What's the best beater car for a cabin?

Discussion in 'General Automotive Discussion' started by Husker, Feb 8, 2008.

  1. Husker

    Husker F1 Veteran
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    Dec 31, 2003
    western hemisphere
    I need a DEPENDABLE beater car that I can use at my cabin about 5-6 weeks out of the year. I need something roadworthy that I can haul the family around in. I spent $1300 last year on car rentals and I figure if I could find something decent for $4-5 grand it might be worth it.

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  3. BT

    BT F1 World Champ
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    Mar 21, 2005
    FL / GA
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    Bill Tracy
    Maybe a 2000-2001 Mazda 3?
    Insurance and repairs might easily run you $1300 per year if the car is going to sit for 46 weeks.
  4. parkerfe

    parkerfe F1 World Champ

    Sep 4, 2001
    Cumming, Georgia
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    Franklin E. Parker
    An old Subaru,reliable, good on gas and with AWD very useful in inclement weather and on dirt roads/trails, ect...
  5. GatorFL

    GatorFL Moderator
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    Nov 18, 2005
    Wellington, FL
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    We always drive to our cabin. Had an old Highlander we were going to leave up there so we could fly in but after doing the math, it didn't make sense to keep it. Paying the rental fee is probably your best bet.
  6. Bullfighter

    Bullfighter Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Jan 26, 2005
    Fullerton, California
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    Two-year old Aston or Maserati.


    I had a Jeep Liberty until recently -- not the last word in luxury or performance, but it was flawlessly reliable, cheap to service and maybe depreciated enough to be in the range you mentioned.
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  8. GrigioGuy

    GrigioGuy Splenda Daddy
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    Nov 26, 2001
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    Chris P. Bakon
    4x4 Suburban, or Landcruiser
  9. Husker

    Husker F1 Veteran
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    Dec 31, 2003
    western hemisphere
    The insurance isn't an issue - my local agent said just call him when I'm heading out and he'll insure it for as little as 2 days at a time for like $1 a day.

    I was actually eyeing a 1995 Lexus LS400. I would think one of those might be a real comfortable car and good for 1000 miles a year. I've seen several with around 150K miles for around $5K.

  10. tundraphile

    tundraphile F1 Rookie

    May 16, 2007
    I would vote for an old Explorer/Mountaineer. Dirt cheap to buy, reasonably roomy and comfortable, and the one we had for four years had zero problems.

    Whatever car you decide on, I would think taking precautions to ensure the battery stayed charged after sitting a long time would be a good idea. I wonder if the newer cars in general can tolerate a marginal battery without screwing something up in the electronics.
  11. SMS

    SMS F1 Veteran

    Jan 7, 2004
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    Bill S.
    Where is your cabin, what are the roads like, will it sit outside there 365 days, how many do you need to hold, will it bee needed to tow or haul anything?
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  13. Husker

    Husker F1 Veteran
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    Dec 31, 2003
    western hemisphere
    Car would be in a double garage, and I'd just disconnect the battery when I leave. Roads are fine. Paved and gravel.
  14. solofast

    solofast Formula 3

    Oct 8, 2007
    Newer is better, less hassles with things that are rubber rotting...

    Look for something with high mileage relative to its' age. If you aren't going to put many miles on it each year you can "catch up" on the depreciation curve by finding somehing with relatively high mileage and it won't depreciate much while you have it. Also, if you are looking at a high mileage car that is relatively new, it has probably seen mostly highway miles, and those are easy miles in terms of wear and tear.

    I found a 2003 Mitusbishi Diamante with 90k miles on it for $6200 for my 16 yr old son a six months ago. Not perfect, the bumper covers had a couple of nicks and scratches on them, but the car is sound and runs great. But hey, new it was an over $30,000 car that was only four years old at the time... Not a forever car, but it will for sure get him thru high school...

    One other problem you will have with a car sitting a lot is that things go bad from not being used enough. Batteries go bad, belts and seals dry up... Not a big an issue if the car is relatively new, but as it ages, things can leak and it can be more of a headache than if you just rent. Maybe if you put a battery tender on it or have somebody go over and start it once a month, it may be better.
  15. darth550

    darth550 Five Time F1 World Champ
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    Jul 14, 2003
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    Have you considered either an Audi or Volvo AWD wagon?
  16. WJHMH

    WJHMH Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Sep 5, 2001
    Panther City, Texas
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    Fj60 series Toyota Land Cruiser, a very dependable vehicle. A good friend of mine uses them for hunting & fishing tours.
  17. Simon^2

    Simon^2 F1 World Champ
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    Oct 17, 2005
    At Sea Level
    Rent! they give you basically new car and wont give you any trouble...

    do you really want to be taking a car in for service while you are there? and it'll prob go in at least 1x/year. that means 20% of youR trips their will involve dealing with the car.

  18. Pantera

    Pantera F1 Rookie

    Nov 6, 2004
  19. agup48

    agup48 Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 15, 2006
    Full Name:
    Yup, I was going to say Jeep Grand Cherokee, you might want to get a SUV thats 4X4, so you dont get stuck if it snows. Don't get a car that would get stuck in snow or rocks and brushes.
  20. 62 250 GTO

    62 250 GTO F1 Veteran

    Jan 9, 2004
    Nova Scotia Canada
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    So when you're not at the cabin, is the car sitting for a few months at a time? New cars don't like this so I can imagine what a beater will think of it!

    I say rent or take the wifes car.
  21. Chicane

    Chicane F1 Rookie

    Jan 17, 2007
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    Dirk Diggler
    Cheap Chevy 4X4 or Jeep.
  22. Mang

    Mang F1 Rookie
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    Jul 11, 2007
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    Mike S.
    jeep wrangler....loads more fun than the cherokee...
  23. djui5

    djui5 F1 Veteran

    Aug 9, 2006
    Phoenix, Arizona
    My advice would be either and old Subaru AWD, and Audi AWD.
  24. 62 250 GTO

    62 250 GTO F1 Veteran

    Jan 9, 2004
    Nova Scotia Canada
    Full Name:
    Old Sub's and Aud's can be very costly to repair. I say old Honda, less likely to have a problem and if they do it will most likely be cheaper to repair.
  25. agup48

    agup48 Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 15, 2006
    Full Name:
    Hold on, wheres the cabin going to be, if its like in a wooden area or someplace your going to be going off-road in, or if its just a grassy area with a paved road. I ask because people are mentioning cars, and others SUVs. I am guessing your not going to be going off road as you are eyeing a Lexus.

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