Why beater cars are superior

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/10/05/why-beater-cars-are-superior.html



2006 Scion Xb


I appreciate the Morgan 3 wheeler shout out at the end. I’ve got a folder of reference photos for that one on my phone.


'02 Camry approaching 300k miles, here. Beaters 4 life!


When repair bills start looking like car payments, it is time to ditch the beater.
('99 Subaru Outback with 360k miles on it.)


I would still be driving my '85 Subaru GL sedan today if it hadn’t failed it’s last SMOG check. The cost to repair the emissions system far exceeded the car’s worth, though not in my heart. Even as I drove her to the dealer to trade her in for a replacement, she never stopped trying to please me. (sniff…)


Impressive! I’m driving my 2010 Prius into the ground so no one else will have to suffer it. Less than 150k miles right now. The suspension needs to be replaced, but the body is in excellent shape. I’m getting a new battery for my 2002 Acura next week (about 112k on that car) so we can tear the Prius apart at our leisure.


Do they have one in red?



Yup. Old old subies are my fav. AWD for $2500, drive it for 40k miles, and pawn the deathtrap off on someone else for $800-1200, rinse and repeat.


Before we got married, my wife bought a “heater and keys” just like the author - a 1994 Nissan Sentra base model with manual transmission. Paid something like $7000 brand new and we drove the ever loving shit out of that car. It looked like hell but it never failed us for more than 250k miles. I had it parked on the side of the house for about 10 months and the day we moved I went out and it fired right up on the first try. We finally gave it to a family member who drove it around without changing the oil and he eventually seized up the engine.

My new daily driver beater is a 2004 Toyota Tacoma with manual transmission, manual door locks and manual windows. The one thing I love more than having a reliable car that I don’t have to worry about every little ding or dent is not having a car payment!

My last car was a 2000 Infiniti that I bought new and personally put over 328,000 miles on it. I loved that car. It’s still driving around out there somewhere.


Don’t tell anyone I told you, but old Lexuses are where it’s at. Cheap, reliable luxury. Now shhh, don’t let it get around or you’ll drive up their price.


My rule for finding the cheapest per mile car is to check out what pizza delivery guys drive.

But for uber cheap spare car, we used to buy cars for $200 and drive them 3 months to 3 years. When something goes bad, off to the junkyard they go.

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YMMV (literally in this case) but all else being equal, I think the calculus changes a bit when you’re driving in a place with a significant winter and/or driving around kids.


I came very close to buying one of those but instead got a PT Cruiser because it had slightly better ground clearance.

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I bought a nice used PT Cruiser quite a few years ago, paid it off, and am still driving it at nearly 130K miles so far. Gas mileage is rather horrible, but I don’t drive much at all (especially since the pandemic) so I can live with that. Just had the thing washed and now you can see all the little dings in the paint job that the dirt was hiding, lol.

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Near the beginning of the pandemic, I saw a guy driving a 70s model VW Rabbit. Remarkably, it was in pretty good shape.


My 2004 Scion xB was one of my favorite cars. It had excellent visibility and handling. It beat the PT Cruiser for me because I could put my bicycle behind the rear seat and still seat 5 people inside. I drove that car for 10 years then passed it down to my son.


If it was a diesel, it’ll probably run forever.


Yes! Long live the beaters. I’m all for holding onto a car.


There’s nothing like the pleasure of pulling into a parking lot in Palo Alto or Los Altos with a beater. All the Teslas autopilots steer away from me.