College student requiring advice on purchasing a vehicle

Im 20, college Full time and in the Army National Guard, 701 FICO Score

Im moving from Buffalo NY to Fort Collins July 1st with my girlfriend. We’re driving all the way there with a u-haul and possibly both of our cars. Im really I need of a new car, there’s almost a new problem with this car every other month, parts and repairs are getting up there, let alone a crack in the frame making it unsafe. I know a little bit mechanic wise, and take care of it well and pretty much can do all the work on it myself except, major things like engine and transmission stuff. But none of this matters as there’s 190k miles on the engine and the previous owner didn’t treat it well, the frame is fucked, I had to take it to a sketchy shop and tip them an extra $20 to pass inspection.

My current plan is, to possibly leave this car here, I more than likely won’t be able to sell it because of the frame and rust all over the body. I might part it out (sell individual good parts) or give it to my dad. It might be best to leave it here, as we would have to tow it through the u-haul (I know it won’t make the drive) that adds an extra $600 on the 1200 u-haul total moving cost. I think it might be best to purchase a good used car with good mileage Im also currently military, so I have access to navy federal, I can get a 20k auto loan with 3.7% APR with monthly payments of $300. I of course would need full coverage on this vehicle which raise my insurance from 185 to 240. My new monthly expenses with this car payment and increase in insurance are just around 1200 with us splitting rent. I have a little bit of money saved but its for the move itself and for that month I don’t have a job. Im in full school full time, and serve in the military part time, so I can only work 25 maybe 30 hours reasonably. If I work 25 hours a week at $15 an hr id make 1600 a week, this is not counting monthly pay from the military which averages 250-450, a school benefit that gives me 401 a month, and school grant returns, which are rather large considering my parents income. This extra income gives me a lot of leeway and spending money for food, going out, if we split up etc.

Im looking to get something within the past 5 years (so 2017 and newer) and gives good mileage. I really hate the idea of financing an older car for 72 months and have that car potentially be in horrible shape by the time I pay it off or before. I can get a good quality newer Honda or ford for just under 20k. These 2 makes specifically because of the affordable options and my mechanical knowledge on how to fix them, and the general reliability of them.

I don’t have much saved up, so buying a decent 4-5k older used car from a private seller is not much of an option.


Is this a good decision on my part?

Some other good options?

What other information would be needed to help you, help me make a better decision?