Buying a car?

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fung
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Buying a car?

Post by fung »

I recently turned 21, graduated, and started working full-time. To commemorate all these achievements, my parents gave me their old Jeep Wrangler 2016 (I think the trim is "2016 JEEP WRANGLER UNLIMITED SAHARA 4X4", it has a cracked windshield and 40k miles). There is no lease on the car and they're paying the insurance on it. I currently use it once a week to go hiking (I don't go off-roading). I don't drive it much because I'm working from home.

I'm considering trading the Jeep for a different car due to the fuel inefficiency and other reasons (feels like it could tip over, and also it stands out and I'm worried about it getting broken into).

My top choices are a Subaru Impreza (5 door), Honda Civic, and Toyota Corolla. If I trade in, I'll have to pay for my own insurance.

I'm very new to buying cars, so I read online and found out that buying new is a no-go, and a lease is also a bad idea. Also, I read that I should buy from Craigslist, not a dealership (not sure how good of an idea this one is).

My questions:

1. How do I decide between the Subaru, Honda, and Toyota? I'm leaning towards the Subaru because I drive for day hikes and it has AWD, which might help on bumpy roads.
2. What year car should I get? My original plan was to get a 2020 but then I found out buying new is a bad idea. I'm hoping to get a car with a reverse cam and Apple CarPlay.
3. How do I navigate buying insurance? I'm worried about being misled by salespeople.
4. Should I trade it in at a dealership or should I sell it privately and then use the cash to buy another car?

Any advice is helpful, thanks.
Last edited by fung on Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:03 am, edited 2 times in total.
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eye.surgeon
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Re: Buying a car?

Post by eye.surgeon »

Keep what you have. It's fine.
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brad.clarkston
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Re: Buying a car?

Post by brad.clarkston »

A 2016 Jeep Wrangler with 40k miles? I'd kill for that right now, really who do you want offed?

No I would keep that bad body and drive it until it dies. As long as your a sane human being that can drive responsibly it's not going to ever tip over.
A suv has far more chances of tipping that any Jeep.
BarbBrooklyn
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Re: Buying a car?

Post by BarbBrooklyn »

Fung, You have been gifted a great car. Look up the online reviews!

In your shoes, since you are under 25, the cost if insurance would be my MAIN concern. I wonder if perhaps your parents are trying to discourage your buying a new car with the insurance issue.

If you are serious about living below your means, keep the car at least until you are 25.

If you enjoy looking at other cars, go for test drives. You need to get a handle on how those other cars handle and drive.

Go online and find out how much you would be paying to insure your current car on your own. Ask for rates on a new car as well.

As for break ins, do you have Comprehensive insurance on the Jeep?

If you want a rear camera, you can install one yourself.

And just for the record, I buy new cars and keep them forever. I know nothing about car repair and find that the cost of buying and maintaining (with a good independent mechanic) a new car for 12 years or so works out about the same over that time to buying used.
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SR II
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Re: Buying a car?

Post by SR II »

Get the windshield replaced and drive it until the wheels fall off. Your parents gave you a great gift (especially paying for your insurance) and it should last years with only 40k miles on it.

Put the money you save on insurance and any car payments in the Vanguard total stock market and fuhgeddaboudit!
bob60014
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Re: Buying a car?

Post by bob60014 »

+1 for keeping. Get the windshield fixed for safety reasons , it's cheap to do.
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dwickenh
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Re: Buying a car?

Post by dwickenh »

The thrill of buying another vehicle will fade quickly and you'll be spending for Insurance. "Keep the Jeep" is the new mantra for the day!!

Best to you,

Dan
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killjoy2012
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Re: Buying a car?

Post by killjoy2012 »

+1 Keep the Jeep

Why would you want to pay to downsize/downgrade your vehicle? The Jeep only has 40k miles, it's practically new. It'll take you whenever you want go, regardless of terrain or weather.

You're worried about fuel economy when you only once per week? Have you done the math on payback -- incremental cost of a new vehicle vs. fuel savings? At the $2/gallon mark we're at today, you're probably looking at 2 decades of ownership before the cost pays for itself.
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Brianmcg321
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Re: Buying a car?

Post by Brianmcg321 »

When a 2016 car with only 40k miles is considered “old”. Lol.

