Author Topic: Need Car Buying Advice  (Read 6579 times)

katieboo

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Need Car Buying Advice
« on: June 08, 2013, 11:03:55 AM »
I currently drive a 2005 Kia Spectra hatchback which I bought new and has been paid for for some time now. I put 65,000 miles on it. It's supposed to get 21 city/ 31 highway.

Due to my neglect, needs extensive paint repair where tree sap took off the paint in spots all over the hood and roof.  And paint's worn off the spoiler. Also two dogs and cloth seats do not mix, too embarrassed to let passengers in the car because they'll get white dog hair all over their clothes. But the KIA has been so reliable, I've never had to have any repairs, I've never been a day without it.

So now I want to buy a car that I'm not embarrassed of. It doesn't have to be fancy. I've always driven economy cars. I've considered getting the paint repaired, but worry that will be so expensive that it's not worth it given the low value of my car. Also I really want a car with leather seats because I haul my dogs around a lot and they generally sit in the back seat. I originally had the idea of keeping them in the cargo area with a barrier, but that never materialized, and for some reason, I just let them ride in the back seat. They like it better there.

I've only owned two cars in my life, drove the last one for 7 years, and both I bought new.

So now what do I do. My daily commute is about 25 miles round trip. I don't drive a whole lot. I have about $10K in savings and would prefer not to deplete the entire amount. Gas mileage and reliability are my top priorities, and I'm partial to hatchbacks, don't know why. Just like them. And did I mention reliability? I don't even want to spend a single day without my car, so I want to avoid one that will go in the shop.

What would you suggest I do? Get a reality check, swallow my pride and keep driving my Kia, paint damage, dog hair and all? Or go car shopping?

ketchup

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2013, 11:35:02 AM »
Get a reality check, swallow my pride and keep driving my Kia, paint damage, dog hair and all? Or go car shopping?
This.  One of my roommates has a 2009 Kia Spectra5, and if you attack those seats with a decent vacuum cleaner, you can get them looking brand new.  We have three dogs, and they love getting hair all over the seats.  This shouldn't be an issue at all.  Cloth seats are certainly more annoying to clean than my vinyl seats on my Sprint, but it's nowhere near impossible.  I'm confident with some attention you can make that interior look brand new, or at least hair-free.

His Kia's been good to him too, and 65,000 miles is nothing.  Look into what it would cost to fix the paint, to not let the problems spread.  Find a friend that knows that stuff if you can.  Doesn't have to be perfect.  What you don't want are those areas to start rusting.  I don't know your location, but if you're in the rust belt, get that taken care of before next winter.

If you "don't drive a lot", a new car makes no sense to me in your situation, and a 2005 cheapish car with 65,000 miles on it that's been reliable to you makes perfect sense.  At your rate of driving, it will take a very, very long time to wear out your Kia.

But hey, that's my just my opinion.

Jamesqf

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2013, 01:23:49 PM »
So now I want to buy a car that I'm not embarrassed of.

It would be much, much more effective to work on overcoming your embarassment, rather than buying a new(er) car - which will in short order have seats covered with dog hair, the gloss worn off the shiny paint, etc, at which point you'll start thinking about spending money on yet another new car...

Self-employed-swami

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2013, 02:11:15 PM »
So now I want to buy a car that I'm not embarrassed of.

It would be much, much more effective to work on overcoming your embarassment, rather than buying a new(er) car - which will in short order have seats covered with dog hair, the gloss worn off the shiny paint, etc, at which point you'll start thinking about spending money on yet another new car...

I'm going to second this.

<- drives a 1995 Tercel, with duct tape holding one headlight in, and zip-ties keeping the windshield wiper blades from flying off the wiper arms in the rain.

Rural

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2013, 03:21:26 PM »
My Kia has just over 190,000 miles on it and is going strong. Selling or trading in that car would be giving someone else a big, fat present. Give the present to yourself and keep the car. Vacuum it well, then put down a throw for the dogs in the backseat and take it up when you have a passenger. Even if you pay to have the thing repainted, you'll be much better off keeping the car than buying a new one.

katieboo

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2013, 03:59:18 PM »
Thanks for  the responses, I appreciate them.

