Author Topic: Cars  (Read 18862 times)

milkman

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Cars
« on: February 18, 2012, 04:08:42 PM »
I just wanted to start a thread on cars.  Wondering what everyones advice is on buying cars, how much to spend and budgeting for a newer car. I have a 60 minute commute every day. Thinking of buying a usd VW TDI.

msmo

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Re: Cars
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2012, 04:58:27 PM »
Anedotecally, repairs to VW can be spendy. I say this from various friends' experience, in the 90s. 

Personally, I choose 4-cyl 5-speed Japanese makes that are about 4 years old. My current car is paid off. I'm putting away 150 a month and hopefully will have enough for a newer car when my 03 Matrix gives up.

Grigory

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Re: Cars
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2012, 05:45:31 PM »
My philosophy is to buy a reliable cheap car and drive it until it falls apart. My current vehicle is a 1998 Buick Skylark - the very last of its kind, seeing as they stopped making them 14 years ago... It still has the cassette tape player it came with, got a few small dents from its previous, and it doesn't look as flashy as some of the newer models, but it gets a solid 24mpg in the city and 35 on the highway. As long as it can get me from point A to point B, I'm fine with it. :)

onehappypanda

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Re: Cars
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2012, 06:54:30 PM »
I'd try to balance inexpensive with reliability, so you're not funneling a ton of money into fixing the car all the time. And since you're commute is long I'd put fuel efficiency pretty high up on the list of needs. Buying a bigger car might save you money right now as they're less popular, but it'll cost you oodles in gas down the road.

Personally, I'd avoid a VW or Audi. They tend to be pricier to buy, and a hell of a lot more expensive to get parts for and fix. And I know someone will disagree, but in generally I think VW and Audi tend to have a lot more maintenance problems as they get older, particularly major engine leaks and electrical issues. Don't get me wrong, they're hella fun to drive and can get decent gas mileage. But maintenance-wise they're risky, at least from what I've seen.

I have a 2000 Civic with 110K miles that I got off of a buddy in the fall for a pretty decent price (said buddy had to move out of the country at the last minute). It was a good deal, but if I could do it again I might pick a hatchback for the utility, or go even older/cheaper since I don't drive that much anyway. I almost bought an old Subaru wagon but passed because I wanted something smaller (and prettier, lol). Since I live alone and bike most of the time, now I'm thinking I should've gone for that because it would've hauled things more easily, and that's half of what I use my car for anyway.

If you can find an "old person car" those are always a sweet deal. As in, something that's probably older but well maintained with fewer miles. Typically seen when an older person passes away or gives up their car, which has inevitably been sitting in their garage more often than not. Last year I saw a 1996 Toyota Corolla in perfect condition with only 60K miles on it for $1,000. Sadly, didn't hop on that one fast enough, but it would've been an awesome deal.

If you drive a lot of miles I'd look at the mileage and condition more than the year, personally. Might be worth spending more for something with low miles and good mileage- but I wouldn't spend a ton, because it sounds like your commute is eventually gonna run it into the ground anyway.

Rich M

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Re: Cars
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2012, 07:12:31 PM »
I have a 60 minute commute every day.

That sucks.

However, I just looked on Edmunds true cost of ownership of cars and found based on their numbers, for example, a 2007 Honda Civic will cost $27000 over five years, which is similar to the super efficient Honda Fit.   Makes me go ????



smedleyb

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Re: Cars
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2012, 11:23:34 PM »
A wise man with a robust mustache once told me never to borrow money to buy a depreciating asset. 

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Re: Cars
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2012, 05:16:46 AM »
A wise man with a robust mustache once told me never to borrow money to buy a depreciating asset.

I read that as "robot mustache" and immediately scrolled to the top to see if MMM had changed his logo again.  Alas, no robot mustaches in sight.
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Mike Key

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Re: Cars
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2012, 05:53:56 AM »
A wise man with a robust mustache once told me never to borrow money to buy a depreciating asset. 

Yup! That's a great point, unless you can pay it off very very quickly, within a 9 month term or something.

Our current two vehicles, I actually had my wife get loans to purchase even though we had cash for both of them. We put the cash into a savings account and paid the loans off over a 10 month period to help re-establish her credit. Moved her about 100 points on the equifax scale. We also got the loans at 3% thru our credit union.

We're currently thinking of buying a brand new 2012 Kia Soul. Although by brand new, I mean slightly used, looking for one someone drove off the lot and took the deprecation hit. This way we can score one for 16K.  I just sold the Audi for $4700.00 and I hope to sell my wife's Trailblazer for $8500. That gives us 13200.00 and needing to save up 2800.00.

I know some mustachians buy older cars, but my Audi was a 2001 and the Trailblazer is a 2004, so we're ready and excited to  move to one car and something new for the first time in our lives. And something paid with cash.

BTW, we looked at VW and Audi TDI's and the gas savings is slightly impressive, but not as amazing as I thought it would be. But where it is impressive is in the HP to MPG ratio compared to larger engines.

We looked at a Jetta Wagon TDI which we liked. We also where thinking of getting an Outback. Trying to justify the size as a need. We have a dog, we like to travel. We think we're adventurous.

