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Help Me Buy A Car

CyBeRDeMoN23CyBeRDeMoN23 Registered User regular
edited January 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
What I have: 2000 Nissan Sentra with a broken A/C. Some scratches from the previous owner. Bluebooks for
2-3k.

What I want: 2008 Toyota Camry. Estimated price for a model that contains me desired features: $25,135. Would like to keep the payment at $400 or less.

My situation: Decent paying job, fresh out of college, and never purchased a car before. I really don't like salesmen and not sure how well I can negotiate prices for things. Any help and tips are appreciated.

CyBeRDeMoN23 on

Posts

  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    The best advice I can give you is "don't buy a new car." A car is a money pit, not an investment. Dropping $25,000 on something that's worth $15,000 the moment you drive it off the lot does not make good financial sense.

    How is your savings? How is your credit? How long have you had your job?

    Thanatos on
  • CyBeRDeMoN23CyBeRDeMoN23 Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Thinatos wrote: »
    The best advice I can give you is "don't buy a new car." A car is a money pit, not an investment. Dropping $25,000 on something that's worth $15,000 the moment you drive it off the lot does not make good financial sense.

    How is your savings? How is your credit? How long have you had your job?

    Good.
    Excellent.
    6 months.

    CyBeRDeMoN23 on
  • powersspowerss Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Sorry buddy, that's not a good choice for a car.

    I don't mean that in a "Toyota Camrys" suck way, they're excellent cars (just boring as hell) - but look at something cheaper.

    Try a used Accord, Acura TL, BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, or used Camry. Aim for 20k, your loan will be much easier to target 400/month and you can get a hell of a lot more car, and a more FUN car, for the money.

    powerss on
  • VThornheartVThornheart Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Thinatos wrote: »
    The best advice I can give you is "don't buy a new car." A car is a money pit, not an investment. Dropping $25,000 on something that's worth $15,000 the moment you drive it off the lot does not make good financial sense.

    How is your savings? How is your credit? How long have you had your job?


    Seconded. I bought a new car shortly after getting my first "real world job," and there has not been a day that has gone by that I haven't regretted the decision. The monthly payment is horrendous ($338/month for a car that costed ~14k), and the insurance cost is nearly triple what I was paying on my old car (a point that is often forgotten when you go to buy a new car). And now, a year later, I have really nothing to show for paying more money. My wife wanted to buy new, and I got caught up in her excitement about it... it is a lesson learned the hard way. Never again.

    Getting a car that is even one year - ONE YEAR - older than the new model can save you as much as 50% of the price of the car. Many of these used cars still have factory warranties and other goodies. And you'll see a much more reasonable sticker price. And you'll generally also see a significant reduction in the cost of your car insurance as well.

    If you insist on getting a new car, don't buy the following:

    * Extended Warranty offers (you can always get them later if desired)
    * "Special" insurances (Gap insurance, etc... These are basically schemes to get them to pull more money from you)
    * Additional components (such as stereos, floor mats, etc... these generally cost MUCH less if you buy them from an actual store instead of from the dealership).

    Also, don't let them make you pay a dollar over MSRP. If they tell you that they need to charge you above MSRP for ANY reason (no matter what excuse they make about things like product rarity, high demand, or other nonsense), walk away immediately. They think you're an idiot, and they're hoping to fuck you over. Go to another dealership, and tell them that you just walked away from a dealer that wouldn't offer the car at MSRP.

    In truth, if you're skilled at bartering you can get it for well below MSRP... but you have to play a difficult dance when you do that. If you at least get it for MSRP, you're not getting totally fucked.

    Also, shop around for the best car loan APR, and bring that figure in with you when you go to negotiate with the dealer for the car loan. If you can get them to beat it, take it. If they refuse to beat or match the APR you found, get the car loan you found with the best APR and come to them with a check from that loan company. Don't let them fool you into thinking you HAVE to use their loan program.

    Luckily, I did the above (not paying over MSRP, walking away from dealerships if needed, and shopping for the best APR I could get), or I'd have been even more screwed over than I ended up being. Most car dealerships are full of sharks, and if they smell blood in the water they're going to tear you to pieces. Always be willing to walk away, and do consider a used car if at all possible. Don't fall for the new car fallacy like I did.

    VThornheart on
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  • CyBeRDeMoN23CyBeRDeMoN23 Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Thanks for all of the replies so far, you guys are scaring the shit out of me. I don't need a totally new car and it doesn't have to be brand new. I don't mind if it has a few thousand miles. Keep them coming!

