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Selecting and Buying My First Car

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Comments

  • kriyakriya Posts: 10
    I'd be so los t without these suggestions...
    I think I have enough ammunition now to go ahead and make those calls to insurance agents (ah-ha) and test drive and repeat the process as many times. Will let you guys know what I drive home with. Thanks all.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Be sure to buy something you like. :D
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Buy new, the 2002 has no warranty at all, the 2005 at least gives you 3/36 worry-free.

    -juice
  • janzjanz Posts: 129
    A newer car will have a lower chance of needing a repair in the first few years of ownership, therefore a lower insurance rate.


    Maintenance/repairs have nothing to do with insurance premiums.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Good point. Guess my brain wasn't working right that day.
  • jezebeljezebel Posts: 25
    As a young woman about to buy a car, I'm nervous about salespeople completely overlooking me or not taking me seriously. Is this unwarranted? I'm nervous that they won't let me even do a test drive or something.. is there a minimum age that their insurance covers for test drivers?? If I apply for financing, and am just starting my first full-time job, will they definitely need my parents as cosigners (or does it just depend on how good my credit rating is)?

    :confuse:

    Quick aside on that thread above about insurance rates.. whaaaa??? Sunfire 2 door has low insurance? In my home town, that's the car all the stupid, testosterone-without-rationale, "It's a sunfire so you have to drive fast", econo-race-car-drivers drive. I'm surprised anyone would charge low insurance on that -- must be a different demographic for the area that is measured for!
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    If you bring your parents along it should help a little. They can help with the paperwork and at least get some attention from a salesperson.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,077
    If you go to a dealership that doesn't take you seriously because you're either young, a woman, or both, then you should leave. If you walk in confidently and make it clear that you 1) can buy a car, and 2) want to buy a car, a good salesperson will treat you well.

    If you're nervous about credit approval, you should talk to your bank or your credit union (or other lender) about financing first. You don't have to use their financing, and you are still welcome to see what the finance office at the dealership can do, but being approved for your own financing before you go to a dealership will cut down on wasted time and anxiety. You will know before you go whether you need a co-signer.

    If you are buying a new vehicle, we can point you toward some discussions here in the Forums about purchasing experiences for that particular make/model. Members in those discussions are recommending dealerships at which they've had good experiences.

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  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Scion has a no-haggle approach, if you happen to like those models that should take the pressure off. Saturn of course works in a similar fasion.

    They're not my top picks as far as cars go, but still.

    -juice
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    They're more about the buying experience (no pressure, no haggle, no tricks, everything's upfront and clear) than the actual car. They're not my first picks either, but they are great if you want to know for sure that you may have had a chance to pay less for the exact same car at a dealer down the street. Consumer Reports has constantly criticized the ION, but it seems like an Average car- just gets you where you gotta go.
  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Posts: 1,828
    If it is **just** the "no-haggle" approach that you are looking for, head to Carmax. However, that decision generally costs you $1200-1500 more than the "haggle" approach from my experience.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Unless you live near a New Car No Haggle Chain, Saturn or Scion is the way to go.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, what town do you live in, if you don't mind us asking? Maybe we can point you to some no-haggle dealers.

    -juice
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Me? I'm in TN, nowhere near a new car no haggle chain besides Scion and Saturn. There's a CarMax nearby, but they only sell used cars. Plus I just bought a new car a month and a half ago...
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I meant her, not you. :)

    -juice
  • jezebeljezebel Posts: 25
    I'm in Canada, so we don't even have Scion. And I wouldn't buy an Ion.. I have respect for Saturn, but definitely not the Ion.

    I don't know about bringing my parents along.. they don't do any negotiating when they buy their own cars - they get a employee family discount and see who can give them the most for their tradein, but other than that, they don't do any negotiating. So I'd rather not bring them along - because they won't do any haggling, they'll make me feel less capable of haggling with them there, and then I'll look even more like a kid coming to buy a car.

    I'll probably just make sure I do lots of research beforehand, and shop around to a few dealers in the area to get a good deal.. practice surely makes the experience easier to deal with..
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    You could try the VUE, but CR has predicted "much worse than average" reliability, despite the Honda V6.

    Or you could try the old fashioned way and do plenty of research, shop around to many places and try to get a great deal.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Why not piggy back on your parents employee discount if you can? I bet you are eligible as well.

    -juice
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    not a bad idea. Those prices tend to be non-negotiable and the local dealer has to honor it. Since you have no trade, you don't have to shop around. Just pick out something you like, and show the dealer proof of eligibility.
  • voicelitvoicelit Posts: 9
    What used hatchback / small wagon for around $8,000.00 ? Is there such a price for anything worthwhile ? Online, when you see for instance, a used civic for $11,000 does that mean that actual price or where the negotion might start ? How much less could someone maybe actually pay ?
    Japanese ? Since starting to research this, the Civic seems to be unbeatable ? But I keep hearing interesting things about the Focus . Are there used Focuses ? How many miles can a Focus take ?
    Best seems to be Certified Pre Owned . But do they always cost so much more ?
    Does one get warrantys and all that on a used car. Pay extra for it ?
    Is there a preferred Milage for someone new to this; above a certain amount of miles, someone should know more about cars before buying - used.

