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I currently have a 1995 Dodge neon. Because my car is over ten years old, I am nervous about driving it any distance. I have saved $3,000 and am looking to purchase a used car that is fuel efficient as well as dependable and no older than a 1998-99. Do you think I'm being unrealistic?

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Patricia J Roberts, Director Business Development  at, Inc. There are several web sites you can visit for used car value and price information: Auto Trader, Edmunds, CarMax. Note that due to the economy, Used Cars have increased in value as many people are buying used vs. new. Vehicles these days are built to last if they are maintained. It is not unusual for people to have 100,000K miles on their vehicle depending on care and usage. Have you had your vehicle thoroughly inspected by a qualified business location or mechanic? It may be that all you need to do is some maintenance to make your vehicle up to date.

Patty Streeter,  at Other than the fact that your vehicle is 10 years old why do you not trust it? Is it a high mileage vehicle? Has it had a lot of problems? Does it need a lot of repairs? Most vehicles in the $3000 price range will be older than 98 or 99 model years. there are some deals out there to be had but make sure you have a pre-purchase inspection done at the dealer or with an ASE certified technician. Patty

Jessie L Thatcher, F&I and Sales Specialist at Reynolds and Reynolds Company  (Retired) You should get the newest car you can possibly get for your money. Use the $3000 for a substantial down payment, make sure you have your financing complete BEFORE you go to a dealership to buy a car. Make sure it is a CERTIFIED used car and has a minimum of 6 month warranty before you take delivery. Always have a used vehicle checked out by a trusted source before you put down your money.

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