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Buying A Beater


ArmyofOne
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I found a 1996 Chevy Cavalier. I actually detailed it some time ago, and the person is now offering it to me for $1,000. Its clean, needs paint, very minor rust (which in NY is no big deal on a winter beater) and passes NYS Emissions. It runs drives and looks pretty decent. It is black, with A/C, Auto trans, and thats about it. I know its a chevy and one of the worst cars interior wise, but i need a junker to putter around on post with. A few pix-

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When i detailed the car in may, I debaged it at the owners request. I talked with the owner some more today, and here is the plan. He is taking the car on one last trip to Virginia to see his wife and son. While home, he will be putting on 4 new tires, new brake pads on the front, window tint (DIY) and a fresh oil change (which wasnt originally part of the deal, bear in mind this was his idea.) When he returns from leave on September 14th, He wants me to pay him $500 and take posession. He then wants me to keep the other $500 in escrow for 30 days. If something major goes wrong with the car in 30 days, he will forfeit the $500 and i will fix with that money. If nothing goes wrong, then on November 14th, I will pay him the remaining $500. (Again, his idea). Even with the new tires and brakes, the price remains the same. $1000. I got the go ahead from the war dept (wife) today, so we are going ahead with the plan :). The car has no leaks, and needs no repair whatsoever. The only drawback is this...146,000 miles (will be ~148,000 by the time i take delivery). What do you guys think? I still have the 06 EX and will continue to maintain it with love. :laughing: My wife just needs a car to drive to work, and so do i. since she has to drive 50 miles round trip to work and i have to drive 5...she gets the reliable, comfortable, more fuel effecient

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I cant say much..bought my 17 yr. old daughter a 02 caviler with 125,000 miles on it. Granted it had stripes and sports package...never figured out exactlly what that included really, but the car now has almost 155,000 miles on it and other than tires brakes and oil change havent done anything. She loves it..which she is 18 now and its her first real car that is hers but, knock on wood no problems..and if you knew my daughter not much on any real mait. or upkeep.. the only time it gets any attention to its needs is if it doesnt interfere with anything she has planned .....which means it gets washed by rain and dried by wind...lol..but it still keeps her running (everywhere)..goodluck with yours...

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1000 bucks...can't buy much better with that...I don't see why not.

Agreed.....seems like a very decent deal to me Josh.....I say go for it! I love the 'war dept' comment too lmao! :lol: I just call my wife 'The Boss' ;)

I'm considering a beater for the winter too....an older AWD Subi if I can find one in good shape. Winters here in Southwestern Ontario can be a bugger.

:cheers:

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The one thing I would definitely check are the brake lines. If the car has seen a lot of winter salt then chances are that the lines are severely corroded and low end GM cars are notorious for this. Do a visual inspection of the whole system and even test the lines that they don't crimp easily. Better to find out in a garage than on the road

The idea of a winter beater is very attractive. The logic however, is one that escapes most drivers who go this route. The last thing you want to happen is for a breakdown to occur out on a desolate road with no traffic in the middle of winter in frigid temps. Sooooo.... it's even more important that your winter ride is up to snuff in every department.

:cheers:

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The one thing I would definitely check are the brake lines. If the car has seen a lot of winter salt then chances are that the lines are severely corroded and low end GM cars are notorious for this. Do a visual inspection of the whole system and even test the lines that they don't crimp easily. Better to find out in a garage than on the road

The idea of a winter beater is very attractive. The logic however, is one that escapes most drivers who go this route. The last thing you want to happen is for a breakdown to occur out on a desolate road with no traffic in the middle of winter in frigid temps. Sooooo.... it's even more important that your winter ride is up to snuff in every department.

:cheers:

its only seen salt one winter. actually about half of one, the rest of this cars life was spent in virginia beach.

im not buying it and parking the civic, i wish i could, but i cant. my wife has a full time job now, so i need 2 cars, and she has the 50 mile per day commute...so she gets the reliable, comfortable, kickass gas mileage havin' civic, and i get the not-as-good-on-gas, needs-a-little-work-but-is-relaible car for my 5 mile per day commute. everywhere i go throughout a days time im never more than a 2 mile walk from my home. so if my car breaks down, thats what the army gave me boots for. :D

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Josh, I'd defiantly go for it at that price. It should make a fine beater! Did I read right that you are coming to Louisiana sometime soon? Isn't Ft Polk near Alexandria? If so, that sucks! LOL That's not too far from me though! :D

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What tires are going on Josh?

Tires on the civic? Goodyear Assurance ComforTread in 205/55/16 89H...tires on the cavalier, i dont really care, they are factory 15 inch steelie wheels, so probably some $40 walmart special from douglas radial or something...who cares LOL.

Josh, I'd defiantly go for it at that price. It should make a fine beater! Did I read right that you are coming to Louisiana sometime soon? Isn't Ft Polk near Alexandria? If so, that sucks! LOL That's not too far from me though! :D

Yes, I will be training at the Joint Reserve Training Center at Fort Polk starting the first week of october for 15 days. How are you blake? you should call me man, you got the house #. if not PM me.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
Those are good solid cars. My dad still drives a 1997 Sunfire. Seen many salty winters and holding up nice. Repairs are dirt cheap. Makes you wonder why I bought a LExus!

Update:

Havent bought it yet, Had a family emergency and had to drain savings (well...all but...i never drain it completely) but the individual has agreed to hold the car until after our return from the Joint Readiness training center (JRTC) on 1 nov. its a deployment and we all are going so the car will sit again.

It got new brakes, and 2 new tires, an alignment, an oil change and a tranny fluid change on leave. the tires on the rear are still good. new ones on the front are goodyear viva or something...cheapos..LOL

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