Author Topic: Need some advice for helping girlfriend buy a 'better' car  (Read 2408 times)

tmoneyearlyretiree

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Need some advice for helping girlfriend buy a 'better' car
« on: December 23, 2016, 10:53:43 AM »
So my GF and I see eye to eye on most major financial things. We bought a $2000 2004 honda civic because that's the money we had at the time only 6 mos ago. She's an attending doc and has the money to buy something a little newer and wants to because she doesn't feel safe driving the old car. Brakes need total replacement for ~$200.

Mechanic told me that the tires have about 50% tread left, but in wet conditions if she presses the gas even a little too hard the wheels spin, so she just wants something that she feels safe driving in because she has to go 30 min south and west to branch hospitals to see patients.

I love the honda and its a great car financially, but I want to please her and make her feel safe too. She's mentioned getting snow tires would make her feel more secure, so maybe that's an option but it's definitely a flimsy feeling car, no side curtain airbags, etc.

What are your thoughts in terms of vehicle safety? Would you try to convince her to keep the beater car and spend $500 on tires and repairs?

We would buy something between $8000-$10000 2011-2013 if we bought new. What vehicles would you suggest in that price range?

Hopefully some other couples out there have gone through this. All advice appreciated thanks. I'd prefer maxing out FI accounts and paying down student loans as aggressively as possible. Then again she's a surgeon and can certainly afford a 2011-2013 vehicle.

Ayanka

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Re: Need some advice for helping girlfriend buy a 'better' car
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2016, 11:03:12 AM »
First of all, I would feel vastly unsafe in the car too and not because of the airbags. If you would replace the tires, is it guaranteed they wouldn't spin? Because if not, it is not about whether your girlfriend feels safe, it is about if she is safe. And no amount of money buys back a loved one or undoes an injury if something happens. However going from 2 k to 8k is a big jump. Is there a middle solution that would be safe (and not feel safe, be safe with decent brakes and the like)?

honeybbq

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Re: Need some advice for helping girlfriend buy a 'better' car
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2016, 11:09:12 AM »
If she's an attending, I'm guessing you have plenty of money, or at least will in the near future. I see no reason to cut significant corners and end up in the same situation you are in 2 more years.

You could definitely get another Honda IMO, maybe an accord or a CRV. That price point (10-13k) will get you a significantly newer and safer car, and you could keep it for the next 10 years easily. Everyone needs a way to get to work. A used, practical Honda is a good choice.

Dave1442397

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Re: Need some advice for helping girlfriend buy a 'better' car
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2016, 11:27:42 AM »
I might go with a Honda Accord. There are plenty of them for sale, and it's a nice car for the money.

If she wants something a bit more luxurious, you can get a Lexus ES330/350 or a Toyota Avalon in that price range. They are both nice cars that will last a long time.

When buying used, always check the tires. Some dealers will put new tires on a car if the old ones were worn out, but you might end up with crappy tires. I once bought a car that came with Uniroyal Tiger Paw tires...I could spin those things in the rain at 40mph. I replaced them right away, but I wish I'd known how bad they were when we bought the car.

HipGnosis

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Re: Need some advice for helping girlfriend buy a 'better' car
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2016, 11:30:44 AM »
She's an attending doc and has the money to buy something a little newer and wants to ...
This contradicts your subject.  180 degrees.  Overshadowing the rest of the post.
Most of the post makes me question your relationship, especially your two individual expectations of both 'your' money and your relationship.
Bottom line:  She has the money so she doesn't need your help to get what she wants.

JLee

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Re: Need some advice for helping girlfriend buy a 'better' car
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2016, 11:34:05 AM »
Tires make a huge difference.  If you live in a cold climate, snow tires are a really good idea for winter use.

lizzzi

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Re: Need some advice for helping girlfriend buy a 'better' car
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2016, 11:45:15 AM »
She's a physician, with huge responsibilities and probably expected to drive in all kinds of weather and at all kinds of hours, whether she's tired or not. And she has the money for something better. Please do not compromise on her safety and on the reliability of her vehicle. And if you live in a snow climate, snow tires really do make a big difference. My brother is a physician, and historically has always driven small, economical cars, but I don't recall him ever driving unsafe beaters. Please don't let your girlfriend cheap out too much.

