Best Used Car – Never before have there been more reliable cars than in the last ten years. It’s one reason (aside from the recession) why Americans keep their cars longer. But that does not mean that every used car with 100,000 miles on the road is created equal. (Unfortunately, when the excitement increases, reliability often flares up.) You can not get a Ferrari as trouble-free as a Civic, excuse me, that’s life.)
To find the most reliable oldies, we interviewed our experts internally and heard a handful of mechanics, such as Derick Karabec, the Beek’s car in Gardiner, NY, to see what they would buy for themselves or their family members. Anyway, the buyer, here’s our list, complete with warnings about what your own mechanic needs to check before buying. (Any salesperson or reseller who refuses to let you have your own mechanic hid something.)
Note: What you should buy for your child, several mechanics agree: not. “Never buy a car for your child,” says Scott Wands, who owns Champagne Service in Seattle. “They want them to have some skin in the game” – that way they’ll better take care of what they drive. Karabec agrees. While it’s difficult to convince a child to drive cheap, reliable, sexless means of transport, it’s easier to lure them into such a ride if they are the ones who pay for maintenance.
A corolla will never be the car of dreams, unless they dream of a trouble-free ride. But there is a reason why these cars retain their value as they have for decades: Hardly anything breaks, and if something goes wrong, Toyota’s robust Econobox does not tend to break catastrophically. Models that are five years old and older had less than brilliant paint wear and some braking problems, but that’s about it.
Warnings: Make sure that the Check Engine light is working and that it is up to date during the inspection.
Brakes, color and a few squeaky trim bits – these are the torments you’ll often see. But otherwise, Civics, like Corollas, have a bonus, despite their age and mileage, because they’re reliable, period.
Warnings: A worn driver’s seat seems common. Suspension components, especially bushings, should be considered.
The (slightly) sporty “Tib” was discontinued in 2008, but for a car that looks cool, it remains relatively inexpensive to maintain. (Parts are less expensive than, say, a BMW 3 Series.) Is it world class? But no, but we’re balancing a balance here: a 2008 will cost you around $ 9,000, while a used 3-series of the same age / mileage costs twice as much.
Warnings: Beware of incomplete maintenance records. Be patient and look for a lower-mileage Tiburon as they do not fare as well as comparable Japanese sports coupes of similar age and mileage.
The CR-V-based element was not everyone’s driving pleasure, especially in the headwinds. Although his four-cylinder engine is not particularly muscular, this not exactly aerodynamic shape has lowered fuel consumption, which is why Honda let this box run out. But if you consider the item as a non-minivan van with plenty of room to carry you and your instruments from gig to gig (or from home to dorm), its practicality and reliability are hard to beat.
Warnings: Make a tight turn in a parking lot and pay attention to the chatter from the back end. Failure to service the rear viscous coupling fluid may result in damage or wear. Also note that older items (prior to 2007) were prone to poor side impact crash testing because the side airbags were not standard. If you’re shopping for the 2003-06 vintage, try finding one with the optional side curtains.
Older quests (before 2007) do not score reliably. But they are bigger than the element, and if you can find a reasonably clean with low miles, it could be a viable alternative.
Warnings: Have a compression test and a brake inspection performed. Pay attention to the catalyst and leaking oil.