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I am sorry this message is so long with so many questions, but I am desperate and would be grateful for any answers you may have. If you can, please take a little extra time to reply because more is at stake than you'd guess and I have no where else to turn.

I drive very little (less than 5k miles a year). Most of my driving is to see doctors, pharmacies, and other facilities for medical treatment. I CAN NOT be without a car, and my 2000 Chevy Malibu LS (fully loaded, only 98k miles, clean title, no bad history) is falling apart and now needs additional repair (probably  a coolant flush and replacement thermostat). I have a little money I could spend to get a replacement, but for the most part I don't know the important parts of what I'm doing, most significantly getting money for the old car, figuring out I can afford to buy, then buying it.

I need to get some money out of the Malibu. I'm can not part it out myself,  places like "Cash for cars" only offer like $200 even with the low mileage. In fair condition, all the appraisal book values say about   $1500 trade or $2500 private party -   I'd be happy with less than half that, but whose going to buy such a problematic car unless they had the ability to sell it for parts.

What do you think is my best option to get as much money out of the car as possible?

I have a max of $3000 and whatever I can get for my car to to spend.  Above all else, the most important thing is that whatever I get is reliable. I also some basic features like an automatic transmission, keyless entry, but not much else. I live in Maryland, and unfortunately used cars at dealerships start at about $6000. Even if I can find something in my budget, do you think a dealerships even bother taking trades for cars that need repair that isn't even worth much in perfect condition, especially when their sale is for so little? Anything under 5 grand is chump change to a dealership isn't it?  Not to mention they tack on dealership fees that would up the price a lot.

So a private party is the way to go because I could get more for less, but I won't find a decent, reliable car without money for my old car. Which leads me to another question: can you recommend something to fit my usage?  I drive less than 5,000 miles a year, do not use the car for days at a time, and even then I only go distances of less than ten miles. I've been told some of the most reliable cars are
Hondas and Toyotas, and that one that is maybe 12 years old with 150k mile might be in my price range.  I've found a few Honda Civics from 2001-2004 with 120-180k miles that have everything I need and want that I can afford. I found a perfect Accord with even lower mileage for $3900.  So if I got about $900 for my trade, I'd be in business. My tags can be transferred so the only other expenses are title and tax (most sellers will fudge sale price to lower the tax). But if  I knew which other makes and models were very dependable and aren't likely to have lots of problems, I might find something even better. The Ford Taurus seems to be selling slightly newer models with lower miles  priced less, but I don't know if that car is any good.

One last question: when buying a car from a private party, how do you get it home without tags?  You can't just slap the old ones on, nobody will let you leave with there's, and temporary tags wouldn't work for me because I wouldn't know exactly when I'd be buying the car, plus because of my medical problems a trip to the MVA (aka DMV) is a major ordeal for me.  What do most people do?

I can't thank you enough for taking the time to help me with all this. You don't want to even imagine how serious this is for me, how hard it is for me to try and figure this stuff out, and how bad it would be if I can't get a reliable car soon.  God bless you.

PS. Financing is not an option.

Hi Jeff.

Sorry for the delay getting back to you. Your post is very detailed and appreciated, rather than giving you an quick answer, leave me a phone # at and best time to call, and I will help you along to solve your problem.

Have a Blessed day
From the computer of
Ray Paulsen ^_^

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ray paulsen


confused buying with confidence from dealer or private...consumer fears...paying to much...getting a lemon...accident car...fair value for trade...negotiation simply want a fair deal... YOU MAY QUICKLY FIND ANSWERS YOU'RE LOOKING FOR AT MY WEBSITE IF NOT I WILL BE MORE THAN HAPPY TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS.


over 35 years in automotive industry, management, retail, wholesale, appraisals, auctions, vintage


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