What is Beater Car? | How to Buy a Beater Car?

A beater is not junk. A beater is a car or truck you use up, something cheap that works reliably and is easy to fix when it eventually breaks. Beaters can be brand new or worn to the point that every bushing has dried to dust, and the paint has fled the bodywork. Beaters are the cars we use every day.

What is a Beater Car?

beater car is a vehicle that you run into the ground. These are typically older, high-mileage cars that still run well.

Although they may be a bit ugly to look at, they do the job of transporting their occupants from point A to point B, despite their cosmetic issues or minor malfunctions.

When properly maintained, it is not unheard of for a beater car to last for years and years. The costs of the Beater cars vary from $490 to $2,100 but might be more or less, depending on several factors.

Beater Car

A beater car has little intrinsic value, and while not “easy on the eyes,” a beater car is usually a smart choice for high-mileage commutes and general, everyday driving. Beater cars are seldom pretty, but they get “the job” done when it comes to transporting you and yours from here to there.

Some folks refer to their beater cars as their “daily drivers,” which are cars that they use just for the trip to and from work or even in the course of work, such as delivering food.

Why is it worth to buy a Beater Car?

The beater cars are worth to buy because of the following advantages:

1) Money Saving

Saving money is the most obvious reason to shop for a beater car. Whether you have limited funds available or you’re just trying to be a bit more frugal, you can absolutely buy a reliable car without breaking the bank.

Beaters are great because you can typically pay for them upfront in cash. If you don’t want to have a monthly car payment to worry about, buying a beater car is the logical choice.

Some drivers buy beater cars for everyday driving and put the money they’d ordinarily spend in savings so that they can afford their dream cars later on down the road.

2) Tax Savings

Finally, if you live in an area that requires you to pay vehicle taxes, you’re going to save money by driving a car with a lower Blue Book value. Taxes are generally assessed based on the value of the car, so a beater car with a low book value is going to be relatively inexpensive from a tax standpoint.

Again, beaters are just cheaper to own. It’s not just the lower initial buying price that saves you cash — owning a new car is expensive, even after you’ve paid it off. Cheap cars keep your bills down.

3) Insurance Savings

Another beater car advantage is that you’re able to get the minimum required insurance coverage, saving you even more money. If your car costs more than $5,100, you’re going to need full coverage vehicle insurance, which can cost as much as three times more than minimum coverage.

Driving a beater can actually save you thousands of dollars in car insurance expenses. That makes the low price of the beater car even more appealing. And because you’re not financing your beater car purchase, you don’t have to worry bout the bank or finance company demanding that you carry full coverage (collision and comprehensive) insurance on your purchase.

With a beater car, you need to make sure you meet your state’s minimum insurance requirements (and that you also choose a sufficient level of coverage to hedge against potential loss).

4) Lower Operational and Maintenance Costs

An old car will typically use cheaper gas compared to a newer car. Many modern vehicles sometimes require premium gas, and the cost of filling your tank can really add up over time.

Driving an old beater lets you reduce fuel costs, and that means more money in your pocket. In addition to cheaper gas, beaters typically have cheaper parts.

Cars from the 90s and 2000s have parts that are generally readily available, so if your check engine light comes on, you shouldn’t have to worry about a massive bill from your mechanic.

5) No Depreciation Worries

Beaters have also already gone through their depreciation phase, so you know the car value of your beater is going nowhere soon. Their odometers may have even “rolled over” already. They say that a car loses 20 to 30 percent of its value as soon as you drive it off the lot.

Older cars have already diminished in value over the years, so they’re not going to lose much value during your ownership period. In fact, you may even be able to resell your beater for close to what you paid for it. It’s hard to justify pricing a car for less than $490, even if you sell it for scrap at a local junkyard.

6) Peace of Mind

Beyond improving your personal finances, driving a beater car gives you peace of mind. You don’t have to worry about messing up your beater’s paint job, and dents and dings are no big deal. If your beater car has a problem that’s not worth fixing, you can buy a new beater.

While driving a nice car like a brand new Mercedes, BMW or Lexus may be enjoyable; you’re probably going to be paranoid about parking in a crowded lot. Most folks do not have that same type of affinity for their beater cars, so they don’t have to be overly cautious with them.

How to Buy a Good Beater Car

Not all batsmen are the same. A beater can save you a lot of money, but it can also cost you a lot of money if you’re not careful.

  1. Firsts, check the mileage. Cars that have been treated can last 200,000 miles or even more.
  2. If the vehicles in question have 200,000 miles on them, you should really only expect to last 50,000 miles or more, if you’re lucky.
  3. You will also want to research vehicle ownership history by doing a car history report.

 You must look at the following details to buy a good beater car. 

