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Old 11-06-2009, 10:18 AM   #1
xpat70
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selecting the best used car for my needs

Hi everyone,

I'm looking for suggestions on makes, models, and anecdotal evidence from all you car experts out there on which car(s) would make the most sense for my needs (listed below).

I've just moved back to the US after living in Europe for 6 years where I didn't drive at all and now I need to buy a car again :-)

Basically, I'm looking for something that will fulfill the following:

+ reliability in bad winter weather (I live near Boston and the winters can be rough on a car; I don't want to get stuck in the snow too much)
+ reasonable gas mileage
+ relatively low maintenance and repair costs
+ can transport a mid-size guitar amp
+ under $10K

Many thanks for any suggestions!!
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Old 11-06-2009, 03:30 PM   #2
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Re: selecting the best used car for my needs

My pick (seems like I'm saying this a lot lately) would be a Jeep Grand Cherokee if you don't drive like a maniac (I'm assuming you don't ) it'll get 17-21 mpg. Can be picked up in great condition with low miles for 10k. Best vehicle ever in the winter. Reliable, and relatively cheap to maintain
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Old 11-07-2009, 11:53 AM   #3
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Re: selecting the best used car for my needs

@Shpuker, thx for the reply. Seems like your pick would fit my needs, though I thought I read the Jeep Cherokee had a boatload of electrical problems though?
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Old 11-07-2009, 01:59 PM   #4
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Re: selecting the best used car for my needs

I've never heard of them having any electrical problems at all. Had a 96 a few years bacak and it had nothing at all wrong with it at 180,000 miles
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Old 11-07-2009, 04:35 PM   #5
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Re: selecting the best used car for my needs

You do not want a Grand Cherokee with a 4.7 or 318.The Jeep Grand Cherokees with a 318 or 360 are gas hogs due to having fulltime 4wd.The 4.7 is not very reliable,head gaskets and once in a while a valve seat coming out of the cylinder heads making the cylinder head junk right away.Plus the 4.7 is very expensive to fix if anything major breaks.An used 4.7 goes for $1,500.00 out of a wrecking yard.Find one with a 4.0 since it has great fuel mileage and the 4.0 is very reliable engine which cannot be killed.
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Old 11-07-2009, 08:40 PM   #6
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Re: selecting the best used car for my needs

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@Shpuker, thx for the reply. Seems like your pick would fit my needs, though I thought I read the Jeep Cherokee had a boatload of electrical problems though?
Your mention of buying a vehicle under $10K, I don't care what you read, any JC in your price range in excellent condition is way beyond having these type problems you mentioned.
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Old 11-08-2009, 12:28 AM   #7
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Re: selecting the best used car for my needs

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You do not want a Grand Cherokee with a 4.7 or 318.The Jeep Grand Cherokees with a 318 or 360 are gas hogs due to having fulltime 4wd.The 4.7 is not very reliable,head gaskets and once in a while a valve seat coming out of the cylinder heads making the cylinder head junk right away.Plus the 4.7 is very expensive to fix if anything major breaks.An used 4.7 goes for $1,500.00 out of a wrecking yard.Find one with a 4.0 since it has great fuel mileage and the 4.0 is very reliable engine which cannot be killed.
Why do you insist on making false, broad, and annoying claims in every single one of your posts?

the 4.7 is a much better engine than the 4.0, it is not a gas hog, the one I had was a 4.7. Its actually fairly inexpensive to repair.

Other than that it was so un-legible I could not for the life of me understand it.

And would learning how to use spaces kill you? Just type like everyone else.
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Old 11-08-2009, 09:36 AM   #8
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Re: selecting the best used car for my needs

The 4.7 is expensive to fix and my father has two 4.7s that are junk.One is out of a 2001 Dakota,blown head gaskets with egg shaped cylinders due to getting way too hot and the heads are junk,valve seats fell out.Another is in a Durango,bad headgaskets also.My father price a rebuild for the Dakota,just for the shortblock: $2,000.00 from a machine shop.The 4.0 has been a proven engine since it came out in the 1960s.Go to www.car-part.com and see the price of an used 4.7,you will see it is $1,500.00 for an used 4.7 from any yard.I talked to a guy that has one in a fullsize Dodge truck,headgaskets failed twice with his and it is a 4.7.Ended up replacing the engine with a Jasper reman a third time
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Old 11-08-2009, 10:46 AM   #9
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Re: selecting the best used car for my needs

Personally, I think that we should try and steer the original poster away from any kind of 4x4 SUV. Regardless of brand, most SUV's tend to be too heavy, too inefficient and too maintenance-intensive to be a good choice.

The OP has not mentioned that he will ever need the trailer-towing capacity or space for the family that an SUV can offer.

