First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

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First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby Savvy » Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:21 am

Hey BHs,

Since I am only 23, I have been able to drive my parents cars until about a year ago when I got married and my FIL gave us a 1999 Town & Country. Although it only has 155K miles and we were planning to drive it into the ground, it's become unsafe to drive. In the last month, it's killed about 10 times, usually in residential areas. Although it traditionally starts right back up again, last night it did not. We've taken it to the shop many, many times but they cannot find or determine what is wrong with the van. The frustrating part is that it's had new tires and a new transmission in the last 10K miles. Advice?

I assume we should get rid of it but don't know the right approach. I would be willing to sell it but who would buy it with this problem? If I should sell, that means I should buy a different car.

---------------

Searching for the "right" used car is overwhelming. What recommendations do you have for spending $7K-$9K?
-- Neither of us drive to work, but we put on lots of miles in the summer and driving 250 miles to her hometown quarterly.
-- Car needs to be safe
-- We're from Minnesota, so snow driving is an occasional need (but again, we don't drive to work - she walks, I bus)

1. For financing, we were thinking that we would pay about half up front and the other half within a year. Smart plan? Should we finance through our bank, rather than the dealership, or does it solely depend on lowest rate?

2. I can consider price, year, mileage, etc. but what I need to know is cost of ownership and re-sale value, right? Obviously, a Honda Accord with 80,000 miles has a higher price than a Kia with 80,000 miles, but that doesn't imply that one purchase would be better than the other. What cars should we focus on?

3. I think we'll be looking at dealerships for the purchase since some come with limited warranties or the remaining manufacturer's warranty. From reading previous posts I know that I must ask for the "drive out the lot price". Any other specific questions I must ask?

4. Any other advice would be helpful!

Thank you!
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby Sheepdog » Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:29 am

If you can go to a local library, look for the Consumer Reports April 2012 issue. In that they show the most reliable used cars for every budget, including under $10,000. Make a copy of it and take with you while you car shop.
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby eclipsis » Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:37 am

Financing with the dealer is almost never a good idea unless you are getting 0% or .9% or some other incentive. You can check rates at your local bank or credit unions to see what they offer.

Currently PenFed (www.penfed.org) is offering 1.49% up to 60 months for new/used auto loans which will probably be hard to beat. You have to make a one time donation to join the credit union (something like $20), but its definitely worth it. I think just by being a member, I save over $60/year on auto insurance.
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby Exeter » Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:57 am

I'm also looking for a good quality used car and found that CarMax has a nice selection. They will also appraise your car if you want to trade.
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby coolgoose » Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:09 pm

I would surely recommend Nissan, for several reasons...
1. Hondas n Toyotas are always in great demand making them expensive.
2. Nissans (Altima, Maxima) about 6-7yrs old would fit in your budget range and their better models came out around that time.
3. They still hold their value decently and are not expensive to maintain.

Other good options when I was searching were Mazda (really good + fun cars), Hyundai (if u can afford newer models), Kia (value for money).

And in my experience you can find much better value buying from private owner. Check Car Fax, get car evaluated for frame, engine conditions etc and you are golden.

Good luck with your search.
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby MiamiGirl0713 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:26 pm

Just want to throw this out there:

Are you completely against leasing a car? I know that buying is great, but I just recently went through a similar situation. I'm 28, so I'm a little bit older than you but not much (I know "25" seems to be the magic number for lowering insurance, renting cars, etc. but I do not know if leasing a car changes that much with age)

I had a 2004 Saturn that only had 60,000 miles on it, but it was on its way out as well, kept losing coolant, dying on the side of the road, not starting, etc. I was told it would cost at least $4,000 to just get it to general working condition. It seemed best to replace the car. I went to several dealers, checked out blue book values, but could not get more than $1,000 for the car, which was a huge issue since I had very little to spend on a new or used car. I then started looking into leasing a car. I went to Honda, Toyota, Ford and VW. The best option I had was to lease. I put $1,000 down, plus my old Saturn, and got a 42 month lease on a 2013 VW Jetta 2.5 SE for $255/month (and my credit is not that great, anymore.) It proved to be the most economic situation for me, and I never thought I'd bother leasing a car.

