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I was in an accident last week that has left my car totaled. This is in some ways a blessing. Insurance will pay off the remainder of my loan and I no longer have a car payment.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"> But I do need to replace the car. I considered going without, but we do not live in a pedestrian friendly area. So I have always bought new cars from the dealer. My financial situation isn't stellar right now. My credit's not great and I don't really want another loan. I have about $2000 that was earmarked to pay down debt, but I'm thinking will go to purchasing a car. I can then use the money that would go toward a car payment to pay off debt. I need something that will accomodate 3 carseats. I don't even know how to go about looking. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. And time is of the essence considering I could have a baby any day now.
 

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I would look on cars.com and craigslist. Buying privately doesn't have to be a nightmare. You do NEED to do your homework though. Get a CARFAX report for any car you are considering. I think you can get unlimited reports for 30 days for like $29.99, its so worth it.<br><br>
Also for any model of car you are considering getting do a google search like this "1995 Volvo 850 Wagon + consumer reviews". It will pull up reviews from people who own the car and give you an idea of reliability, ect..<br><br>
My DH and I bought a new to us car just a couple weeks ago and I can't tell you how many cars I pulled CARFAX reports on and found out they had been in an accident, salvaged, failed emissions whatever and the owners tried to act like it wasn't true, yeah right.<br><br>
All that said we decided to get an older Volvo wagon and it has been a great choice for us. For your price range you could probably get a good Volvo 240 or one of the early model Volvo 850's. They will have higher miles but a Volvo that has been treated right will run for a long time. Good luck <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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This one looks nice<br><br><a href="http://cnj.craigslist.org/car/603388864.html" target="_blank">http://cnj.craigslist.org/car/603388864.html</a>
 

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I totally agree with PP! That's exactly what we've done. We've bought 2 cars from cars.com - it was so nice for us when we lived rurally with not much selection - that we could type in how far we were willing to drive to get the car, so it did all the looking for us <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> We bought our last car from Craigslist.<br><br>
I love my Toyota Previa, and I know they go for around 2K (it's the older model of the Sienna). I fit 5 carseats in it. Mine's a '93.
 

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edmunds.com has reviews and ratings from actual owners.<br><br>
in addition to carfax, i'd have a trusted mechanic (or a good friend who knows a lot about cars) come look at it. when i bought a 10 year old car a few years ago, i had my grandfather look at it with me. he had been a mechanic for years. he was pulling dipsticks, smelling the different fluids, examening the color of the exhaust, putting it into the different gears (to see if the transmission slips), and so on.<br><br>
ask to see service records too. some dealerships can look up all the service done there by the VIN. (they may not let you see it, but they can tell you if it looks like the car has had all maintenance done, etc.)<br><br>
since you're up north, be careful not to get anything *too* old since it might have some structural issues due to rust. and stuff like brakes rust out before they wear out up here too.<br><br>
oh, and bring all of the car seats with you when you check out cars. at least a midsize car would be able to fit 3 car seats in back. (i'd recommend getting an older S series saturn like i have, but there isnt much room between the 2 car seats i have, so i doubt you'd be able to fit a 3rd one.)
 

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I second having a mechanic look at any car you are seriously considering. We did that with the Volvo we just bought too.
 

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we went through our local tiny newspaper and bought a 96 subaru for $3500. best purchase ever. years with no car repairs, etc. everyone else I know with an old subaru has the same experience- no repair fees.
 
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