Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Zane asks: As the title says, I thought of a fool proof way to learn manual that’s relatively cost effective and you’d only lose $100 or so if you count gas; The $1,000 Craigslist Civic.
Obviously, it’s not a new daily driver, it’s not the end all to be all. It’s basically you buy it for $1,000 cash (might be $1,300 before negotiation), drive it for a few weeks/months and then flip it, again just losing $100 or so on gas.
What do you think of that idea, good or no?
My reply: I think a clutch is a lot cheaper than a car!
Moreover, it’s my experience that one can teach a newbie how to drive stick without burning up the clutch. I’ve taught probably a dozen kids so far and the vehicles were still perfectly drivable after these kids learned how to drive them. I can’t recall any needing a new clutch, though service life was probably shortened in some cases.
In any event, a clutch job is much less expensive than buying a thrashed old car – which is likely to have an already- thrashed clutch, too. Plus everything else. Then factor in all the costs associated with titling and registering and getting emissions/safety certified.
Also, today’s beaters are not like yesterday’s.
Any car you can buy today for $1,000 is likely to be a candidate for the recycling yard – or the service garage.
25 years ago, a drivable beater purchased for the equivalent money could be driven for a couple of years or more without having to spend twice what it cost to buy to keep it running.
But beater modern cars – any cars priced in the $1,000 or so range are likely to need another $1,000-$2,000 of parts and labor to be made drivable and then more ongoing to be kept drivable.
I think it’s sounder policy to buy a $2,500 car in sounder overall shape that needs less to just get in and drive and is less apt to hit you with a huge expense within the first year of ownership.
Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!
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