What makes a car a "beater"?

Oh yeah, bonus beater points if the parts made of wood are windows.


Can a beater be dependable?

I’m thinking about people I’ve encountered on the road who seem to get around pretty well in “beaters”. I knew a girl from Switzerland who would fly over to the USA, buy a old station wagon, and cruise around the country for three or four months. On the trip I took with her, the temp gauge got in the red several times, but she shrugged it off…and the beater just kept chugging along.

1973 Totoyota pickup.
A sheet of clear acetate taped on instead of a passenger side window.
No floorboard on that side either.
Needed an alignment so badly that it actually hopped when going over 45.

The fact that I own it.:smiley:

Body rust and a faded interior

Coworker: “Dude, I am really sorry about backing into your car and making a dent last week. I have been expecting you to call me out on it. Are we cool?”

Me: “Which dent?”

Our old F100 that we built an entire house with was in that class. It was supposed to have three forward gears but only had first and third. The heat could not be turned off, but luckily one of the windows could not be rolled up so no worries. I drove it into a tree once but my husband replaced the radiator after banging the tree-shaped hole out of the front, and it was good to go. If you call that good.

It was truly a horrible vehicle, but at least you could carry a ton of sand in it. Whereas our Chevy Vega … one of the worst cars ever made, I believe.

Scootergirl, Its a Volvo, it will never die! Just buy a new to you car and sell the Volvo. You will probably get as much out of the Volvo as you bought it for. At least all of the Volvos I have owned have turned out that way for me.

I do this all the time. I buy a Beater/Junker cheap. Then I repair the safety issues and the major reliability issues. I then drive it until I am sick of it, or it fails catastrophically! I usually get more then I paid for it and the original repairs. I do not count the Preventative Maintenance (PM) items like oil changes. I would pay for those on any car I owned.

Good definition!

All this reminds me of a truck I own. The automatic transmission lost reverse one day. I was working looong hours at work and did not have the time to repair it. None of the transmission shops in town had a good reputation, so I just drove it that way. For two years, I pulled trailers, hauled rock and materials with no reverse. I just had to think ahead. Then the ignition switch partially failed. The start position did not work, a push button on the dash worked for that. Then the cruise control failed. Heck I don’t need no stinking cruise control! Then the sliding back windows latch failed. Up to four items on the list = Beater! When it got slow at work after two years, I repaired all of these items. No longer a Beater!

< Lalalalala > I can’t heeeear you, 48Willys!!!

In my current car, both the driver side door AND window don’t work. I crawl in and out the other side. While waiting in a fast food drive through, the window fell down in the door. It was about 0 degrees and snowing. So I tried to position the window back in place- It worked, but in the process it sort of just stuck in there and the door handle become unattached.

I also have a cracked windshield because almost every time I drive on the highway I find myself behind a truck with a sign that says they are not responsible for cracked windshields from the debris they intentionally drop on the highway. I’m pretty sure if I paid the 200 bucks, it would just get cracked again.

After all the potholes that have developed, construction trucks throwing debris, and streets that have never seen a plow this winter, I’m pretty happy I don’t have have a “nice” car.

Beaters are cars you don’t fix unless the car is unusable, or is totally unsafe without the repair.

As a fellow Volvo owner I sympathize/empathize. I have owned nine of them (three currently including a 2001 XC-70 which needs a $5k tranny that it will never get) I have to say that even a beater Volvo is better than any almost any other car.

If your neighbor’s brakes fail, and she bashes your fender, and she tells you to get estimates for her insurance, and all three body shops tell you it was totaled before the accident…well, that is, or was, a beater.

If somebody needles you about your car, and you say, “Aw, gee, I still got one more payment left,” and you get a laugh, you definitely have a beater.