Cars - It is the Season to Save Money
Summer is the season when many people purchase
transportation. The weather is warm and there is plenty
The cost of new transportation is expensive. However,
there are several used vehicles that you might want to
consider. The following vehicles all have good ratings
and current market forces have made them available at
very reasonable prices.
Four vehicles worth your consideration:
1. The Toyota Camry has been one of the best vehicles
in America for years. New Camry LEs cost $18,500-$25,000.
Now that the redesigned 2002 Camry is circulating in
the market, you can buy (if you shop carefully) a used
2000 Toyota Camry LE with 25,000-30,000 miles for about
$10,500-$11,500. I consider this car to be an excellent value
for this price. The vehicle should still have at least 6 months
remaining on the manufacturer's bumper-to-bumper warranty
and 2.5 years remaining on the power train (engine and
transmission) warranty. This vehicle can be driven for
hundreds of thousands of miles.
2. The Honda Accord has also been one of America's best
selling automobiles. New Accord LXs cost $18,500-$26,000.
The Accord will be redesigned for 2003 (due out in about
You can buy (if you shop carefully) a 2000 Accord LX with
25,000-30,000 miles for about $11,500-$12,500. This vehicle
should also have at least 6 months remaining on the
manufacturer's bumper-to-bumper warranty and 2.5 years on
the power train. This vehicle can also be driven for hundreds
of thousands of miles.
3. The Mazda 626 has also been a reliable vehicle. New 626 LXs
cost $17,500-$24,000. The 626 will be redesigned for 2003
(renamed the "6").
Mazda does not quite have the name of the Toyota or the
Honda.You can buy (if you shop carefully) a 2000 Mazda 626 LX
with 25,000-30,000 miles for about $9,000-$10,000. This vehicle
should also have at least 6 months remaining on the manufacturer's
bumper-to-bumper warranty and 2.5 years on the power train. This
vehicle can provide many years of dependable transportation.
4. The Nissan Altima is also a pretty good value. New Altima 2.5s
cost $17,000-23,000. The 2002 Altima was redesigned to be a
much larger car than the previous model.
If you are on a transportation budget, you can buy (if you shop
carefully) a 1995 Altima GXE with 60,000-75,000 miles for about
$3,500-$4,500. At this age and mileage, the vehicle will likely not
include any remaining manufacturer's warranty, however, the Altima
is quite reliable and economical to drive. This car can provide a
number of years of good transportation service.
If you are in the market for a vehicle, do your homework. Consult
Consumer Report's automotive issue (April). Also, be sure to read
a couple of archived new vehicle road tests (review road tests that
were conducted at the time the vehicle was new) on the used vehicle
of interest in auto magazines (many are archived at your local library)
or Internet sources such as Car and Driver, Motor Trend, Road & Track,
or MotorWeek. Information from the road tests will allow you to zero in
on which of the vehicles discussed above will be the best for you.
For example, if you prefer a softer ride consider the Camry; if you
prefer a stiffer more European ride, consider the Accord; and if price
is the major consideration, consider the Mazda or the Altima. Last,
but not least, if you are going to buy a 2 to 3 year-old vehicle, try to
get the 2000 model rather than the 199... model. Years down the road
when you sell the vehicle, the 2000 model will be worth more than the
"past century" vehicle.
How to Evaluate a Used Vehicle:
Kyle Busch has over 300,000 miles on his 1986 Volkswagen
Jetta - a used vehicle that he bought in 1991 for $2,600. Busch is the
author of Drive the Best for the Price: How to Buy a Used Automobile,
Sport-Utility Vehicle, or Minivan and Save Money. 1 800 839-8640 or
www.drivethebestbook.com. The web site accepts all transportation
Questions and Answers for
Saving Money on Transportation
© 2002 by Kyle Busch,
Adapted from "Drive the Best ..."
With a soft economy and an uncertain stock market, more and
more people are keeping an eye on spending and they are interested
in getting more for their money. Kyle Busch has over a quarter-century
of experience saving money on transportation. He answers ten commonly
asked questions about purchasing vehicles and saving money.
(Q) Why does it make sense to consider buying used vehicles?
