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What is the cheapest make or model (of used car) to repair?

My friend needs a stopgap for a year or so to wait for her credit to get better to purchase a new car. Her old car is breaking down more often, she wants to buy a used car, doesn’t want to lease. Wants to spend less than 5k. As far as possible repair costs are concerned, what is the cheapest, safest make/model to look for?

She needs enough room in the trunk to fit a wheelchair to transport her grandma, etc. She wants good gas mileage (30+). What is a reliable used car to buy that will work as well on it’s 100k’s as it did in it’s 10k’s?

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4 Responses to “What is the cheapest make or model (of used car) to repair?”

  1. Spee said:

    Mitsubishi Galant 4-cyl from 2000-2001. They are reliable and depreciate quickly. Gas mileage is not that great. How the heck are you going to find an old car that fits a wheelchair and gets over 30 mpg? Be realistic.

    Since your friend needs a car that can fit a wheelchair, she can look at the older Mitsubishi SUVs, like a Montero Sport. But you are not going to find a car that gets 30 mpg unless you get a Civic, Corolla, or Prizm. Those cars hold their value much better, and thus might seem expensive.

    Do you mean 30 mpg stated value or 30 mpg actual value with real world driving conditions? They are very different. You’d have to drive 55 mph on the highway, coast a lot, and minimize acceleration to get the best mileage, which will probably still be less than the stated mileage. If fuel efficiency is very important, look at Toyotas and Hondas with 4-cyl engines.

  2. bobweb said:

    A 1994 or newer Ford Crown Victoria or Mercury Grand Marquis. It gets 23 mpg using Ford’s reliable 4.6 Liter modular V8. Plenty of room in the trunk and backseat. The reason it’s so inexpensive to maintain is that the same basic rear wheel drive design has been produced for 20 years or more and millions have been purchased by municipalities, police departments and for fleet use. That makes the parts very standard and readily available. Rear wheel drive is easier and cheaper to maintain. And it’s a full size sedan for crash safety.

  3. Mark F said:

    Cheap cars to repair are mid-90’s Old Cutlass Ciera’s and any Chevy Cavalier. Parts are stupid cheap. They might need more repairs than other models though.

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