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  1. #1
    Carseat Crazy
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    Need some outside opinions

    I know that most of you may "look down" on us for the situation we are in but we are trying to make the best of things right now.

    We have a 2001 Dodge Dakota crew cab 4x4 (4 full size doors). We need a second vehicle because I need to be able to get out of the house sometimes while DH is at work.
    Our budget for the 2nd car - $1500 total (after any repairs, taxes, tags, etc).

    Right now we have access to a 1995 Blazer 4x4. It needs some work but not too bad. Our good friend is a mechanic so we're not worried about that aspect of an older car. But we haven't decided for sure if we want it or look for something else.

    We have 2 boys. Both in ff'ing FPSVD but DS1 will be moving to a booster (or combo booster - haven't decided yet) sometime in the next 6 months or so.

    We keep going back and forth on whether the 2nd car will be for me (and therefore the boys a lot) or DH to drive to work and occasionally one of the boys if needed.
    The reasons for the 2nd car being mine are the blind spots I have driving the truck (the sides of the windshield where the handles are are horrible for me to see) and the cargo area for groceries and such.

    So what do I do? Drive the truck and DH take whatever the 2nd car is because the truck is newer and "nicer" even though I have blind spots? Or look for some type of car for me?

    DH's thoughts on 2nd car if we don't keep the Blazer is some type of Jeep or a sporty type car that I can't remember the name of. If we decided to look for a car for me, thinking Stratus, Taurus, something along those lines.

    Any (gentle) advice would be greatly appreciated.

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  3. #2
    Carseat Crankypants carseatcoach's Avatar
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    Re: Need some outside opinions

    If the Blazer is a known quantity, I'd consider it.

    Otherwise, 4x4 is expensive both to purchase and maintain. If you don't absolutely NEED it, I think you'd do better with a Taurus or Accord or Camry.
    CPST and Mama to a 13yo girl, 5-stepped at age 10 and 5'

    Posted from my toaster using a PopTart

  4. #3
    CPS Technician Qarin's Avatar
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    Re: Need some outside opinions

    I'm not sure what advice you really need, but I think that may be because I don't understand what you are worried about people thinking of you- why do you feel some might look down on you for this?

    I think, given that the Crew Cab truck doesn't fit you well (you don't feel safe driving it because you can't see all around well), that a car for you is absolutely the way to go. Do you like driving the Blazer? If so, and you can get it fixed up as needed, then if it were me I'd stick with that; if not, then a decent sedan in good condition seems fine to me. The FPSVD's should install well in any 90's era car- it'd be nice if you could get one that can have top tether anchors, but if you can't afford it, it's OK.... really! And as long as there are shoulder belts in the back seat, a high-back booster will work well.
    Homeschooling mama to safely transported kids-
    DD1- 11/2001 - 61.5", Seat Belt (5-steps)
    DD2- 11/2004 - 62.5", Seat Belt (5-steps)

  5. #4
    CPS Technician BW1426's Avatar
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    Re: Need some outside opinions

    I would not go with an almost 15 year old vehicle when a smaller newer vehicle could be bought with the same money. Like a PP said, 4 wheel drive costs far more to fix and maintain.

    I'd look for a Ford Escort/Mercury Tracer or Ford Taurus.

    Anyway you could hold off another month or two and stash away a little more money plus what you'd be paying in insurance to give you a little more base cash to work with?
    DD1--4/6/2006--Britax Parkway SGL
    DD2--12/9/2012--Britax Advocate and Marathon

  6. #5
    Senior Community Member MustangMama's Avatar
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    Re: Need some outside opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by Qarin View Post
    I'm not sure what advice you really need, but I think that may be because I don't understand what you are worried about people thinking of you- why do you feel some might look down on you for this?


    Do what you gotta do to get by!!

  7. #6
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Need some outside opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by Qarin View Post
    I'm not sure what advice you really need, but I think that may be because I don't understand what you are worried about people thinking of you- why do you feel some might look down on you for this?

    Only because so many mamas on here seem to have newer "safer" cars and we just can't do that. I just didn't want anyone getting on me for thinking about an older cheaper car. kwim?

    I haven't driven the Blazer yet. The power driver's seat is broken and I can't reach the pedals as it is. So if we took that it would definitely be DH's car until the seat got fixed.

    As far as what kind of advice - just kinda asking what you would do if you were in my shoes.
    Truck vs Blazer
    or Truck vs. ?????
    And then which would you drive?

    Thanks all.

  8. #7
    CPS Technician bobandjess99's Avatar
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    Re: Need some outside opinions

    Do you live in a place where you NEED AWD, or 4X4 ability, etc? What woudl the car be used for, daily trips to places? shopping, errands, etc? How far away? do you live in a town, or boondocks, etc? Knowing how you will use it helps. do you NEED a giant cargo area? I can haul groceries just fine in a small trunk, for example.
    I'd personally get a newer, smaller car to drive. For $1500, there shoudl be lots of options. I wouldn't get a blazer, personally. I'd be looking for GAS MILEAGE, since your budget seems tight, and a blazer isn't going to help you there at ALL.

