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  1. Default to rent or to buy... once more...

    Hi everyone,

    I am planning a couple for road trips for this summer, and I am confronted to the choice of either buy another car or renting one.
    The problem is set this way :

    My family is coming from Europe in June and wants to do a little road trip through Oregon and western Washington (my wife and I live in Idaho). It should ast about 2,5 weeks.
    Right after, my friends from france are visiting for 3 weeks and we are planning another road trip 3000 miles, mostly through deserts (nevada, Utah, yellowstone).

    Our car is nice and reliable, but 5 adults in a 97 accord sedan is a little crammed for a road trip. Plus my wife will need her car once after the road trip with my family as she is not coming with my friends and I for the second one.

    If I was over 25yo, I would rent, but I am not... I'm 23.
    My wife can rent can rent a car for the first road trip (she's 25), but the second one reaches miles high prices for my friends (we are all 23yo) and I, and would only allow 1 driver if we want to keep it under 2000 just for rental.
    The total cost if we decide to rent is going to be about 2800, without LDW/CDW and without gas.

    So I was wondering if it were possible to find a car to actually buy for this price rather than renting one.
    This way we could have more than one driver for each of the trip and still be protected by the insurance (our insurance is fairly cheap 300 for 6 months of full coverage)

    it would have to be comfortable for 5 passengers and be reliable, and be cheap.... I know, it's a lot of criterias...

    But do I stand a chance to find one ?

    I have heard that any car below 4000$ is no good in the US, but I never paid more than 2000 Euros for a car in France, and and I never had one that broke something before at least 10 000km (6000 miles), and it was never a new car, maybe lower mileage than the average US car. However I can't believe that french engineered '99 renault Megane or a '94 Audi 80 or '93 VW Passat are worse than any detroit junk ( however they are smaller).\
    My wife paid 2500$ for her 4cyl Honda Accord LX 97... 60 000 miles ago (it has 152 000 now).
    It was bought after the car had an little accident, but the damage had been fixed, the only thing that had to be changed was the radiator (and usual stuffs : oils, brake pads, wipers,soon the clutch because its the factory one, etc...)
    It's working like a charm an there is no reason it would stop as we take pretty good care of it.

    So has that figure a real value ?

    Thanks a lot in advance and sorry if it sounds a little confused,


    - Uri

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    I'm not entirely certain about one very important factor: Are you currently a US resident?

    If you are currently in the US and are able to easily get beyond the legal hurdles that come with trying to license and register the car, as well as getting insurance, then purchasing may make sense. Taxes, License, and Insurance are things that will add to your costs, but as long as you have time to find, inspect, and purchase a car, and have time to sell it on the back end, it could make financial sense.

    I'd expect to spend about $4000 on a fairly reliable car. About $3000 of that would be for the car, but you'd need to have several hundred for taxes, insurance, and mechanical inspecitions, etc. Its possible you could find a good car for a little less, much like the Accord you mentioned, but finding a good deal - that's not just someone elses problem - takes some time. And of course, the older the car the more difficult it could be to sell it when you are done.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    For 5 people to travel in comfort, you really need a large sedan such as a Ford Crown Victoria/Mercury Grand Marquis or a minivan. A Crown Vic is a very reliable car - I wouldn't consider it "Detroit junk".

    You do need something that not only has adequate seating space, you need luggage space too. Using a roof carrier is not ideal.

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