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  1. #1
    Carseat Crazy mimieliza's Avatar
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    Buying a very old used vehicle...what should I look for?

    In an effort to downsize our finances so I can continue to work part-time rather than full time, we are going to sell our 2004 Honda Accord and take the $2000-3000 we make on the sale to buy a used car (with no car payments!).

    Mostly this will be DH's car for his very short (2 mile) commute. DD and I will use our '02 Forester. But we will need to transport DD in our new used car from time to time, so I want to find something relatively safe.

    I'm leaning towards a Ford Taurus ('96 or '97) or a Jeep Cherokee ('93 or so); DH wants a very old Mercedes or BMW ('89 or '90). We would both love a Subaru - probably looking around '91 or '92 for that.

    What should I look for? What about top tethers for FF seats? Locking seatbelts (although we have built-in lock offs on our SS1)? Anything in particular to avoid?

    Any guidance on this would be appreciated. I know new cars have so many more safety features, but it's really best for us financially to scale back right now.

    Thanks!
    michelle mama to
    dd 10.30.06 graco connext & recaro performance booster
    ds 5.4.10 sunshine kids radian xtsl & graco nautilus safety surround
    riding safely in a 2014 mazda 5 and a 2002 subaru forester


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  3. #2
    Car-Seat.Org Zealot skaterbabs's Avatar
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    Re: Buying a very old used vehicle...what should I look for?

    What's your price range? If you can swing as much as $3k I'd try to find a good deal on a 2000-ish Elantra or Sonata, or late 90's Chevy malibu/impala. You can possibly fn a 2001 Elantra for less than $4k if you keep your eyes peeled.

    Avoid the Jeep, I love mine but! there are no head rests for rear passengers and it will have gen 3 seatbelts.

    Hyundai and post-2000 GM will have locking retractors. pre-2000 GM will likely have locking latchplates. Hyundai has no upper limit on their top tethers, they defer to the chld restraint manufacturer.
    Rebekah Branch, CPST from May 2005 until June 2011
    Mom to CJ (7/96, seatbelt), Gregory (4/98, seatbelt), & Joyjoy (10/03, misc. booster seats)
    "That which you create in beauty and goodness and truth lives on."
    - Denis Waitley

  4. #3
    Carseat Crazy mimieliza's Avatar
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    Re: Buying a very old used vehicle...what should I look for?

    We may be able to go as high as $3K, but around $2500 would be better.

    Hyundai is a great suggestion - I found a 2000 Sonata with 116K miles for $2500 (browsing Craigslist).

    I definitely want headrests for rear passengers - I can't believe they even made cars without headrests.

    I know I need top tethers (or something that can be retrofitted to have top tethers) but do I need to worry about how the seatbelts lock if I'm planning to use carseats with built-in lock offs?
    michelle mama to
    dd 10.30.06 graco connext & recaro performance booster
    ds 5.4.10 sunshine kids radian xtsl & graco nautilus safety surround
    riding safely in a 2014 mazda 5 and a 2002 subaru forester


  5. #4
    eeyore71384
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    Re: Buying a very old used vehicle...what should I look for?

    I have a 2002 Metro its 4 door great on gas and my carseats fit great it is a smaller car but with the price of gas right now i love it!

  6. #5
    Senior Community Member scatterbunny's Avatar
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    Re: Buying a very old used vehicle...what should I look for?

    Taurus. Our budget a few months ago was $2,000 and I found some really great Tauruses in the 2-3K range!

    Tauruses get great crash scores, even the older ones.
    ~Jenny

    "When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people." ~Abraham Joshua Hesche

  7. #6
    Senior Community Member scatterbunny's Avatar
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    Re: Buying a very old used vehicle...what should I look for?

    The Hyundais didn't start doing better in crash scores until recently; I considered them briefly but couldn't get over the safety aspect.

    The Taurus doesn't have true, adjustable headrests but the rear seat is darn tall, tall enough to provide adequate head support for me, definitely (I'm about 5'5").
    ~Jenny

    "When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people." ~Abraham Joshua Hesche

  8. #7
    Car-Seat.Org Zealot skaterbabs's Avatar
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    Re: Buying a very old used vehicle...what should I look for?

    I'd go for a 2000 Sonata over an older Taurus any day simply from a vehicle maitenance standpoint. Not to mention that 2000 was the first year that the Sonata had lap/shoulder belts in all 5 seating positions.
    Rebekah Branch, CPST from May 2005 until June 2011
    Mom to CJ (7/96, seatbelt), Gregory (4/98, seatbelt), & Joyjoy (10/03, misc. booster seats)
    "That which you create in beauty and goodness and truth lives on."
    - Denis Waitley

  9. #8
    CPS Fanatic
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    Re: Buying a very old used vehicle...what should I look for?

    if you look at sonatas, stay away from the V6 models, stick with the 4-cylinder ones... far fewer problems. also, very few hyundais came with ABS, even though it was offered as an option, so look for those as well.
    Two girls, 7 and 6. Trek Mountain, Specialized Hotrock, Soma Buena Vista, Bike Friday tandem, and multiple other bikes. Oh, and a Mazda5.

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