(A) Transportation is a depreciating asset that loses value, especially
during the first three years of ownership. Buying a 2- to 3-
year-old used vehicle will provide about a one-third reduction in
the cost. Additionally, the initial owner will have "test driven" the
vehicle for the second owner.
(Q) What is a common error than many people make when buying
(A) A common error when buying transportation involves buyers not
thoroughly identifying their transportation needs and then purchasing
a vehicle that does not entirely meet those needs. For example,
a buyer might choose a mid-size family sedan that satisfies many
of his or her needs. However, six months after the purchase, the
buyer realizes that another vehicle in the same category provides
a softer ride, better fuel economy, etc. and would have better
satisfied his or her driving needs.
(Q) After identifying transportation needs, what should buyers do next?
(A) It is worthwhile to visit a local public library to research which
vehicle(s) will indeed satisfy specific transportation needs and then
identify those that have good reliability ratings.
(Q) Is it best to buy a vehicle from a specific source?
(A) Each transportation source has certain advantages and disadvantages.
However, the important thing to keep in mind is that a number of vehicle
sources should be considered (i.e., private owners, rental car
companies, company vehicles, off lease vehicles, new car dealerships,
bank repossessions, the Internet). When buyers inform a vehicle
source that they are also considering the other sources, better
deals are usually obtained.
(Q) What questions should buyers ask by telephone to better determine
if a vehicle is worth their time to investigate?
(A) - How many miles has the vehicle been driven
(the average is about 11,000 to 12,000 miles
- Is the transmission an automatic, a semi-automatic,
or a manual? If the transmission is not what the buyer
wants, there is no need to ask further questions.
- Has the vehicle been repainted and if so, why?
It is best to avoid repainted vehicles.
- When are the next state inspection and emissions
standard test due? The vehicle should have a
minimum of at least eight months remaining until
the next required state inspection and
- How often were the engine oil and the oil filter
changed, and who performed the service?
An acceptable answer would be every
3,000 to 3,500 miles or about every
three to four months.
- Are you the original owner of the vehicle?
Original owners tend to take better care of
- What is the reason that the vehicle is being
sold? It is encouraging if the individual is
the original owner and if he or she is
planning to again buy the same make of
(Q) What if the owner is lying when answering questions
about a vehicle?
(A) It is worthwhile to obtain as much information about a
vehicle as possible, therefore, buyers should ask questions.
The interior and exterior inspections, and vehicle test-drive
help to verify the information provided by the owner.
(Q) How long should the vehicle test-drive take?
(A) It is worthwhile to test-drive a vehicle for a minimum of 20 minutes
on two separate occasions. The test-drive should include a variety
of roads that buyers will drive day-in and day-out.
(Q) Should buyers take a vehicle to a mechanic before making a
(A) A mechanic should confirm what buyers have concluded after
they have inspected and test-driven a vehicle. Buyers should
request that the vehicle be raised on a lift for the mechanic's
inspection and that the mechanic test-drives the vehicle.
(Q) Of course buyers what to save money, but what protection
do they have when purchasing a 2- to 3- year-old vehicle?
(A) Most vehicles have manufacturers' bumper-to-bumper warranties
of three years-36,000 miles or four years-50,000 miles in addition
to five years-60,000 miles on the drive train (i.e., engine and
transmission). The warranties are transferable to buyers who
purchase the vehicles used. The warranties begin on the date
that vehicles are first purchased from new car dealers. Thus,
it is important to determine the date when a vehicle was
Buyers best interests are also served when they have performed
research to identify vehicles that have favorable reliability ratings.
(Q) What is a long term benefit of saving one-third when buying vehicles?
(A) The average new vehicle costs about $15,000 to $18,000. Most
2- to 3- year-old vehicles will easily provide five or more years
of trouble free driving. If buyers invest the savings (i.e., $5,000 to
$6,000) and they are able to add $800 per year toward transportation,
after a five-year period, they will have the money needed to purchase
another 2- to 3- year-old vehicle without straining their budget.
For Additional Information:
Kyle Busch is the author of "Drive the Best for the Price: How to Buy
a Used Automobile, Sport-Utility Vehicle, or Minivan and Save Money."
1 800 839-8640 or www.drivethebestbook.com. The web site accepts
all transportation questions.