Anyways, the Kia Soul wasn't even on our radar till I noticed how many I kept seeing around town and made the random choice to go check one out. My wife and I where both one over, and after looking at one and talking about it, we both agreed we could see ourselves owning one.

Which is surprising considering I'm mostly a V8 Muscle car kind of guy. I normally hate those box cars. Which is why I can't stand Scions. It must be because I'm about to turn 30.

Landor n Stella

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Re: Cars
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2012, 06:41:22 AM »
Quote
We have a dog, we like to travel. We think we're adventurous.

We do, too. Actually 2 dogs. We were in a similar situation in 2009, I was driving 60 minutes/35 miles to get to work everyday and then home again. It does suck, terribly. So eventually we were able to sell our house and now I have a 2 block walk to work.

But before we sold the house we were car shopping- and we ended up in a Toyota Prius. We love it! We can pack everything we need into it for a camping trip (and still have room for the dogs). It gets 50 mpg in the summer and about 40 in the winter. Even more if your hour commute is in town driving! We went from spending $300+ on gas in a month to spending half that. And if you buy one that is a year or two old, you can get it in good condition but already depreciated radically from the new price. Our vehicle is actually worth the same today as it was 2 years ago when we bought it, because of the problems with Toyota's supply when they had the tsunami and also because of gas prices. So there is a chance that whatever you buy won't depreciate all that bad when you get it.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2012, 06:28:13 AM by Sparafusile »

Erin

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Re: Cars
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2012, 06:50:18 AM »
As someone mentioned above VWs are very expensive to fix (and from watching 3 friends with Jettas about 10 years ago - they need fixing frequently). Like you, I'm stuck with a crappy commute for now (75 miles a day). I've had 3 Toyota Corollas - they run forever, get about 40mpg and are low-cost and require little maintenance, and slow to depreciate.

Scoot

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Re: Cars
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2012, 07:38:47 AM »
The car issue is a real conundrum for me as well.

I spend about 2.5 hours driving to and from work every day. About 1 hour on the way to the office in the morning, and about 1.5 hours on the way home because traffic is worse in the evenings. Some days I hang around my office and watch Hulu on my computer for a few extra hours in the evening, just to wait for rush hour to be over, but that only saves me about 30 minutes. I have tried the public-transportation route - I would have to take so many buses and trains to get to and from work every day that it would actually be almost as expensive as driving, and take twice as long. Changing jobs isn't an option - I'm obligated to stay for at least a few more years. I'd also be pretty stupid to move, since I live rent-free in a great apartment my family owns. Apart from my gas, my bills are really extemely low, so I'm very lucky in that regard.

I also live in Chicago (and commute to the far suburbs), which you may or may not know is sort of a hellish place to drive. Summers are fine, but winters are awful, with large amounts of snow, slush, ice and salt, and potholes that threaten to swallow your car whole.

I currently drive a 2002 Chevy Cavalier, which I've had since 2003. It's paid off, and my insurance is affordable, but it is costing me around $160-$180 a month in gas. And that's without much recreational driving (like going out with friends - many of whom live even farther away than my office). It's a real bummer, and it's especially a bummer to shell out that money for a car I don't even like. The car is a real POS. The speakers never worked, the interior fans don't work, it has electrical problems, it's had its whole engine replaced in a super-cheap back-alley sort of fashion years ago when the thing just died. It's just a bad car, but I was young and stupid when I bought it.

It's possible that the car might make it a couple more years if I take care of it. It's also possible that it will simply give up in the middle of the expressway tomorrow. I'd like the car to last, especially because my entire family plans to relocate to the sun belt in a few years. But in preparing for the possibility that it might not I've had to consider what kind of car I'd get next. My mustache compels me to buy something efficient and small - like a Honda Fit or a Ford Fiesta - but every time my little car literally gets stuck in a snow bank in the middle of the road, or I have to spend two hours just shoveling myself out of my parking spot, I find myself cursing and shouting and vowing to buy a pickup truck with chains around its tires and a plow attachment on the front, even if it only gets 5mpg.

Mike Key

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Re: Cars
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2012, 08:13:09 AM »
As someone mentioned above VWs are very expensive to fix (and from watching 3 friends with Jettas about 10 years ago - they need fixing frequently).

As a former Audi owner, I can confirm this as well. Audi = VW + $$. The cars are well built, interiors are great. But the engines are mind bogglingly complex. Ok, maybe not that much, but it took me a week to figure out my vacuum hose system, and then replace it. I had 3 MAF sensors go bad on me, each one costing $180 a pop.

Guitarist

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Re: Cars
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2012, 12:05:11 PM »


I currently drive a 2002 Chevy Cavalier, which I've had since 2003. It's paid off, and my insurance is affordable, but it is costing me around $160-$180 a month in gas. And that's without much recreational driving (like going out with friends - many of whom live even farther away than my office). It's a real bummer, and it's especially a bummer to shell out that money for a car I don't even like. The car is a real POS. The speakers never worked, the interior fans don't work, it has electrical problems, it's had its whole engine replaced in a super-cheap back-alley sort of fashion years ago when the thing just died. It's just a bad car, but I was young and stupid when I bought it.



