How to buy an old junker.
By A.J. Telamon

Buying a junker is like dating a prom queen: it's a miracle if you ever get her back to your place more than once.

How to buy an old junker.


How can you get 10 grand's worth of happiness from a $500 gamble?

Buy a bunch of lottery tickets. Because you'll never get it from a junker somebody else has already trashed.

The Main Thing: If you know what you’re doing, you know to bring cash. It talks sweeter. If you don’t know what you’re doing, pay with something that will buy you a little time if the car dies on your way home. Because buying a junker is an act of crazy optimism. Somebody — or many  people — have already sunk thousands of dollars into the thing. Now it’s junk. What makes you think you’re Mr Lucky?

All you can do is hedge a bad bet. Here’s a bit of advice.

Before you buy the car, take it to a trusted mechanic. And if you don’t have a trusted mechanic, one of your friends does. Once you take it to the mechanic, he will know what to do. He might do it even better and faster if you show up with a six pack of beer.

Once it’s yours, here are three other things you should immediately do:

  1.               Insure it. You bought it. Don’t make somebody else pay for your mistake when the steering wheel comes off in your hands.
  2.             As soon as you get the thing on the road, go to the closest oil change place and get all the necessary fluids and filters checked and changed. See what we say about cars and their fluids elsewhere. Hint; change ’em.
  3.             Get decent tires. But how will you know what kind of tires to get? The first guy you should ask is your new best friend, your trusted mechanic. You can also go back to the same guy who introduced you to your new mechanic, and ask him where he buys his tires and then let the experts at that tire shop guide you.

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