Used Car Deals

Used Autos For Under $1000: Realistic Expectations


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When a driver’s finances are pretty low, he or she may out searching for used autos under 1000 dollars, or a similar deal. This kind of “bargain basement” hunting for vehicles is not without substantial obstacles and potential pitfalls. Lots of drivers will tell you there’s just nothing good out there for that price range – but that’s not necessarily true. A driver who is thinking reasonably about what they can expect can come to an equitable deal to get a vehicle that will carry them from point A to point B.

Getting a deal on a used vehicle means separating out what is an annoyance or detail and what is truly a deal-breaker. Make a list of things you really need from a vehicle, and let the rest slide when checking out deals offered for cars that are past their prime. Then, make an informed choice about whether a older automobile with a price tag under $1000 is right for your household. Here are some givens when searching:

High mileage – A used car under $1000 is going to be a least a few years old. Getting a used car for under $1000 that has less than 100,000 miles on it is going to be rare. Even cars that were garaged or stored for a year may have that much mileage.

Not All Features Will Work – Over time, all of those great conveniences like power locks, windows and seats are going to wear out. Don’t expect that the used car you find for under 1K is going to be perfect in these aspects.

No Warranty – Used cars priced under $1000 are going to be sold “as is”. It’s just not cost effective for sellers to guarantee free maintenance on them.

Private Party Sales – Most reputable dealers are going to be leery of taking on a vehicle and fixing it all for a sale value of under $1000. You’re most likely going to find these cars through private sales.

Potential Problems – You may find a used car for under $1000 that is pretty reliable, but nearly all will have some risk of developing engine, transmission, or other substantial problems in the short term. If your $500 used car purchase acts like a lemon, you’re not a victim of incredibly bad luck, you just bought too cheap.

Crusty Interiors or Exteriors – The interior of a car that has seen its market value reduced below $1000 will generally be a little worn out. Expect some grit and grime on seats and other interior spaces. On the exterior, don’t be surprised if there are small spots from rust, or from brushing against walls or other objects.

Thinking about these issues in advance will help keep buyers from turning up their nose at some of the reasonable deals they may find for under $1000.

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