Buying My Next Car

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So my last car was recently totaled, and now I am in the market for a used car, that doesn't cost me to much money. I am looking for a fairly fuel efficient, reliable car, and have a budget of about $4000 (at the most). I thought I would get your advice about a few of the options I am looking at. I may add more later. Anyways, what I have found for now are:

1997 Eclipse RS, 97K for $3800
I test drove this car today, doesn't look like its been real well cared for and the engine made a rattling noise when the car was idling.

1996 Nissan 200SX SE, 89K for $3000
Seems like a pretty clean car (have a test drive scheduled for monday) Check engine light is on, supposedly from leaky exhaust (from the description it sounds like it may be around the catalytic converter, I don't have to worry about emissions around here, so would this cause an real problems?)

1994 Honda Civic Sedan, 124K for $2600
A bit of rust in the usual areas for Hondas. Also the radiator and muffler have recently been replaced.

1998 Cavalier Coupe, 114K for $2000
Don't have alot of info on this car yet.

1999 Olds Alero GL Coupe, 106K for $4000
One owner car, who always had consistent service from a local dealership. The car overall looks quite nice.

Anyways, I was wondering which of these cars in your opinion, A) Will be the most reliable, B) Is the best value.

posted by  thejonathan22

civic for me
great on gas and reliable

BTW an exhaust leak will cause you to burn more gas and lose power

posted by  newyorker

1999 Olds Alero GL Coupe, 106K for $4000
One owner car, who always had consistent service from a local dealership. The car overall looks quite nice.

If it's the V6 model, than buy this one. I had a 99 Alero, and it lasted till 210,000 mile sand if I could have opened the hood it would have kept going for another 40k. Seriously.

posted by  3xBeam

I dont know what makes you so sure of this. I know Olds went out of business a few years ago, not sure why (lack of buyers, quality issues, etc.) but I wouldnt buy their cars, even if they appealed to me on any level.

Buyer, check out they have owner reviews and such, if you read through, you may notice certain problems with certain cars (or lack thereof), it has helped me and everyone I know when it came to making a decision about buying a car. GL

posted by  newyorker

I also have a 99 Alero witht the V6. I have a bad head gasket...a costly repair. After talking to the Olds dealership workers I found out that the head and intake gaskets are quite a problem area in these engines. Also, the passlock security system malfunctions a lot, there's even a thread on here about it. 3Xbeam, you got lucky.

I highly suggest that you do not buy a newer Alero, or any GM with that particular engine (I believe it is a 3400 or something).

posted by  giant016

Thanks for the suggestion on Car I was looking around on there, and on Edmunds, and on KBB reviews, and from what I hear, the Nissan is supposed to be at least as reliable as the Honda Civic, and according to some sites it is actually more reliable (KBB review in particular, but doesn't beat the Honda by much). So besides the exhaust problem I'm leaning towards the Nissan. (From my research online, the check engine light appears to be coming on because the rear O2 sensor has failed, this is supposedly not a major issue. I'll have to dig into this and check it out, if anyone knows anything about this, I'd appreciate comments.),

posted by  thejonathan22

Id still go with the Civic. A buddy of mine has one its a 95ex, drove the crap out of it, just had somethin go wrong now at ~170k miles. I have never been too big a fan of nissan, I looked at an older SE-R before my civic (the 200sx) and while the performance was there, there wasnt enough to really shock me. Then again my civic is an 01, a bit roomier ad more refined, but I would still take the Honda

posted by  newyorker

The thing was cared for every month btw. My mother sold it to me after having it as a company car. I cared for the engine every time it needed anything. Maybe that's why.

And Giant, you could be right maybe just luck. But I was going to say the 3400 was awesome! lol....

Oh and the head gasket was "going" on my car but it was still strong. The car over heated but I just left the blowers on.

posted by  3xBeam

Well, I just thought I would post and say I ended up buying the Nissan. Turns out there was a bit of miscommunication over the phone (the person selling had an accent) and the problem with the check engine light had already been fixed. The car seemed quite clean on both the inside and out, and everything seemed in good working order.

posted by  thejonathan22

good luck with it..... may she bring you many miles of joy .... or just get you wherever the hell you're going :mrgreen:

posted by  windsonian

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