Dude, what are you doing to that car? I own the same car, same year, it isn't the greatest car out there but I've had nothing close to being that bad. Currently sitting at 80k. One of my speakers did blow, but I can live with something like that.

October

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Re: Cars
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2012, 12:22:38 PM »
We looked at a Jetta Wagon TDI which we liked. We also where thinking of getting an Outback. Trying to justify the size as a need. We have a dog, we like to travel. We think we're adventurous.

We can fit 2 adults and an Irish Wolfhound into our little Kia Rio 5 (2005).  Or one adult, one Siberian Husky (shotgun) and an Irish Wolfhound.  Or 2 adults and a Husky.  We could probably squeeze in both dogs and both people if we folded the back seat down, but then there would be no room for anything else inside the car.  A luggage rack would fix that problem.

The moral: you don't need the bigger sized car.  I doubt your dog is bigger than mine. ;)

Mike Key

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Re: Cars
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2012, 12:27:31 PM »
We can fit 2 adults and an Irish Wolfhound into our little Kia Rio 5 (2005).  Or one adult, one Siberian Husky (shotgun) and an Irish Wolfhound.  Or 2 adults and a Husky.  We could probably squeeze in both dogs and both people if we folded the back seat down, but then there would be no room for anything else inside the car.  A luggage rack would fix that problem.

The moral: you don't need the bigger sized car.  I doubt your dog is bigger than mine. ;)

We have a Husky, that's why we're getting the Kia Soul now. Right size for us.

October

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Re: Cars
« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2012, 12:34:08 PM »
I like the look of the Kia Soul.  It's a cool-looking car.  We love our Rio 5.  It's a BIG little car!  It's paid off now, 7 years old, and still going strong.  I plan on having it for at least another 5 years, barring a major accident.  Let me know if the Soul feels as roomy as our Rio 5 does.

Scoot

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Re: Cars
« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2012, 12:59:38 PM »
Dude, what are you doing to that car? I own the same car, same year, it isn't the greatest car out there but I've had nothing close to being that bad. Currently sitting at 80k. One of my speakers did blow, but I can live with something like that.

I don't think I'm particularly abusive to my cars (apart from the heavy driving - I'm at around 170k), but the person who owned it before me did think it was cool to install a cold-air intake and racing pedals, so I can only assume they had some... "interesting" experiences with it before I bought it. The intake is right up against my battery contacts, too, so whenever I jump my car I nearly start a fire. It's great!

Mercutio

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Re: Cars
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2012, 01:41:19 PM »
Thanks for the thread regarding cars. Ever since I read MMM's article bout not borrowing to purchase a depreciating asset and my own affinity for gas efficiency, I've been looking for a '03-06 Toyota Corolla for about the $5000-7000 range, but haven't had much luck with lower mileage vehicles. Many of them are creeping closer to 150k miles, making me a bit weary of high mileage problems. The market for Corollas in my area is pretty strong, so negotiating asking prices down hasn't been successful for me yet. Should I just pay more to take on less risk with a lower mileage vehicle? I'm starting to lean that way, what do you guys think?

tannybrown

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Re: Cars
« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2012, 01:53:21 PM »
We purchased an 06 Toyota Matrix w/60k miles and a restored title for $7400 a few months ago.  The seller claimed it was in a fender bender and only the front bumper and front right fender were replaced, with the radiator fan as well.  I'm not a car guy but we have a mechanic we trust look it over -- minus the paint job on the front bumper not matching exactly, he gave it a clean bill of health.  So far, so good, and we're averaging 37mpg as novice hypermilers.  Our two golden retrievers fit just fine in the back when the seats are folded (though the plastic we thought would be so good for the dogs is actually like a little ice skating rink for them once we get moving.  We bought a little rug to put down and all's well.)

Our last car was a restored title, too.  For someone looking to save on the initial purchase, I'd recommend looking on craigslist and seeing what can be had.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2012, 01:55:12 PM by tannybrown »

Guitarist

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Re: Cars
« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2012, 02:52:23 PM »
How are you doing Tanny?

Guitarist

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Re: Cars
« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2012, 02:54:14 PM »
Dude, what are you doing to that car? I own the same car, same year, it isn't the greatest car out there but I've had nothing close to being that bad. Currently sitting at 80k. One of my speakers did blow, but I can live with something like that.

I don't think I'm particularly abusive to my cars (apart from the heavy driving - I'm at around 170k), but the person who owned it before me did think it was cool to install a cold-air intake and racing pedals, so I can only assume they had some... "interesting" experiences with it before I bought it. The intake is right up against my battery contacts, too, so whenever I jump my car I nearly start a fire. It's great!

Haha!

tannybrown

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Re: Cars
« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2012, 03:42:53 PM »
How are you doing Tanny?

That you, kansas?

MacGyverIt

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Re: Cars
« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2012, 07:26:17 PM »
Wondering what everyones advice is on buying cars, how much to spend and budgeting for a newer car. I have a 60 minute commute every day.