The insurance you will be paying will buy an awful lot of gas.
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tdmp
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Re: Buying a car?

Post by tdmp »

Like others have said: I also say keep the Wrangler.
adamthesmythe
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Re: Buying a car?

Post by adamthesmythe »

> I don't drive it much because I'm working from home.

This is the thing. If you don't drive much you don't spend much on gas. Even though the Wrangler is a pretty weird vehicle for ordinary driving I can't see a good reason for you to replace it. Given that these things tend to have very good resale value you can sell for a reasonable price even in a few years.

You should (1) fix the windshield before you get pulled over and (2) get a little training in driving a high center of gravity vehicle.
phxjcc
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Re: Buying a car?

Post by phxjcc »

--->"Unlimited Sport RHD Sport Utility 4D"

Do you mean RWD, or 4WD?

Because RHD usually means Right Hand Drive---maybe a former postal jeep>
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fung
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Re: Buying a car?

Post by fung »

Thanks for the advice everyone! I'll keep the Jeep, didn't realize it was more valuable than a Honda Civic/Subaru Impreza. Should I ever sell it, or should I just drive it until it dies (is it a good idea to sell it before it reaches a certain mileage and buy something more reliable)?
BarbBrooklyn wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 1:25 am As for break ins, do you have Comprehensive insurance on the Jeep?
I'm not too sure, I don't even think the insurance is in my name. If I were to park the Jeep somewhere and it was broken into, would I get anything from insurance since it's in my parents name, not mine? Maybe I should ask them to add me to it and I can pay them the difference, I can afford it.
phxjcc wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 1:33 pm --->"Unlimited Sport RHD Sport Utility 4D"

Do you mean RWD, or 4WD?

Because RHD usually means Right Hand Drive---maybe a former postal jeep>
Actually you're right, I didn't know that's what RHD meant.
Starfish
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Re: Buying a car?

Post by Starfish »

What you have already seems like the best option for now, by far. Who cares about fuel now when you drive once a week and gas is so cheap? Insurance on the other hand at your age will be very expensive.

But in case you change your mind, don't go close to a dealership. Sell privately, buy privately (use a mechanic to check the car you buy). Entering a dealership will cost you a minimum of 2k$, probably more. And buy a Civic. You have no use for AWD if you do not live in a handful of states (even then is debatable).
kiwi123
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Re: Buying a car?

Post by kiwi123 »

Good move keeping the Jeep! With only 40k miles, and a relatively cheap cracked windshield to fix, you're saving $20k+ over the next few years. Plus you're not getting into the habit of driving a new car every 3-4 years. Every year you hold off buying a new car you probably save $5k (and compounded it will add up to $$$$s in 30 years time!).

Keep an eye out for your friends with new cars bitching about scratches and dents, etc. Chuckle when you hear them say they got a new car for only $500/month payment... worst case you might need to pay $1000 for a major repair (at an independent garage... not the Jeep dealership!). That the equivalent of 2 months payment and you have a "free" car for the rest of the year.

I'm driving a 15 yr old car with 190k miles while friends have 1 or 2 leased Alfas/BMWs/Volvos/etc. in their name (unbelievable that they have 2 cars when they're single!) because it was a "good deal". I think the real reason is because they're bored and getting something new makes them feel better temporarily....

Note: i'm also concerned about fuel economy but am waiting for better Hybrid/EV technology before making the switch. In my mind, holding off buying a new car prevents another gas car being on the road for 10+ years (and the associated production costs of making that car)... and my car gets a pretty decent 28mpg for the majority of my driving which is highway.
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fung
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Re: Buying a car?

Post by fung »

kiwi123 wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:43 am Keep an eye out for your friends with new cars bitching about scratches and dents, etc. Chuckle when you hear them say they got a new car for only $500/month payment... worst case you might need to pay $1000 for a major repair (at an independent garage... not the Jeep dealership!). That the equivalent of 2 months payment and you have a "free" car for the rest of the year.