So, IMO the best choice is a front wheel drive car or crossover, with a set of snow tires for winter. They will be much better for fuel economy, ease of handling etc than any SUV, and many will have the space he needs.

I would suggest a Toyota Matrix, Pontiac Vibe, Honda Element, Ford Escape (front wheel drive versions are cheaper), Chevrolet HHR, or a compact wagon like a Mazda 6 wagon. If those are a bit expensive, there are loads of affordable Chrysler PT Cruisers out there.
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Old 11-08-2009, 12:45 PM   #10
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Re: selecting the best used car for my needs

You do not want a PT Cruiser,some years had transmission problems with them and one fix was to put a cooler from the mini vans.I know about it,one customer had problem with her transmission twice and her husband called it a pregnant Neon.She traded it in for a Chevy Equinox which has been trouble free
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Old 11-08-2009, 01:55 PM   #11
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Re: selecting the best used car for my needs

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Personally, I think that we should try and steer the original poster away from any kind of 4x4 SUV. Regardless of brand, most SUV's tend to be too heavy, too inefficient and too maintenance-intensive to be a good choice.

The OP has not mentioned that he will ever need the trailer-towing capacity or space for the family that an SUV can offer.

So, IMO the best choice is a front wheel drive car or crossover, with a set of snow tires for winter. They will be much better for fuel economy, ease of handling etc than any SUV, and many will have the space he needs.

I would suggest a Toyota Matrix, Pontiac Vibe, Honda Element, Ford Escape (front wheel drive versions are cheaper), Chevrolet HHR, or a compact wagon like a Mazda 6 wagon. If those are a bit expensive, there are loads of affordable Chrysler PT Cruisers out there.
He lives in Boston so he needs a vehicle that can get around in the snow. FWD is his worst option. Also why I suggest an SUV for him. Much more conviniant for travling in the winter.


And where I'm not much of a fan of the PT Cruiser Wafre. is once again full of shit.

And the 4.7L is a great engine. It is VERY reliabel and get relitively good gas mileage. Wafre just like to bash all Chrysler LLC products
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Old 11-08-2009, 09:10 PM   #12
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Re: selecting the best used car for my needs

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He lives in Boston so he needs a vehicle that can get around in the snow. FWD is his worst option. Also why I suggest an SUV for him. Much more conviniant for travling in the winter.
Boston has a winter which is why FWD is best for this guy.

FWD is great in snow. I have been driving in Ontario for 27 years.... I know snow. I have owned over 25 FWD, RWD and 4x4 cars and trucks.
Of course 4x4 is preferred, but FWD beats RWD every time in the snow, especially for the novice, like this person.

FWD has better traction, all things being equal. And when FWD does spin in the snow the car tends to go in a straight line until you get off the gas.
It's predictable amd MUCH better for the novice (again) driver like the OP.

RWD is a nightmare in the snow unless you are experienced enough to put that sliding to good use. You may have forgotten how incredibly disconcerting RWD sliding is for the novice driver.


I would never recommend RWD to anyone for the snow unless they are an experienced winter driver.



As for the PT Cruiser, you get what you pay for. As I suggested, it could be a much cheaper alternative than the other cars I mentioned, even though its a bit less reliable.
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Old 11-09-2009, 01:02 AM   #13
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Re: selecting the best used car for my needs

Quote:
Originally Posted by xpat70 View Post
Hi everyone,

I'm looking for suggestions on makes, models, and anecdotal evidence from all you car experts out there on which car(s) would make the most sense for my needs (listed below).
Basically, I'm looking for something that will fulfill the following:
+ reliability in bad winter weather (I live near Boston and the winters can be rough on a car; I don't want to get stuck in the snow too much)
+ reasonable gas mileage
+ relatively low maintenance and repair costs
+ can transport a mid-size guitar amp
+ under $10K

Many thanks for any suggestions!!
Like MagicRat said FWD is the best option for this member in this case. While Boston doesn't see as bad of a winter as what MagicRat and I get, they still need a good vehicle to get around. the price kind of limits the field a bit as my first thoughts were one of the newer crossover type vehicles as they offer good handling plus plenty of room to haul passengers and cargo, and are fairly decent on the gas mileage, and maintenance costs. (Properly maintaining any vehicle can keep overall fuel and maintenance costs lower, and that includes preventative maintenance.) The only problem is most of these newer crossovers aren't anywhere near the price point the OP is looking for, and won't be for a few more years. That leaves other vehicles that could fit the bill like a minivan or sport wagon. I've been driving a minivan the past decade with a good set of snow tires and have had no issues.The maintenance costs are fairly low and the gas mileage is between 18 to 22 mpg.
Searching through some of the forums here on this site can give one a good idea as to what specific issues keep popping up that need attention. That can help make the decision as to what vehicle might be a good choice to fit their needs.
Also searching through the online inventories of larger used car dealers in their area can give them a good idea of what is available and the current costs for these vehicles. you can shop in the leisure of your home and see which vehicles fit your need for hauling and some even have additional info such as mpg. Then you have a better idea of what to look for when you go out and visit the dealers themselves, or private sellers.
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Old 11-09-2009, 01:37 AM   #14
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Re: selecting the best used car for my needs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZTTn2gq67I

