Author Topic: Car buying advice  (Read 3152 times)

Murse

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Car buying advice
« on: October 09, 2017, 09:18:43 AM »
Long story short I just got married a couple weeks ago and my now wifeís car is going to car heaven. We are 25 years old, income around 95k (not including her income, she is currently between work.) networth is over 100k.

I am not mechanically knowledgeable. My thoughts are we will buy something around 10-14k that is low in mileage and just 2-3 years old. I am curious what others thoughts are?

chasesfish

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Re: Car buying advice
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2017, 09:19:31 AM »
There's lots of good posts on here about buying (or not buying) a car.

What are your needs?  Distance traveled? Storage space?  Commute daily?

Murse

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Re: Car buying advice
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2017, 09:23:05 AM »
My personal commute is about 20 miles each way, we have no idea what hers will be because she is between jobs. We donít need much storage space. We each will be commuting 5 days/week.

chasesfish

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Re: Car buying advice
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2017, 09:28:07 AM »
If she's between jobs, is moving next to your office/work and giving her your car an option?

Murse

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Re: Car buying advice
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2017, 09:34:48 AM »
My job situation is finicky, I am technically in an on-call position and have two workplaces. I try to get full time hours at the location 20miles away but am not always successful, the other location is 45 miles away. Not only that but the Real estate in that area is 3-5x higher cost then where I currently live.

Laura33

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Re: Car buying advice
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2017, 09:42:52 AM »
Can you hold off on buying a new car for her until she has a new job?  That would give you a better idea what you need.

The other thing that plays into things is your general expenses -- e.g., a newer car is going to have higher insurance, possibly higher registration, etc.  E.g., if you had CC debt or any other debts above maybe 5%, I wouldn't recommend dropping any more than the bare minimum on a car; same if your net worth is all wrapped up in a house and you're short on EF or not maxing out tax-deferred retirement accounts, etc.

IMO a newer car in most cases tends to be a luxury item -- if you choose well, it's a more reasonable and useful luxury than many other things you could drop stupid money on, but it is still a luxury.  As such, it should be considered only after all of the basic ducks are in a row (EF, tax-deferred savings, hitting the savings rate you want for your target FIRE date, etc.). 

FINate

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Re: Car buying advice
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2017, 09:50:36 AM »
You're still not providing enough details. We demand details! :) Seriously though, have you run the numbers comparing higher RE vs. commute costs? Are the two work locations in opposite directions, or is the 45 mile office an additional 25 miles past the 20 mile office?

Start with AAA numbers for cost per mile: http://exchange.aaa.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/17-0013_Your-Driving-Costs-Brochure-2017-FNL-CX-1.pdf

Obviously, you want to go small, as in small sedan, to commute that distance. So let's say your total cost per mile is around $0.50. If you commute say 15k a year that's $7,500 a year for you (not incl. your wife's costs). Can you rent something closer to your main office (hopefully also closer to the more distant one) for $7500/12=$625 or less more per month? Then there's also the time/opportunity cost of sitting in traffic for an extra hour or two per day, which could be working extra hours or maintaining a workout routine, etc. What's that worth to you?

If, after all that, you decide you still want to commute, then a few years used is a good start. But also make sure you go small and efficient. Have several models in mind. Never go to a seller (private or used car lot) with your heart set on a particular car or model. You want lots of viable options, and look for the best deal. Be honest and let the dealers know you're looking at multiple vehicles, are set on anything in particular, just looking for the best deal. In other words, don't make the mistake of becoming fixated on comparing features/style between different models trying to find the "best" one, which invariably ends in you overpaying for something. Instead, understand that most cars are about the same, and focus on which individual vehicle is the best value.

EDIT: And take your time. Plan on spending a few months watching the used car market in your area. This will give you a better sense for the prices and trade offs involved (years old, odo mileage, condition, etc.). It also gives you a potential bargaining advantage. If you see a vehicle meeting your criteria that goes unsold for 1-2 months, then you know you can negotiate harder. 
« Last Edit: October 09, 2017, 09:55:15 AM by FINate »

Murse

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Re: Car buying advice
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2017, 09:59:57 AM »
My entire net worth is in the market, I rent. As for tax advantaged accounts my 457 and Roth are maxed, we have not yet maxed her Roth (we planned on doing this after getting married now we are having car issues.) no debt.

