Good Cars for Less Than $1,000

February 28, 2013

Finding cars for less than $1,000 dollars is a little difficult but far from impossible. Obviously if you are looking to purchase a car for less than $1,000 you are going to be shopping in the used market. When looking to purchase in this bracket, it is best to search the classified ads for an individual selling their personal car. It is unlikely that a dealership would offer a car this low and if you find one, it is probably not in very good condition. On the other hand, many individuals are happy to sell a relatively good quality car for less than $1,000 because it is often more than they would get as a trade-in at their dealership or simply because they have no use for it anymore.

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  • Kia: It is not unusual to find Kia's for less than $1,000, especially if you are willing to drive a standard. They have low resale value and are not popular trades for dealers. They really are not all that bad as a car and the company has been steadily improving its merchandise over the last decade. It is very possible to get a great Kia for less than $1,000, that will last you for a good stretch of time. The gas mileage is guaranteed to be great. As with most imports, Kia was making cars that got mileage in the 30's, two decades ago. Kia has many different models to choose from, including a luxury sedan, a minivan, and an SUV.
  • Hyundai Elantra: The Hyundai Elantra is highly praised as one of the best small sized sedans on the market. With a sticker price of less than $10,000 new, it isn't unusual to find one for less than $1,000 used. With Elantra you know you are getting quality. Of all the Hyundai models, the Elantra is the best known and highest praised.
  • Toyota Camry: Purchasing a used Toyota, even those that are 20+ years old, is usually not a bad investment. Used Toyotas tend to be a good investment because they are known for lasting a long time. Like most imports, Toyotas tend to get great gas mileage. The Toyota Camry is known for having a large percentage of its older models on the road at 20+ years, and 200,000+ miles. This isn't unusual at all. If you are able to find a Toyota with high mileage or a lot of years, you can usually get it for less than $1,000 and are unlikely to be disappointed. This is one car you can take a risk on when it comes to buying old or high mileage vehicles.
  • Honda: A wide variety of used Hondas can typically be found for less than $1,000, especially the standard transmission models. Five-speeds, stick shift, or standards tend to be cheaper only because they require a little bit more know how to drive than an automatic. Overall standard transmission vehicles are not that difficult to learn to drive and they tend to get better gas mileage than their automatic transmission twins. It isn't unusual to find a Civic, Accord, or Odyssey for less than $1,000 used and all three of these models are well known for lasting well past the 200,000 mile marker. Much like the Toyota, Honda's tend to be a good risk when it comes to high mileage or old age.
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Related Questions and Answers

When Selling Cars for $1,000 or Less, Do I Still Have to Report it as Income?

When selling cars for $1000 or less, you still have to report the sale of the vehicle as income if you made a profit on the vehicle. This even applies to personal vehicles that you owned for a period of time and then sold for $1,000 or less. You would file any profit from the vehicle on IRS schedule D. It also applies to a vehicle you bought as an investment and then sold. In most states, you would need a dealer's license to engage in such a practice, although you may be able to sell one or two vehicles a year without one.

Where can I Buy a Car for Less than $500?

Cars for less than $500, especially in working condition, are difficult to find. But with a bit of resolve, you may be able to locate one. There are several resources you can use to buy a car for less than $500. One place to start is eBay Motors. Use the advanced search feature and set your maximum price to $700 to $800. Look for "Buy it Now" listings in the range and try to haggle with the seller. Another option is finding a car for sale by its owner. An older vehicle with high mileage may have a low blue book value, and you may be able to pick one up in decent working condition for less than $500.

Are Cars Less than $1,000 Dollars Usually Salvaged Vehicles?

Newer cars less than $1,000 dollars are usually salvaged vehicles, or cars with major mechanical problems that would require a significant investment to return to the road. However, you may be able to find older cars for less than $1,000 in your local classifieds or on the Internet. Ideally, you'll look for cars in the $1,000 to $1,700 price range and try to persuade the seller to accept a price under $1,000. Because cars less than $1,000 are often older, have them inspected by a certified mechanic beforehand to determine what services or maintenance the vehicle requires.

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