What Is a Beater Car? Who Should Get It? Benefits & Downsides

Do you know about car beater? Despite not having heard the term Beater or driven one in your lifetime, chances are you have owned or driven one. It is the old hand-me-down, the junker car that hasn’t been loved in at least a decade. The car has failed to keep up the pace with the new ones. There are a lot of reasons to buy a Beater car for the middle-class family. People like me who run their home on a tight budget can think of a beater car.

what car beater should get benefits best beater cars
What car beater should get benefits best beater cars

Those doomed to living in old, ugly, dented, fuel-guzzlers and those who can afford better rides have a huge difference in how they maintain their vehicles. Cars that do not perform normal maintenance and you could suffer an accident, break down or lose money.

Beater cars may even have a salvage title, meaning that they have been in a serious accident in the past and have been declared a loss by the insurance company. Usually, Hondas, Toyotas, and Nissans are popular beater cars because they are reliable, cheap, and simple to own, repair, and maintain.

Define Beater Car

Everybody has a different definition of what a beater car is, but in general, they share some common characteristics.

When you say beater car, you mean an older, high-mileage car that is intended to get you to your destination. They usually come with cosmetic issues and some small malfunctions, so you can get one at a bargain price.

Several are in poor condition, both aesthetically and mechanically, and should be avoided. Some are good-looking and drive well, but they are still old and have seen a lot of wear and tear. As the price is lowered and the car feels and looks worse, it is more likely to die in the middle of the road.

Proper Reason of Purchasing Beater Car

If you are a new driver, a college student, or anyone without a car loan, a beater car is a great way to secure reasonable transportation. If you can’t get financing because of your credit score, or if you don’t think you will qualify for financing, you can purchase beater cars for cash. People often prefer not to have a monthly vehicle payment as it is a smart financial decision.

Beater cars are used by many people for work because they are affordable and can be used for hauling tools and other things without worrying about damaging the seats or scratching the paint job. Some homes keep a beater car in their garage for tasks they don’t want to do with their daily driver, like moving furniture or picking up the Christmas tree every year. Some also keep the car around to teach teen drivers the rules of the road.

A beater car is a great first car to learn to drive in because your teenager will not hurt your family’s pocketbook if it gets smashed, dented, or otherwise damaged. Before buying an expensive vehicle, many households also want to teach their kids the responsibility of caring for a basic car.

Merits of Beater Car

Low Maintenance: In general, better cars require less maintenance than newer, more expensive automobiles. These vehicles are not equipped with microprocessors, sensors, and other computerized parts that are easily damaged and require expensive repairs.

Compared to newer vehicles, older vehicles have fewer electronics that can malfunction and require less maintenance, such as oil changes and tire rotation. They are also easier to replace than newer ones. A new car can require repairs every three thousand miles to remain in good working order. Older cars can operate with less preventive maintenance.

Pay low Cash: Any normal person would cringe when they see the price tag on a new car. Most consumers purchase a new car with a loan, despite the fact that there are several financing options available today. They will continue to pay for their car even after they have stopped driving it.

Buying a new car also often involves trading in your old one. When you buy a beater vehicle outright, you avoid these problems and gain the benefits of owning a paid-off vehicle right away. Unlike paying on a loan or obtaining a loan, you won’t be responsible for anything.

Cheaper Parts: Old cars are hard to find parts for, but we don’t want to deal with cars from the 1970s and 1980s. Ideally, we would like a car with an old-fashioned appeal similar to those of the 1990s and early 2000s. Junkyards still carry these parts in abundance, and in fact, they are easier to find than those for newer cars. Junkyards contain parts for pennies on the dollar, and a used car is much more likely to be found at one than a new one.

Less Fess in Registration: Depending on your state, you may have to pay vehicle registration fees when you buy a new car. Most states base their registration fees on the car’s value, but other states base them on several factors. If you buy a used car rather than a new one, you will pay less for the vehicle, so your registration costs will be lower.

Minimum Insurance Coverage: Getting full coverage car insurance is a good idea if you buy a car worth more than the loan on it. When compared with the minimum coverage a beater could get away with, this often doubles and even triples your insurance bill. Having a car that only needs minimal insurance will save you plenty over the course of a year.

Simplicity: Traditionally, older cars are easier to repair, and beaters are no different. If you are looking for one, you should search for the simplest example possible. The simpler the car, the fewer things it needs to maintain and repair. Learn where the term Roll Down the Window originated with manual windows and door locks, or take advantage of the Millennial Anti-Theft Device, otherwise known as a manual transmission, with beaters.

Less Tax: You can lower your tax bill by using a low valued car compared to a more valuable car if you live in a state that requires you to pay car taxes.