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yL8hX...eature=related

my favorite --> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fz9RJVXDHFY

For all our Germans -->http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydva0Ce3brk

FWD cars have much worse grip in the snow. you take a corner to fast and your goin head first into the ditch, take that same corner at the same speed in a RWD vehicle and your either fishtailing through or sliding off backwards. Or this, you stop at a stop light on an icy day in your FWD POS, light turns green. you push down on the gass and the weight shifts away from the drive wheels and suddenly all your wheels are doing is spinning, in RWD vehicle the weight of the car shifts to the drive wheels and gains more grip. In an AWD vehicle the weight shits to the drive wheels but there are also the front wheels to nearly double the amount of grip you have. Thus your not trapped at home all winter.


And to 97, He can get a Grand Cherokee for sheaper than your "sport" wagon and mini-van, get the same gas mileage, have AWD, and have similar if not cheaper repair costs.

In ice and snow AWD > RWD > FWD
for everyday driving without the possibility of harsh conditions ever, RWD > FWD > AWD
For idiots that can't drive, get a damn civic. that way you won't be able to get in anyones way if it snows.

for 90% of people in the world, RWD > AWD > FWD.

Give me one fact and support it with actual eidence. Cause you can't
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Old 11-09-2009, 11:32 AM   #15
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Re: selecting the best used car for my needs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shpuker View Post
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZTTn2gq67I

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yL8hX...eature=related

my favorite --> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fz9RJVXDHFY

For all our Germans -->http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydva0Ce3brk

FWD cars have much worse grip in the snow. you take a corner to fast and your goin head first into the ditch, take that same corner at the same speed in a RWD vehicle and your either fishtailing through or sliding off backwards. Or this, you stop at a stop light on an icy day in your FWD POS, light turns green. you push down on the gass and the weight shifts away from the drive wheels and suddenly all your wheels are doing is spinning, in RWD vehicle the weight of the car shifts to the drive wheels and gains more grip. In an AWD vehicle the weight shits to the drive wheels but there are also the front wheels to nearly double the amount of grip you have. Thus your not trapped at home all winter.


And to 97, He can get a Grand Cherokee for sheaper than your "sport" wagon and mini-van, get the same gas mileage, have AWD, and have similar if not cheaper repair costs.

In ice and snow AWD > RWD > FWD
for everyday driving without the possibility of harsh conditions ever, RWD > FWD > AWD
For idiots that can't drive, get a damn civic. that way you won't be able to get in anyones way if it snows.

for 90% of people in the world, RWD > AWD > FWD.

Give me one fact and support it with actual eidence. Cause you can't
Puker, what are you talking about? Honestly, when was the last time you drove a FWD car through snow, cause I'm guessing never. I have driven FWD my whole life through Canadian winters and have never experienced ANY of the problems you are talking about. Using YouTube as your encyclopedia is probably your first problem. 1) the engine is overtop of the drive wheels in a FWD car, and because weight distribution is typically biased towards the front, a FWD car is getting much more traction than a RWD car from a stop. You say the weight is shifted backwards, how fast are you accelerating on ice? You aren't, it's a moot point. 2) FWD is simpler and cheaper to maintain/fix, no differentials, driveshaft. 3) For the 99% of the time you don't need 4WD, it is causing rolling resistance/friction on your tires, needlessly eating gas. 4) For people that boast 4x4's are better in winter, I typically pass one every day on my way to work (in my FWD Mazda) that has been overconfident and gone in the ditch. A 4x4 doesn't stop any better in bad weather, and usually stops worse because they are heavy.

A few posts back a guy suggested cars like Vibe, Element, Mazda6, he knows what he is talking about. And some of those even come in AWD if you decide to go that route - just weigh your pros/cons. AWD is heavier, more expensive to maintain/fix and uses more gas, BUT it does enable you to accelerate better in snowy conditions, gives you a little security knowing it's more difficult to get stuck, and is more fun around corners.

If you want cheap, get a FWD with snow tires. Want proof they work, look around Ontario. Massive annual snowfall, 85% of cars are FWD. If you have the extra cash get a car with AWD, it will be beneficial, but keep the snow tires, it's the most important part. If you want to waste money in gas and repairs, get an SUV. Then watch the little FWD 'POS's' fill up at the gas station and leave with $30, while you're stuck putting in $75, thinking 'why did I buy this?'
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