I'm driving a 15 yr old car with 190k miles while friends have 1 or 2 leased Alfas/BMWs/Volvos/etc. in their name (unbelievable that they have 2 cars when they're single!) because it was a "good deal". I think the real reason is because they're bored and getting something new makes them feel better temporarily....
For me, there's a sense of guilt driving my parents used car. It reminds me of those spoiled teens who drive their parents Lexus/BMW. I had the same feeling when my parents offered to pay my college tuition (around $40k) - they definitely had the means to and I picked an in-state college so it'd be cheaper (as opposed to Berkeley which would have come out to $200k), but I still felt guilty that I wasn't self-sufficient and didn't just take out loans. Sometimes I wonder if I should consider this when raising kids in the future (if I shouldn't offer to pay for their college/car/etc, so they can feel more accomplished). Not sure if there's a term for this type of guilt/lack of a sense of accomplishment.

Tangent aside, thanks for the advice in terms of repairing the Jeep (i.e., the windshield), I'll look for a repair shop instead of a dealership associated with Jeep. Would you say there's an immediate need for repair when there's cracks in the windshield, or do people generally wait for the cracks to reach a certain size before it's absolutely necessary?
bob60014
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Re: Buying a car?

Post by bob60014 »

fung wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:20 am ....... Would you say there's an immediate need for repair when there's cracks in the windshield, or do people generally wait for the cracks to reach a certain size before it's absolutely necessary?
I would repair immediately as it's a violation to drive with a cracked windshield in some states.
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Re: Buying a car?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

I can help.

I own a 14 Wrangler sport Unlimited with 36k miles but I do offroad it extensively, so with the big tires, heavy bumper and winch, my gas mileage is far worse than yours (around 15 mpg) with a 3.21 ratio automatic.

First, I'd say to keep this. It will get you into the woods for your hiking far better than any Subaru will. Did I mention I also own 3 Subarus? On that end of things, for offroad capabilities, if you do want better MPG, safety and features, look at a Crosstrek. It's an Impreza on stilts. I have 2 of them. Buy new because just like the Wrangler, they hold their value too well to consider a used one.

All cars 2017 and newer are required to have a backup camera. You can spend $50 on Amazon and get an aftermarket backup camera. I have one on my Jeep.

Windshield breaks are pretty common on Wranglers because the angle of the windshield is so upright. New ones (JL) have much more of an angle, partly because of this problem. I suppose you could put one of those deflectors on the front of the hood.

If you do decide to swap vehicles, Wranglers hold their value better than just about anything out there. You should be able to get a new Crosstrek for close to nothing on top of your Jeep in trade. One cool thing with both the Wrangler and Crosstrek is that a proper manual transmission is available. I have a 19 premium with the 6 speed manual and it's a nice gearbox. Not STi nice, but pretty nice.

Finally, the Jeep is a 4X4, not all wheel drive. You should never pull it into 4 wheel drive unless you're on a loose surface because it locks the tires together (there's literally a chain in the transfer case). This would wear the gears out quickly if you left it in 4 wheel drive. Otherwise, it is rear wheel drive with the front wheels disconnected by the transfer case. An all wheel drive vehicle like the Subaru is always in AWD and adapts to the road surface and traction. Only the NEW JL Wrangler Sahara has an AWD transfer case, if you're ever interested in a new one.
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tibbitts
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Re: Buying a car?

Post by tibbitts »

fung wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:20 am For me, there's a sense of guilt driving my parents used car. It reminds me of those spoiled teens who drive their parents Lexus/BMW. I had the same feeling when my parents offered to pay my college tuition (around $40k) - they definitely had the means to and I picked an in-state college so it'd be cheaper (as opposed to Berkeley which would have come out to $200k), but I still felt guilty that I wasn't self-sufficient and didn't just take out loans. Sometimes I wonder if I should consider this when raising kids in the future (if I shouldn't offer to pay for their college/car/etc, so they can feel more accomplished). Not sure if there's a term for this type of guilt/lack of a sense of accomplishment.

Tangent aside, thanks for the advice in terms of repairing the Jeep (i.e., the windshield), I'll look for a repair shop instead of a dealership associated with Jeep. Would you say there's an immediate need for repair when there's cracks in the windshield, or do people generally wait for the cracks to reach a certain size before it's absolutely necessary?
I understand your point about college and felt a little that way myself some times. My parents gifted me a smaller amount (even in today's dollars) for college and their used car (then much older, with many more rust holes in it than yours has.)

But you can't take that position and then continue to let them pay insurance. Insurance isn't wedded to the car.

