As I have previously posted, we actually did sell our 2004 Lincoln Navigator for $17,000 and paid debt with that money. We held back $5000.00 for a new "beater" car. The only two requirements were that it had to fit all 5 of us and have 4wd because we live in the mountains and are blessed to get snow.
After a lot of looking...we settled on a 1999 Jeep Cherokee Sport
It's green..the color of money..and we paid $3,600 for it. That leaves us $1,400.00 for any little repairs, registration and (a priority to my wife) tint the windows. Look at us? How responsible are we? We not only paid cash..but we held money back just in case we needed it! WOO HOO!
I am not sure where "Murphy" (from Murphy's law fame) was hiding in that darn truck...but he was either under a seat, in the glove box, or somewhere.
1. We knew that there was a noise when it was driven and backed-up. We decided it was the transmission and hopefully minor. We took it to a horrible transmission shop were they held it hostage for 6 days doing their "diagnostic checks" and finally decided that the transmission had to be rebuilt at a cost of $3500.00. My Godly and intelligent wife called our mechanic who told her to get it out of that shop ASAP and take it to AAMCO (http://www.aamco.com/). It ended up being fluid change and adding Pozzi additive to the rear differential to the tune of $168.00. Dodged a bullet there!
2. We took it to our mechanic the next day for oil change, check the "washy feel" and because (low and behold) we were unable to put gas in the truck - it just sprayed back. Well, of course, give even a good mechanic the opportunity and they will "maximize" their profits. So, they fixed the fuel issue to the tune of $220.00 and checked the brakes for $19.99 and changed the oil for $40.00. So, we are $290.00 there.
3. The other recommendations from the mechanic were a tune up to the "tune" of $300.00 and replacing some front end parts (tie rods, bushings, etc) to the tune of $600.00. We are blessed to have wonderful friends who actually work on cars and he agreed to do it if we bought the parts...so $900.00 worth of repairs for $190.00. Woo hoo...cooking with steam..
4. Uh oh, there's Murphy. We were driving home from Church on Sunday and - oops! There goes the fuel pump! Back to the mechanic and $668.00.
5. DMV still wants their money. $147.00
So, how did we do?
Maint/Gas issue ..............$290.00
Front end/tune ................$190.00 We love Chris and Jen!!
Fuel Pump ........................$668.00
Not bad..and it is running great. OK, so when our friend changed the serpentine belt, the AC started to scream like a dying pig...but that's a little adjustment.....lol
Our advice: If you are going to buy a use car...know about cars, know someone who knows about cars...and check out http://www.edmonds.com/ for historical information about cars! We are still in the ball-park of our budget. And, hopefully, we have left Murphy on a curb somewhere for someone else to pick up :)