    CyBeRDeMoN23 on
  • VThornheartVThornheart Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Thanks for all of the replies so far, you guys are scaring the shit out of me. I don't need a totally new car and it doesn't have to be brand new. I don't mind if it has a few thousand miles. Keep them coming!

    Sorry, didn't mean to scare you. =( But it is definitively better to get even a slightly used car. If you don't mind it having a few thousand miles, you can save so much money and headaches. Every time I get in my stupid little Scion it reminds me of how much of an easily swayed idiot I was to buy the car new instead of just getting last year's model for half price. I've made some irrational decisions in my life (as most people do, especially when they're young), but I consider the purchase of that car to be the single most irrational thing I've done up to this point in my life. When all's said and done I'm paying ~600 bucks a month in insurance and loan payments for a car that, had I the foresight to get the prior years' model, I'd likely be paying less than 300 a month for. And now that the car's a year and a half old anyways, it's kind of like paying a 300 dollar a month premium for five years to have the privilege of having a new car for a single year. (kicks self repeatedly)

    Hopefully all this info helps.

    VThornheart on
    3DS Friend Code: 1950-8938-9095
  • CyBeRDeMoN23CyBeRDeMoN23 Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Helps alot... it really gives me some other perpsectives to consider.

    CyBeRDeMoN23 on
  • archonwarparchonwarp Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Here's some REALLY nice guides on slickdeals, the first one being the most useful IMO:

    http://forums.slickdeals.net/showpost.php?p=1144910&postcount=4
    http://forums.slickdeals.net/showpost.php?p=1327104&postcount=66



    The 'Holdback' thing that they mention is what makes me suggest going with a Japanese car company, as Toyota and Honda have a 0% Holdback.

    Also, to defeat the cyberdemon, shoot at it until it dies! :D

    archonwarp on
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  • GdiguyGdiguy San Diego, CARegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    (insert shameless plug for my Mazda 3 here.. :))

    If you're still considering new, I would definitely get internet quotes - EVERY single one I got was so far below the initial quote you get in the dealership it's not even funny. In my case, they were basically right around the numbers you get if you're a COSTCO member and go through them, or something like that.

    But yeah, your price will likely drop a good 5k going a year or two used... I'm paying ~500/month on a 2 year loan (0% financing), which is really only doable because my parents are helping

    *edit

    My insurance rates on a new car aren't too bad, considering that I'm still 24... though I have a few discount kind of things (like everyone does I'm sure)

    Gdiguy on
  • ErandusErandus Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    If I remember correctly, cars depreciate the most over the first three years of their lifetime. Look for a used 04-05 or older. You're likely to get the most out of what you spend at that age range, and you may still have origional warrenty time left.

    Erandus on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • Nitsuj82Nitsuj82 Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    All the advice here is solid.

    1) Don't buy a new car. This is something I firmly believe in after making all kinds of financial mistakes in this department. Rule of thumb is, if you can't afford the payments on a 4 year term, you can't afford it.

    2) The Camry is not as reliable as it used to be. Consumer Reports has downgraded it over the last couple of years. Toyota got cocky.

    3) Do all negotiations that you can over the phone and the internet. Keep out of their court for as LONG as possible.

    Nitsuj82 on
    Your sig is too tall. -Thanatos
    Nitsuj82.png
  • HlubockyHlubocky Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I'll put my mileage in for a Mazda 3 hatchback. I bought mine for around $23,000 right after I graduated, got a fairly bad APR, was paying $500 / month (bought, not leased)... After a year I decided to move back into the city and sold it for $19,000, and didn't have to pay any more of my money to rid myself of the loan. I think I got lucky though. I would buy the car again, but what everyone is saying about used cars makes a lot of sense. That 50% figure is way overinflated though...

    Hlubocky on
  • CyBeRDeMoN23CyBeRDeMoN23 Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Thanks guys. I appreciate all your help.

    CyBeRDeMoN23 on
  • Legoman05Legoman05 Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Thanks guys. I appreciate all your help.

    Have someone sitting by a computer at home.

    If they give you a quote, call them, have them give you the KBB value for the car, and then haggle down from there.

    "Sorry, but that's still pretty high. Knock off 2k if you want to talk," said as you get up to leave.

    Also, get a Subaru.

    Legoman05 on
  • TexiKenTexiKen Dammit! That fish really got me!Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Don't finance with the dealer. Get a loan from your bank. Better rate and by dropping the check (or cash) right in the dealers lap you can knock off a decent amount more.

