Car Buying Q & A


Ask a question, get an answer; it's that simple

welcome aboard  feel free to post and answer questions


Forum: Car Buying Q & A
Start a New Topic 
Is it worth buying a used, old cargo van for $2000?


A week ago I knew completely nothing about car buying. Now I know almost nothing.

Thanks to hours of researching prices, this website in particular, forums and other websites I feel like I'm not drowning in a sea of information and have more confidence when looking for cars. It'll only grow from here on out. I've actually began growing an affinity towards cars, something I never imagined would happen.

I'm searching for an old cargo van to start a small moving operation, anywhere from '90 (V) to '03 (3 - ;) ) for moving student's belongings from dorms to apartments and apartments to houses and etc. So it's within the city. I don't expect to drive a lot. 20 miles max a day for peak season which is now and lasts about a month.

I've got a list of about 20 cargo vans from a 100 mile radius of where I live and am going to call them all so I can 1. touch base 2. get VINS 3. learn history + maintenance.

I want to filter out the vans whose owners' descriptions are congruent to Autocheck, consider my prices, check fluids then test drive. I have this information stored in an Excel spreadsheet and will then compare the cars on how I felt the drives went, of course using what I've learned from this website (60+ on highway, listen listen listen, look for veer / misalignment and brake).

My questions...

1. Is this futile? Buying a $1,000 - $2,000 old van with 120,000 - 200,000 miles... is it going to result in my just paying out the wahoo for repairs? I understand things go bad - that's how it is. I'm talking exorbitant repairs.

1b. I've done my homework. I understand the importance of maintenance... If a car is maintained well and has been repaired... does the above question still apply?

2. Out of the 20 vans I'm looking at...there's one in particular I like. It's a $1375 ASKING '97 Dodge B2500 Cargo Van Extended... It was commercially used as a work truck so I assume it received regular maintenance and then employees of said company bought it for personal use... It had two accidents... BUT one was in 1998 the another was 2003... The van has 200,000 miles on it. 30,000 of which occurred after 2007 so it's safe to infer that they were minor. I called the owner up and she said she didn't even know it had accidents until she bought the Autocheck report on eBay...

2b. New tires, new alternator and water pump last year, AC doesnt work nor do windshield wipers. AC is not important to me I do, however, expect to get the wipers repaired... If I buy.

As you can tell I want to POUNCE on this '97 B2500 and get my small business started ASAP.

Your thoughts?