In college I bought a car for $1,000 cash. I requested that the sale be contingent on my (trusted) mechanic looking the car over before things were final. (As I recall, the purchase price was more like $1,100 but my mechanic found $100 worth of repairs that needed doing so that was knocked off the purchase price.) I drove that car for 2+ years in college, and only bought a new one after I graduated because the car leaked so I would get rained on during/after any precipitation. Otherwise the car ran fine, had well under 100k miles, and was in pretty good shape.
I did the same thing. Got a steal for an economy vehicle for $6000 cash. I used it for 4-5 years before I bought my first new vehicle. The car had leaked when it rained eventually and I determined it wasn't worth fixing. Plus I got it with 47k miles on it. By the time I replaced the vehicle it had almost 100k.