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Never bought a car before

shaneco1010shaneco1010 Posts: 3
edited July 2016 in General
Hi all,

First, than you in advance for your patience.

Second, here is my situation. I just moved to LA, after living in Chicago and New York where cars aren't needed, and need to buy my first car. I' a comedian so I have not a lot of money and will be putting a lot of miles on said car.

Third, here is what I need to know:

1. Do I apply for the loan first, or shop for the car first?
2. Are there any brands you would suggest that will be able to stand up to the number of miles I'll be putting on it?
3. How do I avoid buying a car tha will fall apart after I pay the person?

That's it to start with... thanks to anyone that takes the time to read/respond. Please do not use the word "depends" in any of your responses. Give me your (more educated than my) opinion so I can gather actual info and not end up with more questions.

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Answers

  • kyfdxkyfdx Everywhere, USAPosts: 126,124
    1) Shop for a loan, before you go to the dealer. The dealer can likely get you a better deal, but you won't know that for sure, unless you already have your own financing to compare it to. Not buying from a dealer? You definitely need to get approved for financing before shopping.

    2) Hondas and Toyotas are known for being very reliable, and IMO for good reason. Not really sure of your needs and wants. There are dozens of possibilities

    3) What is your budget? If you are buying a used car out of warranty, find a mechanic and pay them for a pre-purchase inspection before buying anything.

    You know, it all depends. You might have to ask more questions. ;)

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • graphicguygraphicguy Edmunds Poster EmeritusPosts: 11,490
    To add to the great info kyfdx gave, given you don't have a bunch of money, and you've stipulated you'll be driving a lot, the Toyota and Honda recommendations are spot on.

    Now, for the models?

    Since I have to make some assumptions...

    -it will mostly be just you in the car?
    -you don't need to haul anything big?
    -fuel efficiency is more important than power or handling?

    Recommendations...

    -Honda Civic...you can get these equipped any way you want. You can get all the modern options, or just get the basics. Will cost about $20,000 to start.
    -Toyota Corrola-same as above
    -Mazda 3-same as above

    I would limit yourself to these three to make your shopping easier. And, you really can't go wrong with any of them. They'll be reliable and cheap to operate for a very long time. Before negotiation, drive them all. Decide on the one you like best, and only then begin negotiations.

    Some "DON'T DOs" under any circumstances...

    -don't lease a car. The process is way too complex and it sounds like any mileage limits the leases offer, you'll exceed them
    -don't buy the dealer's extended warranty on either of these cars. It is a cost you shouldn't have to bear given their reputation for being very good cars regarding reliability and longevity
    -don't buy any paint protection from the dealer. Cars today are made with panels that rarely rust.


    Go here to help with the price you should pay on the car you choose....

    http://www.edmunds.com/price-promise.html

    If you have questions or get stuck, come back here and ping us. We'll help.

    Good luck!
    2018 Acura TLX 3.5 SH AWD A-SPEC
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    edited July 2016
    And be sure to take the car you like out for a good road test. Since you'll be driving a lot, comfort, ease of controls, visibility---all these things have to be right for you. If your leg cramps or your head brushes the headliner or you find the controls maddening, then either see if adjustments correct the problem, and if not, keep shopping. Nothing worse than buying a car only to find out that you don't like driving it long distances.

    You might find this Edmunds' article and pictorial on How To Test Drive a Car helpful.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited July 2016
    Not trying to be funny (that's your job), but LA does have a good bus system and light rail. And lots of cabs and Ubers. You may want to try living the Uber lifestyle before getting into a car. For out of town jobs, you can rent. You may be able to avoid the fees and insurance and parking costs and maintenance bills that way. Cars aren't cheap to own.

    It'd be easier to do if you lived close in but you have to be loaded to live close-in in LA, and that's the Catch-22. Public transportation isn't as easy out in the boonies where the more affordable housing is. If you got within walking distance of one of the Metro stations though, you could manage, and you could use your hour commutes to work instead of stressing out in traffic.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Everywhere, USAPosts: 126,124
    stever said:

    Not trying to be funny (that's your job), but LA does have a good bus system and light rail. And lots of cabs and Ubers. You may want to try living the Uber lifestyle before getting into a car. For out of town jobs, you can rent. You may be able to avoid the fees and insurance and parking costs and maintenance bills that way. Cars aren't cheap to own.

    It'd be easier to do if you lived close in but you have to be loaded to live close-in in LA, and that's the Catch-22. Public transportation isn't as easy out in the boonies where the more affordable housing is. If you got within walking distance of one of the Metro stations though, you could manage, and you could use your hour commutes to work instead of stressing out in traffic.

    If you don't own a car, what is the insurance going to cost you when you rent?

    I have no idea, but something to think about.

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Yeah, if you rent a car for $30 a day, the insurance could be that much too.

    This would be a good time to research a mechanic and find out how much a pre-purchase inspection costs. That can be cheap insurance.
  • This is all great. Thanks so much! The Honda and Toyota thing seem to be a consensus everywhere I've looked. My budget is 10k max.

    I am currently doing the transit/zip car/uber but it averages about $20 a day... I feel like car ownership would be cheaper than that... no? By my calcs monthly it would be 120-payment, 100-insurance, 200 gas which is about $14 total per day... maybe not enough to justify ownership, but when you are running around the city to two or three places a night (not to mention auditions during the day) convenience becomes a factor. I think it would become a factor....
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited July 2016
    Let's say you got a 2010 Honda Civic LX sedan, automatic, with 75,000 miles on it. Dealer retail should be about $9,000.

    True Cost to Own comes in at $5,681 or $15.50 a day for the first year. The TCO difference from your calc is the depreciation and some maintenance. Throw in some parking fees and yeah, sounds like you'd still save some money.

    Another rule of thumb is the IRS business reimbursement rate, which is .54 cents a mile right now. Assume you drive 10,000 miles a year, that's a bit less than $15 a day. AAA says a small sedan costs about .45 a mile to own and operate so that pencils out to a bit over $12 a day.

    Maybe you should become a Uber driver? Be a great way to pick up material, lol.
  • This is very helpful. Thank you! Uber is most certainly in my future. : )
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