used car, great gas mileage, suggestions?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by leigha, Mar 11, 2005.

  1. leigha

    leigha Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    48
    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
    We need a used car or truck that gets great gas mileage for under $4000. I figured you guys knew better than anybody. Any suggestions?
     
  2. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,687
    Joined:
    May 13, 2002
    Location:
    SC and soon to be NC
    Toyotas....while it is an incredibly boring vehicle our Tacoma is the best vehicle we have ever had.

    It is a 1998 extened cab and gets great gas mileage and is okay for VERY light duty work.

    Ours is beat up a little(dents and the like) and I couldn't honestly imagine it being worth more than $4000.
     

  3. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

    Messages:
    8,280
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    Location:
    Now in Virginia
    2000 Toyota Echo... great all around little car.
     
  4. cfabe

    cfabe Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,526
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan
    Diesel Volkswagen Jetta, high 40s-low 50s.
     
  5. jlxian

    jlxian Also known as Jean Supporter

    Messages:
    1,509
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2005
    Location:
    MISSOURI
    I'm driving a 1991 Toyota Camry -- the very best car I've ever had. I've put 135,000 miles on it and it is still going strong. If it was tuned up it would get better gas mileage, right now I get about 25 mpg.
     
  6. Hermit

    Hermit Active Member

    Messages:
    44
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2004
    Location:
    Eastern United States
    Check out http://www.cars.com to search for used cars listed by both dealerships and private individuals. You can search by distance from your zip code.

    I drive a 1992 Toyota Corolla. I bought it with 49,000 miles on it in 1998 for $4,900 cash from a private seller. It now has 135,000 miles on it and is running fine. Over the years it has needed only minor maintenance and repairs - new tires, oil changes every 3,000 miles, a new starter, etc. I get 40mpg plus on the highway, and between 30 and 35mpg in the city.

    You'll have to price these yourself on-line, but where I am I could buy a 1994 Toyota Corolla with 65,000 miles on it for $3,995 or a 1991 Toyota Corolla with 102,000 miles on it for $2,195 - to give you an idea. Both of those cars should have many more years on them if they were cared for responsibly.

    I'm a fan of Toyotas because they last and seem reasonably priced to buy and repair. Hope this helps.
     
  7. Hoop

    Hoop Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    799
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Wisconsin
    I too am of the believe that Toyota produces a high quality vehicle. I had my Tundra pickup in to the shop today for routine maintenance (new brake pads, cooling system flush, automatic transmission flush, plugs, air filter, fuel filter, etc).
    While I happen to think Toyotas give you the most "bang for the buck", my mechanic told me that some shortcomings on Toyotas do occur. The previous person in the shop had a RAV4 Toyota in which the cat converter & exhaust system needed to be replaced. Cost $1100.

    Stick with a popular model. Popular models generally have some aftermarket parts produced which keeps the OEM manufacturer from charging astronomical prices.

    Corolla's are a great choice.
     
  8. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,860
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    4 cyclinder made someplace besides the US.
     
  9. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,808
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2003
    Location:
    Dysfunction Junction, SW PA
    I'm lookin too...

    ford festiva/aspire, they get 42/45 mpg.
    ford escort, 37/42 mpg
    if you will settle for 25/35, there is a ton of those.

    diesel now is more expensive than gasoline here so the trade off isnt worth the bother.

    a good old VW beetle will get you a consistant 30/38 mpg with little upkeep expense and low repair costs.
    little festivas/aspires have mazda B series engines in them, the are good solid runners.

    when you find a car you like, go look for a FORUM online of other users..... you get all the pros and cons in their tech forum discussions.

    the ford contour is nice my siste has one, she gets 27/35 mpg.
    the newer it is, the more maintenance headache it is... so if you can find a mint condition aspire for example with low miles, your ahead of the game.... a brand new ford of anykind will drive you mad with technical issues.

    on that note, check who manufactures the engines, the brand car doesnt always have the brands engine.

    the forum trick is the best way ive found to dig up the cars pros and cons.... most cars have some fan forum online.
     
  10. Janon

    Janon 993cc Geo Metro

    Messages:
    665
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2002
    Location:
    Southern Ontario CANADA
    Diesel engines typically last far longer than a gasoline powered engine as well as getting more miles per gallon. The cost of the fuel is only one factor when considering gasoline vs. diesel.

    cheers,
     
  11. 2horses

    2horses I'm a silly filly!! Supporter

    Messages:
    2,005
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    Location:
    In the beautiful Hill Country of Texas!
    The noise is the other! :haha:

    Pam :cool: <------ would have to wear earplugs if she owned a diesel...
     
  12. ibcnya

    ibcnya Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    437
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
    Location:
    South East Iowa
    Older Toyotas, Nissans, Hondas run like sewing machines. Maybe new ones do too but they're new so they are suppose to. Spent 10 years in Japan and drove old motorized tincans the whole time. Most reliable rides ever invented. Had an old Ace van once that I bought from a guy said had a bad radiator and was going to cost too much to fix. Gave a hundred for it and drained the radiator and put 3 tubes of good government silicone hand mashed between the fins of the radiator and let set for a day. Filled'er back up and away I went and she never leaked again. I use to try to blow it up by keeping it in low gear down steep hills. Never did succeed in my mission. Sold it to the junk yard for 35 bucks still running after a year of driving and rotated back to the states. Had a 83 Honda Accord out in Ca. that I bought from a retired Marine who had a business of shipping junk yard motors from Japan back to the states (Japan has very strange insurance ways)and putting them in same models with wore out motors. Paid 600 bucks for it with a Jap junkyard motor and drove it for 3 years and sold it for 500 bucks to a friend coz I was going back to Japan. Have lots more stories but i'm done talking for today.
     