Repair Ease: Older model cars give you the advantage of being able to repair them yourself. You can easily fix them since the parts are still available for them. You can easily find an affordable alternator at an auto parts store or online if, for instance, you have a maruti omni with a bad alternator.

Additionally, you can easily fix a beater car by yourself if you are willing to get your hands dirty and go through some trouble. On the internet you will find numerous tutorials and information to assist you in repairing your beater car.

Freedom: Well, you can understand that this is a stretch, but think of how much freedom you have with a beater. It’s really not that important if you back into a wall, get hit by a car door in the parking lot or get run over by a shopping cart. You don’t have to worry about it getting scratched or totaled like you do if you have a more expensive car.

Low Depreciation: Better cars tend to retain more value than newer ones, so they can be good investments. Even if you are the most responsible driver ever, making sure to get your car regularly serviced and oil changed, it will still depreciate over time. Furthermore, depreciation can rapidly accumulate with a luxury or sports car.

You will immediately save money by buying a beater car. A 10 year-old car might only lose a few hundred dollars in depreciation each year. Used cars have already reached their maximum depreciation. When you decide to sell it or trade it later, you won’t lose nearly as much value.

Demerits of Beater Car

Bad Looking: Remember, beater cars aren’t always an aesthetically pleasing choice. Rust, dents, or other aesthetic issues often accompany them. Old and disrepair beaters are also available. When a car is beat up, you can only do so much to improve its appearance.

Not Ideal for Long Travels: It is unwise to use batters for long-distance travel because they are unreliable. Long-distance travel can be uncomfortable in a vehicle without the amenities you need. Most beaters don’t come with air conditioning, power windows or locks, or other modern conveniences that could make long-distance driving more comfortable.

If you have to have your beater towed when it breaks down, it may be more expensive than driving a more reliable vehicle in the first place.

No Guaranty or Warranty: If anything goes wrong with the car, you will have to pay for the entire repair bill. When a car looks good from the outside, there can be problems under the hood. If you own a cheap beater for a long time, you may have to spend more money on repairs.

Tires can be replaced, brakes can be fixed, and oil can be changed regularly. These maintenance costs are in addition to regular maintenance of the Beater car. Getting a newer car with fewer issues will cost you less than paying for major repairs every two years.

Reliability Issue: You are more likely to incur unexpected repair costs with a beater car than with a newer model. Additionally, beater cars tend to break down more frequently than new car. In spite of a good maintenance program, some breakdowns still occur, such as engine failures or transmission problems.

Well-maintained newer cars often require only routine servicing for many years, while beater ones may need major repairs.

The cost of maintaining an older car is significantly higher than if you bought a new one. When that happens, it’d be best for you to get an entirely new beater. You could blow an engine, transmission, or something else. Unlike a new car or even a used car from a lot, you won’t be getting warranties with your vehicle. 

How to Fix a Beater Car?

The problem with beater cars is obviously they will need to be fixed at some point, whether it’s as simple as a light bulb or more complicated like a spark plug or sensor. If you’re looking for ways to save money on mechanical repairs, here are some suggestions.

Self Repair: The best solution for you to fix a beater car is self repair.Even if you are not an expert in cars, you can replace things like sensors, headlights, and even radiators yourself. Most repairs can usually be easily followed with videos and articles found online as part of a simple search.

Wheel Cover: A steering wheel cover can improve the overall appearance of your car, as batters have a bad habit of wearing out their steering wheels.

Floor Mats Detachment: When you have new mats that will greatly improve the interior, you should get some new floor mats as well.

Proper Cleaning: The car probably smells bad if someone smoked in it previously or kept dogs in it. You might as well get that out of the way with a deep clean, or at least cover it up with some air fresheners.

Cleaning the outside and inside of the car is essential. Every time you put your hands on the steering wheel, handles, or anywhere else in the car, it works wonders to clean up crumbs and remove dirt.

The simple act of cleaning up the probably foggy headlights can make a significant difference on a beater.

How to Buy a Beater Car?

You have to be very careful when you choose and maintain a beater car if you decide to go with one. You might consider beater cars to be inexpensive, but if you overlook these steps, you might fall victim to very big scams and end up paying a lot more.

Assessment: The beater car you own must be carefully assessed whether it is worth fixing any issues, or whether it is more beneficial to simply buy a new one.

The first thing you need to consider when you shop for a beater car is what your major aim is in purchasing this car. If you are looking for a beater to take advantage of in winter instead of scratching your expensive vehicle or ruining it, you will probably need a different shop search than if you are simply searching for an inexpensive vehicle. The beater cars you should be looking for are those that function properly in winter.