Gas is up to $4.50 in Cali and will likely hit that - if not more - throughout the country if the Iran tensions heat up further.

I like the Carmax (http://www.carmax.com/) website b/c on the main page you can search by mpg (city or highway). Hybrids like the Prius and Insight are pricer but may well be worth it in the long term when gas is sky high and they seem to hold their value better than conventional cars.

My buddy has a ~70 mile commute and drives a Toyota Yaris and he swears by it. It's held up well, low cost and runs at about 40 mpg.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2012, 08:19:15 PM by MacGyverIt »

Mirwen

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Re: Cars
« Reply #23 on: February 21, 2012, 08:15:18 PM »
I've done some research on cars lately and I was surprised to find that the Toyota Prius is one of the cheapest to own overall.  There's more to a car than the purchase price.  Reliability+MPG=win.

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Re: Cars
« Reply #24 on: February 21, 2012, 09:07:47 PM »

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Re: Cars
« Reply #25 on: February 22, 2012, 12:33:06 AM »
I think if you drive a lot it is a good idea to invest in a reliable yet economical car. My business requires me to drive to see different properties, if my car breaks down it costs me money and good clients. I bought a brand new Honda 2006 Civic lfor $18,000 and plan to keep it for 10-15 years. It is now 6 years old and has 95,000 miles on it. It is in immaculate condition with no problems whatsoever. If I bought used it would be almost impossible to know the true condition of the car. The resale value on Hondas and Toyotas are so good that it may be a better idea to buy a brand new model than to buy a used one. Either way I would not recommend buying a used car over 10 years old, especially if you drive a lot or have kids, since safety technology has gotten so much better in the last decade.

Original purchase 2006 Honda Civic EX $18,000. According to Kelly Blue Book. my car is now worth $10,800 to a private party buyer.


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Re: Cars
« Reply #26 on: February 22, 2012, 06:25:55 AM »
Coming from a certified car nut (reformed?) my advice would be this:
Hit up the major sites like kbb and edmunds, I guess cars.com too, but I've never used that one.  Read up on reviews and decide on a few cars you are interested in.  The next step is to then search for vehicle specific forums/sites to research your new potential car.  Here is where you will find common problems, what to look for in a used car, and general experiences.  This is the important part because you will be informed on specifically the most likely problem areas of your potential car and can inspect it thoroughly before purchasing.  If you find a good forum it will also be an invaluable resource for those who like to do their own maintenance.

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Re: Cars
« Reply #27 on: February 22, 2012, 07:12:05 AM »
Thanks for the thread regarding cars. Ever since I read MMM's article bout not borrowing to purchase a depreciating asset and my own affinity for gas efficiency, I've been looking for a '03-06 Toyota Corolla for about the $5000-7000 range, but haven't had much luck with lower mileage vehicles. Many of them are creeping closer to 150k miles, making me a bit weary of high mileage problems. The market for Corollas in my area is pretty strong, so negotiating asking prices down hasn't been successful for me yet. Should I just pay more to take on less risk with a lower mileage vehicle? I'm starting to lean that way, what do you guys think?

That's because you're looking for a unicorn car. An '03-07 Corolla WITH low miles AND under $10K doesn't exist anywhere, unless you're one hell of a lucky person or the car's been in one hell of an accident.

There are three things driving up the price there:
It's not very old.
It's a Corolla, which is one of the two more popular small cars (Civic being the other). The market is strong for these pretty much everywhere because everyone and their brother wants them.
You want low miles.

If that's your price range, something has to give. You could look for another small, reliable but less "name brand" car. Something like a Hyundai (which are pretty decent after '03) or a Kia. Even a Chevy Cavalier or Nissan Sentra. If those have been taken care of very well by their previous owner, they can easily last as long as a Corolla or Civic. The idea that Civics and Corollas are the only reliable small cars leads a lot of people to spend more money than necessary, and I say this as a Civic owner.

Or you can go older- 2001 and older, probably. If you're going that route I'd look for older + lower miles, probably something that belonged to an older individual or someone who didn't drive much but left it sitting in a garage somewhere. These can be hard to find, but they're an awesome deal if you do. My friend drives a 1992 Volvo that just keeps on going because it only has 80K on it.

Or you can go higher miles. If you do this, I'd just consider how well the previous owner took care of it. It could be run into the ground, then again if it's had regular maintenance then it could still have 100K miles or so left on it.

onehappypanda

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Re: Cars
« Reply #28 on: February 22, 2012, 07:20:55 AM »
We purchased an 06 Toyota Matrix w/60k miles and a restored title for $7400 a few months ago.  The seller claimed it was in a fender bender and only the front bumper and front right fender were replaced, with the radiator fan as well.  I'm not a car guy but we have a mechanic we trust look it over -- minus the paint job on the front bumper not matching exactly, he gave it a clean bill of health.  So far, so good, and we're averaging 37mpg as novice hypermilers.  Our two golden retrievers fit just fine in the back when the seats are folded (though the plastic we thought would be so good for the dogs is actually like a little ice skating rink for them once we get moving.  We bought a little rug to put down and all's well.)

