Automotive

Buying used for under $6000 - is it possible?

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  • Sep 8th, 2021 6:25 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Aug 29, 2021
3 posts
3 upvotes

Buying used for under $6000 - is it possible?

Hello everyone,

I'm looking to buy a car to get me through a relatively short daily Montreal commute - despite it being only 20 min or so, there's no feasible public transportation route (that doesn't take 3x as long), nor can I go by bicycle. Thinking distances, I'd probably only drive the thing about 8-10,000 km/year.

With that in mind, and since I know nothing about buying used cars, I thought I'd ask the wise people here to please help check on my assumptions and expectations and help me adjust them to something realistic.

I would be looking at a used car at no more than $6000 (plus tax + registration) and would like something that's 2010 or newer and has under 140,000 km. I think this would give me 3-5 years of service which would fit my needs.

I would prefer a sedan (think Civic, Corolla) and would prefer to stick to those two brands (Honda, Toyota) but am super flexible in both form factor and make - given the above criteria I know I can't be picky and I'll settle for anything that gets me there and back and has only infrequent breakdowns, proper maintenance taken into consideration.

Another thing I would like is using a dealer of some sort, as I don't feel confident dealing with private sellers. Is it a terrible idea to go to one of those used car lots so I can peruse their inventory and find something that fits the bill? (which on the other hand I can pre-screen online to ensure they have several options within my criteria). I'm in Montreal, so would also appreciate either suggestions on decent nearby dealers or advice to run as far as I can from them :)

What do you think? which of the above ideas or expectations would I have to adjust?

Thanks!
29 replies
Deal Fanatic
Sep 1, 2004
9171 posts
8413 upvotes
autotrader.ca. Punch in your postal code and all your requirements and start shopping.

Both dealer and private will post there.

Dealer will always cost more and they will try to upsell other crap. So beware of slimy tactics.

You are buying a old car, regardless where/who you buy it from, you should still arrange an inspection with your own mechanic. Just because it comes off a dealer lot, doesn't mean the car is good.
Last edited by Xtrema on Aug 30th, 2021 11:53 am, edited 2 times in total.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 6, 2017
1677 posts
1137 upvotes
Manitoba
Anything is possible, you might end up with a Jewel...or a junk.

At that price point, you will be hard pressed to find your listed requirements. More like sub 2010 at 160k mileage or higher.
Deal Addict
Sep 13, 2012
2356 posts
1824 upvotes
Vaughan, ON
Don’t see why not.

I listed my mother’s 2010 Mazda3 with 118,000KM on AutoTrader in June for $3,995 including a separate set of snow tires on rims and sold it for $3,900. The intention wasn’t to get top dollar but rather a quick and hassle-free sale - exactly what I got.

I’m sure plenty of private sellers looking for same.
Banned
Jun 4, 2020
1634 posts
1731 upvotes
Clarington, ON
I feel it's possible. You just have to find the right car at the right time.
Member
Apr 22, 2019
411 posts
442 upvotes
Look at the Mazda 3, great car and should fit your budget
Deal Fanatic
Sep 1, 2004
9171 posts
8413 upvotes
TehRFDAnomaly wrote: Anything is possible, you might end up with a Jewel...or a junk.

At that price point, you will be hard pressed to find your listed requirements. More like sub 2010 at 160k mileage or higher.
Well, if you are not scared of a CVT, Nissan Sentra may hit that point.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Jan 27, 2004
49906 posts
13921 upvotes
ONTARIO
Don’t be so fixated on year and mileage.
Best is history of care and maintenance.

I bought a 2004 Lexus IS300 with 230,000km off a fellow RFD community member (who i also used to see on the my.is forums).
Only $6250 but perfect shape. Rust proofed every year And well maintained. Owned by a cat enthusiast, the type that knows what their doing to keep a car in good shape.

So hopefully a family or relative you know thats responsible for their car is selling. Or ask car owners you know (like the ones really good at looking after their car) if they have a relationship with their mechanic. The best used cars i got were from my mechanic.

Or play it safe and just get a corolla.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Jan 27, 2004
49906 posts
13921 upvotes
ONTARIO
carseeker6966 wrote: Can I make this into a bumper sticker? :)
Its true though. My partner when she first started driving… she bought a really old corolla certified from some shady used dealership.
$2500
Drove it for 2 years… sold it with squeeky brakes as is for $800

$1800 for a 2 year car rental not bad.
$75/month.

For $6k you can get 2009 corolla with 150km

That will last you a long time. It sells very easily too.
Deal Addict
Nov 12, 2004
2569 posts
1287 upvotes
Hometown
Definitely possible.... Not sure if it is doable paying the Toyota tax or the Honda fan base excise payment. I have bought my last 3 vehicles for under 3100.00 OTR. Time consuming process to find the right vehicle though LOL.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Nov 7, 2016
2587 posts
1491 upvotes
Ontario
Try looking for someone you know selling something that cheap, as you would be more inclined to know the correct history of it/issues...
·Ï¢årµ§·
Jr. Member
Sep 15, 2020
126 posts
137 upvotes
Unfortunately, the laws of supply and demand are really apparent in the used car market right now. Demand is high and supply, well, it's complicated....

