Dear DT: Beaterless In San Diego
Inspired by an article in The Verge, I decided to get a Carvana quote for my 2013 Fit (base model, auto, low miles, no accidents, some fading paint). The offer came back at $13.5k, not too far off from the $15k that the car cost when new. Although I don’t really want to get rid of the car (it is a perfectly functional, if dull, vehicle), maybe now is the time to act, given this outrageous evaluation.
If I were to sell it, though, I’d need something reasonable to replace it with. Our needs have changed a bit since we bought the Fit, but here are some potential requirements.
- I drive very little so fuel efficiency is really not a big deal
- Must have a backseat for hauling two kids, but it doesn’t have to be huge – no more car seats!
- AWD or 4WD would be awesome for the occasional trip to Big Bear
- Airbags and ABS would be nice
- No real preference on Manual vs Auto
- The plan would be to hold onto this for ~5 years and 30k miles
- It really can’t cost more than ~$8-9k – I’m not interested in this unless there is at least some financial windfall
- Must be somewhere in SoCal
Beaterless in San Diego
Dear Beaterless in San Diego;
First, I want to congratulate you in your decision to jettison the prosaic mobile that has shackled you into the pallid life of arriving at your destination at time. And I say this next thing with zero pith or sarcasm or mirth– you never REALLY need to be anywhere at a given time. NEVER. You can be where you were before. It isn’t a big deal. Well..maybe if you are a fireman, you should be able to get to fires to extinguish them, but if you are a regular guy/gal that ISN’T in a life/death job, there is nothing that is so critical that you can’t skip it every once in a while. Work — easily once a month you can call in with car trouble. Kid’s activities — your kid didn’t want to go to ballet practice any more than you wanted to burn the 45 minutes between drop off and pickup by playing Angry Birds in your car. Church/Temple/Mosque/Buca-di-Beppo– God won’t curse you if you miss every once in a while, especially if you drive a classic Saab. Every-other-destination — Disneyland will still be there tomorrow. Okay, with that out of the way, this opens the door to any number of awesome automobiles that you could drive for less than $9k.
2012 Ford Flex? Yup, I dig chicks and dudes with basic tattoos and flat brim hats.
1961 VW Meyers Manx. Yes, my kids don’t mind wearing goggles on the way to school.
2014 Mini Cooper Clubman. Yes, I prefer handling to straight line speed.
2008 Jaguar XJ Vanden Plas. Yup, I’m a man and I’m not afraid of my mechanic.
2004 Toyota 4Runner V8: Yes, I like burning gasoline but I want reliability.
1990 Jeep Wrangler Chevy V8 Swap; I want a Jeep, but I want mohr power.
2007 Audi Q7; I’m not afraid of multi-thousand dollar Audi repair bills.
2005 Nissan Xterra 4WD: I love plastic bumpers.
2001 Ford F150 4X4 Supercrew: I might start a lawn care business if my boss keeps yelling.
1998 Jeep Cherokee: I know what a slip yolk eliminator is.
2004 Volvo V70R: How much can maintenance really cost on a 224k mile performance Volvo?
1991 Jeep Wrangler YJ: Herculiner is better than carpet.
Those are just a few suggestions, but I’m sure the DT commenters will be able to help more in the comments.
Yes. More cylinders = more reliability? Right?
My friend bought it yesterday, thanks for the tip!
2005 Honda Element: my kids play Minecraft.
I’d hold out for a manual supercharged Elephant, but I like they way these look like nothing else on the road.
1993 BMW 525i: I like manual E34s but am no longer dumb enough to spend $25 – $30k on an M5, and am smart enough to know the M wheels fit the non-M cars.
1970 Lincoln Mark III: “we can offer you… protection.”
This looks good at half the price
2000 Volvo V70R AWD – $3,500
cylinders: 5 cylinders
title status: clean
Beautiful station wagon for sale
Runs strong with 282k miles
No check engine light
Head gasket has been recently repaired
Transmission was rebuilt last year at AAMCO
Front Axle, Front Shocks and Struts and front Tie Rods all replaced last year
New Cooper all season rating AA tires
Heater and AC work
Paperwork for servicing is available
Seeing that fuel efficiency isn’t a big concern.
Love these old beasts. Supposed to be a very reliable platform if you can live with the cheap plastic interior.
Nice! Serious Craigslist power move with this post.
I too read that verge article and promptly put my car into the Carvana estimate thing-a-ma-jiggy. $400. I guess a 290,000 mile 19 year old Jetta wagon TDI isn’t their thing. It’s ok though, this car is a keeper. 48mpg and a complete hoot to drive. And $400 doesn’t even cover the stage 3 tune… But seriously, I am counting on it lasting until at least these used car prices come down a bit. 18 months after buying our other car, a new VW Alltrack, the thing is now worth about $5,000 more than we paid for it. What a weird world we live in.
Out of curiosity I put my 08 JKU in there and they said I had to call for an estimate. They’d have to pay quite a bit for me to want part with it after the new tires, bumper/tire carrier.
These are very satisfying and fast drivers that will only ask for gas, oil/filter changes, brake pads, and occasionally, easy-to-DIY wheel bearings–and no timing belt. Auto trans with manual slam-shifting option and defeatable skid-controlled AWD:
As an owner of a 2013 Honda Fit Sport (and 175 prior cars…) I can confidently suggest what you should consider is a 2006 – 2010 Honda Ridgeline. Not only are they unbelievable durable, reliable and over engineered but they are the swiss army knife of vehicles. They do more for less then anything else out there. The one downfall in the 14 – 17 mpg but if you don’t drive a ton it’s a non factor. Just bought one with 120k miles for $9k. It is the second Ridgeline we have owned after a brief 5 year experiment and with a horrid Tesla Model X.
At $2500, this Geo Tracker says “I maximized my cash out and can drive this to Big Bear or freaking Moab if I want.” https://sandiego.craigslist.org/csd/cto/d/san-diego-1994-geo-chevy-tracker-mini/7445927174.html
Or if you prefer German luxury and don’t care how long people on the onramp have to wait behind you in a cloud of blue smoke, there’s this $7900 Benz: https://sandiego.craigslist.org/csd/cto/d/san-diego-mercedes-benz-300td/7445776194.html
And if you want to say “I’m not scared to change head gaskets”, there’s this Subaru, which may be the most practical on my list for what you want: https://sandiego.craigslist.org/nsd/cto/d/la-jolla-2000-subaru-outback-limited/7445360542.html
The Tracker’s “ Exterior is sun faded and pre-dented for your convenience on drivers front fender”
That’s mighty convenient alright!