LadyMuMu

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Re: Need some advice for helping girlfriend buy a 'better' car
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2016, 12:09:29 PM »
I can't quite put my finger on it but there's something that rubs me the wrong way about how you are approaching this. This is your girlfriend--not a wife or partner--but it sounds as if you are already mingling finances totally. If you aren't I'd seriously take a step back from meddling in her financial affairs. Also, whether or not you joined financially or not, it really isn't healthy for one partner figuring out how to "convince" the other one to do what he or she thinks is right.

Perhaps the words you used in your post don't really convey how things work in your relationship. Perhaps she asked for your advice. But until your financial goals are united, I'd help her by doing research and offer information about different options but refrain from straight up advice, convincing or persuasion.

Now with that out of the way, the fact is an attending surgeon is going to be in a high-stress job that takes her to hospitals at all hours. If she is an attending, is it safe to assume she's at a teaching hospital--most of which are in cities. So you have bad weather, stressful non-traditional hours, urban environment. I know those med school loans are daunting, but skimping on the car isn't the best option. Buy a sturdy 2-3 year old car and drive it into the ground over the next 12-15 years.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Need some advice for helping girlfriend buy a 'better' car
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2016, 03:00:34 PM »
And whatever car she has should have snow tires if your temperatures go below 7oC (44oF) - all season tires are not soft enough to grip and summer tires are useless in cool/cold temperatures.

humbleMouse

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Re: Need some advice for helping girlfriend buy a 'better' car
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2016, 04:24:00 PM »
I agree with the other posters.  I live in minnesota and drive a saab with blizztek winter tires.  My car is like a tank and I can drive through ridiculous amounts of snow and never get stuck.  I don't ever have to shovel my driveway when it snows because I can power through it. 

Don't underestimate the power of good tires and good anti-slip car software. Even if I turn the steering wheel back and forth when I drive in snow, my car automatically adjusts and I barely loose traction.


acepedro45

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Re: Need some advice for helping girlfriend buy a 'better' car
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2016, 08:57:16 PM »
I find it curious and out of character that the consensus on THIS message board is to accept that the 2004 Honda is "unsafe" without much questioning.

I agree that wheels spinning in the rain is a bad sign....but doesn't it just mean you need to replace the tires with something better? And make sure the brakes are in good working order, of course.

If the Civic's in good shape aside from those two very fixable problems, I vote fix them both and then drive the heck out of the Honda. Those things will go forever if you take care of them.

The "she can afford to spend more on a car, ergo she should" line of reasoning doesn't really resonate with me.


lbmustache

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Re: Need some advice for helping girlfriend buy a 'better' car
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2016, 09:28:16 PM »
The 2004 Civic is kind of dinky... so I get her concern on that front. From a financial, mustachian perspective, I would say replace the brakes, get better tires. The tires may have 50% tread left, but could be really crappy tires.

Now if she is legitimately scared or the car is a total POS, I suggest:

Toyota Prius
Hyundai Elantra (4th gen, 2006-2010. 5th gen is a little less reliable but YMMV)
Honda Civic
Honda Accord
Toyota Camry
Kia Optima

It will be hard to find a CUV in your price range that isn't beat up or has a lot of miles. (It's doable, just a lot more work.) 

tmoneyearlyretiree

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Re: Need some advice for helping girlfriend buy a 'better' car
« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2016, 01:10:21 PM »
Just to give more background, our finances are moving towards comingling, planning on getting engaged in a couple months. I'm contributing towards the new vehicle, and she drives it mostly and has asked my help in buying the car from private party on craigslist as I've done it several times before and she trusts me to get a good deal for her. She obviously doesn't need my permission but she wanted me to weigh cost / benefit of getting something newer versus keeping what we have.

I guess I wanted to seek advice on here to get people's thoughts on if the honda could be improved enough for her to feel safe just from buying new tires. We live in St. Louis, and cars get broken into so often and there are so many horrible cars on the road (without windshields, front bumpers, etc.) that it makes me feel safe to drive something like the 04 civic. Nobody wants to carjack that.

I think I'm heavily leaning towards just getting something newer in that 8-10k private party transaction range. I like the suggestions, probably partial to a honda civic , accord, sonata, or altima.

What are folks' thoughts on going with a '11-'13 sonata or altima? I can get a car with lower miles (50-80k) for the same price I can get a honda in the same model year for. Also if anyone lived or lives in the st louis area feedback on weather conditions is appreciated since we just moved there a couple months ago

SeaEhm

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Re: Need some advice for helping girlfriend buy a 'better' car
« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2016, 03:46:22 PM »
AWD CRV seems like a safe bet.