While I can't really suggest any real recommendations on models you should or should not pick, I would like to suggest you be aware of a few things:

1. Condition: you say you don't know much about cars, so I would suggest you pick candidates that look to be in better "cosmetic" and "mechanical" condition rather than cheaper fixer-upps for a cheaper price. Choose your top candidates and go for a pre-purchase inspection at a garage you know is trustworthy, so that somebody has better knowledge on this (mechanic) can give you their opinion. I have been looking at the same car market since early this year (sub $6000 beater) and all I can say is, there are a lot of lemons coming out of the woodwork in this hot market.

2. Resale value: this applies to the Toyota/Mazda tax. Yes you pay the Toyota tax now, but you get somebody else to pay you that tax later when you sell it. This is compared to disposable cars like, say, a Chevy Aveo with manual transmission, no power anything and no A/C, which you can get at a cheaper price but will yield lower resale value down the road. This is particularly applicable to Quebec since there are a lot of base-stripper models sold there. The total cost of ownership may come out to be similar to buying a higher priced car with more popular features. There is a good reason why a certain product is priced lower in an open market than other products, could be features, reliability, cost to maintain etc.

3. Beware of scams: you know the drill, selling car for somebody else, car is placed here send me deposit to see it, bla bla bla. Occasionally I can see listings with cars that are not even available in Canada. I have seen Land Cruisers being advertised on autotrader, and even RAV4s that are from the European market. Tread carefully.

Good luck car shopping!
Deal Addict
Apr 5, 2017
1307 posts
1167 upvotes
Edmonton, AB
There are also other gems out there. Under 6k is exciting if you get a little creative.

02-07 Jeep Liberty to me is the only Daimler-Chrysler gem. It hasn't yet gone up in sentimental value like the earlier more coveted predecessors to it (Cherokee XJ with the amazing 4.0L AMC straight 6). Find a nice well maintained unit for under 5k. It gets alright fuel mileage considering 4x4 3.7L V6. Mine has 320k km, 4x4 works flawlessly, and I'm loving all $1000 of it/what sheet metal remains of it. I'm missing some of my door jambs but its a Jeep thing, you don't need doors anyway.

Cheap alternative to a pick up truck for half the people out there - is a mini van. I have a '98 Sienna. Took out all the rear seats and love it for road trips/hauling. $1000-3000 can get you a 1st gen Sienna ready to unclip all the seats/strip out the interior for your needs. And keeps going.

Yaris, FIT, and Mazda2 are also overlooked due to size. The FIT in particular is amazing and if you go for a stick shift one, probably the most reasonable priced Honda and easily has the best interior packaging in a car that size that I wager will even beat a Mazda3, Matrix, or Vibe hatch. I regard it as a Microvan. The engine and transmission gearing is a pair meant for each other. And very fun to drive. Civic, Mazda3, Corolla have nothing on the FIT, either, IMO.

Oh yeah. Pontiac VIBE. If you can find someone who isn't dedicating half their ad to telling you its a Toyota Matrix in Pontiac skin.
Sr. Member
Aug 13, 2003
533 posts
385 upvotes
Calgary
+1 for the Honda Fit if you don't mind that size car. Great gas mileage. Reliable.
Deal Addict
Feb 4, 2008
1922 posts
539 upvotes
toronto
i'd imagine most cars in dealerships are cars people dump. I would get a mechanic to check out the engine and tranny, and expect to replace all consumables and factor that in the price; budget a little more maybe replace the arms.
Deal Fanatic
Sep 1, 2004
9171 posts
8413 upvotes
DentDude wrote: +1 for the Honda Fit if you don't mind that size car. Great gas mileage. Reliable.
It's a bit iffy if you are going on highway with it. Worse if it's loaded with passengers.

Fit unlike Yaris, rarely drops the low unless very high mileage. It's so versatile, people rarely let them go.
Deal Addict
Aug 21, 2010
1488 posts
737 upvotes
toronto
i would go with a volvo s40...in the 2010 year approx..not sure if you will find one with under 140000 for that year..

but just sold my 2002 volvo s40 an it had 220000 kms
and maintainance wise ,,couple of times exhaust work at midas as the exhaust was leaking...front strut was changed..bought at scrapyard and changed,,ignition coils replaced..other than that,,it has been great
so maybe a volvo might be an option
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Member
Oct 14, 2017
379 posts
268 upvotes
London
We sold our 2011 Mazda 3 in as mint condition as can be for a 10 yr old car with 137XXX kms for 6K. One offer and sold 11 minutes after posting on FB Marketplace. All records kept. It can be done OP!
100Pacer wrote: Don’t see why not.

I listed my mother’s 2010 Mazda3 with 118,000KM on AutoTrader in June for $3,995 including a separate set of snow tires on rims and sold it for $3,900. The intention wasn’t to get top dollar but rather a quick and hassle-free sale - exactly what I got.

I’m sure plenty of private sellers looking for same.
Member
Apr 18, 2011
445 posts
196 upvotes
Toronto
Besides what the previous posters have said, expect to spend $1500+ in the first few months of your ownership.
Last edited by Bayan on Aug 31st, 2021 2:23 am, edited 2 times in total.

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