Point being, check out leases as another option. It eliminates hefty maintenance payments, and keeps you in a new working car for at least 3-4 years.

Good luck!
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby sscritic » Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:27 pm

Savvy wrote: In the last month, it's killed about 10 times, usually in residential areas.

Was it hit and run? Have manslaughter charges been filed? :D
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby JMacDonald » Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:29 pm

Why not try a different repair shop? My truck suddenly died on me. It started back up also. The possible cause was the fuel pump so I had it replaced. The problem hasn't occurred again so that may have been the problem. Anyway, I would try to fix the problem as it would be cheaper than buying another car.
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby MiamiGirl0713 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:35 pm

sscritic wrote:
Savvy wrote: In the last month, it's killed about 10 times, usually in residential areas.

Was it hit and run? Have manslaughter charges been filed? :D


Haha, nice. I needed that laugh today. Thanks :)
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby Frugal Al » Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:40 pm

JMacDonald wrote:Why not try a different repair shop?

+1 If the car has been maintained and just had a new tranny installed, I'd try to get to the root cause of the car not being reliable. The problem sounds electrical in nature. I'd at least take it to another qualified shop for fresh and unbiased round of diagnostic tests.
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby porcupine » Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:55 pm

MiamiGirl0713 wrote:
sscritic wrote:
Savvy wrote: In the last month, it's killed about 10 times, usually in residential areas.

Was it hit and run? Have manslaughter charges been filed? :D


Haha, nice. I needed that laugh today. Thanks :)

Someone beat me to the deadline on that punchline! :oops:

- Porcupine
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby German Expat » Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:05 pm

1. financing look at good credit units, e.g. Penfed CU finances for 1.49%. I would not use the dealership (if you happen to buy there)

2. you should not care about resale value, care about costs to own and how easy they are to repair / how prone they are too big repairs. The reason for not caring about resale value is that in order to safe money you should just drive the car into the ground. You can sometimes find similar cars (e.g. Pontiac Vibe = Toyota Matrix) lower priced because of their perceived brand value. I would look at Consumer Reports and their recommendations.

3. I would buy private and not from a dealership. Find a good independent mechanic that can look at private owned car. You can safe quite some money this way, dealerships tend to mark their cars up quite a lot and there is no guarantee they might not sell you a lemon either.

4. What are your future plans for the next couple years ? Any child in the plans ? What do you like to do with the car ? Try to look ahead what you plan to do with the car, e.g. if you plan to have a child in 2 years I would not buy a 2 door etc.
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby bottlecap » Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:06 pm

This should probably be obvious to your mechanic, but did they clean or replace your Mass Airflow Sensor (MAF)? I'm not entirely sure your van has one, but my '00 truck started stalling out and I was able to clean the sensor myself and I haven't had the problem again. If you or your spouse are even mildly handy (which is about all I am), you could try it. It's $5 for the spray and maybe 20 minutes of work. Otherwise, have the garage replace it - I don't think it's that expensive of a part.

Now, your problem could be a myriad of things, but the fact that our vehicles are similarly aged, the symptoms are similar and the cost to try it is relatively cheap might make it worth a try.

Good luck,

JT

P.S. The fact that it won't start now may mean it is something else. I don't know much about cars, but I would think that a dirty MAF might cause a stall, but not completely prevent a start.
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby Savvy » Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:36 pm

sscritic wrote:
Savvy wrote: In the last month, it's killed about 10 times, usually in residential areas.

Was it hit and run? Have manslaughter charges been filed? :D



Thanks sscritic, this gave me a good laugh!
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby Savvy » Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:38 pm

JMacDonald wrote:Why not try a different repair shop? My truck suddenly died on me. It started back up also. The possible cause was the fuel pump so I had it replaced. The problem hasn't occurred again so that may have been the problem. Anyway, I would try to fix the problem as it would be cheaper than buying another car.