    CarMax is good if you don't want to haggle. They don't pressure you, and even though they say you don't haggle, you can sometimes knock another 500-1,000 off the price.

    As for cars, usual rules apply. Don't buy the VW Jetta or Rabbit in the US because they're made poorly in Mexico, Hondas and Toyotas are most reliable, Subarus are just as good but more expensive and better suited for the north due to AWD and snow.

    Don't discount the American cars now, though. 85% of the vehicles aren't as bulletproof as japanese models, but they aren't going to crap out on you like in the '90s. Except Pontiacs. Poor, poor Pontiac.

    TexiKen on
  • wallabeeXwallabeeX Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I agree with most of what's been said. At your age new isn't really worth the money.

    I disagree with the VW comment above - VW's have been made in Mexico for the American market for the last twenty years and while they have their problems, they're inherent of the model and not the plant. I've seen people drive Jetta's into the ground at 300,000 miles and Fords fall to pieces at 130,000. And the other way around, for that matter.

    I'd say just find a model you'd like to get into and start keeping your eyes peeled. I'm not going to say it's the best car you can buy, but I decided on a 2000+ A4 six months ago and nabbed a 2001 for 11,500 with 22,000 miles on it. Loan works out to about 210/month .. no warranty, but at that price, I'm more than happy to spring for $500 in repairs every couple of months.

    wallabeeX on
  • ege02ege02 __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2007
    I don't know what the heck you people are talking about. I never regretted buying my car. It made my life a fuckload easier.

    Does it have expenses? Sure. Does it give you trouble sometimes? Sure.

    But you save a lot of time. You don't have to schedule your life around bus schedules, or other people (who drive you around, or you carpool with). It gives you a lot of freedom. You can go anywhere you want any time you want. Personally it's great, and it's worth the money.

    The only times when I fucking hate having a car is when I'm looking for parking, which is in short supply in Seattle (ask Thanatos, he knows).

    ege02 on
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    ege02 wrote: »
    I don't know what the heck you people are talking about. I never regretted buying my car. It made my life a fuckload easier.

    Does it have expenses? Sure. Does it give you trouble sometimes? Sure.

    But you save a lot of time. You don't have to schedule your life around bus schedules, or other people (who drive you around, or you carpool with). It gives you a lot of freedom. You can go anywhere you want any time you want. Personally it's great, and it's worth the money.

    The only times when I fucking hate having a car is when I'm looking for parking, which is in short supply in Seattle (ask Thanatos, he knows).
    No one is telling the OP not to buy a car; we're telling him not to buy a new car.

    Thanatos on
  • GdiguyGdiguy San Diego, CARegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Thinatos wrote: »
    No one is telling the OP not to buy a car; we're telling him not to buy a new car.

    Well, one (and probably the main) argument would be if you find you want something that's undergone a major (and much better) revision in the last year or two, at which point you probably won't get a good deal unless the car's been driven a lot...

    I dunno, you always hear people throw around that "value depreciates 50% when you drive it off the lot" number, but when I was actually looking around it was more like a 2k difference on a last-model year used model, which while nice is not exactly so huge that it's worth the extra hassle of buying a used car (notably, if you have good credit you probably won't get the 0%/huge cash back kinds of financing discounts that a new car dealer will do for you).

    I mean, there's a level of money-spending between "i'm a piss-poor collage student and I want a used corolla for $6,000" and "I want a spanking new BMW" where I'm not crying myself to sleep that I spent 21.5k on a new mazda 3 hatchback

    Gdiguy on
  • NewtonNewton Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    If you go for a used car, you don't have to buy from a dealership, either. Banks will charge a slightly higher interest rate on the loan if you buy from a private seller, but you can save yourself several thousand dollars off of the dealer price for the same car. Just be sure that the title is clean and you pay a mechanic to check the car over before you buy it.

    Newton on
  • GameHatGameHat Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Just to throw in my $0.02;

    I can't imagine spending 25k on a Camry

    Don't get me wrong; Camrys are good and reliable cars

    But Camrys are the plain vanilla of the car universe

    If your existing Nissan is running OK, stick with that for the time being

    GameHat on
  • LifeVirusZEROLifeVirusZERO Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I can't recommend the nissan altima enough. they are an incredible value. I have a 2002 3.5SE which I've had for about a year and a half, and I still get excited every time I drive it. And I only paid 11k for it. Do you know anyone that works at a car dealership?

