Best $2k vehicle

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My mom has a 97 Ford Taurus with 60k that she bought for $950, worked well for over 2 years. The car is worth about $2k. The transmission is shot and think it will be about $1.5k to replace with re-manufactured unit. http://www.carcomplaints.com/Ford/Taurus/1997/transmission/ I told her it probably doesn't make sense to spend near the cars value on repairs. I am thinking a 2000+ Crown Vic with 100k-ish miles on it for the $2k price range. She doesn't drive a lot, 10 miles each way to work. Anything else I should consider that will be reliable?
 
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Boils down to individual condition. I'd look at a 2004 taurus, they beefed up the trans and set the engine to lose power mid-shift. But 20 years of bad reputation for their trannies have them in the resale dumpster. If she doesn't mind going down-size, a post 04 ecotec cavalier, malibu (classic), cobalt, ion. Or a dodge neon-- I just got an 05 for $1000.
 
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The best $2000 car is the one that runs and drives good and can pass inspection. For cheap cars in that price range, it's more about condition than what kind of car it is.
 
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Originally Posted By: eljefino
Boils down to individual condition. I'd look at a 2004 taurus, they beefed up the trans and set the engine to lose power mid-shift. But 20 years of bad reputation for their trannies have them in the resale dumpster. If she doesn't mind going down-size, a post 04 ecotec cavalier, malibu (classic), cobalt, ion. Or a dodge neon-- I just got an 05 for $1000.
The 4th generation Taurus wasn't that bad, other than severe rust and crudding up the coolant. They are worth absolutely nothing because of fleet sales too. So you can pick up a good one for not much money.
 
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Originally Posted By: mikefxu
Anything else I should consider that will be reliable?
Just this. Inspect the cars very carefully. On an older, $2000 used car, it won't take much for you to quickly find $1500 worth of needed repairs, thus ruining your plan.
 
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Originally Posted By: L_Sludger
you never see those old tauruses on the road because of those transmissions.
while I'm not arguing that there were some real lemons, my personal experiences with 3 tauri of that era (a 96 my buddy bought w/ 120k on it, his Grandma's 97 Sable, and my lmom's 99) the transmission was the one thing that never had a problem. The 96's rear strut towers rusted out, and the whole rear end collapsed summer of 2010, the other 2 were sold/traded in around then, still running like champs.
 
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If the engine is good, and no rust, why not replace the transmission? Might cost more to replace the car, and then you have a new vehicle with unknown problems.
 
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I would not pick a specific brand(except avoid euro) at this price point. I would find the best vehicle you can as condition is all that matters. $2000 could yield you a maintained vehicle or a neglected vehicle with all sorts of expensive issues lurking. IF you cannot assess the car yourself have your mechanic do it. The cars I have personally sold in the $1000-$2000 range(AS-IS) typically need about $1500-$2500 in work.
 
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Quote:
My mom has a 97 Ford Taurus with 60k that she bought for $950, worked well for over 2 years. The car is worth about $2k.
Is there a typo here? If you can buy a $950 car and use it for 2 years and then think it will sell for $2K, why not buy a $5K car for $2K now?
 
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Originally Posted By: mikefxu
My mom has a 97 Ford Taurus with 60k that she bought for $950, worked well for over 2 years. The car is worth about $2k.
Not around here, it's not. Not even with a good transmission. I don't say that to knock your car, but to say that even with a $500 used transmission, I don't think you'd be able to recoup your money. The fact that you can get a MY2000 Panther for $2 grand tells me that your Taurus is likely worth about $1000-1200. I completely agree with your recommended course of action. You got 2 years' worth out of it for $950. You probably did pretty good. Cut it free for scrap value or even see if you can get back what you paid and move on.
 
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Any car with a manual transmission instead.Just try to find an old Taurus MT5 model...lol
 
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Originally Posted By: NHGUY
Any car with a manual transmission instead.Just try to find an old Taurus MT5 model...lol
There are some beaters out there with good automatics... the 4 speed Aisin Warner in Jeep XJs, volvos, and Toyota cressidas. The 3 speed (AW?) in 2000 era Corrollas and Prizms. Bonus is they have timing chains, negative that they burn oil. OP is out of the rust belt and actually down in geezer country so find an estate sale and snap something else up like an early 90s Lesabre.
 
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I always find it strange for people to say their car is worth $X and it needs $X amount of work. Isn't it worth scrap value unless someone is willing to put the $$ in to fix it? It's hard to image a car with a bad transmission to be worth $2k but need $1.5k of work.
 
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Buick Park Avenue or LeSabre, 1997-2005 time frame? For that matter the Regal or Century from the same period might be good choices too.
 
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