Thanks, JMacDonald. I've been considering this. We've been to two shops so far, one of which we're very loyal to (they reimbursed our last $200 charge and gave us a free tow since their "fixes" didn't solve the problem). Yes, we should try another location this weekend. Limited downside to trying this.
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby Pennstateclj1 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:50 pm

coolgoose wrote:I would surely recommend Nissan, for several reasons...
1. Hondas n Toyotas are always in great demand making them expensive.
2. Nissans (Altima, Maxima) about 6-7yrs old would fit in your budget range and their better models came out around that time.
3. They still hold their value decently and are not expensive to maintain.


We have an 07 Nissan Maxima (currently 78,000 miles on it) that I bought used in 2008 (with 18,000 miles on it) and I vehemently disagree with number 2 and 3. I would never purchase another Nissan. We got the full 5 year bumper to bumper warranty ($1800) which has easily paid for itself, but didn't cover some costly items. My wife drives this car, so it doesn't get any abuse.

We had an HID headlight go out, they tried to tell us they couldn't replace just the bulb but only the entire headlight assembly and it was going to cost $700 for one headlight! Who designs a car that you have to remove the bumper to fix the headlight? Nissan. There is no underhood access; the other way is to remove one of the tires, and pull the plastic back, sound ideal? Nope. Anyway we had to have a local mechanic do it because $700 for a new headlamp assembly when ours was perfectly fine is ludicrous. This is the same thing you have to do when turn signals go out. Not under warranty. He did both bulbs for $400 with labor. Bulbs were $200.

With the warranty, you also have to do "most" of the recommended services or they can point back to not having it serviced properly when a serious issue does arise. So you kind of get stuck. The recommended services are expensive, I think the 60k mile fluid drain and everything turned out to be $500, none covered by warranty.

The maximas have 18" low profile tires, the cheapest tires in the width/size were $800.

We had an oil change, and I noticed our windshield was cracked. It was a hot day, and could have been a heat stress crack from the cold car wash they put it through. The cost for a new Nissan windshield? $1500, paid for by the dealer that broke it.

We had the camshaft timing sensors and the fuel pump go. TWICE. $1400 each time, under warranty.

My local mechanic also informed me that the 3.5 engines in Altima and Maxima around those years are notorious for burning oil and damaging the engine, so check it often.

Our warranty is up in November, and like you we'll be buying a different vehicle. I won't get another Nissan, nor would I ever have it serviced at the dealer (which is who the warranty was through.)

We also rented a new Versa on one of our vacations, less than impressed with that as well.

Our other cars are a 2001 Ford Focus with 126,000 on it and a 98 Camaro SS with 32,000 on it and we've had half the issues between both of those old cars as our one Nissan.
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby Jay69 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:57 pm

Welcome from Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lake, 14,453 ponds and 6,567 swamps!

As you know from living here, no matter what you buy the snow, salt and pot holes will turn anything you get into a rusted, dented car/suv in quick order. You will soon be an expert at buying used cars, going to go thru a few of them so no worries if you don't get this one perfect!

If its not an every day driver I myself would be looking at anything 4x4 small or large, does not sounds like you put to many miles on really.
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby Watty » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:08 pm

The key to used car shopping is to be flexible. There are a wide spectrum of cars available'
1) Top tier cars with great reputations that sell for top dollar.
2) OK cars that are not as popular but are not highly priced.
3) Marginal models that are a gamble at any price.

Unless you get lucky the best value for your money is likely in the second group so keep an open mind. Most models of Ford and Hyundai have had pretty good quality recently so even though they might not be your first choice you might be able to find a good deal in that price range on a four or five year old one with under 50k miles. The Hyundai has a long warranty so it could even still be under warranty (but it might not be transferable)

Searching for the "right" used car is overwhelming. What recommendations do you have for spending $7K-$9K?
-- Neither of us drive to work, but we put on lots of miles in the summer and driving 250 miles to her hometown quarterly.
-- Car needs to be safe
-- We're from Minnesota, so snow driving is an occasional need (but again, we don't drive to work - she walks, I bus)


I think you might in a situation where it might make sense to have a "beater" for your normal driving but then renting a car for your trips. You would probably have to search and pay a bit more for car rentals because of your age but it is doable and will be a lot easier when you turn 25.

