much about beaters, but Toyota's might be something to look at. I will admit being biased, I just bought a newer Camry.
 

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This is terrible!

PM me if you feel like having breakfast or burger or coffee, etc to rant.

I don't know much about beaters, but Toyota's might be something to look at. I will admit being biased, I just bought a newer Camry.
Thanks Dave. Getting paid Tues, but more angry at the fact they had an "oh-well" attitude. Company has been shoddy financially for years and I think I've had my fill.

But this thread was more intended to fact find about cheap cars rather than whining...though it was nice to vent
 

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I have two mitsubishi pajero's. One two door diesel and one 3.5L gas. They are japanese imports so right hand drive, but are reliable as heck and have been abused and put away wet with very minimal problems. You can usually pick them up for 3 to 5k with any bugs worked out as they've been in Canada for a while and guys are big on keeping them up with preventative maintenance that they don't really need. They are about as good as a 4runner, but half the cost with the same mileage. They share parts with the Montero that was available local, so that isn't a factor. They're also fully loaded power everything, RWD, AWD, 4hi and 4low, dual climate control and a lot of features that only newer model cars have.

I would also recommend pre 2001 cherokees with the inline 4.0L. Find out that isn't rusted out and they are reliable and cheap to fix.

Or, get a honda civic and put good snow tires on it. I used to drive the crap out of mine on rural roads in all seasons around Calgary. That car has been more places than most peoples SUVs.
 

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No expert here, but I have known a few people with Toyota Corollas with 210,00 to almost 400,00 km on them over the past several years.
 
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Depends what youre looking for... I just retired a 99 4runner, great vehicle (reliable and great on/off road or snow/ice with decent winter tires) I could fit the whole bands gear in the back. Minus the band itself lol. still have it, for sale atm, bit rusty now but runs like a champ. Replaced it with an 04 bmw x5 for under 5k), also been good but some issues with windows intermittently not working.

F150's are plentiful. Rav4's are good. I wouldnt call any of them beater vehicles (except maybe my rusty 4runner lol) unless you are driving them into the ground.
I beat the hell out of the 4runner and its still going strong...ish. Wife rolled it in a ditch and we flipped it back over and drove it home, sans driver side window/mirror lol.
 
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Stay away from Volkswagen. Weird construction, expensive breakdowns. Be careful of a lot of foreign cars because they require a whole bunch of specialty tools that most mechanics don't have. Plus the high cost of parts, with no generic options. (Toyota is exempt from the above.)

Old Toyota is a good bet. Corolla, Camry, Celica. Check online for problems. If it is a good one with low mileage you will be happy. The Corolla has been around so long and is so plentiful most mechanics can fix them like they are Chevy or Ford. There are forums and videos if you want to do your own work.

You can also look into the hybrid Prius as well. Huge cargo space crazy cheap gas mileage, and very reliable. Be sure to do your homework on the different years and be sure the batteries are good. The 2010 and up models have bigger bodies and larger gas engines (except 1 model which is smaller. Don't get that one.)
 

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Another vote for buying the most Toyota you can buy for your $5K budget. My wife is on her third, a 2006 Highlander. Until recently all three had required only oil changes, brakes and tires for maintenance.

The current Highlander has well over 300K km on it and had its first major failure a few months ago - a power steering system leak on a part we were told wasn't available from Toyota anyore. I was going to dump it rather than pay over $1,300 to fix a car worth about $2,500 but my wife wanted to keep it going so we found a way to patch it up for $300 and will keep it until something else expensive fails.

<snip> I see a lot of cheap VW's. Is there a reason? <snip>
Have you missed the story about VW using software tricks to fool emissions-testing systems? They've paid huge government fines and also paid settlements to owners of their cars. Many of those owners - including a friend of mine - are taking the settlements and dumping the cars to buy something else that doesn't have the resale-value-hammering scandal attached to them. Even though AFAIK the scandal was related only to diesel cars the brand has taken a big hit and resale value has plunged.

Since you can buy with the resale value already hammered down, VWs might be good value for you. However, first explore whether or not the emissions thing could bite you later on in costs to upgrade parts to pass emissions tests.

