Author Topic: Time for a new(er) car  (Read 4116 times)

emurica

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Time for a new(er) car
« on: May 31, 2014, 04:31:01 PM »
My >180,000 mile 1999 Toyota Corolla's engine runs well as I change my oil myself every 3000 miles or so, however, the car itself makes plenty of "sounds" I know it shouldn't. I know that it's mostly down hill from here as I've been spending hundreds of dollars repairing/replacing different parts over the past 12 months. Essentially, at this point, I'd like a more reliable car.

Options I'm considering:
1) Buy a brand new 2014 Toyota Corolla. I've "built" it online at the Toyota website and all I've done is select the most basic model, with absolutely no extras (besides the $100 all weather floor mats). MSRP of $17,710.
2) Buy a reliable used car with somewhat low mileage that I can rely on (no major issues for, let's say, 4 or 5 years).

In my brief search for a used car online (can only base reliability on seller comments until I test drive) I've found cars in the ~$10,000 range with about 70k-80k miles on it. Does anyone have any advice or a link to an article that can help me out? What are your opinions?

CarDude

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Re: Time for a new(er) car
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2014, 04:37:11 PM »
No need for a new car; plenty of reliable machines for much less. For you, I'd suggest a 2006 or newer Honda Civic.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Time for a new(er) car
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2014, 07:28:55 PM »
No need for a new car; plenty of reliable machines for much less. For you, I'd suggest a 2006 or newer Honda Civic.

Hard to go wrong with a Civic. Lots of folks around here also have had good luck with older Prius (Prii?).

avongil

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Re: Time for a new(er) car
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2014, 08:40:57 PM »
How many miles do you drive per year???  We were in the exact same boat. 2003 corolla with 185k.

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MoneyCat

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Re: Time for a new(er) car
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2014, 10:04:51 PM »
I second the idea of getting yourself a hybrid.  Not only do you get the fuel economy benefits, but you also have a lot less maintenance.  For example, I only have to change my oil every 10,000 miles.  You would probably want a used Toyota Prius or Honda Insight.  I would recommend the Prius because it gets the best gas mileage and (depending on the model year) it doesn't need to run the engine to run the air conditioning (when absolutely necessary, of course.)

Balance

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Re: Time for a new(er) car
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2014, 10:51:23 PM »
No need for a new car; plenty of reliable machines for much less. For you, I'd suggest a 2006 or newer Honda Civic.

Hard to go wrong with a Civic. Lots of folks around here also have had good luck with older Prius (Prii?).

This thread is interesting to me since I have a 2006 Civic which I use for work and my wife drives our 2012 Prius for work and to take around the baby. The Prius is great for family outings especially if you have kids because it has a lot of room compared to the Civic. The Prius also has great gas mileage. Personally I would buy a new car instead of used only because I tend to keep my car 10+ years and I don't want to take on someone else's problem.  Also in the SF Bay Area where I live, used Hondas and Toyotas tend to go for much more than the typical blue book value.  For a 2006 Civic with the same mileage as I have in the same condition it would cost $10k+ (I bought my car new for $17.5k out the door almost 8.5 years ago). You may be able to find better deals in your area though. 

chasesfish

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Re: Time for a new(er) car
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2014, 06:50:57 AM »
You're in kind of a challenging situation - how important is reliability?  Has it actually broken down on you and do you have a job that involves going and seeing people during the day?  (I have to have a reliable car for that reason).

A new compact/subcompact will run $17,000 to $20,000, while a used one with 80-100k in the 06-08 range is still around $9,000. 

If time is on your side, shop craigslist really hard for months and find the nice one owner car some parents bought new for their kid and did all the maintenance.   Used is a lot better for the lower taxes, insurance, and up front cost.  The less miles a year, the better the math works on buying used.

I would personally probably get sick of the time it takes to search and vet out the used car and just go buy it new, but I'm a lot further down the FI path at this point. 


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avongil

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Re: Time for a new(er) car
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2014, 11:48:33 AM »
Short Answer: Depends ultimately on distance traveled per year.  If you only drive a few thousand miles per year, any car will do.




https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Ajeg4z5XrypmdE0yanpJSTlLTHFjbmV1eEU4cE9Ma0E&usp=drive_web#gid=0


The previous spreadsheet is pretty good for deciding what vehicle will best suit your needs.

A few things to note or think about:
1:
In 10 years 20K invested @ 5% will be: 32K
In 10 Years 10K invested @ 5% will be: 16K
The cheaper your car is, the more money you make on compound interest.  On the other hand you must replace the car more often.


2:
Newer cars generally get better MPG.  The more you drive, the more it makes sense to buy a hybrid, or even an electric if you can recharge at work.

3:
Safety. Newer cars have more active and passive safety features. This might be a factor in your choice with kids etc.


4:
Maintenance:
Generally speaking an older car will require more frequent and more expensive maintenance.
the spreadsheet has some numbers in there that work out well. If you feel that this is not correct then remove this from your calculations and you will see that its not a huge factor, MPG is more important.

My conclusions:

I like to think of cars as a tool with a set expense per month.
For the average person driving 12K per year, the number to shoot for is under $300.

In my opinion there is no point in driving a beater that costs $350 per month if you can purchase a 20K vehicle that costs $250
The future value of 1200$ invested per year is $15K in 10 years.

There is little difference in money saved with a new economy car or a used economy car that gets good gas millage.

There is a huge difference in money saved between luxury cars and economy cars.

TIPS:
Used economy cars are only worth it if you get a smoking deal.  With time you will get one, so just be patient.

Salvage Cars might be an option. You can get an almost brand new car for 1/2 the price. This is risky though.  This will give you the most bang for the buck if you intend to keep the car a long time.  Example: - Ford Focus in NJ with 6K we went to see has asking price of 10.2K.

Use carfax. The 55$ account is awesome. You type in license pates and get the cars history. We avoided much travel time with this tool.

Dealers are not a bad place to go. Check prices online, strike when they are desperate to sell.  I also found dealers sell their used other brand cars bellow KBB private value.  Also, 4x4 truck land selling a hybrid might be a good place to look for inventory that has been sitting!

Cars you cannot go wrong with:

New Focus or Fiesta or Kia or anything similar in price/MPG
Used above

Used Low mileage Hybrid or PHEV


CAREFUL: All these cars are hot right now. It's difficult to get a good deal. One must use patience.