Author Topic: Calling Car Gurus - Advice Needed  (Read 2835 times)

C-note

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Calling Car Gurus - Advice Needed
« on: June 27, 2017, 04:13:43 PM »
Background:  Our 21 year old son is ready to buy his first car.  He is an exceptional engineering student, Dean's List, never given us a bit of worry, level-headed, practical, and already has over $20K invested. 

When we bought the older two kids their cars, we shopped for something relatively new, low miles, and reliable.  The purpose was to give them transportation and send them off to their first job with a paid-for car.  We didn't really solicit feedback from the kids although the older kid found her Corolla. 

Back to the youngest - He really, REALLY wants a Subaru.  To find a newer model with low miles, we exceed our $10K maximum - by $7-$10K.  To find low price, we have to find an older Subaru which has high miles and the head gasket issue.  He has found a number of hail-damaged Subaru cars that are relatively new (2013 - 2014) with low miles (< 70K) and close to $10K ($12K - $13K) and he's willing to pay the difference.

I'm really struggling with putting $10K into a hail-damaged car.  My son doesn't care about the radio, bluetooth, automatic windows, or any other bell or whistle.  When we look at cars, he pops the hood and checks out the engine.  He is a car guy - he is trying to get an internship at Koenigsegg for next summer.  For fun, he goes to high-end car dealerships.  He couldn't give a rat's a$$ if the car has hail-damage.   

So - should I:

a - hold my ground.  No hail-damaged Subaru.
b - back-off.  It's a Subaru - who cares if it's hail-damaged.
c - some other option that I haven't thought about but you have - and you'll share with me.

COEE

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Re: Calling Car Gurus - Advice Needed
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2017, 04:51:02 PM »
I'd vote B.

Trust your boy.  Sounds like he has a good head.  He's done his research and is willing to pay the difference to get what he wants regardless of the visual blemishes.

retiringearly

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Re: Calling Car Gurus - Advice Needed
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2017, 05:07:17 PM »
I would vote B as long as it doesn't have the head gasket issue.

terran

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Re: Calling Car Gurus - Advice Needed
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2017, 05:41:26 PM »
How about c) buy one with a blown head gasket and let him fix it?

ChpBstrd

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Re: Calling Car Gurus - Advice Needed
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2017, 06:23:52 PM »
Definitely B.

Hail damaged cars are the biggest bargain out there, much like scratch-and-dent appliances. In exchange for several thousand dollars in savings compared to an undamaged car with similar life left in the drivetrain, you have to suffer the disadvantages of .... nothing! Unlike with the occasional poorly repaired cars with salvage titles, on a hail-damaged car the doors will open and close smoothly, and there will be no rattles or hidden damage.

You can afford a more reliable, more durable car this way on a similar budget. Depreciation is less because your starting point is lower, and you'll be more inclined to buy liability-only insurance instead of full coverage to protect that perfect body. Best of all, he'll laugh like an evil villain while everyone else frets during the next hailstorm. "WOOO HOOO HOOO HAHAHA!"

So yea, if the kid wants a $12k hailstorm Subaru instead of a $10k Corolla, and is willing to pay the difference over your generous gift of car money, let him make that decision. He's a big kid now, and his willingness to trade dents for cargo space / AWD is reasonable. I would just recommend he hold out for something exactly $10k.

retiringearly

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Re: Calling Car Gurus - Advice Needed
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2017, 09:00:09 AM »
How about c) buy one with a blown head gasket and let him fix it?

Because repairing a blown headgasket is 1) not cheap to have done if paying a mechanic (more than $2K), and 2) not easy to do if you are an untrained mechanic.  Specific to Subarus, you can replace the headgasket and it will simply fail again.

Tetsuya Hondo

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Re: Calling Car Gurus - Advice Needed
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2017, 09:00:21 AM »
This one's so easy: one more vote for B.

Subarus look better with a little dirt and damage.

bigalsmith101

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Re: Calling Car Gurus - Advice Needed
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2017, 10:41:13 AM »
Another Vote for option B.

My parents have friends in Colorado who bought a brand new car right off the lot that had tiny hail dents covering the entire car from front to back. They got a $10k+ discount. I'm all about it.

Another Reader

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Re: Calling Car Gurus - Advice Needed
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2017, 12:00:20 PM »
My take on this is a little different.  Your son is looking for his first career type job.  He should be interested in how he looks to potential employers.  Showing up in a hail damaged Subaru is a red flag to most professional employers. 

I would suggest the following.  You buy him the conservative used car if he agrees to this plan.  When he finishes his first year of successful employment, you will contribute a little over and above the value of the car at that time so he can buy what he wants.  He gets a job, another year of age and wisdom, and you have helped him as you helped his siblings.

Dave1442397

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Re: Calling Car Gurus - Advice Needed
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2017, 12:00:28 PM »
I say option B as long as it still has a clean title. Some insurance companies won't insure a salvage titled car, and a lot of hail-damaged cars have salvage titles.

therethere

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Re: Calling Car Gurus - Advice Needed
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2017, 12:11:08 PM »
My take on this is a little different.  Your son is looking for his first career type job.  He should be interested in how he looks to potential employers.  Showing up in a hail damaged Subaru is a red flag to most professional employers. 