 I really like the body style of my Kia, and it's been so good to me. I may try to strike a happy medium by getting it painted, and get some covers for the seats, or maybe find some cheaper vinyl seats to replace the cloth ones, something. I won't save as much as driving it as-is, but it might keep me from buying another car. I realized I'm partial to the sportier looking hatchbacks, and I still think my KIA fits the bill.  In some ways I like the body style more than the new sporty hatchbacks. It looks less like a jelly bean and more like a real car to me. And in my opinion it's got better visibility out the rear window than a lot of the new cars out there.

newideas2013

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2013, 06:30:00 PM »
Do you have a house, or more specifically a garage to work in? Learning to do some spot painting and blending is an exciting DIY project, something I'd LOVE to do on my own vehicles and one day will do for sure.

The tools aren't that expensive, there is quality info at your library (look for the Haynes book on autobody work and painting) and all over youtube. The amount you'd spend on tools would be well under $1000 and you'd have them for life (air compressor, spray gun, electric sander, etc) vs paying out more to your local paint shop and learning nothing.

Does a good vacuum job not get the hair out? I really don't think anybody is that concerned with a bit of hair on them. I don't see this as a good reason to buy a brand new car, especially since you have something thats pretty fuel efficient, mechanically sound and paid off. Would you realistically post a good internet ad, go for a private sale and aim for getting top dollar on the used car market? Or would you take a huge loss at a dealership, get sucked into a payment plan all for leather seats and a shiny paint job..

katieboo

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2013, 07:17:34 PM »
Thanks for your reply. For $900 I could get a very basic paint job for the entire car, but color probably wouldn't match interior door jams and I doubt he'd sand everything down. So that's one alternative do doing it myself. There are so many spots, that I think painting myself or using touch up paint would look pretty bad. If there were just a few spots I would certainly consider the DIY route.

I vacuumed relentlessly with a pet hair attachment. The problem is the dog's hair that has woven itself into the upholstery. And that same dog manages to wad up every seat cover I've tried. But I haven't given up. Considering a shop vac and a stuff brush gets out a lot of it. It's just a lot of work.

I'm considering vinyl seat covers.

Right now I'm waiting to see if my insurance will cover some if the damage and I'll go from there.

If I plan on driving it for another 65K miles I'd like to have a quality paint job that will last the rest of the car's life. And I park it in a garage now and have learned my lesson on parking under trees during summer. Never again.

In going to try and avoid trading or selling it and the a big loss.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2013, 07:21:35 PM by katieboo »

newideas2013

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2013, 07:51:34 PM »
I've never gone through the experience of getting a paint job done on a car, but what I have heard from a few people is they are all about the upsell. I am not sure how satisified you would be with a $900 paint job.

They shouldn't even have to give you a full paint job, repainting over 95% of the paint that is perfectly fine. All you are looking for is paint matching on the hood and the spoiler. What would be involved is getting factory matched paint, sanding off a small area around the damage spots and repainting those spots. A professional car painter should be able to "blend" the finish naturally into the surrounding paint and leave a natural looking job that you could never tell was damaged or repainted in the first place.

This is also something you could totally learn to DIY, and the tools would probably be cheaper then the labour paid to a professional. It will take more time to DIY but you learn a skill along the way.

For me it would be DIY or dont do at all. Thats me though.

N

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2013, 08:20:55 PM »
fwiw, consider that if you file an insurance claim, your insurance will go up. you might pay more in increased premiums than it would cost to repair it.

theres gotta be a way to cover up the seat somehow with something that is washable or cleanable, no?

fixing the issues is going to cost approximate 5-8 thousand less dollars than a new car. seems worth it. :)

katieboo

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2013, 10:52:46 AM »
Thanks starting, that is a risk certainly. I'm paying too much for insurance as it is. So I plan to lower my level of coverage eventually. It's eating up too much income.

They make semi custom slipcovers out of vinyl, which I've considered. Once I sort out the paint job I'm going to find a cheap way to cover the seats. Forget about my surfeit slipcovers, they are way too flimsy. I might as well put a sheet over the seats, I may just do that.