Our plan for her job is to get her into a bank. She was doing outside sales (this is why her car is in bad shape) and has been hating it for some time. I am confident she will get a job however we donít know where it will be. Of course we can wait.

As for the luxury comment I agree however I am tired of repairs. This is the 5th time in the last year we are taking her car in. We bought it about a year ago and it has been nothing but problems. Honestly, we have probably spent 12k on this car and only owned it for a year. The car is worth less then 3k (functioning of course.) But as of today I donít think it is going to be something we will be putting anymore money in.

Murse

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Re: Car buying advice
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2017, 10:21:20 AM »
I guess I should clarify. I work in the Portland Oregon market, I rent outside of the market. I rent a 900 sf apt with my wife and roommate. Buying near my workplace would not make sense also if I were to move my roommate would not come with us. It would not make more sense to move to the Portland market even if I could drop a car.

marielle

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Re: Car buying advice
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2017, 10:22:44 AM »
My entire net worth is in the market, I rent. As for tax advantaged accounts my 457 and Roth are maxed, we have not yet maxed her Roth (we planned on doing this after getting married now we are having car issues.) no debt.

Our plan for her job is to get her into a bank. She was doing outside sales (this is why her car is in bad shape) and has been hating it for some time. I am confident she will get a job however we donít know where it will be. Of course we can wait.

As for the luxury comment I agree however I am tired of repairs. This is the 5th time in the last year we are taking her car in. We bought it about a year ago and it has been nothing but problems. Honestly, we have probably spent 12k on this car and only owned it for a year. The car is worth less then 3k (functioning of course.) But as of today I donít think it is going to be something we will be putting anymore money in.

Can you provide a list of repairs and cost? $12k seems absurd provided it's not a BMW or something that has expensive maintenance. That amount would cover a new engine and transmission with money left over so I can't even imagine what else could be left to repair after you spent that much. It's possible that you could be getting ripped off or something else is at play.

Even if you're not mechanically inclined and won't be doing your own maintenance, it's worth learning as much as you can. People have tried to rip me off numerous times (especially being a girl, I've had too many people assume I know nothing). Things like overcharging me for maintenance that is very cheap ($800 to do my brakes and rotors), telling me to do maintenance I don't need (struts), etc.

Even further, learn how to do the simplest maintenance. You should replace your own air filter, typically no tools even required. Rotate your own tires, change your battery, etc.

Just going to drop this here in case you haven't read it:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/06/the-true-cost-of-commuting/

Laura33

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Re: Car buying advice
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2017, 10:29:07 AM »
This is the 5th time in the last year we are taking her car in. We bought it about a year ago and it has been nothing but problems. Honestly, we have probably spent 12k on this car and only owned it for a year. The car is worth less then 3k (functioning of course.)

Oh, well, hell, ditch the fucker and buy something else.  In your situation, something a few years old that you can drive reliably for a long time isn't a horrible choice.

marielle

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Re: Car buying advice
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2017, 10:41:35 AM »
This is the 5th time in the last year we are taking her car in. We bought it about a year ago and it has been nothing but problems. Honestly, we have probably spent 12k on this car and only owned it for a year. The car is worth less then 3k (functioning of course.)

Oh, well, hell, ditch the fucker and buy something else.  In your situation, something a few years old that you can drive reliably for a long time isn't a horrible choice.

Maybe not a horrible choice, but not along the lines of MMM. Just because you get unlucky with one car (or possibly ripped off), doesn't mean you should get a $14k car. MMM bought a $14k car but he's a multi millionaire. Many of us here drive cars worth $2k including myself. I'm still not convinced that it's better to stay at the cheaper location and commute. Sure, it's not comfortable to move, and it requires possibly a new roommate or having no roommate, but it could still be the better choice and give you more of your time back. You'd have to run the numbers rather than just assume it's not a good idea to rent in the high market.

