U.S. Mechanic Shares His Top Three Used Car Picks That Are Cheap and Reliable, One's a V8

Multiple Older Cars at an Event 6 photos
Photo: Parker Gibbs on Unsplash
Scotty Kilmer and the HondaScotty Kilmer and the HondaVolvo XC90's V8Scotty Kilmer and the Volvo XC90's V8Toyota Corolla's "Bulletproof" 1.8-liter Engine
Buying a car right now could be a headache. Prices are still high, parts sourcing continues to be a problem, and dealers don’t keep an inventory anymore. Everything that’s on the lot is either sold or in the process of being sent to an owner. Add the chip shortage to all this, and you get a recipe for the perfect storm. But there are some options left, according to this well-known mechanic.
The current car market is a buyer’s nightmare. It’s almost impossible to get a vehicle at the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP). Moreover, the problems caused by shipping and sourcing have influenced the used car market – prices skyrocketed unexpectedly and remain high to this day.

So, what can someone with little cash available and in need of personal transportation do? According to Scotty Kilmer, there are some cars worth buying that won’t bring you many problems. They’re cheap and reliable, and only one of the recommended ones is a Toyota.

The mechanic-turned-YouTuber recommends the 2007 Honda Civic, even though he admits the Japanese automaker didn’t do a very good job with the paint. It might need some care, especially if the previous owner kept it a lot in the sun or a humid environment. Kilmer argues the Civic requires simple fixes and the engine will continue running if service is done at the proper intervals. Just make sure it doesn’t leak too much oil and it hasn’t been involved in a crash beforehand – fixing the airbag system might cost more than the car.

The second budget-friendly option is a V8-powered Volvo XC90. Since Kilmer is known to have a soft spot for vehicles or parts made in the land of the rising sun, it’s no wonder he’s including the Swedish vehicle in his top three used car picks.

While it may cost a pretty penny to fill the gas tank to the brim nowadays and the mileage won’t be that great, the mechanic argues the engine is what makes this SUV a solid choice. He says it was designed by Volvo, but manufactured by Yamaha in Japan. There was even a racing version of this engine used in other models. Just beware of the pre-2006 units that have a delicate balance shaft bearing. Its seal might get easily destroyed and replacing it is costly. It was implemented to eliminate vibrations coming from the transverse-mounted V8 with a smaller bank. It has a 60-degree angle instead of a 90-degree one, that’s generally smoother.

Last but not least, the American mechanic argues the 2007 Toyota Corolla is another very good option for people who just need a car and don’t care about looks. Kilmer points out that the only thing needed here is enough engine oil. He even says these vehicles could run “indefinitely” if the driver makes sure to not overheat the engine. The mechanic calls the power unit "bulletproof" hinting that it could take a while before it gives out.

Finally, if you’re about to buy a cheap, used car that can serve you faithfully for at least two or three years, make sure you check the four things that matter most before you close the deal. These simple steps could save you a lot of future trouble.

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About the author: Florin Amariei
Florin Amariei profile photo

Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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