Frugal Al wrote:
JMacDonald wrote:Why not try a different repair shop?

+1 If the car has been maintained and just had a new tranny installed, I'd try to get to the root cause of the car not being reliable. The problem sounds electrical in nature. I'd at least take it to another qualified shop for fresh and unbiased round of diagnostic tests.


Another +1 on that. if nothing else you might be able to get the car in salable condition.

$7K-$9K is sort of difficult price range for used cars. It is a lot of money but not enough to get you a really good used car in today's market and there is a fair chance that it will require expensive repairs within a few years. Another problem is that in five years a used car in that price range could be near the end of its useful life.

At the top of that range I would really be inclined to get something like a new base model Corolla or Ford Focus instead and keep it ten+ years, which should be mostely trouble free. I'm not sure if they still sell them this way but in the 1990's I bought a new Corolla that did not even have air conditioning. I lived in an area where this was doable since there was only month or two in the summer when the A/C would have been nice to have.

If I remember correctly in the 2012 model years ESC became standard in most cars so that might also get you safer car too.
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby Imbros » Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:02 pm

This is not a good time to buy a used car as they are really overpriced.

If you can bump up your budget to 13K-15K, look for a new Suzuki SX4. Since Suzuki decided to leave the US market, dealers are getting rid of their inventories and selling these cars dirt cheap. This is the only Suzuki model in their line-up worth considering. I think some dealers are offering 0% financing now as well. The car is made in Japan and has a reliablilty on par with other Japanese mades. It also has AWD and bunch of other features.

I have been trying to come up with an excuse to go test drive one, but seems like my Pontiac Vibe will last me another decade or two. :?
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby Savvy » Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:06 pm

FWIW, I just read some reviews for local auto shops and called four of them for scheduling hours and diagnostic costs. We'll go to 1-2 this weekend to see what they can find. I am sure this isn't the end of this thread - it's just the beginning! :dollar

Imbros wrote:This is not a good time to buy a used car as they are really overpriced.

If you can bump up your budget to 13K-15K,


Imbros, I have read elsewhere on this forum that a good rule of thumb for a car purchase is about one month's salary. Could this "rule" be different if we only need this one car, rather than most married couples needing two?
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby Imbros » Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:39 pm

Savvy wrote:Imbros, I have read elsewhere on this forum that a good rule of thumb for a car purchase is about one month's salary. Could this "rule" be different if we only need this one car, rather than most married couples needing two?


I am sure different people will have different rule of thumb about how much a person should allocate for a car purchase, but one month's salary sounds a bit low to me.

As a young BH, I would be ok with spending 1/4 of my annual gross income, and may even go a bit higher if I find a very good deal.
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby stoptothink » Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:56 pm

Imbros wrote:This is not a good time to buy a used car as they are really overpriced.


Can not tell you how true this is, especially if you are looking for fuel efficient vehicles. I had to purchase a car on New Year's Day (hit & run driver totaled my truck, of course all I had was liability insurance). I had only two criteria when looking: reliability and overall cost of ownership. 4-5yr old compacts with 40k+ miles are still going for 85% of original price, or more. I did end up getting an '09 with 39k miles, but it saved me only $4500 over a new one, which also is an updated model with more standard features. Would have just gone with the new one, but I had a very strict budget because I had just spent a ton traveling for the holidays and therefore was using my emergency fund.
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby Watty » Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:10 pm

Savvy wrote:Imbros, I have read elsewhere on this forum that a good rule of thumb for a car purchase is about one month's salary.