Car Mileage Checking: 200,000 miles is the maximum mileage cars can achieve. In addition to deciding what beater car you want to buy, you should also consider the other factors below. Some cars won’t make it to 180,000 miles while others can make it to 250,000 miles.

Car history of Owner: You can find out how many owners there were by looking at the history of ownership. Cars with less damage are more likely to have been well maintained by owners who cared for them. Many owners may indicate the vehicle had a lot of problems that made people tired of fixing it, and thus sold it.

Ask the Car Owner: Buying an old car from a friend or a family member is the best option. That may not always be the case, though. It is important to learn about the owners and make sure they are trustworthy before buying a used car. 

You can ask them with a straight face like why they are selling the car. There will be few trustworthy answers like traveling overseas, buying a brand-new car, financial issues, leaving the country forever & much more.

Valuation of Kelly Blue Book: The Kelly Blue Book can tell you the reasonable price for the beater car you want to buy. Online deals can be identified or flagged based on this information. If a car is listed for sale for a very low price compared to the Kelley Blue Book, then this might indicate a scam or that the car has major problems.

Own Mechanic Checking: You will be able to avoid major car problems if you hire a third-party mechanic if you have no experience in the car industry and cannot figure out whether the car has major faults. You can save a lot of money down the road if they are able to detect suspicious issues.

Top 12 Beater Car you Should Consider

01. Toyota Pickup

Simple mechanics, cheap repair parts, and a no-frills driving experience are all that a beater can offer. You must load the vehicle with far too much weight and drive it until the wheels fall off. 

These trucks are just awesome in general. One of these can be very difficult to find for less than $2000.

The nearest shops that specialize in repairs for older engines to pass smog are near me. Make sure you buy one that has passed smog in the past 90 days because they are a big money maker for them. Smog testing can be a headache if you don’t follow these instructions. This un-crashed example of this car is no different. 

02. Volkswagen Baja Bug

Volkswagen Baja Bugs are great, cars you can almost completely take apart on the side of the road with hand tools. As a result, customization is a mandatory part of ownership, as it is so ridiculously simple. Your car may have so many different problems in its lifetime that you can’t help but customize it to fit your needs.

03. Mazda B Series Pickup or Ford Ranger

Every Mazda B-Series truck from 1994 to 2009 is simply rebranded Ford Ranger. There is also one that can be found cheap if you want a manual transmission and a four-cylinder engine in your beater.

Someone’s grandfather drove a great car that you can find for a low price. The car is easy to work on and pretty much anything you need can be found. You can buy this truck if you can’t afford a Toyota pickup.

Their looks aren’t that impressive, in my opinion. The vehicles also feel bulkier and heavier than their Japanese competition like the Toyota pick up, and drive like they are floating down the road.

04. Mazda Miata

There are many reasons why everyone looks towards the Mazda Miata. In terms of creature comforts, the Miata has nothing to offer, and it’s all about cornering ability, power-to-weight ratio, and endurance. Because of its diminutive size, it isn’t the most practical, but if you pack light, it is the ultimate cheap daily driver.

05. Honda Civic

It drives great, handles well, and gets excellent gas mileage. Additionally, it can be repaired by anyone, and it usually lasts a long time.  These cars have super cheap parts that are easily acquired.

You should never buy from a seller who has aftermarket rims, glue-on parts for Autozone, or cut springs. There are a lot of people who absolutely wreck Honda Civics – look for one that is stock and you’ll be fine.

By installing a kill switch and hiding it somewhere on the car, you can make the car virtually impossible for a typical burglar to steal. A screwdriver is pretty much all you need to steal one because the car is an old model and easy to steal by laymen. You could wire a killer switch in for $10 and a couple of hours. When you park somewhere sketchy, you should flip the switch off so that, even if someone stolen it, they won’t be able to start it until they find your hidden switch.

06. Lexus LS400

Compared to the car you drove across the country, the Lexus LS400 is a generation ahead, but it is close enough to that car that you would have a strong opinion of it. There will never be a death for this car. Minor problems with leaky lines may be present, but they tend to distract from the real discovery. 

During the early 1990s, Lexus engineers created the formula for a perpetual motion machine, and somehow transplanted that technology into their engine to make it run forever without any wear on mechanical parts. In this example, the odometer is still at the beginning of its journey. You’ll never have to worry about car problems again if you buy this car again.

07. Chevy S10

This little truck has proven to be quite reliable over the years. This domestic small pick up truck was produced from 1981 to 2004 in North America.

The manual transmission and OBD2 are good for DIYers who enjoy working on the car themselves. You can get a V6 as well as a four-cylinder engine, so choose whatever you like.

