Author Topic: Talk me into (or out) of buying a 2009 Hyundai Elantra with 117k miles  (Read 732 times)

mitchm

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Currently (and for the foreseeable future) living in the Bay Area and commuting via bike and public transportation. I've been semi-seriously contemplating buying a cheap, high-mileage car for weekend trips, occasional grocery store/errand runs, etc. Currently I rely on occasional rentals (probably averages out to 2 days/month rental) and gig cars ($75/day rental) for hiking and backpacking trips and other occasional outings.

I now have the opportunity to buy a 2009 Hyundai Elantra with 117k miles on it from a friend (2nd owner) for $2500. Car seems to be in good condition mechanically (no major repairs needed and no issues presenting currently). Fair to bad condition on the outside, but that's purely aesthetic. Blue book value seems to be somewhere in the $3500-4500 range.

I would pay cash and can certainly afford it, I just can't decide if it's "worth it." 

I have not pulled the trigger yet for a few reasons:
1) cost of liability insurance even if I rarely use the thing
2) Parking hassles (street sweeping etc - I'd be using on-street parking) and cost of possible window smashings (I live in a high-risk area for that)
3)  Risk that I will get lazy and start driving everywhere instead of biking, and in turn my health will deteriorate.
4) Risk that I will start "defaulting" to car trips when I am bored instead of channeling my inner resources, spending quality time with friends, etc. Relying on rentals requires me to be more intentional, plan ahead, and do a cost/benefit every single time I rent a car...which ultimately I do appreciate in some ways...but on the other hand when I really want to get out of town and can't because I haven't planned ahead...that sucks too.

Anyone have any ideas for how they would think about this if you were in my shoes?

acepedro45

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Re: Talk me into (or out) of buying a 2009 Hyundai Elantra with 117k miles
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2019, 09:30:28 AM »
Maybe compute the annual cost to own the car assuming it just sits in your driveway and you never use it? Taxes + registration + any recurring inspections in your state + depreciation + insurance? Maybe I'm forgetting something.

That might give you a good sense of if the convenience of having a car around on standby is worth it to you or not.

I hear on the "it will make me physically and mentally lazy" worry. Not sure how to tackle that one.

magnet18

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Re: Talk me into (or out) of buying a 2009 Hyundai Elantra with 117k miles
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2019, 09:53:02 AM »
Research the reliability of the model, Hyundai aren't known for it

If you're only using it once or twice a year though, that matters much less

Also on the liability insurance for infrequent use note that there are "storage" policies which cost basically nothing.  My wifes project mustang is on a storage policy for like $20 a year or something crazy low, and if we ever want to drive it we just call and have it moved to full coverage for the weekend, then back to storage on monday, and they pro-rate the rate.


On the lazy front, park it somewhere really far from home so it's inconvenient to use. (Could also avoid the street sweeper hassle)

RWD

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Re: Talk me into (or out) of buying a 2009 Hyundai Elantra with 117k miles
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2019, 09:59:32 AM »
Research the reliability of the model, Hyundai aren't known for it

Elantras are about average for most years. 2009 is a good year for Elantra reliability.
http://www.dashboard-light.com/vehicles/Hyundai_Elantra.html

mitchm

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Re: Talk me into (or out) of buying a 2009 Hyundai Elantra with 117k miles
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2019, 07:42:36 PM »
Research the reliability of the model, Hyundai aren't known for it

Elantras are about average for most years. 2009 is a good year for Elantra reliability.
http://www.dashboard-light.com/vehicles/Hyundai_Elantra.html

Awesome website; thanks for sharing! Was thinking of taking the vehicle to a mechanic for an inspection if I do decide to buy it. Does anyone have any experience doing this? What would be a fair price to pay? I have never owned a car or been to a mechanic...for anything.

magnet18

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Re: Talk me into (or out) of buying a 2009 Hyundai Elantra with 117k miles
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2019, 08:05:02 PM »
I have never owned a car or been to a mechanic...for anything.
Yoikes, ok then

Find one *really* recommended, that you *really* trust, otherwise you run a serious risk of handing them $100 for an inspection and having them laugh maniacally while they come up with a long list of things that may or may not actually need replaced/repaired

Just look up reviews in your area :)

You can take it in for an inspection, mostly of wear items like brakes and belts, though you can also inspect those yourself pretty easily with a little learning.  Look up the manual for the car and it will have a recommended list of service items. 

IMHO the best thing to do is take it on a LONG test drive, hit potholes, climb steep hills and brake hard, you've hopefully been in enough cars to tell when one is falling apart or doing something very not ok, like squeaking wheels, pulsing brakes, steering pulling one way or another, not shifting, etc.

Common items -brakes tires, belts, shock absorbers, door locks if you need those (debatable), automatic transmission not operating smoothly (pricey that one, but often hard to tell)

Tires can be an unexpected $500 gotcha, check the tread and also the date code, they expire after a few years