When shopping for a vehicle under $5000 salvage cars offer lower mileage, newer options, well under average used car pricing.
When shopping for a vehicle under $5000 salvage presents you the best option to get something that is “recent and decent.” Most people will begin this search by checking used car resources such as Auto Trader and Ebay Motors. Another popular way of finding a car in this price range is by private sale, from classified listing like those on Craigslist. These search methods will undoubtedly turn up results, many of them being fine options, but if you are looking to broaden your prospects to include newer, low mileage vehicles then please include salvage in your search.
$5000 is a desirable price point for a vehicle in a number of circumstances. Perhaps you are investing in your first vehicle, financing and the thought of a monthly payment are not appealing or not an option. Maybe you are looking for a car for your college student (please refer to Set your Student up for Success in Salvage), or buying a second vehicle for your family. If you are blessed with winter roads full of slush and salt, as we are in Atlantic Canada, then you may be after a seasonal vehicle. When I was working full time at the salvage yard I bought a second vehicle in this price point, a 2000 Camry, because the rising cost of fuel did not make it feasible to drive my Yukon Denali 120 miles a day to and from work.
When shopping for a vehicle in this price point keep the following in mind; search for a reliable vehicle that is well maintained, consider the cost and availability of common replacement parts, such as starters, alternators, tires etc., and consider the availability of reliable service for the make and model. The salvage vehicle you purchase may be in perfect running order, but you will obviously need to maintain this vehicle throughout your ownership. Do you research, investigate which vehicles have sound histories of running well as the odometer climbs. Salvage will allow you to purchase a vehicle with lower odometer readings, but you will be putting miles on the vehicle once it becomes yours. In my experience, we have had great luck with higher mileage Civics and Volkswagens. These vehicles are common, therefore, so are the parts, making maintenance reasonable and accessible. Use resources such as ConsumerReports.org and magazines such as Car and Driver. Look for online articles, like -“Cars that Can Last for up 250 000 Miles” in Forbes magazine and Autoblog.com’s post- “Our Picks for Best Used Vehicles Under $5000.” The earlier Honda CRV and Toyota Rav 4 are recommended for smaller SUV’s in these articles.
I encourage you to browse auction sites to see what is available. I used Dashub’s easy Advanced Search option to limit my viewing to vehicles between the years of 2000-2015 with current bids less than $5000. If your total budget is limited to $5000 keep in mind, that if the vehicle needs repair you also need to factor in that cost. In that case, you can set your search to a maximum current bid of $3000-$4000. I am certain that comparative searches of salvage available for auction versus used cars will result in a greater variety of choice for your “new” vehicle under $5000.