08. BMW 740iL

As the Mercedes W140 S-Class and the W220 S-Class were battling each other for supremacy, this BMW Series is the generation that did battle against both. In spite of the altercation, BMW managed to keep all its teeth, mainly because they make one hell of a car.

As long as you don’t have a problem with the cylinder linings on some of the early cars, this is a great way to get something reliable, cheap, and luxurious at the same time. 

09. Honda Accord

Honda Accords from the sixth generation can be found for a pretty reasonable price. Compared to Honda Civics from the same generation, they get great gas mileage and are reliable. An overzealous high school teenager and a hacksaw will not destroy it as easily as a Honda Civic.

In my opinion, the Honda Accord is the perfect size and weight. The rear end can be sliding out with the emergency brake when you want to throw it around turns. Getting 30 miles per gallon along the way & they look great even if it is a beater car.

10. Toyota Camry

There might even be places in the country where people even use this car as a sleep aid because it has such legendary dullness. There are five distinct shades of tan, taupe & beige in this car, and somehow they all manage to clash. This Toyota Camry XV10 is a car that just hasn’t died yet.

A Toyota Camry has built a reputation for being a reliable, economical, and safe beater car over the years. This compact car has enough room for five adults and cargo, is comfortable to drive, and starts every morning. The four-cylinder model is more affordable to maintain than the V6 if something goes wrong, but spare parts are plentiful. You shouldn’t expect sporty handling from a Camry that is outdated since it behaves like an old car.

11. Ford Focus

In 1999, Ford released the Focus as the first compact car available in the U.S. The first generation of the vehicle has still remained a leader in the compact car segment. The second generation of the vehicle is an excellent purchase for beater car fans. Its popularity and mechanical simplicity make parts easy to obtain and maintenance affordable.

12. Fiat 500

The Fiat 500 is a great option if you are looking for a beater car under $5,000 that is newer. It was designed to be an affordable and practical small car in 1957 when it was launched as the Nuova 500.  This car gives you a joyous ride while driving in the city & in rural areas.

Is Beater Car good or bad?

A beater car is generally purchased to save money. You can buy a reliable car without breaking the bank, even if you are short on money. You can usually pay in advance for beaters as well. It makes sense to buy a beater car if you don’t want to worry about monthly car payments. They use the money they normally save to purchase their dream car later by buying a better car for everyday use.

You don’t necessarily have to buy a beater car if it’s unreliable, broken, harmful, or uncomfortable. If you simply use a car to drive without too much concern, you can consider that a simple car. Most of the time however, these are old and worn out cars

A Beater car is easy to maintain and the maintaince is also very cheap. The parts and the repairing of the car are generally quite inexpensive and as these cars are old and smaller in size there are lesser worries about finding parking spaces and paying less taxes.

Beater cars are a particular type of cars that are not only underrated but also very pocket friendly. These cars might not be the most glaring or shiny cars and might not be desirable by everyone but these cars tend to be a good deal for the buyers of these cars.

Beater cars must be chosen wisely and must consist of simple mechanics which will result in lesser troubles in the future. 

When to fix Beater car or When not to?

These are some of the options you have if your beater is worth $1,500. Having my $1,500 cart repaired will cost $300. The cost of fixing my $1,500 car will be $50: you will fix it. If fixing my $1,500 car will cost $1,500, don’t fix it.

Many people have a problem with the last answer. You can think about yourself you afford to fix your car if the cost of fixing the car the same as its worth. It depends on the situation. You can decide this based on the following scenario.

  • There is anything else wrong with my car, and what are the chances that something else expensive will go wrong soon.
  • $1,500 might not seem like a good investment if something else is going to break soon on your beater car. It might be worth the money if the car is in wonderful condition. You can make it much easier on yourself if you know the condition of your car.


Which part is irreplaceable in a Beater car?

The process of replacing an engine is the greatest challenge in any car, according to anyone who has experienced it. Changing the engine of your car is cheaper than buying a whole new one because cars are expensive.

Why people call beater on particular car?

The term “beater car” refers to an older, higher mileage vehicle with a good residual value. However, regardless of their cosmetic flaws and minor cosmetic issues, they still function effectively to take their occupants from point A to point B.

How Long a Beater Car can Last?

It usually costs between $500 and $2,000 for them. A beater car doesn’t require constant repair and doesn’t have many problems. They sometimes have cosmetic imperfections or slight malfunctions, though. It is possible to maintain a beater for a long period of time with proper care and maintenance.


Hello Everyone! We, Rituparna Guha & Firan Mondal, are delighted to present our Mechanical Engineering articles. We will capture all types of articles and try to explain in the simplest way with a lot of diagrams! Happy Reading....

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts