Originally Posted by Lucky Here's
a 1993 Camry for sale in Long Island for $1900. The ad says it's in good shape. Just trying to help.
I'm sure its in good shape for a 1993, maybe. People selling used cars are not exactly always scrupulously honest about the condition of the car. It is normal for the best cared for cars, that are this old, to need all kinds of work. Further, on Long Island, in addition to snow and slush in the winter, we have huge amounts of salt depostited on the highways, to make them safer. Cars here often rust out, to the point of water coming in when you drive over a puddle, in a matter of 8 to 10 years. They routinely
rust out, so as to have too much chassis and suspension rust, to pass inspection, in a matter of 12 to 14 years. This is assuming they are high quality cars, have no damage underneath from improper lift placement or jack placement, and are hosed down with fresh water, underneath, at the end of every winter. If not, they rust out sooner. If they are never driven in the winter, they will still rust out, due to our salt-water air. They will rust out much faster than a car in, say, arizona, will - where they take maybe 30 - 35 years to rust out. Tho I'm not sure how long it takes here, if the car isn't driven in the winter. And this kind of rust is spread out all over, rather than mostly confined to the underneath parts. But cars that have never been driven in the winter are rare.
A 1993 car with typical mileage, that has been well maintained (and you can never tell), will easily still need 1000's of dollars worth of maintence, compared to a new car which needs only oil changes, tire rotations, occasional wheel alignments (unless you can entirely avoid potholes), wiper blades, and an occasional light bulb. If it somehow manages to pass inspection now, it is not likely to last another year, before being too rusted out to pass inspection. Sometimes people do patch-work sheet metal repairs, to repair the holes that cause water ingress, but this doesn't address suspension rust.
The best deals are cars that are 1 to 5 years old. These can end up costing you less than a new car, per year. You must have it checked out by a mechanic (or yourself if you know how and have to tools) to rule out poorly repaired collision damage, and things like valve burning or ring wear, due to inadequate oil, and transmission problems. They are also great to have, if you have the knowhow, the space, and the tools, to do your own maintenance and repairs (I no longer have the space, or the tools). But a car that is more than 7 or 8 years old is just about guaranteed to cost more than a new car, per year, to keep running for the 5 to 7 more years you can get out of it. A 1993 car - you are lucky if it will last a year, and not end up costing you twice as much per year, as a new car.
Also, since I am already obligated to make monthly payments to the finance company, for my car (at zero percent interest), and since I can't sell it for the amount I owe, selling it now would be costly. It would be best to keep it for at least the number of years it takes for the amount I owe the finance company, to be about equal to or less than the amount I can sell it for. I estimate that would be about 3 years.
There is a reason the rich tend to buy new cars, and the poor tend to buy very old cars. It isn't just because the rich can afford new cars and the poor can't. It is because new cars make the rich richer. Old cars make the poor poorer. New cars are part of how
the rich stay rich. Old cars are part of why
the poor stay poor. Yes, it is sad that economics work this way, work againt re-using and recycling, and work against keeping things for a long time and not throwing things out early. But that's how they work.
Frankly, I'd love to buy a fixer-upper, and fix it up. I love doing this kind of work. But I just don't have any place I can do it. However if someone who lives me has a garage that I can work in, and wants to let me use the space, and would allow me to keep a rolling jack and tool cabinet there, that would be wonderful.
By the way, on that camry, replacing that door handle (I assume he means the handle is broken, and not the door, even tho he said the door is broken) is going to be about $150 in labor plus the cost of the handle (maybe $40). If you have the time, and the special tools (they aren't expensive), this is an easy repair to do yourself. However you'd better know that for a car with airbags, you may not be able to take apart a door without setting off the airbag, unless you know how to disarm it. Yes, it isn't hard to disarm it, but if you don't realize that it has to be done, you will end up with the cost of having to replace the airbag. You might even injure yourself when it goes off in your face.