FWIW (not much) we owned two VW diesels decades before this scandal broke, and convinced several others to buy them too. All were good cars and a few of them ran multiple hundreds of thousands of kilometers. My brother-in-law's northern Ontario Jetta passed to his son at over 300K km and is still going out in Calgary at over 400K km. (His son is a mechanic.)

Good luck with the car and the new job.
 

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when i first moved here i bought a jetta turbo. biggest piece of shit i ever owned. no one wanted to work on it. not even foreign car repair places. if everything worked properly, i would have really liked it. quick, great on gas, 5 speed manual. but i swear in the 6 weeks i drove it, i had a new issue every 3-4 days. last vw i'll ever buy. thurs nite i traded it in, along with a check, for an elantra. everything works, leather interior, roomy, nice stereo, big trunk, great on gas. but slow. i dont care about slow, because i'm trying my best not to drive like an asshole these days.
 

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I just got a 2007 basic dodge caravan for $3300 with licensing, plate, emissions test, tax. ALL IN!! It has 107k kms on it.

It was a trade in at a dealership where I know the owner.

It does the job.

I'd stay NA made unless there's a screaming deal. I'd say it's more about what to look for with each particular brand and less about a blanket statement. For instance the rocket panels on NA made vehicles have been known to rust.

Also call mechanics as they know cars gangbusters. & usually have a few clients looking to upgrade.
 

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If you want a good beater, find something that has a lot of parts available.
 

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Anything by Honda or Toyota would be a good start. CRV, Elememnt, Rav 4, Corolla, Civic, etc... Bring it to your mechanic before buying would me my recommendation.
 

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The bride bought a Toyota Matrix last year, several years old, fairly low milage, one owner, complete repair record from the original dealer/shop, and it has run like a top as a daily commuter car with occasional runs to the big city. I gotta say it's a spunky little car, comparable to the Ford Escort I had 20 years ago and a Nissan Sentra we had briefly. Quite remarkable how much carry space this thing has when the back seats are folded down, I mean I could gig with it if I had to. Yes, snow tires in winter, regular oil changes, and general respect goes a long way. The sales guy says they often see these cars with well over 300,000 on the odometer and still running well. That's good enough I suppose.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
I have two mitsubishi pajero's. One two door diesel and one 3.5L gas. They are japanese imports so right hand drive, but are reliable as heck and have been abused and put away wet with very minimal problems. You can usually pick them up for 3 to 5k with any bugs worked out as they've been in Canada for a while and guys are big on keeping them up with preventative maintenance that they don't really need. They are about as good as a 4runner, but half the cost with the same mileage.
I would also recommend pre 2001 cherokees with the inline 4.0L.

Or, get a honda civic and put good snow tires on it.
Tons of Civics in my area, hear they never quit. Quite interested in the Mitsu. I've never heard of it but it appeals

I'd like a fully capable SUV as I have 3 trailers. Those Cherokee's also sound tough. The inlines have lots of torque

Depends what youre looking for... I just retired a 99 4runner, great vehicle (reliable and great on/off road or snow/ice with decent winter tires) I could fit the whole bands gear in the back. Minus the band itself lol. still have it, for sale atm, bit rusty now but runs like a champ. Replaced it with an 04 bmw x5 for under 5k), also been good but some issues with windows intermittently not working.

F150's are plentiful. Rav4's are good. I wouldnt call any of them beater vehicles (except maybe my rusty 4runner lol) unless you are driving them into the ground.
I beat the hell out of the 4runner and its still going strong...ish. Wife rolled it in a ditch and we flipped it back over and drove it home, sans driver side window/mirror lol.
I' like the 4Runners. This will be a beater and I would like a hauler for my boats and tent trailer, building materials/tools etc...Driving them into the ground is what I do

Another vote for buying the most Toyota you can buy for your $5K budget. My wife is on her third, a 2006 Highlander.



Have you missed the story about VW using software tricks to fool emissions-testing systems? They've paid huge government fines and also paid settlements to owners of their cars. Many of those owners - including a friend of mine - are taking the settlements and dumping the cars to buy something else that doesn't have the resale-value-hammering scandal attached to them. Even though AFAIK the scandal was related only to diesel cars the brand has taken a big hit and resale value has plunged.