    I just did an autotrader search under $1500 in my local 100 mile radius..TONS of options..lots of nice cars....

    Alex, 8 Katie, 12 and Annabelle Jan 2017

  9. #8
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Need some outside opinions

    The second car doesn't need to be 4x4 since the truck is. (As long as 1 car is in case DH has to go to work in bad weather). We'd like the other car to be front wheel drive in case I would have to use it in a dusting. kwim? We're in Ohio.

    Whichever car I drive will be for around town errands, trips to the park, etc. Perhaps a longer day drive occasionally.
    We live in the suburbs, unfortunately. Someday we hope to be in the country but that's a while off. So most things are close.
    Don't need a giant cargo area. Just something more than the seat between the boys and under their feet. I can only fit so many bags in there.

    Thanks for all the help.

  10. #9
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Need some outside opinions

    My opinion is that you'll get more bang for your buck by buying a car. Trucks and 4wd vehicles hold their value more than cars.

    I'd also be cautious of buying a vehicle that had seen a lot of time off road-it's hard on so many parts.

  11. #10
    CPS Fanatic Rosey's Avatar
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    Re: Need some outside opinions

    I'd get a sedan and drive it myself in your situation.

  12. #11
    Carseat Crazy 3plus2isme's Avatar
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    Re: Need some outside opinions

    IMO you gotta do what you gotta do. I don't know what it's like in your area for finding good, reliable, used vehicles so maybe the blazer really will be the best bet. Where we are $1500 could by you a pretty good car that isn't too old... but if we drove to a more rural area $1500 would get you a farm truck :P

    If I had the option to NOT have 2 trucks I would go for it. We have a full size truck & a small car. I "usually" drive the civic (because I LOVE it..) but we do trade it up and I drive the f150 for a change. As much as I wanted a bigger SUV (think tahoe, expedition, etc..) I didn't want the added gas consumptions (and I'm rather green ) We do need our truck because our winters can get nasty here and we like the reliability of the 4x4.

    Anyways, sorry for dragging out my reply! If the blazer is the best bang for your buck then I'd go for it! But if you think you can find a car for the same price and probably newer I'd look around!
    DS(7) 54lbs, 50" in a Parkway SG & Monterey
    DS(5.5) 50lbs, 45" mainly harnessed in a Nautilus & sometimes cruising in a Parkway SG

    DD (17m) in a RF'ing Paisley BLVD & occasionally a MyRide65

  13. #12
    Moderator - CPS Technician safeinthecar's Avatar
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    Re: Need some outside opinions

    I'll be the odd one out.

    If you know and trust the people with the Trailblazer, I'd go that route. A 95 Chevy 4x4 is not difficult or expensive to fix. I've kept more than one on the road with my own two hands. Parts are easy to come by and cheap because there are just so many of them. The system is very basic. No filters in inaccessible spots or complicated computers to mess with like a newer sedan (especially a non-domestic brand) is likely to have. Even if the worst happened and you needed a major repair you can pick up a rebuild engine or tranny for less than a grand. Chevy's have their quirks but they are pretty predictable in what may break and most of it is little piddling stuff. Dodges however.....but I digress.

    I would prefer to have a second vehicle that does have 4WD if I lived in an area where the whether requires it. I've been stranded with a disabled vehicle and no one to come get my butt because the "extra" car couldn't get to me because it wasn't 4WD.
    Kimberly
    Proud mommy of Becky 18! Danny 15 Hope 12~Auntie to William-14, David-10, and Logan 2~

  14. #13
    Carseat Crazy krfogle88's Avatar
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    Re: Need some outside opinions

    Personally, I would not go with the Blazer. I owned a 1995 Blazer in 20001 and it was horrible. Apparently it was the worst year for blazers. We had to replace two sensors, manifold, fuel pump, and then the transmission. We paid I believe $7,000 for the truck then and had to put over $4,000 into it. Needless to say we sold it in 2004 for $1200. I know you stated you have a mechanic that can fix the truck, but parts become very expensive. JMHO.
    Kristina --
    Niece Breanna 2/13/2007

    Daughter #1 Emilee 4/1/2008
    Daughter #2 Ella 2/15/12

  15. #14
    Carseat Crazy obamamama's Avatar
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    Re: Need some outside opinions

    I dont think anyone here looks down on anyone for being here and concerned for their childrens' safety.
    I have older vehicles myself, a 92 and a 98 and don't forsee buying anything newer anytime soon.
    I'd go with a smaller vehicle, if you have two kids and are done with having babies. If you are not, I would look for something more suitable than a blazer, simply because lifting kids into and out of a vehicle that big may prove a bit trying.
    My husband and I had one car for many years, so I know how it can be isolating and you just want a method to get you out of the house and give you some independence.