1) Ownership History

Typically, having one owner is a good sign for a beater car. While some dealers may sell beater cars but they may have come from auctions, so their history can be hard to trace.

Fewer owners lend a better likelihood of proper maintenance, and having many owners for a short duration is a warning sign that the vehicle may have issues.

2) Presale Inspection

Beaters are meant to save you money, but lemon cars will do the opposite. It’s vital to ensure you get a reliable beater, not one that will cause a host of issues. Before purchase, your final step should be a presale inspection from a third-party mechanic.

3) Maintenance Record

It’s normal for beaters to have small imperfections and signs of age and wear. However, you still want a well-maintained car. Ask for maintenance records and inspect the vehicle’s overall condition, inside and out, for major signs of serious damage.

4) Buy From Someone You Know

Ideally, buy a beater from someone you know personally or at least that a friend knows. You can still get a good beater from other sources, but finding a trusted seller is important.

5) Resale Value

Find out the resale value of the vehicle. If the seller is posting it for way less, there may be a reason. You could be getting a great deal from a seller that’s eager to offload the vehicle, but it’s worth proceeding with caution.

Beater Car Advantages

The beater car has the following major advantages:

  • Save Money: If you have a very limited budget, beaters are a great option for getting a reliable car. Due to their low-price points, you can often buy them in cash, avoiding the need for car loans and huge down payments.
  • Vehicle Taxes: Driving a car with lower resale value also helps save on vehicle taxes.
  • Worry-Free Driving: A minor scratch or ding isn’t a huge problem, and you can live without fixing many of them. You can still find a teen or new driver a reliable vehicle without worrying too much about them keeping it in pristine cosmetic condition.
  • Parts: Older vehicles typically have cheaper parts for replacements and repairs, and the parts are often readily available.
  • Lower Insurance: Since a beater cars’ value is low, you can get the minimum required insurance coverage. Vehicles that cost over $5,100 tend to require full coverage and can be up to 3x more expensive than minimum coverage.
  • Cheaper Gas: Many beaters use less expensive gas than modern vehicles with premium gas.
  • Past Depreciation: Cars diminish faster in their early years, so older cars won’t lose much more value than what you buy them for. Should you decide to resell your beater, you will likely be able to get close to what you paid for it.

Beater Car Disadvantages

1) Less Safety

New and modern cars are equipped with state-of-the-art safety systems and are made from more durable and safe materials. Older cars don’t have these, and what’s worse is that their natural systems and features are broken or not working properly.

You should always take care of the safety of everyone living in your car. If the car doesn’t have safe basics like tires, brakes, or lights, skip it.

2) Low Probability of Longer Trips

Driving beater cars on long journeys is not a good idea. This can be disastrous, and you will probably worry about many of its characteristics to your destination. What would you do if the car completely dies? You will be trapped. This is the reason why these cars are best for long driving.

3) Higher Risk of Fatal Malfunction

As cars get older and some beater as damaged, key parts like the engine, brakes, gasket, crankshaft, transmission or something important are prone to dying on you in the middle of your drive.

It is never safe and can land you in serious trouble. You may also need a new beater after such a scenario. So, make sure the car isn’t the worst you can find.

Best Beater Cars

  • Toyota Camry
  • Ford Focus
  • Honda Civic
  • Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute
  • Hyundai Elantra
  • Mercury Grand Marquis
  • Nissan Sentra
  • Chevrolet Cavalier
  • Ford Escort
  • Lincoln Town Car

FAQ Section

What is a beater car?

A beater car is high mileage and older vehicle that still runs efficiently. These types of cars don’t generate many problems and extensive repairs. These cars have low costs. Therefore, you can easily buy them.

What is the cost of a Beater Car?

The cost of the beater cars varies according to the area where you and type of brand. The average cost of the beater car is from $490 to $2,000.

Why are beater cars the best?

The beater cars have affordable costs. They have a too low price that you can buy them with cash. They have cheaper insurance, taxes, low repair and maintenance costs.

What are the advantages of a beater car?

  • These cars have low purchasing costs.
  • The parts of these cars have low costs.
  • It has low insurance costs.
  • The beater cars have high reliability.
  • It requires low maintenance.
  • Driving a beater car provides you peace of mind

What makes a good beater car?

  • Reasonable price
  • Trusted seller
  • Exterior and interior condition
  • Reliability
  • Maintenance history
  • Safety

When should I not buy a beater car?

If you want a car for a long trip or you don’t have much money for replacement or repairs transportation, a beater car may not be the ideal choice.

Are beater cars worth it?

If you take the time to study the beater cars, you can find a best reliable car at a low price. The Beater Car is a great second car or youth car.

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