Since you can buy with the resale value already hammered down, VWs might be good value for you. However, first explore whether or not the emissions thing could bite you later on in costs to upgrade parts to pass emissions tests.

FWIW (not much) we owned two VW diesels decades before this scandal broke, and convinced several others to buy them too. All were good cars and a few of them ran multiple hundreds of thousands of kilometers. My brother-in-law's northern Ontario Jetta passed to his son at over 300K km and is still going out in Calgary at over 400K km. (His son is a mechanic.)

Good luck with the car and the new job.
Thanks - starting the search and placing out feelers. Holding this one until I find another, or the pay stops coming.

Heard about the VW fiasco. I thibk I'd stay away from TDI. 300k on a car nowadays I think is the norm, but I worry about the transmissions, especially manual on 200+ k cars. Makes sense why they are cheap. Like the Highlanders, and it seems there's a ton of thumbs up for Toyotas here

when i first moved here i bought a jetta turbo. biggest piece of shit i ever owned. no one wanted to work on it. not even foreign car repair places. if everything worked properly, i would have really liked it. quick, great on gas, 5 speed manual. but i swear in the 6 weeks i drove it, i had a new issue every 3-4 days. last vw i'll ever buy. thurs nite i traded it in, along with a check, for an elantra. everything works, leather interior, roomy, nice stereo, big trunk, great on gas. but slow. i dont care about slow, because i'm trying my best not to drive like an asshole these days.
I think VW will not be a min focus for me. Lol on the asshole driving. I used to be that guy, now I just kick back with tunes and take it easy. Wife says I aged 30 years in only a few

I just got a 2007 basic dodge caravan for $3300 with licensing, plate, emissions test, tax. ALL IN!! It has 107k kms on it.
I put 300k on an 04 GC. Was the best vehicle I ever owned. I'd consider it again as it can haul what I like. Was great in snow with snows too

Anything by Honda or Toyota would be a good start. CRV, Elememnt, Rav 4, Corolla, Civic, etc... Bring it to your mechanic before buying would me my recommendation.
More shout outs for Toyo...I've driven the Ravs and like them. thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
General thanks guys...you're a great bunch. I know I've been a bit chippy with some here in recent months, for which I apologize, and perhaps this might help explain it a bit.

Thinking this might be a good thing. Time to take a less stressful job...more play time!
 
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I have been gifted 2 Dodge Grand Caravans from my parents. They both had about 50,000 km when I got them. The first was a 2001. The newest is a 2010.

They are very convenient, but are pieces of crap. Tranny problems, lots of things just break or stop working. The 2001 basically dissolved. Rusted away. Like it was being eaten by piranhas.
Now the 2010 is starting to rust. Bubbles on the hood, rust on the inside bottom of the doors.

In contrast I have a 2003 Toyota Celica GTS and there isn't a hint of rust. Not 1 spec. Everything on the car works perfectly. Zero repairs. Year after year. It has 185,000 km.

Again the Caravans are very convenient, but not built to last.
 

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General thanks guys...you're a great bunch. I know I've been a bit chippy with some here in recent months, for which I apologize, and perhaps this might help explain it a bit.

Thinking this might be a good thing. Time to take a less stressful job...more play time!
Yes, less stress in your life is a wonderful thing. Been there done that, got the video and highly recommend a change to make your life happier. Best of luck.
 

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NO VWs, unless you like horrible reliability, expensive parts, and difficult service. Speaking from owning and maintaining a couple for 15 years.

My current daily is a 2004 Pontiac Vibe (which is a Matrix/Corolla, of course). Great mileage, ultra reliable, hauls almost as much as my old Caprice wagon. I'd highly recommend one. Once you go wagon, you can't go back. They're just too convenient.
 

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Lol on the asshole driving. I used to be that guy, now I just kick back with tunes and take it easy.
when i had my t/a i was so bad i would get out of the car and actually feel bad about myself. i parked it and bought a tercel. in 3 years i only drove it to the gas station after that.
now i drive like somebody's grandpa. which, i suppose is appropriate. i AM somebodies grandpa. hahahhaha now i only get annoyed driving home from work, because it's 5 miles of 2nd gear.
 
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