This does not make sense. That would mean that you would need to make $150,000 a year to be able to afford a $15,000 car.
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby Savvy » Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:22 pm

Watty wrote:
Savvy wrote:Imbros, I have read elsewhere on this forum that a good rule of thumb for a car purchase is about one month's salary.


This does not make sense. That would mean that you would need to make $150,000 a year to be able to afford a $15,000 car.


Watty, I was thinking of total household income. I could certainly afford to buy a car that's more than $8K but was trying to find the price that would be living below my means. Certainly someone earning $150K may choose to buy a car that costs more than $15K.

Here's where I saw that:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=85646
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby mnnice » Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:33 pm

Searching for the "right" used car is overwhelming. What recommendations do you have for spending $7K-$9K?
-- Neither of us drive to work, but we put on lots of miles in the summer and driving 250 miles to her hometown quarterly.
-- Car needs to be safe
-- We're from Minnesota, so snow driving is an occasional need (but again, we don't drive to work - she walks, I bus)


I think you might in a situation where it might make sense to have a "beater" for your normal driving but then renting a car for your trips. You would probably have to search and pay a bit more for car rentals because of your age but it is doable and will be a lot easier when you turn 25.

I think this makes lots of sense. Car insurance for 23 year olds is spendy in the city (I am assuming you are in Twin Cities since your can walk and ride the bus to work). DH and I spend less ($400 per year vs $900) on car insurance now with two old cars living in the boonies than I did in 1996 with one car fully covered living in the city.

Hopefully the van does not have a fatal problem and it can fit the bill awhile longer.

Renting is also a good way to find out what vehicles suit your needs best too.
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby stoptothink » Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:39 pm

Savvy wrote:
Watty wrote:
Savvy wrote:Imbros, I have read elsewhere on this forum that a good rule of thumb for a car purchase is about one month's salary.


This does not make sense. That would mean that you would need to make $150,000 a year to be able to afford a $15,000 car.


Watty, I was thinking of total household income. I could certainly afford to buy a car that's more than $8K but was trying to find the price that would be living below my means. Certainly someone earning $150K may choose to buy a car that costs more than $15K.


Just a random guess, but I'd bet the majority of households have vehicles that they originally paid 1/3 or more of their annual income for. I am one of the highest paid employees in my organization of ~200, my new vehicle (purchased in cash) was about 2 months net salary and I drive one of the least expensive cars in the entire lot. Sounds great, but most people are in a position where they have to spend a bit more than that for reliable transportation. Especially now when the used car market is awful.
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby sscritic » Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:59 pm

Savvy wrote:
Watty wrote:
Savvy wrote:Imbros, I have read elsewhere on this forum that a good rule of thumb for a car purchase is about one month's salary.

This does not make sense. That would mean that you would need to make $150,000 a year to be able to afford a $15,000 car.

Watty, I was thinking of total household income. I could certainly afford to buy a car that's more than $8K but was trying to find the price that would be living below my means. Certainly someone earning $150K may choose to buy a car that costs more than $15K.

Here's where I saw that:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=85646

I just went to that thread. I searched for "one month." My browser said "not found" on both pages.

I then searched for month alone, and found this.
I spent about 2 months dithering over buying a new car that would have been about a month's salary. In the end, though, I just couldn't pull the trigger, and ended up buying a used car that was slightly more than a week's salary.


That particular "recommendation" was to spend one week's salary, so you need $780,000 in income to buy a $15,000 car.
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby Imbros » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:07 pm

I think this is one of those rare times it makes sense to buy a new car with very low or 0% financing, just because of the situation in the used car market.

I also think that it doesn't make sense to buy a beater if you don't know much about cars and you are not willing to work on it when it fails.
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby jsl11 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:14 pm

Here is an unusal tip. If you know any attorneys that work for a firm that handles estate settlements, ask if they know of any cars for sale. I had a former neighbor who was such an attorney and he sometimes drove one of these cars home. When I spoke to him, he asked if I knew anyone who was looking for a car. He indicated that the price would be a good one, because his firm was only interested in liquidating the car, not making a profit on it. He also said that these cars tend to be good vehicles because the reason they are for sale is due to the death of the owner, not because of some problem with the vehicle.