Our last car was a restored title, too.  For someone looking to save on the initial purchase, I'd recommend looking on craigslist and seeing what can be had.

Not to be nitpicky but if a car has a restored/rebuilt title on it then it DEFINITELY wasn't just a fender bender. It means the car was completely totaled at some point in time, which for a newish car with lower miles probably means it had major frame damage.

Not saying all restored cars are a bad deal. If a car was fixed up by someone with a lot of experience, then it could be a decent-running car though the old safety features won't hold up (due to the frame damage). But MOST restored cars are junk and are patched together by someone who doesn't have a clue. My last car was a rebuild and it cost me a buttload in repair costs because idiots put it back together and none of the parts were done properly. So I'd tread with caution on a restored vehicle. What you did makes sense, getting it inspected by someone you trust before coughing up the cash. Because the person who sold  it to you definitely lied if he said it was just a fender bender.

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Re: Cars
« Reply #29 on: February 22, 2012, 07:28:35 AM »
Haha!

Yeah, hey... want to buy a souped-up 2002 Cavalier? It has racing pedals, man! That means it must be fast!

I curse myself daily for having been such an idiot as a teenager. I bought it because it was "cute." Which we all know is the best reason to buy a car.


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Re: Cars
« Reply #30 on: February 22, 2012, 08:03:49 AM »
Haha!

Yeah, hey... want to buy a souped-up 2002 Cavalier? It has racing pedals, man! That means it must be fast!

I curse myself daily for having been such an idiot as a teenager. I bought it because it was "cute." Which we all know is the best reason to buy a car.

Reminds me a little of the Mitsubishi Eclipse my wife bought when we first started dating 10 years ago.  Everything about that car -- from the race pedals, the chrome shifter, and juiced up exhaust -- screamed "Fast and Furious," which screamed "Driven Hard by Crazy Teenager."  One mechanical problem after another.  My favorite was when we opened her trunk and found it literally filled with two feet of water.  Like a built-in jacuzzi...

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Re: Cars
« Reply #31 on: February 22, 2012, 08:24:29 AM »
Haha!

Yeah, hey... want to buy a souped-up 2002 Cavalier? It has racing pedals, man! That means it must be fast!

I curse myself daily for having been such an idiot as a teenager. I bought it because it was "cute." Which we all know is the best reason to buy a car.

Obviously, haha.
My original car was my dad's '87 Shadow. It finally kicked the bucket around '05. I drove my dad's Silverado (lack of options for me, but I should have been wise enough to ride my bike to campus... idiot college student) until I moved in with some friends (should have just stayed at home for free... idiot college student) and needed my own car. I went to the dealership on my lunch break from work and my parents let me choose between the '02 Cavy with about 30k on it, and an '04 Civic with 80k. After driving both, the Cavy felt better (I wonder if it was a rental car to be honest) and thought the lower mileage on a car twice as old as the Civic was the better option (ah, a bit of mustachianism shining through the layers of idiot college student). Plus it was about $2,000 cheaper.
It has power nothing (in my opinion, power anything increases cost and adds to the number of things that can break down), minimal options, and I love every piece of it. Mileage could be better but it could be worse. I want this baby to last another decade. As my biking increases I don't think it will be terribly difficult.

tannybrown

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Re: Cars
« Reply #32 on: February 22, 2012, 08:26:33 AM »
We purchased an 06 Toyota Matrix w/60k miles and a restored title for $7400 a few months ago.  The seller claimed it was in a fender bender and only the front bumper and front right fender were replaced, with the radiator fan as well.  I'm not a car guy but we have a mechanic we trust look it over -- minus the paint job on the front bumper not matching exactly, he gave it a clean bill of health.  So far, so good, and we're averaging 37mpg as novice hypermilers.  Our two golden retrievers fit just fine in the back when the seats are folded (though the plastic we thought would be so good for the dogs is actually like a little ice skating rink for them once we get moving.  We bought a little rug to put down and all's well.)

Our last car was a restored title, too.  For someone looking to save on the initial purchase, I'd recommend looking on craigslist and seeing what can be had.

Not to be nitpicky but if a car has a restored/rebuilt title on it then it DEFINITELY wasn't just a fender bender. It means the car was completely totaled at some point in time, which for a newish car with lower miles probably means it had major frame damage.

Not saying all restored cars are a bad deal. If a car was fixed up by someone with a lot of experience, then it could be a decent-running car though the old safety features won't hold up (due to the frame damage). But MOST restored cars are junk and are patched together by someone who doesn't have a clue. My last car was a rebuild and it cost me a buttload in repair costs because idiots put it back together and none of the parts were done properly. So I'd tread with caution on a restored vehicle. What you did makes sense, getting it inspected by someone you trust before coughing up the cash. Because the person who sold  it to you definitely lied if he said it was just a fender bender.

It really depends on the insurance company and the current value of the vehicle.  It's quite possible that my vehicle has more extensive damage than I or my mechanic is aware of.  That said, body work is ridiculously expensive -- I've seen cars totalled by insurance companies for superficial hail damage.  If the costs to repair and any soft costs to process the claim exceed the value of the vehicle, it's cheaper to cut a check.  There's also an opportunity for the insurance company to make money off this practice, as when they total the car, they gain possession of it as well, and can sell it.

