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Most Reliable 200K Mile Car for $500?

Buy a car with 200,000 miles on it for $500 and in need of multiple repairs and maintenance services? Only if the car is among the most reliable to buy recommends this expert.

If you are going to buy used, then aside from having a pre-purchase inspection make sure that used car model has a proven history as one of the most reliable used cars made. The reason for this is that often the damage you see is  cosmetically superficial, but functionally easily repairable with some effort, a recommended car repair manual, and a little luck.

Related article: The Most Reliable Car That You Can Abuse

An Old Beater Car that Turned Out to Be a Price Beater

Here is a good demonstration of a car that turned out to be a diamond in the rough that was bought cheap despite the fact it had a lot of miles on it and was in obvious need of multiple repairs and maintenance services to get it back on the road as a daily beater driver.

And with less than $1,000 to make it happen.

That was the focus of a recent Project Farm YouTube channel episode where the host takes a friend’s $500-find and shows what can be done and how to go about putting new life into an old car that has seen better days.

What's in The Video Summary

In the video you will discover:

  • How an inexpensive Onboard Diagnostics scan tool is a good starting point toward assessing what might be wrong with the engine.
  • Critical features such as the drive axel system including the struts and wheel bearings are a must for repair and replacement in an older car.
  • A reminder to avoid breathing in harmful drum liner dust when servicing the rear brakes.
  • A quick but easily followed brake replacement that you can find closely follows most car repair manuals.
  • How to test brake fluid for moisture and use a one-man brake fluid drain and replacement kit.
  • The ease of simple shock absorber replacement.
  • Testing and replacing engine coolant along with switching out the old thermostat with a new one.
  • How to clean a still working Mass Air Flow Sensor to save money and improve how the engine runs.
  • Why flushing is needed when replacing old transmission fluid rather than simply draining it and pouring in new fluid.
  • Basic spark plug replacement with the reminder to use dielectric grease.
  • How to measure the health of your car battery.
  • Why a towel is an important tool for changing windshield wiper blades.
  • How to cheaply improve your headlights for greater visibility.
  • How to repair windshield chipping to avoid a growing crack.
  • Sundry cosmetic fixes that cost little but make a big difference in a car’s appearance.
  • What model this $500-find was, plus two non-Japanese traditional American models the host owns and has served him well for many miles.

The Value of This Video

The value of this video and its summary is that it shows that not all used cars should be skipped on appearance alone and the improvements made are supported by useful links in the summary on several of the repairs shown.

In Case You Want to Skip the Video

Just in case you want to know what the make and model of this $500-find success story was about, skip ahead to the spoiler alert below the video. In addition, the host also offers his recommendations of traditional U.S. cars he owns that has served him well because he takes the time and effort to ensure they are properly maintained.

Most Reliable 200K Mile Car? Let's Settle This!


Spoiler Alert

The host’s demonstration car and other recommendations include:

  • The 200,000-mile wonder car demonstrated in the video is a 2008 Honda Civic.
  • A 2003 Chevrolet Suburban with over 300,000 miles on it is a non-Japanese recommendation by the host.
  • A 2000 Buick LeSabre with over 257,000 miles on the original engine and transmission is another vehicle that has served him well over the years.

For additional articles about reliable cars, here are a few for your consideration:

Timothy Boyer is an automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on  “Zen and the Art of DIY Car Repair” website, the Zen Mechanic blog and on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites  and Facebook for daily news and topics related to new and used cars and trucks.

COMING UP NEXT: Used Ford Truck Models You Can Fix and Save Money

Image source: Deposit Photos