Jeff
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby Savvy » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:15 pm

Imbros wrote:I also think that it doesn't make sense to buy a beater if you don't know much about cars and you are not willing to work on it when it fails.


This makes a lot of sense - I really know nothing about cars - when something isn't working we head to the auto shop. Thanks for the advice.
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby Polar_Ice » Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:26 pm

Based on what I have read. I would recommend a Volvo 850. Find a 96-97 that has has a timing belt done and around 150K. Also look for one sold by an individual that has owned it a long time and has records. I wouldn't spend 7-9K on a car for the amount of driving that you do. A good older car can be very reliable.

Example

http://racine.craigslist.org/cto/3494829538.html

Safe? :happy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... AeYJV5P0jk
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby Pennstateclj1 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:59 pm

You could also make your money back on that Volvo purchase later when you take the destruction derby scene by storm!
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby imperialman67 » Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:20 am

Imbros wrote:I think this is one of those rare times it makes sense to buy a new car with very low or 0% financing, just because of the situation in the used car market.

I also think that it doesn't make sense to buy a beater if you don't know much about cars and you are not willing to work on it when it fails.


I would agree with this. Unfortunitly 7K-9K isn't a lot of money when it comes to the current used car market.
I just saw an ad this morning where a local dealership was selling 3 year old Corollas for 13k or so. I have no idea if that is a good price,but I would be inclined to spend a bit more for a newer Corolla or Civic which should last you a long time. Also I am going on the third year of ownership of a Kia , and I couldn't be happier. Trouble free so far with surprisingly good build quality.
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby Savvy » Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:57 am

imperialman67 wrote:
Imbros wrote:I think this is one of those rare times it makes sense to buy a new car with very low or 0% financing, just because of the situation in the used car market.

I also think that it doesn't make sense to buy a beater if you don't know much about cars and you are not willing to work on it when it fails.


I would agree with this. Unfortunitly 7K-9K isn't a lot of money when it comes to the current used car market.
I just saw an ad this morning where a local dealership was selling 3 year old Corollas for 13k or so. I have no idea if that is a good price,but I would be inclined to spend a bit more for a newer Corolla or Civic which should last you a long time. Also I am going on the third year of ownership of a Kia , and I couldn't be happier. Trouble free so far with surprisingly good build quality.


Thanks, Imperialman. I've been starting to consider this option, with a good warranty and low cost financing it just might make sense. What Kia do you own? We've been looking into newer Kias - I might have to increase our target price.

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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby JMacDonald » Sat Jan 12, 2013 12:08 pm

If you end up considering a new car, then take your time to look at all the models in whatever class of cars you decide to buy. I owned a Honda Civic until I gave it to my niece. It ran well and had good gas mileage. That was a 2005 LX. I don't know if that is still a good buy. One more thing, once you know what you want, buying your car over the internet from a dealer is a good was to go. You will get a better price without having to deal with a salesperson. All the dealers have internet sales office now so take advantage of that.
Best Wishes, | Joe
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby imperialman67 » Sat Jan 12, 2013 12:31 pm

Thanks, Imperialman. I've been starting to consider this option, with a good warranty and low cost financing it just might make sense. What Kia do you own? We've been looking into newer Kias - I might have to increase our target price.

I have a Kia Rondo which unfortunately Kia stopped importing into the U.S. in 2009 I believe.
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby jsl11 » Sat Jan 12, 2013 1:26 pm

IIRC, Consumer Reports rates the Toyota Corolla as best in its class. How much less expensive is the Kia equivelent?
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby Pennstateclj1 » Sat Jan 12, 2013 1:42 pm

The base Kia Forte through the Penfed auto buying service is $15,516 for the 4 dr automatic.

The base Corolla 4 dr automatic is $16,200 through the same service.

