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Car Talk

So, I'm in the market for a new vehicle. I'm completely overwhelmed by the idea and have pretty much no idea where to start. So, in lieu of actually starting, I thought I'd put these question out there:

What do you like about your car?

What do you not like about your car?

What features/things do you frequently wish your car did/had?

Feel free to be as brief, or as, uh long-winded as you like. :-)



Apr. 3rd, 2008 03:49 am (UTC)
Re: 2007 Honda Civic 4-door sedan
I'm either buying new from a dealer or new-to-me from a dealer. Either way, I'm going through a dealer because, a) I may be interested in financing, and b) I want a warranty. I'm using these lists to compile one of my own (needs, wants, etc) and then go from there to figure out which makes/models to start test driving.
Apr. 3rd, 2008 04:24 am (UTC)
Re: 2007 Honda Civic 4-door sedan
Here's my method for buying new:

Pick a price range ($14k, $18k, $22k, etc.) and preferred vehicles type(s) (coupe, sedan, hatchback, etc.). Go to every brand of dealer you can find and ask to drive whatever models are close to your criteria. Don't worry about the details too much, you just want to see what's out there. This will probably mean 1-3 models per brand depending on how many vehicle types you're comfortable with. If you prefer to buy (or not buy) American, European, or Japanese, you can ignore those cars at this step. Feel free to bring company since this can get boring.

If you didn't see anything you liked, revise your criteria and look some more. Otherwise, you'll probably have seen some cars you didn't like and some cars you did. Once you've narrowed down your list to a few solid choices, read reviews with an eye towards problems. It's easy to miss troublesome details on a first test drive, especially if you like the feel of the car. Test drive your candidates again and check to see whether there's anything you can't deal with.

Once you've decided on a model, contact all the dealers near you and ask for a quote. They have forms on their web sites for this. Research online to find out how much the dealer paid for the car (the "invoice price") and whether there are any manufacturer kickbacks going on and negotiate from there. Several hundred dollars of profit is reasonable. Get your dad to co-sign on the loan; unless your credit history is impossibly good you're probably looking at an extra 8-10% interest by yourself. Paying off the loan early will reduce your interest by a lot. If you're selling your old car, go to CarMax, they'll offer you way more than it's worth. If you have an offer from them you can use it to negotiate with the dealer for a better trade-in price. You want to trade in if possible because the trade-in value is deducted from the pre-tax price of the car, which lets you save a little extra.

Above all else, do not be pressured and do not get too excited. Your current car works, so you're holding all the cards. You're buying a car for at least the next five years, possibly the next decade. Let the process take a couple months and don't be afraid to say no.
Apr. 3rd, 2008 04:48 am (UTC)
Re: 2007 Honda Civic 4-door sedan
I second almost all of that. I don't think a co-signer is necc. - I got a decent APR when I had lousy credit (single digit at least.) One thing to look out for is that dealers are NOT the best place to get a car loan unless you are going through Honda Finance or something like that. Many dealers will claim they can only get you a certain APR based on your credit. They are usually lying.

Check with your own bank before you deal with dealer financing. Your bank will at least give you numbers to compare with. Try laying out the whole deal that you want in terms of financing: APR, monthly, etc. Since dealers hate to talk total price you'll be steered into talking about monthly.

I personally advise against leasing - but that may just be because every dealership seems to want me to lease instead of buying with a loan.
Apr. 3rd, 2008 05:31 am (UTC)
Re: 2007 Honda Civic 4-door sedan
My bank and everyone else I tried rejected me completely. I had a credit score of zero, though, and I think Catherine has a credit card, so she might have better luck.
Apr. 3rd, 2008 02:16 pm (UTC)
Re: 2007 Honda Civic 4-door sedan
I've got credit to spare (I was at 0 three years ago, but gaining bills (woo) and credit cards have significantly improved that situation). The only reason I'd really be looking at getting a loan is so that I can maintain my current emergency fund buffer which is about a years worth of rent & expenses. I'd probably pay it off in full within 2 years or so.
Apr. 3rd, 2008 02:30 pm (UTC)
Re: 2007 Honda Civic 4-door sedan
Great idea of ways to narrow it down. How do I know where cars are from? Do you know which are easier to find good service for?

I have no bad credit history, only good! :-) I'd never ask someone to co-sign for me, way too risky and I've known too many people who have had relationships destroyed due to bad experiences.
Apr. 3rd, 2008 04:41 pm (UTC)
Re: 2007 Honda Civic 4-door sedan
Wikipedia has a list of brands with countries of origin. I prefer Japanese cars because they're cheap and reliable. European cars are comfortable and very smoothly designed, but usually more expensive to buy and maintain. I don't have much experience with American cars, but I've sat in on too many presentations about the state and future of the auto industry to want to buy into that.

I haven't had major problems with service on any of the cars I've driven, except for VW being expensive.



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