Tag: Cheap

By on August 18, 2015


The fine brain trust at How a Car Works has a great idea: print out free high-res patents and frame them because all our money goes to cars and not decorations, obviously.

It got our motors running. What would we want to hang on the walls?

(Read More…)

By on June 1, 2015

Jetta TDI 2015

The Nissan Versa sedan might be the cheapest car in the U.S., but it isn’t holding candle to the cheap lease rates available for the Volkswagen Jetta. Regardless of the almost $4,500 price differential between the two cars in base model trim, Jetta lessees are spending less than half each month compared to the Versa, as low as $39/month at one San Jose, CA dealership.

It’s all part of an effort to bring customers in now at a loss to have their attention three years in the future when the German marque has more compelling products to offer.

(Read More…)

By on February 10, 2014


A reader sent me these parameters for picking his next vehicle
I’m at a crossroads. I’m looking for a cheap – laughably cheap – like less-than-$3,000 cheap – car for my next daily driver. It’s got to be economical (near 30 mpg hwy) and fun to drive, with decent aftermarket support (so I can throw a couple mods at it – I’m a gearhead). Oh, and since I’m 6’1″ and have a 1-year old daughter, it needs a back seat.
We can skip the DSM/Mitsubishi reliability warning.
By on December 16, 2013

TTAC commentator Seminole95 writes:


The Wall Street Journal recently suggested that part of VW’s problem in the US is the slow growth in Passat sales. About the Passat sales, they attribute it to a cheapening of the components relative to the European Passat, stating: “The American model also got a simpler, lower-cost suspension that delivered a less precise ride.”

My question is: how does one tell a priori that they are buying a car with a cheap suspension? Many mainstream media car reviews do not discuss the objective quality and construction of suspension components, preferring to discuss subjective feelings of ride. In addition, a car’s ride may “feel” good now, but this does not mean that it will in 5 years. (Read More…)

By on November 29, 2013


If there ever was a combination of good and bad offers for the DIY auto enthusiast, it’s the so-called Black Friday deals.

5 Quarts of Valvoline with a Purolator Classic for $9.99 plus a $5 Valvoline coupon is pretty much the best oil deal I have seen since the G-Oil giveaways.

Impact wrenches that are made of low quality materials and old-school heavy batteries, utter garbage. Some of the manufacturers of these models should be shot on principle alone.

You can also throw in cheap wrench sets into the mix. I know they work in a pinch. But I just hate em’. Too many bad memories.

So what’s worth buying?

(Read More…)

By on April 5, 2013
Dear Steve and Jeev,

My girlfriend needs a car while in the midst of many other big financial decisions that severely limit her car budget. Here’s the situation. (Read More…)

By on March 21, 2013

Hard to believe someone like me would need a rich fantasy life, isn’t it?

If you haven’t guessed it by now, I love cars and like a lot of people I spend a lot of time thinking about the ones I might like to own. My daydreams live in an odd place, they don’t run towards the higher plane of pure fantasy where the Ferrari and Lamborghini live, and, despite the fact I expect to be buying a new minivan or SUV in the next couple of years, they don’t run to the purely practical, either. No, my fantasies live in that middle place. A place where the cars are interesting and, as unlikely as a purchase may be, still attainable.

(Read More…)

By on September 21, 2012

The good old days of late summer 2009.

It was a great time to buy a new car. Monthly new car sales in North America had plummeted to under 10 million units.  Access to financing seemed to be near impossible for a lot of consumers. Brands were orphaned. Leasing collapsed. Banks were picky. The future was uncertain and… raw materials were cheap.

It was a good time to buy new at a deep, deep discount.  Has that time passed?

(Read More…)

By on May 21, 2012


Carleton writes:


I have two essentially unrelated questions but both seemingly require something that I greatly lack: money.  I’m a 22 year old engineering student in New Hampshire and have been around cars my whole life.  Over the past few years, I’ve purchased several older motorcycles on craigslist very inexpensively, sorted the mechanical issues, cleaned them up and sold each on for a solid profit ($500 to $1000 profit per bike).  While this has been fun, cars have always been my real passion.  Working on motorcycles has given me the confidence to tackle a project of a larger scale, so I am seeking advice to realize two long awaited desires.  I am currently working and making around $1000 per month and can play with about $200-$300 every month.  Furthermore, I have access to my grandfather’s a large garage with pretty much every tool needed to do any automotive work. (Read More…)

By on May 2, 2012

TTAC Commentator PartsUnknown writes:


Long story short, a family friend has an ’86 944 non-turbo sitting in her driveway in suburban Massachusetts. It belongs to her son who lives in Manhattan. Although he loves the car, it simply does not fit his current lifestyle. He wants to sell it, but is not actively pursuing it. His mother is constantly suggesting that I buy it (she knows my predilection for cars). Here’s the deal: it’s been sitting for a few years, driven sparingly. It appears to be in good cosmetic condition and it apparently runs. I know these cars are expensive to maintain.

I’m a busy man, with a wife and two young kids, a demanding career and a Saab 9-5 that I like to tinker with to satisfy my inner mechanic. I value time with my family above all, and while focusing on saving for retirement and college tuition, probably couldn’t afford to dump massive amounts of money into this car. The only reason I’m even considering it is that this guy’s mother has hinted that he just wants to get rid of it, and she said laughing, “he’d probably take $1,000 for it”. Question is, should I even entertain the idea? What, at minimum, would it cost to get this thing roadworthy as a weekend ride considering its relative lack of use (keeping in mind I’m a middling DIYer)? I’m leaning no, but $1,000 for a decent 944 seems like a no-brainer. Almost. I previously owned a 1986 911 Carrera Coupe, which was a fantastic car, but I sold it for precisely the reasons stated above – to prioritize time with my family over spending a Saturday replacing blower motors and ball joints.

Talk me off the ledge. (Read More…)

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