Obviously keep the Jeep. And obviously you should get the windshield replaced as soon as practical, unless the crack is so tiny it can be repaired. Get used to not thinking in terms of "absolutely necessary" when it comes to maintaining your vehicle.

Probably like me you won't have kids so I just solved that problem for you. Maybe it goes with having your parents pay for college.
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mmmodem
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Re: Buying a car?

Post by mmmodem »

fung wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 1:47 am (is it a good idea to sell it before it reaches a certain mileage and buy something more reliable)?
No, this is generally what people tell themselves to justify a new vehicle purchase. You may have a mileage threshold where you don't want to risk driving what you percieve as unreliable. However, the car will break on its own schedule. A lot of people tend to get rid of their car at the 100k miles mark but that doesn't mean the vehicle will depreciate sharply. There are plenty of used buyers that will happily accept a 100k mile vehicle. Personally, I get rid of a vehicle when it requires a repair that exceed the value of the vehicle as-is.

Keep the Jeep. No fuel efficient car you replace it with make up for having to pay for your own insurance. There will also be transactions costs for registering a new vehicle plus taxes and fees if you're buying from a dealers. Add in the fact that you're not driving much right now means at the very least wait until you do before selling the Jeep.
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Re: Buying a car?

Post by BarbBrooklyn »

I assume that your parents paid for college because they felt an obligation to lauch you into self-sufficiency and because they were able to do so without damaging themselves financially.

I assume they gave you a car because they are proud of your amazing financial accomplishments and want to reward that.

I wouldn't feel any guilt. I would try to continue to set career and fianancial goals for yourself so that you arent reliant upon them.

If, later on, you are able to pay this forward by getting your own kids off to a debt-free start, that will be the best payback there can be. At least, as a parent, thats how I feel.
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Re: Buying a car?

Post by tibbitts »

mmmodem wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:09 am Keep the Jeep. No fuel efficient car you replace it with make up for having to pay for your own insurance.
I totally agree with keeping the Jeep, but the OP has moved on to another stage in life and will be paying insurance now either way. Not because the parents won't pay it any longer but because it's the right thing to do.

As I said I understand how the OP feels from personal experience, and the insurance (and, if not already the case, registration, etc.) is a good step.
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Re: Buying a car?

Post by squirm »

buying new isn't a bad idea, people do it all the time. if you can't afford new, that's different. if the only way you can afford it is by finance, you've got a problem.
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Re: Buying a car?

Post by BarbBrooklyn »

Comprehensive coverage generally covers windshield replacement; at least mine does. Another reason to ascertain the coverage.

So, if your vehicle got broken into and something more valuable than the deductable (another queation to ask) got stolen, if there was reimbursement from insurance, do you think your parents wouldn't sign that over to you?
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Watty
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Re: Buying a car?

Post by Watty »

fung wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 12:38 am My top choices are a Subaru Impreza (5 door), Honda Civic, and Toyota Corolla. If I trade in, I'll have to pay for my own insurance.

I'm very new to buying cars, so I read online and found out that buying new is a no-go, and a lease is also a bad idea.
A problem with those cars is that they depreciate slowly so that buying one that is just a few years old does not get you enough of a discount to make buying a used car a better deal than a new car. Buying something like a use Corolla may not make a lot of sense unless it is about 8+ years old and you can do a lot of car repairs yourself.

My basic car buying strategy is to buy a somewhat modest new car that has a reputation for reliability and not depreciating quickly, that is usually a Honda or Toyota. I then sell them when they are about ten years old or have 120k miles on them. Unless I get unlucky I should normally have very little non-routine maintenance that I have to pay for and a well maintained 10 year old Honda or Toyota will sell for a surprising amount. I was once able to sell a 9 year old Camry with 130K miles for about a third of what it cost when new. That made replacing it with a new car very reasonable. That is not the cheapest way to own cars but it within my budget and it gives me a reasonable cost of ownership and I always have a real reliable car with a lot of the newest safety features.

For example I bought a new Corolla a few year ago with an "out the door" price of around $17,000. My plan is to keep it for about ten years(120 months) then I expect to be able to sell it for around $5,000. That will have cost me about $12,000 in depreciation or $100 a month which is within my budget. With a Corolla I don't expect to spend a lot on non-routine maintenance. There will also be operating costs, insurance, routine maintenance, etc but those will be about the same with any car.

