Best Used Car to Buy

That headline may be a bold statement, but I am going to give you, in my opinion, the best used car to buy. If you have followed this personal finance blog very long, you probably already know what I am going to say. But I assure you, this is real, I have actually owned one of these cars, and I believe in them above all others on the road, and I am going to explain why I feel that way. All I buy are used cars, so you are in the right company.

But before I tell you what car is best to buy used, I want to give you my criteria for selecting a used a car. So here it is, in descending order of importance:

  • Price
    The most important of all. I look for cars that are $3,000 or less in asking price, and I normally look to private owners, not used car dealers. Some used car dealers are legit (although many aren’t), but even if they are honest, they still have to make a profit, and you are going to pay a higher price than buying direct from someone through the pay, internet, etc.
  • Gas Mileage
    With gas expected to go to $4 per gallon, the gas mileage that a car can get is becoming a front and center issue. My current vehicle is an Acura Integra 1993 model, and I am disappointed, as it only gets about 26 miles per gallon, whereas my previous vehicle got 30+ miles per gallon. Think about a 13 mile trip one way to the store, bank, etc. If you have to pay $4 per gallon, then round trip you just used 1 gallon of gas, and paid $4, just to run a routine errand!! Trust me, gas mileage is going to become increasing important in the future.

  • Reliability
    With me and my wife sharing a single car, there isn’t much room for error. So I wanted to make sure that we have a car that is trustworthy, and doesn’t break down much.
  • Air Conditioning / Heater
    My previous vehicle’s air conditioning failed, and after two Texas summers, I just couldn’t stand it anymore. I had to buy something else.

Bearing these four most important points, I will now give you my choice. Getting an early to mid 90s model Honda Civic (preferably the two door hatchback, unless you have kids) is my top choice. Before getting the Acura Integra, I had a 1991 Honda Civic hatchback, and it was a great car. On a 12 gallon tank, sometimes I could go as far as 400+ miles. Obviously, this is well over the 30 miles per gallon mark. The car was old, and had some problems when I first bought it, but after the initial fixes, the car had very few problems. Mostly general maintenance, and I remember at one point having to replace the alternator. Not bad for a car that was 15 years old. As I said previously, I sold it because of the A/C not working, and another minor issue I had at the time. But I would buy another one of these cars in a heartbeat, and they get my solid recommendation!

Anybody want to offer their thoughts on the best used car to buy?

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