    No money down : can this be done on a " used " car purchase ?
    ( We can put money down, but we're buying a house , remodeling , lawn mower , etc... )

    For 36 months ( This is what my wife has always done. I just learned to drive a few years ago. I'm 53. Any reason I should think differently ? )

    What kind of Interest / APR on used cars ?
    1.9% interest: lowest one usually sees advertized - other than zero.
    ( 5.09% Capital One ) My wife ( Cathy ) has amazingly good credit.

    Would love to come in at around
    $230.00 Monthly

    PLUS whatever Sales Tax.
    AND insurance. So somewhere it was more on a used car .

    Thing is : I'm a city guy ( Phila, Ny. ), work at home. Our new house is in a suburban setting . Yorktown, Ny. I'll need the car for quick drives to the store, Home Depot etc. But , we're also buying a dog , AND we travel always with our parakeet ( actually, not kidding ) so we'd probably travel the 100 or so miles to visit parents with both animals - hence the need for a hatchback / wagon . Prefer hatchback.
    Wife has a Camry ; 125,000 miles ; wants to keep it for a while longer.

    Used cars less miles per gallon ?

    What is it with Hyundais ? Really that worthless ?
    Just giving this Forum approach a shot. Hope I'm not asking to much ? Or steer me to some beginners site if you could.

    Marty ( voicelit )
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 4,056
    I would suggest you do the following: get a current copy of Consumer Reports auto mag and look through it to see what vehicles most interest you and what CR has to say about them (yes I know a lot of people here like to trash CR but it's a good start and does collect info about most cars in one place). CR also has a "used car best bets" section that is helpful, especially the "used cars to avoid". Then go to the Edmunds used car forums and see what you can expect to pay for them used and how consumers here have felt about them. Drive a couple of them to see what you like. Then come back to the forum with any questions about reliability, etc. Especially because you're a new driver, it's important to get a car you feel comfortable in. I have a friend who thought a Jeep Cherokee would be perfect for his new driver 5'1" wife. She found it so ungainly she never set foot in it. So that's a decision you need to make. Plus figuring out how much cargo room you need, and how easy it is to get a dog and a bird cage in and out.

    You can get warranties on used cars; if you get a car only a couple of years old, it may still have the original warranty left on it.

    Very low interest rates are only for new cars. Used cars always carry a higher interest rate. And yes, I think 3 years is the most you would want to stretch it out on a used car. Sounds like maybe even before then you might have another new vehicle to buy.

    And yes, used car prices are negotiable too just like new ones.

    And don't panic! In many ways I think buying a used car there is less pressure than a new one. You sure don't get all the finance sell jobs at least. If one doesn't work out, another will always come along, especially if you're in a big urban area with a lot of dealerships. Just make sure to get any vehicle checked out by an independent mechanic.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Welcome.

    Honestly I think a good place to start, for you, would be CarMax. Multiple brands you can test drive on the spot with no-haggle prices, given you have no experience haggling.

    -juice
  • bobstbobst Posts: 1,783
    If there is a limit on the number of questions that can be asked in a single posting, I think you have exceeded it.
  • voicelitvoicelit Posts: 9
    Sorry about all the questions. I asked if you could suggest a different kind of post / forum. Maybe divvy the questions up amongst other forums.
    Just thought someone might have a quick suggestion regarding " no down payment, interest rate, what wagon / hatchback , for around $230.00 mo , automatic 4 dr ? " Like :
    " forget it " , or " only an '85 chevy " or " maybe a Mazda Protege ' 02 might do ; around such and such milage " .
    So far, my research has got me interested in : Hyundai Elantra gt ' 02, Mazda Protege5 ,
    Ford Focus around ' 02.
    Any suggestions ?

    Marty ( voicelit )
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    the Protoge5, always have. Reliable name but for some reason the resale values are lower than Civic or Corolla. And 5 doors are very practical.

    -juice
  • cticti Posts: 134
    What used hatchback / small wagon for around $8,000.00 ?

    Focus, Protege 5, Vibe/Matrix

    there such a price for anything worthwhile ?

    Yes. My mother (about your age) bought a 2002 Protege 5 last year for 9500-10000. She loves it. A lot. :shades:

    Online, when you see for instance, a used civic for $11,000 does that mean that actual price or where the negotion might start ?

    There is nothing preventing it from being the actual price. I'm sure the dealer would be happy to take your money.

    How much less could someone maybe actually pay ?

    You can't know if an offer was too low unless you offer it and the dealer says, "no".

    Japanese ?