.49% financing for 48 months.
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby Savvy » Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:57 pm

Why do you feel that PenFed is a better option for car-searching than cars.com or similar? What does it offer - better options, better prices, better service, better financing? I am trying to understand this better since a couple of you referenced or recommended PenFed.

Are the prices shown on PenFed final prices or is there still room for negotiation with the dealer? What's the best way to utilize the PenFed site?

Thanks!
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby Pennstateclj1 » Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:06 pm

If you use their car buying service, you can get their low rates. This is in addition to any dealer incentives. If you go the other way through the dealer, you might only get to take $1000 cash back, but get a higher interest rate. Or $0 cash back, and a 0% rate but pay a higher up front price for the car.

You could find the vehicle you want through one of the car buying services and see if they'll beat the price. They all (USAA, Penfed, etc) seem to use the truecar pricing system so the only thing that seems to vary is the APR they charge to finance it. I like this more because I dislike negotiations at the dealer, I'd rather get a price I'm comfortable with and just go pick up the car.

Take a look for yourself-
https://www.penfed.org/penfed-car-buying-service/
https://penfed.truecar.com/main.html?referrer_id=ZPEN000100

We refinanced our last car through Penfed and it was pretty easy.
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby jsl11 » Sat Jan 12, 2013 5:49 pm

Pennstateclj1 wrote:The base Kia Forte through the Penfed auto buying service is $15,516 for the 4 dr automatic.

The base Corolla 4 dr automatic is $16,200 through the same service.

.49% financing for 48 months.

For $700 difference, I would buy the Toyota. Warranties are good, but have a limited duration. A better quality vehicle is better. One major repair after the warranty expires can easily be more than $700. The Toyota will also have a better resale value and probably last longer.
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby mortal » Sat Jan 12, 2013 7:45 pm

If I had to get another car now, and this was my budget, I'd go for an 07 Honda Fit or Nissian Versa, or perhaps an first gen mazda 3 [5 door].

I'm partial to hatchbacks.
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby Savvy » Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:51 am

Since my last post, my car has died (not killed :D ) two more times. We are planning to bring our car into another shop early this week for diagnosis.

Based on some of the suggestions here, as well as discussing with friends/family, I have decided to increase my spending range...considerably. I am now looking at affordable new cars. My wife and I are currently considering the 2013 Ford Fiesta, 2013 Chevy Spark, and 2013 Chevy Sonic. Based on combined scores from Kelly Blue Book, USNews, and CarConnection, these seems to be the best options for new, affordable cars.

Although we don't drive to work, we use our current car almost every night, sometimes driving as much as 50 minutes round trip in a given evening.

One advantage to the Ford Fiesta is my grandfather's history with Ford. Since he worked in a plant for several decades, I should qualify for the "Z Plan" which eliminates negotiation and the dealer simply gives me one low price. Are any of you in a similar situation with a dealer - family history with a car company?

Thanks again,
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby Watty » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:57 am

I am now looking at affordable new cars. My wife and I are currently considering the 2013 Ford Fiesta, 2013 Chevy Spark, and 2013 Chevy Sonic. Based on combined scores from Kelly Blue Book, USNews, and CarConnection, these seems to be the best options for new, affordable cars.



Be sure to look at the total cost of ownership over ten years or more and not just the purchase price.

If I remember correctely consumer reports rates cars on the total cost of ownership. Unless GM has improved a LOT since the last time I checked I would be surprised if the Chevy's were competative when looked at that way.
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby Savvy » Fri Mar 15, 2013 3:34 pm

FWIW, we bought a Certified Used 2010 Honda Civic DX-VP with 21,000 miles for drive-off-the-lot price of $14,600.

We are very happy with the purchase and are very appreciative of your advice!

Take care,
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Re: First Car Purchase...$7K-$9K

Postby ryuns » Fri Mar 15, 2013 3:57 pm

Congrats Savvy. Good choice except--if you're anything like me, you're going to be stuck with that car for a long time, so get used to it! :)
An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered. -- GK Chesterton
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