  16. #15
    CPS Technician zactayaus's Avatar
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    Re: Need some outside opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by krfogle88 View Post
    Personally, I would not go with the Blazer. I owned a 1995 Blazer in 20001 and it was horrible. Apparently it was the worst year for blazers. We had to replace two sensors, manifold, fuel pump, and then the transmission. We paid I believe $7,000 for the truck then and had to put over $4,000 into it. Needless to say we sold it in 2004 for $1200. I know you stated you have a mechanic that can fix the truck, but parts become very expensive. JMHO.
    I too had the dreaded 1995 blazer and had many of the same issues, but I traded it in (this is years ago) for a 2000 blazer which was a dream. I never had to fix a thing on it. Man I loved that SUV. I even cried when we had to trade it in for a 2000 suburban (which I still own and use every day) because we needed something that could pull a 30' camper.

    That being said we also owned a 2000 dodge dakota quad cab at the same time we owned the 2000 blazer. I hated driving the dodge because I couldn't see all around me when I was driving. For me it was the darn side view mirrows. They were so big I couldn't see anything when I would go to make turn.

    Zack 12/20/90 Taylor 5/11/98
    Austin 4/16/03 69lbs 58" Happily riding in Incognitos!
    Gavin 4/20/09 53lbs, 47" FF in an RXT, GN, and 2 FR85's
    DN Olivia 10/2/14 riding in an SR35

  17. #16
    Senior Community Member jeminijad's Avatar
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    Re: Need some outside opinions

    I have to chime in and not recommend older Ford sedans. My father worked on cars for his first career and he refers to Escorts as "60,000 cars," in that they just weren't built well enough to become high mileage vehicles. I have also driven a 1994 and a 2001 Taurus, so two different generations of the vehicle, and had nothing but problems. Obviously there is going to be someone who put 300k on their Escort, there are always exceptions, but they aren't known for their reliability.

    The 95 Blazer I can't speak to, but Chevy made a better product during that era, IMO. Any way you could track down an early 90s Accord or any Toyota sedan? They aren't super pretty but they got the reputation for reliability for a reason.

    Sorry you feel like you may be looked down on. I'm on my first "new" car of my life, and I get what you are saying. Occasionally posts here do read like someone is practically negligent for not having a late model vehicle, but I think they rarely were meant that way.

  18. #17
    Carseat Crazy erikanohelani's Avatar
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    Re: Need some outside opinions

    Would never look down on someone in your situation especially in this economy.

    I would recommend looking for a Toyota, known for their reliability. My uncle had a 90's Camry and so did my teacher. They only got new cars for the sake of updating, they were great cars.

    If you don't feel comfortable driving the newer car and you feel it will be a more dangerous ride... then find a car you are comfortable driving.

  19. #18
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    Re: Need some outside opinions

    No one's gonna look down on you cuz you can only afford so much. I don't think there's anyone on here who couldn't use more money. People might get upset if you knowingly did something harmful to your child that's in your control, but we all understand compromises may have to be made because of finances. Especially with cars, since they're quite a bit more costly than car seats.

    I'd either go with the Blazer, since it's a known quantity and you can get help. Or, get a Toyota or Honda car. I'm not a big fan of the reliability of American cars of that period. They've always done great with trucks, but the 60s were the last glory years of the American car. Safetywise, I've got no clue tho.

  20. #19
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Need some outside opinions

    Thanks all.
    jeminijad nailed what I was feeling at the time - "Occasionally posts here do read like someone is practically negligent for not having a late model vehicle"

    Well, we no longer have the option of the Blazer. Which I am actually relieved about. I rode in it once and realized I wouldn't have liked driving it.
    We also decided that the "new" vehicle will be mine just because of my comfort driving the truck.
    We are now debating between a Grand Cherokee or Explorer. Will depend on what's available when we have the money in a couple weeks.
    We are looking at the suv for space (for luggage for our trips home) and DH would rather it be 4x4.

    So, if you read this and have any advice, opinions, etc on either of those, I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks again. (I this forum!)

  21. #20
    CPS Technician Victorious4's Avatar
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    Re: Need some outside opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by my2boys View Post
    Only because so many mamas on here seem to have newer "safer" cars and we just can't do that. I just didn't want anyone getting on me for thinking about an older cheaper car. kwim?
    Eh, I didn't even have a car for almost 2 yrs. We walked, bus'd & carpooled in some really old cars that induced the need to close one's eyes with white knuckles until reaching the destination We're all just doing the best we can & shame on anyone who looks down others for that.

    Quote Originally Posted by BW1426 View Post
    I would not go with an almost 15 year old vehicle when a smaller newer vehicle could be bought with the same money.
    Ditto. A friend offered to give me her 30 yr old Volvo, but I declined until finances allowed me to buy a used 2006 Taurus It's not the Hybrid Escape I owned & loved before, but it beats the Volvo hands down.

    I'd gotten the Escape because the crash test data on my '99 Blazer was terrifying (I used to live in farm country, but now I'm in the "city"/college town)
    TIFF ~ doula & all hours childcare provider
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