  13. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,808
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2003
    Location:
    Dysfunction Junction, SW PA
    i found another to study... a geo metro...

    if you can handle the throbbing power of 3 cylinders and a top speed of 90 nerve burning MPH... and apperently an engine that keeps on going if you care for it and gives you 45/50 mpgs (I wanna see that to belive it but it is just a tin can with a motorcycle engine) it might be what you need!
    if I can find one as cheap and the blue book tags them, i will take a chance on it for he 45 mpgs.

    like anything, if you take care of it and dont beat it, any car should last. People dont take care of them, the smaller they are the more you have to flush the oils and coolants and keep them in tune.

    I look at some used cars and I cant imagne how they manage to rip them up sobad...
    where, on gods green earth does all the black goo come from all over these engines?
    Am i the only one who has my engines steam cleaned off every few yrs?
    if you dont how can you tell if you have poped a leak?? thru all that grime?

    the first thing I do is lift the hood and if its covered in a thick coating of black crud.... I walk away. if it leaked that long that bad, there is something waiting to go boom in 2 weeks.
     
  14. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,808
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2003
    Location:
    Dysfunction Junction, SW PA
    http://www.teamswift.net/index.php

    everything you even need to kow about the "metro" made by suzuki for .....
    100 different sellers under 100 different names.

    looks like a nifty lil car!
     
  15. Kellkell

    Kellkell Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    475
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2004
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Geo Metro is nice. My mom has one with more than 120,000 miles on it and runs great. Cheap on gas. And get a great workout with no power stearing.
    I have a '96 Toyota Camry wagon with 240,000 miles on it. It's in the driveway because I have to get it legal. Sat for like two years, put a new battery in and it started right up. Just needs new tires, and some exhaust work. The worst is that it has some rust I have to cover over so it'll pass inspection. The body rusts off before the care dies.
     
  16. Ozarks_1

    Ozarks_1 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    250
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2003
    Location:
    Ark. Ozark Mtns. (Marion County)
    (Retired mechanic/salvage yard manager advises:)

    Stick with Nissan, Honda, or Toyota.

    Forget the Geo Metro clones unless you know the car and owner personally. Most folks try to drive them way too hard - and the engines don't hold up as a result.

    Forget anything made by Isuzu - they're a rapidly failing company. Even simple parts for the older ones are darn near impossible to find.

    I agree with the "avoid Fords" due to technical/quality issues.

    Keep in mind that a lightweight vehicle is going to get pushed around by the wind somewhat ... whether from Mother Nature or semis on the highway!

    ________________

    Remember, though, gas mileage ISN'T everything.
    I'm looking to replace our '91 Isuzu pickup with an older full-sized pickup. The Isuzu has no power steering - my aunt drives it all the time and she finds it hard to steer. The thing rides rough and there's zero cab room if you're over 5'6" tall. (My buddy's '86 Dodge 1-ton dually rides and drives better!)
    The full-sized pickup might not get as good gas mileage, but the last time we took the Isuzu on a trip (6 hours round trip), the ride and lack of room had me hurting severely. It was 2 hours (and a handful of pain killers) before I could walk halfway normally again!
     
  17. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,382
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Festiva/Aspire (made by Kia, sold by Ford). That Mazda engine is quality engine (also used in other cars so good used one not rare at junk yard where a GEO Metro engine is unique (made by Suzuki I think) and used one harder to find). Do the maintenence regularly and these will go heck of lot of miles. Get the 5 spd if possible assuming you are taking this out on hiway with high speeds. Forget the automatic. Its ok, but not enough power for it to function well.

    Subaru Justy There are apparently more than one flavor of these. One good, one not so good. DO NOT GET THE AUTOMATIC TRANNY. This is oddball automatic and pricey beyond belief.

    As others said, many of these mini cars die early because of abuse or neglect. People see them as cheap and temporary and dont do maintenence. However you might get lucky. Successor to Festiva/Aspire is Kia Rio. Based on Aspire, but bigger engine. Wont get the super high mileage because of this, but should be ok. It was last of KIA designed cars. KIA now is a subsidiary of Hyundai and Kias now are just relabelled Hyundais.

    As to diesels, small car diesels dont have great longevity advantage as most people dont do proper and regular maintenence. Diesels need frequent oil changes no matter what owners manual says, notice disclaimer about severe usage, well its all severe useage. And most to be drivable need turbo or super charger which is another pricey piece of equipment should it need work. And just how long do you think these little tin unitized car bodies last? Most are pretty rough at 200k miles and a good gas engine with maintenence will go that now days, maybe more.
     
  18. angus_guy

    angus_guy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    92
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    I just retired a 1990 Volvo 240 (did not have AC) put 50000 currently has 190000 I gave under $1000 and it needed a set of tires got 25 MPG and solid as a rock but not a looker

    I replaced with 1994 Nissan Sentra great little car with 90000 38 mpg and AC for 2800
     
  19. george darby

    george darby Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    236
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    metro /geo is a great car not designed for much of a load 600lb if i remember thats a fat couple one kid and a picknick basket....lol i haled a lot more had the pasenger seat pulled out for a while to haul more construction equipment..... its great on snow and ice had front wheel drive and too short a wheel base to fish tail like the vans do...... and if it ever got stuck it was light enough to push out.....and the big pluss if you were in town it was small enough to park any where......
     
  20. Oilpatch197

    Oilpatch197 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    700
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    Location:
    SouthEastern Illinois
    and I guy at work has one, he drives 45 miles back and forth from work everyday, he even says when semi's go by it does not bother the car hardly at all(unlike a pickup truck)


    If it was me, I could not do without a truck, I would find a Mini pickup like a Toyota or if you wan't a older truck a few Ford Rangers in the early 80's had Diesels....my uncle has this truck, it is way cool.