Sorry but that is ridiculous. There is no way an employer is going to judge a fresh out of college kid for the looks of their car. Why would they even see your car? Besides like 50% of cars in Colorado have hail or accident damage. We don't have inspections so people drive around with much worse things than hail damage, like missing bumpers or dents

Another Reader

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Re: Calling Car Gurus - Advice Needed
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2017, 12:17:21 PM »
You never want to give an employer or a landlord a reason to favor another applicant over you.  Once you have been at the job or in the property long enough to show you are fulfilling your end of the deal, drive anything you want.

therethere

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Re: Calling Car Gurus - Advice Needed
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2017, 12:22:01 PM »
I agree with you in theory. But I think choosing a specific car that someone may or may not see in order to help you on an interview is taking it a teeeensy bit too far. If someone thinks less of your skills because your car has hail damage you probably don't want to work there.


sequoia

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Re: Calling Car Gurus - Advice Needed
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2017, 12:24:53 PM »
You never want to give an employer or a landlord a reason to favor another applicant over you.  Once you have been at the job or in the property long enough to show you are fulfilling your end of the deal, drive anything you want.

Yep agree on this. Why do we put on jacket and a tie and a pressed shirt for interview when the position will allow you to come in the office in shorts and tshirt (my previous job was like this). Or even for a remote job? I work from home, but I have to appear for an interview for this job at the office, and you bet I was wearing suit and tie, and drove our nicer car.

OP, can the kid borrow the parent's car for a bit, just until he secure the job?

retiringearly

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Re: Calling Car Gurus - Advice Needed
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2017, 12:52:25 PM »
My take on this is a little different.  Your son is looking for his first career type job.  He should be interested in how he looks to potential employers.  Showing up in a hail damaged Subaru is a red flag to most professional employers. 


Sorry but that is ridiculous. There is no way an employer is going to judge a fresh out of college kid for the looks of their car. Why would they even see your car? Besides like 50% of cars in Colorado have hail or accident damage. We don't have inspections so people drive around with much worse things than hail damage, like missing bumpers or dents
Agreed.  I have never seen a job candidate's car and I have been a hiring manager for 20+ years.  I also doubt I would be able to see the hail damage unless I was up really close.

C-note

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Re: Calling Car Gurus - Advice Needed
« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2017, 12:53:01 PM »

OP, can the kid borrow the parent's car for a bit, just until he secure the job?

He still has 2 years of school before he starts his first job.  He'll take this car back to school and then onto his first job.

Interesting that Another Reader brought this up.  I also brought it up as a reason to avoid buying a hail-damaged car.  It didn't take too long to reflect on the cars we drove to our first jobs (1977 Datsun B210) - interviews were actually on-campus (job fairs) or fly-in then rent a car.  Both are still common.  The engineering school he attends has 3 large (>250 companies) job/intern fairs a year.

Even if he drove to his job interviews, we don't believe he'd be walked out to this car.  As a hiring administrator, I walk candidates to the lobby.  He's actually talking about having the Subaru re-skinned (?) to remove the hail-damage or another option is to use a body guy recommended by a close friend.  Year or two in the future.  His project and not my nickel.     

Car Jack

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Re: Calling Car Gurus - Advice Needed
« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2017, 08:15:07 PM »
First, no hiring manager is going to judge a just-graduated student on his car.  Most are going to have cars bought by parents or borrowed or barely running.  Heck, I went on a co-op interview before my senior year in a borrowed CJ-5 with no starter.  I had to park on a hill and after the interview, push it a little (in my suit), jump in and clutch start it.  I got the co-op and after graduating had 2 offers from the same company.

Ok.....which Subaru and what's the service history.  I know a lot about them and have had a bunch of them.  If you're in New England, my old 08 Legacy GT that I sold to an engineering student is for sale again.  Newer turbo, removed banjo screens, head gaskets done, new clutch, new head gaskets.  He bought a newer Outback XT. 

Anyways, older N/A Subarus absolutely have the potential for head gasket issues.  The power steering pump on all of them is weak and if you pull to hard all the way to one side, you'll kill the pump.  Of course, the timing belt at 105k miles or 105 months.  Older 2.0L WRX's had an issue with a fuel leak under the intake manifold covered under warranty (but not any more) and there was a problem with front control arms completely rusting out (Richard Hammond on Top Gear had this problem in Africa in his) which was covered under warranty in salt states.  Subarus are fairly prone to rusting.  Turbo Subarus are very often modified to an inch of their life and then reverted back to stock when sold and will look like it's never been touched.  Absolutely have it pre purchase inspected by a Subaru tuning shop mechanic.  Compression and leak down tests are manditory.  Personally, I would not buy a used Subaru (although I have a couple times in the past).

privatevoid

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Re: Calling Car Gurus - Advice Needed
« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2017, 07:10:32 PM »
Just to chime in with a balancing voice, it's your money. As someone who also fancied themselves a car person at 21, sometimes that can lead you to make bad decisions based on ridiculous things like "horsepower." He can buy himself whatever car he wants if he gets a job at Koenigsegg. :)

Regarding the hail, no, it's not a big deal at all if you have a healthy disregard for the car's looks. I think his instincts in that sense are pretty sharp! Use the hail damage to negotiate as much as possible.

Trifele

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Re: Calling Car Gurus - Advice Needed
« Reply #18 on: June 30, 2017, 05:37:27 AM »
B -- Let him get the hail-damaged Subaru.   

shawndoggy

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Re: Calling Car Gurus - Advice Needed
« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2017, 02:04:14 PM »
Is this a wrx/sti he's looking at/for or something else?

I'd have to question the sanity of any single male in his early 20s who would be looking for a hail damaged auto tranny mom car.

C-note

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Re: Calling Car Gurus - Advice Needed
« Reply #20 on: July 01, 2017, 02:07:29 PM »
Is this a wrx/sti he's looking at/for or something else?

I'd have to question the sanity of any single male in his early 20s who would be looking for a hail damaged auto tranny mom car.

WRX