Tips, Tricks & Trends

5 Reliable Used Cars for Less Than $5,000

A 2005/2006 silver Honda Civic on display.

New cars can sometimes go for huge amounts of money. However, thanks to depreciation, you can still get your hands on reliable and quality vehicles that are within your budget. This article will look at five reliable options you can get for less than $5,000. But before that, let’s talk about what you should look for when shopping for a used vehicle.

What to look for in an older used car

First things first, always inspect the car in person. This allows you to get a good feel of the vehicle’s interior and exterior. Check for any possible rust, dents, and scratches. While small scratches shouldn’t be of concern, major dents might need repair.

As for the car’s interior, sit on all the seats to get a feel for them. Also, check for unusual wear and tear. If the interior smells musty, check under the carpets for the presence of leaks.

It is also vital that you take the car out for a test drive. Listen for any clicking or tapping sounds when the engine is on. Drive the vehicle on different roads and at varying speeds to check the car’s transmission. It is recommended that you have a trusted mechanic further inspect the car to uncover any issue that you might have missed.

Don’t forget to do your research, especially regarding the vehicle’s history. Use the car’s Vehicle Identification Number to find out all you need to know, such as the vehicle’s history report.

Reliable used cars under $5,000

While the maintenance and care of a car heavily determine its longevity, some vehicles are just built to last. It’s important to remember that each individual car is different but here are a few cars that generally provide the best reliability, according to Kelly Blue Book.

1. 2005 Honda Civic

Aside from the four-cylinder 1.7-liter engine the base model Civic came with, this 2005 model impressively combines refinement with a fun-to-drive attitude. The car is also one of the most fuel-efficient models on the market. You can go for a more practical four-door design or the sportier coupe. 

2. 2004 Toyota Corolla

The Corolla model from the Japanese car company is well known for long-term reliability. This is what makes the 2004 Toyota Corolla a great choice. This model is powered by a 4-cylinder engine and is available at a very reasonable price that will not exceed $5,000.

3. 2004 Honda Accord

The 2004 Accord is a model that will provide you with a ride that is quiet, reliable, efficient, and outstandingly smooth, all for no more than $5,000. The base 2004 model came fitted with a four-cylinder 2.4-liter inline-four engine coupled to a manual five-speed transmission with the front-wheel drive coming standard. You could also get one with a manual six-speed transmission.

4. 2003 Toyota Camry

As a testament to the car’s reliability, you would have to go all the way back to a 2003 model to find a Camry for less than $5,000. The 2003 Toyota Camry is a well-built, comfortable sedan that will serve you well despite its advanced age. The model also comes with a few modern features.

5. 2003 Toyota Avalon

Despite being a Toyota, the Avalon is actually developed and built in America to cater to the American market. The 2003 Toyota Avalon offers a spacious interior along with a comfortable and quiet ride. Aside from the vehicle’s reputation of reliability, it is also one of the best road-trip vehicles here.