Question from a friend of mine: Melissa’s car is dying. Those b@stards want a ton of money to revive it (one more time). I need to buy her a reliable car for under $5000. Any advice on how I would go about finding a good deal? I looked at Craig’s list for cars sold by owners and although the prices were better than offered by the dealers, they were still a bit high I think.
AutoTrader.com came up with 2326 used listings within 50 miles of our zip for cars under $5000.
I’m sure you know this but once you find a car check:
1. Does the owner have maintenance record? If not, could be trouble.
2. Will the owner allow you to take to your mech (only give mech up to 2 hours). If no, walk.
3. Buy the April ’09 Consumer Reports auto issue on stands now and look at their best recommendations for cars under $5000. (This is something Andy taught me years ago.)
4. Check for lemon status based on the VIN in #3