It has already been mentioned but your Jeep may be worth more than you realize. Selling it and replacing it with a new car could be a real viable option. If you do this then be sure to talk it over with your parents to make sure that they are OK with you doing that. People can be funny with money.
fung wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 12:38 am I'm very new to buying cars,....
One huge advantage of buying a new car is that they are basically a commodity and you can negotiate a deal over the internet so that you have a "done deal" by the time you go into the dealership. This also means that you can shop dealerships that are a long drive from where you live. You can still have your warranty service done at the most convenient dealership. Here is a post that I did about how I did this a few years ago when I bought my Corolla.

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=239526&p=3746230

There is also a very long ongoing thread about how people have done this.

viewtopic.php?t=124638

When I have looked at used cars online at places like CarMax their prices were way too high. I just looked at they are now selling 2018 Corolla LE like I got for just about what I paid for mine 2.5 years ago. The used car market has gone crazy with the pandemic but that is way to much.
fung wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 12:38 am a cracked windshield and 40k miles
Get the windshield fixed. Even if your insurance will not pay for it the cost will likely only be a few hundred dollars.

With 40k miles you might need new tires soon if those are still the original tires. I would think that good new tires for a Jeep would be pretty expensive so be sure to budget for that and consider that cost when you are deciding if you should replace the car or not.

Also be sure to understand how much warranty it still has left. I did not check but it likely has a 5 year 60K mile powertrain warranty that could have a year left. Find out purchased and just before the powertrain warranty expires be sure to get any work done. It should also have a longer emission warranty so understand how long that goes for.
fung wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 12:38 am 1. How do I decide between the Subaru, Honda, and Toyota? I'm leaning towards the Subaru because I drive for day hikes and it has AWD, which might help on bumpy roads.
It is best make up a list of a half dozen cars that would be acceptable then see what deals are available. For example a Corolla might be your first choice but at the right price a Civic would be a better deal.

I have not owned one but I would also add Hyundai to that list since some of these cars are pretty good and they have a great warranty.

There have been lots of thread about AWD that you can look up but it make not make as much difference as you think and frequently people with AWD will get themselves into trouble by not being cautious enough. It can also make the car more expensive to repair and with some AWD you may need to replace all four tires at the same time. AWD might make sense for some snowy areas but it might not as big a deal as you think. Even then getting good snow tires is likely more important than having AWD.
fung wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 12:38 am 2. What year car should I get? My original plan was to get a 2020 but then I found out buying new is a bad idea. I'm hoping to get a car with a reverse cam and Apple CarPlay.
A lot of that really depends on your budget.
fung wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 12:38 am 3. How do I navigate buying insurance? I'm worried about being misled by salespeople.
Get multiple quotes and read and understand the details. The state minimums are way too low so plan on getting at least a couple of hundred thousand dollars of liability insurance. Get quotes before you buy a different car, they can vary by more than you might think for cars that seem similar.
fung wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 12:38 am 4. Should I trade it in at a dealership or should I sell it privately and then use the cash to buy another car?
You will get a LOT more if you sell it yourself. There are some advantages to trading it in though;
1) It is easier since you would not have a period of time when you own no car, or two cars.
2) In many states you will save on sales tax or registration fees. For example if you buy a $25K and have a $20K trade in then you may only have to pay sales tax on the $5K difference.
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Re: Buying a car?

Post by iamlucky13 »

Two thoughts:

1) It's a gift from your parents. For this reason I would lean toward keeping it in order to be gracious to your parents and avoid potential misunderstandings, such as if the Jeep sells for more than the replacement car costs.

2) It does not sound like it fits your lifestyle or driving preferences. For this reason, I don't agree with the reasons being offered for keeping the Jeep. If it should be kept, I think (1) is sufficient reason. I'll leave it to you to consider that against fuel economy, ride comfort, and other factors that may be on your mind that make a Jeep less than the ideal match for you.

There would be some transaction costs in replacing it, but those would be weighed against the potential savings and value offered by a car that fits your needs better.

I will say that it is actually generally unlikely to tip over. This is a risk of a taller vehicle, but looking at IIHS data, the overall safety of the Wrangler appears mid-pack. Practice good driving habits overall (whether you keep it or not), and don't stress about specific scenarios.
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