N

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2013, 10:58:37 AM »
a sheet from the thrift store! :)

prodarwin

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2013, 11:33:22 AM »
I've been lurking for a bit, but this will be my first post.  I'm a bit of an automotive frugality champion in some ways (perhaps I need to "share my badassity") , but weak in others (my hobby is racing cars).  Some tips for this particular scenario:

1)  The mileage on your car is not great**.  A Prius will get 40-50mpg avg depending on the generation you buy and of course your driving style.  If you made a fairly lateral move to a Prius, you could save quite a bit of money over the next 65K miles you intend to keep the car for.  A Civic Hybrid and Insight will also return excellent mileage and as a bonus can be found requiring battery repair.  The battery repair is easy to DIY and can enable you to pick one up for quite little.  Maybe something to consider after cleaning the car the best you can. 

**On a related note, you should track your fuel mileage.  Fuelly.com is what I use, but there are numerous options out there.  You can compare your mileage to others here:  http://www.fuelly.com/car/kia/spectra  If yours is significantly higher... great.  If its lower, you may need some maintenance, you may need to adjust your driving style, or you may have a commute that is particularly bad for fuel economy (another reason for a hybrid - regenerative braking really does wonders for these commutes).

2) This is an excellent website showing how to paint a car for $50:  http://www.rickwrench.com/index79master.htm?http://www.rickwrench.com/50dollarpaint.html   There are many other threads on automotive forums with details on this... just search "$50 paint job"  Paying for a paint job is likely not worth it for this car - you'll never recover the investment.  Better to take a loss when you eventually sell it/trade it.

3) I don't know what to do about the seats, but I would recommend searching for a used set on some automotive forums/ebay, or even just the covers.  The covers can be removed from the seats and replaced - you don't need a whole new seat.  Carpet can be pulled from the car rather easily if you remove the seats first.  Once its out, you may find that a simple scrubbing/shampoo removes most of the smell/hair/any stains/etc.

4) Whatever changes you make, include some that prevent your dogs from getting hair everywhere (how often are they riding around with you in your car anyway?).  Even if its as simple as putting and old blanket over the rear seat when they ride with you.

One thing about cars - I don't know anyone who is embarassed to have friends ride in their car that also takes very good care of their car.  You've already learned the lesson with paint, but it extends to almost all aspects of car ownership - preventative maintenance, cleanliness, caution, etc.  If you take care of your car like you want it to last forever, A) it probably will and B) you'll probably feel pretty good about it and not be the slightest bit embarrassed to have a few friends ride with you.


Eric

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2013, 12:43:52 PM »
I have to say, I think this is a terrible financial idea.  What's your current car worth?  It's got a bad paint job, so if you try to sell it, you're selling it for at least 50% less than what it's worth to you.  On top of that, your car has only 65k miles on it.  That's nothing!  It should easily last another 10-15 years at your current driving rate.

The only reason you want to replace it seems to be for aesthetics.  That's just about the worst reason to make a new purchase that I can think of.  Sorry if that sounds harsh, but it's true.  You're considering getting little to no value from your current car that works JUST FINE in order to have another car that looks better.

I think you have two options. 
1)  You can pay to have it painted.  Even if it costs $1k or more, it's still saving you money vs buying a different car.
2)  Get creative.  Make your car a lady bug.  Or a golf ball.  Or a cheetah.  Or whatever you think will be funny.  Paint it yourself for super cheap.  You will have the most unique car in your whole town!  It will be stylish because no one else has one like it.

Spork

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2013, 12:52:07 PM »
a sheet from the thrift store! :)

I was going to say the same.   Or if you want to go full on spendy, you can get a pet seat cover on amazon for about $20-30.  The only 'advantage' of the latter is that it will have straps to hold it in place and pre-cut holes for the seat belts.  Your dog won't care either way.

katieboo

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2013, 09:07:43 PM »
I'm now trying to avoid selling it thanks to everyone's input. I readily admit to being neglectful of the interior and exterior. And I don't expect to get my money back on a paint job. In fact that was the main reason I originally thought about buying a new car. However I really like not having a car payment. And I'm the only owner of this car, mechanically it's done well.

reginna

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2013, 11:56:34 AM »
Check around with independent shops. Sometimes owners will deduct $ if you pay in cash. True cash.

newideas2013

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice
« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2013, 12:21:47 PM »
Check around with independent shops. Sometimes owners will deduct $ if you pay in cash. True cash.

That's good to hear. Think about how many people drive much older vehicles, in worse shape and don't care (rust, etc). Nobody on the road really notices or cares. Just accepting this fact will save you thousands and thousands of dollars which is good