My point is that the risk can be worth the reward, and restored title vehicles can provide a good opportunity for buys, as the public at large won't even consider one.  I can put an entirely new engine in my Matrix and would still have paid less than someone buying a Matrix with a clean title.  Food for thought.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2012, 08:42:16 AM by tannybrown »

Mercutio

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Re: Cars
« Reply #33 on: February 22, 2012, 11:58:10 AM »
Appreciate the reply onehappypanda. I'll make some compromises and keep on looking.

HumanAfterAll

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Re: Cars
« Reply #34 on: February 22, 2012, 01:46:41 PM »
If your car is just for commuting and two-person trips, I'd look into a 2001 Honda Insight.  60MPG highway rating, selling for $6K-$8K here in Seattle.    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=16447

If me and the Ms. started over we would pick one of these for carpooling, and a bigger wagon or van for mountain adventures 3 weekends a month.


larsenju

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Re: Cars
« Reply #35 on: February 23, 2012, 10:05:26 AM »
If your car is just for commuting and two-person trips, I'd look into a 2001 Honda Insight.  60MPG highway rating, selling for $6K-$8K here in Seattle.    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=16447

If me and the Ms. started over we would pick one of these for carpooling, and a bigger wagon or van for mountain adventures 3 weekends a month.

I have been looking at consolidating to one car and have considered a Civic hybrid, which seem to be around $7k.  My in-laws live about 2K miles from us, and with the excellent fuel economy the trip could become less of a financial burden.  But I have been scared off by the prospect of a hybrid battery replacement.  From what I have read this is pretty much a necessity around 100K miles, and can be several thousand dollars.  Can any current owners shed some light on this for me?

HumanAfterAll

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Re: Cars
« Reply #36 on: February 23, 2012, 10:32:41 AM »
I've read that many people are fixing the Honda batteries themselves for a few hundred dollars (replacing one or two bad cells), or having a third party do it for $1000.  The Hondas have much smaller batteries than the Toyotas, so the replacement cost is lower.

This Search should give you some reading material.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2012, 04:37:35 PM by El Beardo Numero Uno »

larsenju

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Re: Cars
« Reply #37 on: February 23, 2012, 02:14:01 PM »
I've read that many people are fixing the Honda batteries themselves for a few hundred dollars (replacing one or two bad cells), or having a third party do it for $1000.  The Hondas have much smaller batteries than the Toyotas, so the replacement cost is lower.

This Search should give you some reading material.

That doesn't seem so bad, thank you!

onehappypanda

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Re: Cars
« Reply #38 on: February 23, 2012, 05:04:27 PM »
We purchased an 06 Toyota Matrix w/60k miles and a restored title for $7400 a few months ago.  The seller claimed it was in a fender bender and only the front bumper and front right fender were replaced, with the radiator fan as well.  I'm not a car guy but we have a mechanic we trust look it over -- minus the paint job on the front bumper not matching exactly, he gave it a clean bill of health.  So far, so good, and we're averaging 37mpg as novice hypermilers.  Our two golden retrievers fit just fine in the back when the seats are folded (though the plastic we thought would be so good for the dogs is actually like a little ice skating rink for them once we get moving.  We bought a little rug to put down and all's well.)

Our last car was a restored title, too.  For someone looking to save on the initial purchase, I'd recommend looking on craigslist and seeing what can be had.

Not to be nitpicky but if a car has a restored/rebuilt title on it then it DEFINITELY wasn't just a fender bender. It means the car was completely totaled at some point in time, which for a newish car with lower miles probably means it had major frame damage.

Not saying all restored cars are a bad deal. If a car was fixed up by someone with a lot of experience, then it could be a decent-running car though the old safety features won't hold up (due to the frame damage). But MOST restored cars are junk and are patched together by someone who doesn't have a clue. My last car was a rebuild and it cost me a buttload in repair costs because idiots put it back together and none of the parts were done properly. So I'd tread with caution on a restored vehicle. What you did makes sense, getting it inspected by someone you trust before coughing up the cash. Because the person who sold  it to you definitely lied if he said it was just a fender bender.

It really depends on the insurance company and the current value of the vehicle.  It's quite possible that my vehicle has more extensive damage than I or my mechanic is aware of.  That said, body work is ridiculously expensive -- I've seen cars totalled by insurance companies for superficial hail damage.  If the costs to repair and any soft costs to process the claim exceed the value of the vehicle, it's cheaper to cut a check.  There's also an opportunity for the insurance company to make money off this practice, as when they total the car, they gain possession of it as well, and can sell it.

My point is that the risk can be worth the reward, and restored title vehicles can provide a good opportunity for buys, as the public at large won't even consider one.  I can put an entirely new engine in my Matrix and would still have paid less than someone buying a Matrix with a clean title.  Food for thought.

