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Buying my first car - need some advice

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by dreunc1542, Nov 19, 2008.

  1. dreunc1542

    dreunc1542 Active Member

    So I was in an accident this past Sunday and as I figured from the second I stepped out of my car that night, it's been deemed a total loss. The front was messed up completely since I spun out and then went headfirst into the guard rail.

    I was originally hoping that car would get me at least to this May when I graduate from college, but that is not to be. That car was a 2000 Pontiac Grand-Am with just shy of 100k miles on it so we're expecting probably about 1k-2k at the most for it. As for my next car, I would like it to be a Honda, Toyota, Subaru, etc. A car that will get good gas mileage and last me through 150k-200k miles as long as I don't get in another accident like this one again.

    I'd say I'm looking at cars in the 15k-22k price range, though I'd rather not go over 20k. So five cars that I've looked at as possibilities are: the Subaru Impreza, Nissan Altima, Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla and Matrix. Something else I have to take into account is that for at least January-March I'll have to deal with lots of snow.

    So my questions:

    Does anyone have any advice about these cars, or other ones that are similar - what are your thoughts?

    Also, if I have the means to buy new is that the way to go or should I still look at used cars?

    If I had the choice to buy in late December or at the end of May/beginning of June, when I would be more likely to get a good deal?

    And what are the best ways to try and bargain with the dealer? Does the fact that I can mostly pay for the car on the spot help me?

    Thanks for any help.
  2. luckyducky

    luckyducky Guest

    I got a Mazda3 in July 2007 and I love, love, love it. Already put 25k on it, gets great gas mileage and is comfy/roomy.

    Subaru Impreza's are, I believe, 4WD (had an outback before, not impreza, but love Subaru).

    As for the rest, I dunno. Good luck, dre.
  3. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    First of all, don't buy new. It's a waste of money.

    Second, buy the Civic or Corrolla with about 5-50K miles on it (depending on price, condition.) That thing will last forever. If you buy used with a little more mileage, you'll probably want to get a new vehicle in a couple years. If you buy used with 5K miles, you might not need a new car for a decade.
  4. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    I've had two Hondas -- an Accord and a Civic -- and I'll never drive another kind of car. The gas mileage is great on the Civic, and it's big enough to haul anything I need and doesn't feel like a boat.

    I bought my car new a little more than three years ago for about $21,000. My dad was hesitant about me buying a new one, but I figured it'd be better to buy it in perfect condition than risk the possible damage on a used car.

    I'd still look at used cars, but I wouldn't stay away from a new car if it's a little bit more expensive. I saw one for $16,000 back then, but it was a 2001 (in 2005) and had 45,000 miles on it. That, along with the feeling I got when I saw my car, made the decision an easy one for me.

    Just make sure it's in your budget first.
  5. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    Go to Carmax and get a used car. You don't have to haggle, you'll get a good vehicle and you won't feel the pain of driving a new car off the lot and having it devalue simultaneously.

    Also, don't be too set on a specific model until you've looked at several. I had my heart set on a Honda Civic until I realized a stripped-down Civic with power nothing was actually more expensive than a fully loaded Saturn. Figure out what type of car you want (compact, small SUV, 4WD) and look at the models in the category.
  6. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    P.S. - Accident? Are you OK?
  7. Diabeetus

    Diabeetus Active Member

    I echo the buy used sentiment. My sister has a Corolla and loves it. I'd like to try to last in my current one till I can get a used Honda Insight (hybrid supposedly out soon).
  8. editorhoo

    editorhoo Member

    I'm not necessarily suggesting it, but have you thought about leasing? I never would have until I had a conversation with my roommate a few months ago, and she offered some pretty convincing points. You get a new car every two years or so, which is cool because you get to experience different makes and models. And you are not responsible for basic maintenance such as oil changes, etc. And if you really enjoy the vehicle, there's always the option to purchase it.

    Of course, if you drive 20,000 miles per year, you can pretty much ignore this post.
  9. sportschick

    sportschick Active Member

    I bought a used car about eight years ago. It's still going strong (despite a run-in with a kamikazee deer), and hasn't had too many issues (fuel pump went out and the air conditioning system needed recharged).

    I got an extended warranty, which paid for itself with the two above repairs.
  10. dreunc1542

    dreunc1542 Active Member

    I'm doing all right, my neck is still really sore. It was a nasty accident on the 101 - I was hit in the back by a car, into another car and then I spun out and went into the guard rail at prob like 50 mph. I'm still trying to figure out why my airbags didn't deploy but wearing my seatbelt definitely saved me from it being way more serious. It was the first guy's fault for sure, everyone agreed on that and my insurance company has been really helpful so far.

    I went to the ER afterwards just to make sure and there was no bone damage. I have some muscle relaxing meds and they seem to help, but they also make me incredibly drowsy so I've been pretty useless the past few days. At this point I'm just hoping it doesn't turn into anything chronic.
  11. dreunc1542

    dreunc1542 Active Member

    Yea, there were four cars involved and the one that hit me and caused it was going like 70-75 mph when the flow of traffic was going like 55-60 mph.
  12. forever_town

    forever_town Active Member

    What she said.
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