    Toyota/Honda are the reliability kings, but you can get a lot of car with an off-brand Japanese car or something American/Korean.

    Since starting to research this, the Civic seems to be unbeatable ?

    Not really a question, but the Civic Hatch is probably not what you are looking for.

    But I keep hearing interesting things about the Focus . Are there used Focuses ?

    :confuse: :confuse: :confuse:

    How many miles can a Focus take ?

    Focuses/Foci had lots of recall issues, but otherwise it seems like a good car. Almost bought one myself - bought a Mazda3 hatch instead. And I would be willing to bet that they depreciate like a rock, so a used Focus would be cheap.

    Best seems to be Certified Pre Owned . But do they always cost so much more ? Does one get warrantys and all that on a used car. Pay extra for it ?

    For $8,000, I can't imagine it would be worthwhile to get a CPO vehicle, if they even existed. You could get an extended warranty, but I'd rather take it to a mechanic before I bought it and eschew a warranty.

    Is there a preferred Milage for someone new to this; above a certain amount of miles, someone should know more about cars before buying - used.

    Average miles are something like 15k/yr.

    For 36 months ( This is what my wife has always done. I just learned to drive a few years ago. I'm 53. Any reason I should think differently ? )

    No.

    ( 5.09% Capital One ) My wife ( Cathy ) has amazingly good credit.

    $8000 at 5.09% for 36 months is ~$650 in interest. I doubt you could find much lower for a used car.

    Would love to come in at around
    $230.00 Monthly


    I don't know if you did the math or not, but $8000 at 5.08% for 36 months is $240 per month. Know what you can handle monthly efore going to the dealer, but I wouldn't talk monthly payments once I got there.

    What is it with Hyundais ? Really that worthless ?

    Hyundai and Kia both have hatchback versions of the Elantra and the Spectra. I actually sat in an Elantra hatch at the Atlanta Autoshow last month. I wasn't impressed. It seemed rather long in the tooth. It would be cheap, though. I am not a HyunKia hater - in fact, my 'other' car is a 2000 Kia Sephia bought used in 2002 for $5500. Bought with 28k miles - now has 65k.

    Minimal problems other than some endemic to Sephias (battery cable, water logged headlight). It's biggest problem is that it brings unrefined to a whole new level. Even if it ran perfectly it would only come to barely adequate.

    Hope I'm not asking to much ?

    I have nothing to do at work now, so no problem.

    Jason

    [EDIT] I was composing my post before the previous two were posted. We all mentioned the Protege 5 - do great minds think alike?
  • voicelitvoicelit Posts: 9
    Thanks Jason and Juice. Yes, the Protege5 seems the thing. But... talking to " car people " at the store just now : they say there's not as many parts out there for when / if the Mazda breaks down. " How many do you see on the road " seems to matter to them. Something to do with there not being so many so that auto repair places wouldn't carry the parts as they would with a Honda or Volkswagon - you'd have to always wait a few weeks.
    Much talk of the Volkswagon Golf as a hatchback / wagon type vehicle for my purposes : dog and parakeet in back etc, now and then some long lumber etc. Much talk of Nissan as extremely affordable and reliable , but I can't find one in a wagon / hatchback except the " Quest "... which seems more a Mini-Van, though interesting, tempting.
    All in all, The Mazda Protege 5 seems a real favorite . What about this " parts " not so available concern.

    Marty ( voicelit )
  • osubeavosubeav Posts: 56
    There are a lot of Proteges on the road where I live. I see them all the time.

    Course, they're on the road, not in the shop, like the VW's. ;)

    I had over 120K miles on my Protege and never worried about parts, 'cause I never needed them.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,077
    I had over 120K miles on my Protege and never worried about parts, 'cause I never needed them.

    Yup, same here. Got great gas mileage, fun to drive, and I never put a dime into it beyond regular wear & tear items. I think I had to replace the alternator at 89K, but we drove that sucker hard.

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  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    A used Focus should be fine- you could also check out some off brand Japanese cars like the Suzuki Aerio and Mazda Protege5 would be great.

    For beginners, CR is a good place to start. Sure, they may not always be right, and sure, they seem to absolutely love the Accord, Camry, Corolla and Civic, but otherwise they're pretty fair and unbaised. They have a list of "Best Bets" organized by price range, so you could look at your price range and see what they recommend.

    Have you thought about buying a midsized wagon? The Saturn L300 and Ford Taurus depreciate like a rock and aren't too bad, although both are pretty boring and nothing special.

    Whatever car you decide on, be sure to have it checked out by a reputable mechanic and be sure to pre-arrange financing before walking into the dealership. Also, don't shop based on monthly payment. Watch the bottom line, not the payment. Dealers have all sorts of tricks to get lower monthly payments for you.

    If you don't want to haggle, CarMax or the used section of a local Saturn dealer are good and comfortable places to buy, although you will probably pay a little bit more than if you bargained hard at a normal dealership.
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