Last used car I bought I started with a budget of $10k, and even at that price my choices were extremely limited. One of the problems is the "Cash for clunkers" program that the government had a few years back in an effort to remove older cars from the road. Many were traded in specifically to be destroyed, and that took the low end cars out of the market. What you find for under $5k now are either beat up pieces of junk or decent cars but really old and with a lot of miles already on them.
An auto auction might be good, assuming you're prepared to buy an unpopular car. Find a good car that no one else wants with no reserve price and you can get a great deal. But don't go to one with any specific car in mind, you'll only be able to choose from what they have, and if it's popular than other people will want it too.
The option that you don't like is to suck it up and make payments, which unfortunately is how almost everyone buys cars these days. However, you're going to have a lot of trouble finding a 2003 or newer anything in really good shape that isn't going to cost a lot more than the $3k you have.
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- Join Date
- Dec 2010
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Save up more money and becarefull on what dealer ship you go to.dont buy from a used ar lot
- Join Date
- Jan 2013
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One problem you're going to have is the Honda's have amazing resale value. My wife and I were searching for a used 2012 Honda Pilot last year and the used models, with about 20K miles, were only $3,000 cheaper. On a $40,000 car, it wasn't worth going used.
Just remember that you're buying a used car. If you try to go cheap on a newer car then there are likely other issues at play driving down the value -- high mileage, damage, poor performance are all factors that can greatly reduce the price of a used vehicle, but then you're taking a huge risk with your money. A car with a worn transmission might cost you a few grand in replacement parts and labor. This is why Honda's have great resale value -- they're solid machines. Quality of the manufacturer, condition of the vehicle and location help make the resale "market", which is ultimately set by a seller comping other sales to set a reasonable price.
My first two vehicles I purchased from Marines as they were getting stationed over seas, but they were both under $1000 in price, and appropriately priced for the age and condition of the vehicles. My third vehicle was a collaboration between my father and I; he bought me a 2000 Saturn SL1 for my senior year of high school, but under the condition that I paid for 2/3 of each payment. If I didn't pay, I didn't get to drive. Maybe you could work a similar agreement with someone in your family to help increase your price point?
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