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Why NOT to buy a cheap $500 or $1000 car as a F1 Student in MS ? Problems?

One of the tempting things when you are student is “thought of buying a very cheap car of $500 or $1000”. As an international student you have a hard time to move around on campus or city. It is hard to get groceries or go to any movie, mall, etc without having transportation like car. You will have to depend on seniors or other services provided by University to get groceries too.

Students get carried away by the deals that are posted online or offers from others posted in bulletin boards. It seems very tempting to buy a cheap car. But, trust me it is not worth it. In all reality, “You get what you pay for”.

Issues with a Cheap car of $500  :


First of all, buying an old used car itself is kind of lottery. You never know when your car is going to break down. Although Japanese old cars from Toyota, Honda and Nissan have been pretty reliable, you can never really count on a car.  The problem with Cheap cars that of “$500 or 1000 dollars”, is you do not know when they might stop on the road. It might seem fine, but all of a sudden it can break down. Just imagine, you do not have proper insurance to tow the car, you will have to spend at least $200 dollars to tow the car to mechanic. The mechanic after he looks at an old car, he gives you a long list of faults to correct and puts a big fat bill. You look at the big bill and say, it is more expensive than car and you give up.  So, your investment on the car is $700 already and you get nothing. Lets say you paid for insurance for 6 months, that is another $300 or so. Overall, your loss is $1000 dollars and you go nothing.  Although, sometimes people get away with old cars and move around. It is a huge risk. Do you really want to take that risk ? It might look cool to think of you as a Car owner to move around and may be attract some Indian girls to ask you for ride or help. But, guess what, it is not worth the risk. I have seen many students do the same mistake.

Maintaining  a car itself is a pain and to maintain a used car is much worse. Let me summarize the expenses of having a car.

Here are some of the expenses of having a car :

  • Insurance for car     – $300 dollars to $400 for 6 months based on your age and history
  • AAA or any other road side assistance if insurance does not give it. – $50 per year
  • Gas(petrol) for car   – $70 – $200 per month depending on how much you travel
  • Oil change and other maintenance – $30- $ 40 dollars for 3 months.
  • If it is a used car, you have other things like battery issues, timing belt issues, tires worn out, brake pads, Muffler – Cannot put a cost on these as it all varies. But definitely everyone of these are more than $100

Just imagine you spending all the money and buying a cheap car that lasts for a week or month…some may be lucky…but never trust luck if you know you are buying Junk ! Be safe than Sorry. You might be financially crippled if you end up into any problems.

In next posts, I will write about what would be decent used car to buy for a student or professional who is starting career. Also with all the criteria for buying car and what to look, etc.

Image Credits : http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c3/79-83_Toyota_Corolla.jpg

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  1. The remote control includes 3 different frequencies,
    and you can operate the car from up to 8 meters. Today, Parents magazine and car-buying platform
    Edmunds. The damage varies from vehicle to vehicle but can be as small as light hail damage which is barely visible through to damage caused by falling trees.

  2. //In next posts, I will write about what would be decent used car to buy for a student or professional who is starting career//

    Thanks for the valuable info…..expecting the next post…. 🙂


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