Murse

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Re: Car buying advice
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2017, 11:08:10 AM »
Regarding the high costs with this car, we purchased the car for 6k (half the 12k cost I am referring to.) beyond that my wife drove over 500 miles per week for work. The car began burning oil and through that diagnostic process it cost us 4K for everything that was done and still the problem was not solved. The car still burns oil. 2 of the 4 windows donít work. The AC quit working (mechanic said a piece broke off so we would need to replace it quoting 800$.) we have not yet fixed the AC (its winter anyways.) there were other repairs and maintenance done. Admittedly when we bought the car for 6k it was actually worth 3k. We didnít check the kbb price until after we had purchased it. So... 3k of the 12k was just overpaying for the car in the first place. This figure is not including gas/insurance.

I agree, I bought my car for 3k and it has been a good vehicle for 3 years now. It is possible I could get another low priced car. I am just frustrated with the current situation.

As for the mileage she was putting on this car she was being compensated and extra 480$/month. I advised her to keep the car as long as possible, I didnít see the point in getting a newer car to destroy the value as well.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2017, 11:10:35 AM by Murse »

rymmm

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Re: Car buying advice
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2017, 04:58:12 PM »
What is the year, make, model of your current vehicle?

I would not throw money at an oil consumption problem, most modern cars that suffer from it the root cause is failed\poorly designed oil control rings around the pistons.  Cars can run surprinsgly well even when burning large amounts of oil, until the catalytic converter and oxygen (o2) sensors in the exhaust system are destroyed, at which point I would donate (disclose issues of course!), I did that with my 2000 corolla, from 70K-150K miles it was burning oil-- 1qt/100 miles near the end, and never broke down or left me stranded. I donated when the mpg dropped to about 15mpg, and CEL was indicating emissions systems failures.

The air conditioning, depending on climate is also rarely worth fixing.

The power windows can be caused by a variety of problems, but usually are either wiring (pinched wire in door panel), switch, or regulator related.  I fixed these on my Saturn shortly before it was totaled. It was a matter of removing the door panel, and putting a multimeter at the 12V DC setting on the contacts on the motor. I verified it was getting +12V when the button was pressed one way, and -12V the other way, which told me the wiring\switch was functioning.

I ended up putting a bunch of white lithium grease on the channel, pulleys, and mechanisms. I loosened the bolts holding the regulator, and wiggled things around for a bit. The window then started working- it had simply frozen in place due to lack of lubrication. The cost of repairs was a special torx socket to remove door panel, and a can of spray grease, about $10 and 2 hours of time.  If yours is more serious, it may require a regulator, these are expensive and a bit tricky to install.

Knowing the year, model, and make of your car will help you seek out others that have the same issues on specific forum sites and websites like carcomplaints.com and come up with the right fix.

Murse

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Re: Car buying advice
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2017, 05:03:43 PM »
2001 Honda Civic 180000 miles

rymmm

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Re: Car buying advice
« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2017, 05:24:08 PM »
The car has had a long life-- and the judgement of where the replacement point is can be really hard, and given your past I am sure you do not want another expensive money sink.

It seems like head gaskets, timing belts, and automatic transmission issues are common with higher miles, have you had these done recently?

I would really suggest searching sites like https://www.civicforums.com/forums/36-mechanical-problems-vehicle-issues-fix-forum and carcomplaints.com to help make your decision-- and to find fixes for any issues you have before bringing it into any repair facility.

The question for me would be-- have all of the common problem points been repaired?? If so, you could probably get more life out of it. If you need a lot of maintenance, it might be worth considering replacement.  Having just gone through that process, it may be worth waiting a few months, with hurricanes used inventory is pretty slim right now.

If you end up getting a replacement, of course check kbb as you indicated, but you can also look up common issues using car forums and carcomplaints.com and ask the seller if they have had various common problems addressed already. If they have not, consider that in your purchasing process and get those components inspected.