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Hello, my mother is on a fixed income social sercurity. She is going to buy a used car between 3000 and 5000 dollars. I am going to help her get a car. I am able to work on the car somewhat, like brakes, water pump, belts, oil changes, moderate type of work. My question how do we know the best type of car to buy for the money and  that will hold up and that I can work on ? Is there a site on the internet that will give us some information ?
Thank You
PS I told her to stay away from dealers and buy off a private owner due to the amount of money she is paying for the car.

Good advice about where to source her new car ...  I am a huge fan of craigslist for used cars you can generally tell by the way the people describe the car whether or not they took care of it you can also tell by looking to see where the pictures were taken. Were they taken on the gravel lot next to a single wide trailer surrounded by garbage and old appliances?  Or were they taken in front of $1 million home on a really nice street with an immaculately landscaped yard ?

As for what kind to buy I would stick with cars that you see everywhere (Camry, civic, Ford Focus, Accords) because that way if you did need to repair it  some time down the road  you would be assured lots of available and inexpensive parts. If you shop carefully you should be able to get a nice low mile later model used car for the price range you are talking about. Stay away from Volkswagens, BMW, Mercedes and other German imports the parts will eat you alive as will the general maintenance.

Currently there is a do it yourself video for just about every car repair you can think of on you tube ... More later

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Roger Alvey


I can answer any question about the car buying process. I am a recognized industry expert on all issues regarding auto finance, including sub prime and buy here pay here financing, I can answer questions about car lock out systems, GPS monitoring by your bank, and about auto recovery methods and defenses. I am a 20 yr car industry expert and can tell you what to look for in a used car, how to negotiate the deal, help with how to market your own car, and how to negotiate with the internet department of any car store. I can tell you every single way the dealer is set up to beat you and how to avoid those traps, I can discuss all aftermarket and extended service contract products you will be offered in the finance process, I have lectured extensively on "The Best Way to Buy a Car" to civic groups and university students. I am a credit expert and can tell you what the dealer and banks are looking for and the rate you can expect to pay. CHECK OUT MY WEBSITE AT


20 years industry experience in top management of dealerships and dealer groups. Recognized industry expert since 2004 in the Top 10 industry experts for The Gerson Lehrman Groups Auto Industry Council. I also do consulting work for Experts360, Atheneum Partners, Expert Connect and Coleman Research. I have been a franchise owner and understand all facets of the auto industry from the time the car leaves the factory until it leaves the lot with it's new owner. I have written training materials for both the prime and the subprime sales and finance process.

NADA, OADA, NFIB, State Certified Used Car Appraiser

Special Finance Insider, Dealer, and Automotive News, Gerson Lehrman Group Auto Industry Council News (frequently, various industry websites and blogs including my own blog at

Willamette University - Salem Oregon BA Economics Willamette University Graduate School of Business - Econometrics Statistics

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GM's Award of (their most prestigious award) Given to Dealers who surpass their annual benchmark planning volume while also maintaining Top Box (top 5%) CSI

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Citadel Investment Group , Summit Partners US ,Broad Peak Investment Management, Nautic Partners, LLC, Hellman & Friedman Investors, L.P. and over 40 additional money managers, hedge funds and research groups

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