Hail damage is a totally different category than a fender bender. If it's light, it's unlikely to total a car. But it can be severe, in which case it ruins the resell value of the car, which is why the car gets totaled. Fender benders are by definition minor damage, which shouldn't ruin resell value unless the car is already old and worn down. I understand what you're saying, and it is true in some cases, but my point is that there's no way that particular car was totaled over a fender bender, unless it already had issues. And older car with a lot of miles? Sure. Particularly if it's domestic, as those generally resell for a lot less. But not a relatively young Toyota. The only way that'd get totaled is if it had major issues- flood, frame damage, extensive body repair, etc.

Unscrupulous sellers and even mechanics will often downplay the damage that goes into totaling a car out, particularly if they're gonna make a buck off of it. That's why buying a rebuilt car is risky. While I 100% agree that it's an option worth looking into, especially if your other options are limited, I would still say that it's worth treading with caution as many rebuilt cars aren't fixed properly and will cost you money down the line. At worst, they can be dangerous, as frame damage wipes out many of the safety features of the car- fixed improperly, it'll crumple like tin foil the next time it's in an accident. At the very least, what I'm saying is don't take someone's word for it unless they're someone you know personally and trust. Ask for a picture of the car BEFORE it was repaired, which they should have if the damage is as minor as they claim, and check the vehicle history report yourself before buying, since many will have the extent of the damage (minor/moderate/severe) on them.

Mercutio

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Re: Cars
« Reply #39 on: February 24, 2012, 08:58:58 AM »
I'd like to get some opinions. So I made some compromises and found some viable candidates for a new (to me) car:

Option 1:  2003 Corolla with about 140,000 miles, test drive was smooth, no issues mechanically (although haven't had mechanic inspection yet), regular maintenance for past year, but there are some scratches on the exterior for about $5000.

Option 2: 2005 Corolla with bout 80,000 miles, test drive was smooth and no mechanical issues (no mechanic inspection), no maintenance records, scratches on exterior for about $7000.

I'm wondering whether that extra 60,000 miles warrants that $2000 difference. From a long-term standpoint, I figure I could drive option 2 for much longer and with (possibly, depending on luck and previous maintenance) less maintenance. But, if I purchased the $5000 vehicle, that's an extra $2000 to throw at student loans. I also thought of the angle where I purchase the $5000 car and save the $2000 for possible repairs/maintenance, but I don't want to pour more money into a car that doesn't have as long a life span (in regard to a 200,000 mile vehicle inventory).

A dark horse option: found a 2005 Prius (130,000 miles) for about $8500. But I haven't run the numbers to see if it would be cheaper with gas savings or not. 

I'm leaning toward the 2005 at the moment, but I was wondering what some of you would do in this situation?


tannybrown

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Re: Cars
« Reply #40 on: February 24, 2012, 10:26:04 AM »
Option 2 would be my choice.  Even if you're driving 30,000 miles per year, you are gaining two years of use (and getting 2 years newer in car) for $2000 total.  That's a good buy.

Daffy

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Re: Cars
« Reply #41 on: February 24, 2012, 01:57:17 PM »
Definitely get a mechanic inspection, but I'd go with option #2 as well.

I currently drive a '97 Subaru Impreza. Bought it years ago for $2,880 when it had 120k miles. It's currently at 175k miles with no major repairs. I think I got really lucky. I also have my doubts about how much longer it will last, though I've felt that way for about 20,000 miles now...

AJ

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Re: Cars
« Reply #42 on: February 24, 2012, 04:19:46 PM »
If your car is just for commuting and two-person trips, I'd look into a 2001 Honda Insight.  60MPG highway rating, selling for $6K-$8K here in Seattle.    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=16447

If me and the Ms. started over we would pick one of these for carpooling, and a bigger wagon or van for mountain adventures 3 weekends a month.

I have been looking at consolidating to one car and have considered a Civic hybrid, which seem to be around $7k.  My in-laws live about 2K miles from us, and with the excellent fuel economy the trip could become less of a financial burden.  But I have been scared off by the prospect of a hybrid battery replacement.  From what I have read this is pretty much a necessity around 100K miles, and can be several thousand dollars.  Can any current owners shed some light on this for me?

I can't speak to Honda's, but we just had our Prius battery replaced. 165k miles and 11 years old (yep, 1st gen). DH drove the car up onto a median in the wee hours of Black Friday and damaged it. We paid $2800 to have a brand new battery installed by a professional. He said if he could have done a rebuild it would have been only $1500, but too many of the cells were damaged. I've heard that with these batteries it had more to do with age than with mileage. Either way, we bought ours used and factored the new battery into our calculations. We expect to get another 8-10 years out of this one on the new battery.

onehappypanda

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Re: Cars
« Reply #43 on: February 24, 2012, 09:09:43 PM »
I'd like to get some opinions. So I made some compromises and found some viable candidates for a new (to me) car:

Option 1:  2003 Corolla with about 140,000 miles, test drive was smooth, no issues mechanically (although haven't had mechanic inspection yet), regular maintenance for past year, but there are some scratches on the exterior for about $5000.

Option 2: 2005 Corolla with bout 80,000 miles, test drive was smooth and no mechanical issues (no mechanic inspection), no maintenance records, scratches on exterior for about $7000.

I'm wondering whether that extra 60,000 miles warrants that $2000 difference. From a long-term standpoint, I figure I could drive option 2 for much longer and with (possibly, depending on luck and previous maintenance) less maintenance. But, if I purchased the $5000 vehicle, that's an extra $2000 to throw at student loans. I also thought of the angle where I purchase the $5000 car and save the $2000 for possible repairs/maintenance, but I don't want to pour more money into a car that doesn't have as long a life span (in regard to a 200,000 mile vehicle inventory).

A dark horse option: found a 2005 Prius (130,000 miles) for about $8500. But I haven't run the numbers to see if it would be cheaper with gas savings or not. 

I'm leaning toward the 2005 at the moment, but I was wondering what some of you would do in this situation?

Have you run the vehicle history on both to make sure they're clean? Can you negotiate the price on Option B? Assuming both cars are clean I'd go with Option B and negotiate your little heart out, 2 years and 60K miles with a cleaner maintenance record seems worth it to me, assuming you can pay cash for both. I'd skip the Prius, not enough info to know how they run at higher mileage and the repair costs can get funky because of the equipment, or so I've been told.

arebelspy

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Re: Cars
« Reply #44 on: February 24, 2012, 09:27:15 PM »
A wise man with a robust mustache once told me never to borrow money to buy a depreciating asset.

I read that as "robot mustache" and immediately scrolled to the top to see if MMM had changed his logo again.  Alas, no robot mustaches in sight.

Any update on the robot mustache?  MRM?
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milkman

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Re: Cars
« Reply #45 on: February 27, 2012, 10:07:10 PM »
Do you guys budget monthly for future car purchases?

chrissyo

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Re: Cars
« Reply #46 on: February 27, 2012, 10:51:47 PM »
A wise man with a robust mustache once told me never to borrow money to buy a depreciating asset. 

This - I have never understood why anyone would be happy to lose money simultaneously on their asset and its financing.

I currently don't own or use a car, as I live in a big city with great public transport. We are, however, relocating later this year and intend to buy a Prius for its size, smaller environmental impact, fuel efficiency and reliability.

Bakari

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Re: Cars
« Reply #47 on: February 28, 2012, 09:25:55 AM »
Almost every vehicle I have ever purchased was at least 2 decades old.
I really don't understand why everyone thinks that means you end up spending more money from repairs.

Lets say you knew absolutely nothing about mechanics and didn't have time to learn. 
Lets say, worse case scenario, you had piston rings blow out and gear teeth break off.

So you buy a rebuilt engine ($2000), and replace the transmission ($1000).
Add in some miscellaneous repairs and maintence ($1000 - although you have to spend money on maintenance even for a brand new car anyway) and the original purchase price ($2000)

At $6000 you have an essentially new car (from the stand point of the moving mechanical parts, that can actually break down), as opposed to spending two times that much for a 5 year old "pre-owned" car.

And that is just worse case scenario!  If you take care of it, unless you are just unlucky, you probably won't need to replace both the engine and the transmission.  So then you get a car for $3000, and save maybe ten grand over the cost of an almost new car.  Ten grand buys a whole lot of minor trips to the mechanic.

If I were looking for a car, I'd probably go with the same model I had before: a 1985 Honda Civic hatchback.  Cost $1500, got 35mpg (this was before I learned hypermiling, I bet I could get 60mpg today).  I was totally lax on maintence, didn't fill the oil or coolant (give me a break, I was a teenager) and had to spend about $1000 on repairs.  Aside from that, totally reliable.   Lots of space for a 2 door.  And fun (I ended up totaling it).  I don't recommend that last part...

Mirwen

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Re: Cars
« Reply #48 on: March 21, 2012, 08:41:10 PM »

I really don't understand why everyone thinks that means you end up spending more money from repairs.


Well, let me tell you the story of my first car.  I bought a 10 year old Nissan Quest on credit.  Payments: $150/mo.  I thought I was being smart by getting an older Japanese car that could hold all my bikes and camping equipment.  However, over the next two years, I spent an average of $500/mo in repairs.  Nothing major, but lots of little things.  I was stranded on my way to work about every two weeks.  I didn't have the ability to know if the mechanic was lying to me or not, but I'm sure they overcharged me.  What choice did I have?  Pay an extra $150 to have it towed to the next shop and back?  After two years of this I traded it in for a new Matrix.  Instead of paying $150 in payments *and* $500/mo in repairs I paid $300/mo and I had a pleasant, comfortable car that never broke down.  I cried the day I sold that car so we could be a one car household.  Was buying a new car smart in the long run?  Maybe yes and maybe no, but it was definitely much better than being stranded, broke and taken advantage of regularly.  If you have mechanical skills, then owning a beater is a completely different scenario. 

Oh, and you have to consider that different people are treated differently by mechanics.  When they see a 20 something girl they think "sukka."  Nowadays, I have a 40 something male relative take my car to the shop and I no longer get scammed.  It doesn't matter that he knows no more than I do, the guys at the shop think he does and that's what matters.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2012, 08:56:03 PM by Mirwen »