    LifeVirusZERO on
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  • LudiousLudious I just wanted a sandwich A temporally dislocated QuiznosRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I really only have to say that this "losing 50% when you drive it off the lot" business only applies to a domestic model.

    A honda is 20k new, 18k 1 yr old 16k 2 yrs old, etc. in my experience.

    Ludious on
  • noir_bloodnoir_blood Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I can't recommend the nissan altima enough. they are an incredible value. I have a 2002 3.5SE which I've had for about a year and a half, and I still get excited every time I drive it. And I only paid 11k for it. Do you know anyone that works at a car dealership?

    Seriously, I found Nissan to be pretty reliable overall. The new Altimas I think look really great. I bought a Sentra SER just a couple of months ago brand new and have no regrets about the purchase. To me, the knowledge that my car won't break down and won't need a mechanic every three months is enough to balance out the cost.

    noir_blood on
  • tofutofu Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Ludious wrote: »
    I really only have to say that this "losing 50% when you drive it off the lot" business only applies to a domestic model.

    A honda is 20k new, 18k 1 yr old 16k 2 yrs old, etc. in my experience.

    I don't know of any car that loses that much value that quickly, not even the shittiest domestic.

    tofu on
  • GafotoGafoto Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Like everyone else has said: new cars are for chumps.

    Car payments are not worth it. Keep your current car now. Save your money then sell your current car and buy a nice used car with cash.

    Fully owning your own used car is more satisfying than overpaying every month for a quickly depreciating new car.

    Gafoto on
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  • GafotoGafoto Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    tofu wrote: »
    Ludious wrote: »
    I really only have to say that this "losing 50% when you drive it off the lot" business only applies to a domestic model.

    A honda is 20k new, 18k 1 yr old 16k 2 yrs old, etc. in my experience.

    I don't know of any car that loses that much value that quickly, not even the shittiest domestic.
    An awesome figure is 50% residual value over 5 years. These are figures for the residual value after 5 years. I think Mini actually has even higher than these brands but it's kind of a niche vehicle and might be lumped in with BMW.

    Top 10 Brands: Best Resale Value 2008
    1. VW 48.1
    2. BMW 45.6
    3. Acura 45.4
    4. Honda 45.2
    5. Porsche 44.9
    6. Subaru 44.4
    7. Lexus 43.2
    8. Infiniti 43.1
    9. Audi 42.6
    10. Toyota 41.4

    Bottom 10 Brands: Worst Resale Value 2008
    1. Suzuki 27.6
    2. Kia 30.4
    3. GMC 32.5
    4. Mercury 32.5
    5. Dodge 32.5
    6. Chrysler 32.5
    7. Lincoln 33.3
    8. Jeep 33.3
    9. Ford 33.8
    10. Jaguar 34.1

    Source

    Gafoto on
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  • GdiguyGdiguy San Diego, CARegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Gafoto wrote: »
    Like everyone else has said: new cars are for chumps.

    Car payments are not worth it. Keep your current car now. Save your money then sell your current car and buy a nice used car with cash.

    Fully owning your own used car is more satisfying than overpaying every month for a quickly depreciating new car.

    See, while I generally agree with this sentiment, when you juxtapose it with the post directly above it you get a slightly different feel, which fed into my decision - yeah, new cars depreciate (like anything else in life), but I get a sense now that the pendulum has swung the other way now - people have realized that buying used cars is better, so now a GOOD 1 year old used car (i.e., most likely a reliable popular Japanese model) has so much demand that you wind up saving practically nothing, and losing some of the ancillary benefits of buying a new car (probably most specifically that you can get better financing and better (free or purchased) warranties)

    I mean, if it were true that you could easily find a used 2005/6/7 model for half off because someone drove it a thousand miles in 6 months, no-one would ever buy a new car at all; for a couple thousand dollars, I (personally) would rather have a totally new car that has no risk the idiot previous owner lit it on fire or hid a dead rat in the seat or some stupid thing (yeah, ok, those were idiotic and unrealistic extremes, but you get the point)


    Whatever you decide to do, good luck... the one thing I do recommend is that you find a car that you really enjoy having (especially if you're going to buy and keep it for years) - I really was tempted to save a couple thousand and get a Civic or Corolla, but the truth is that when I drove the Mazda 3 I immediately knew it wasn't worth begrudgingly saving some money to be less happy for 5 years... I'm not saying to get a Ferrari, but in every price range there are (reliable & good) cars that just fit an individual a lot better than others



    *edit
    That table's pretty interesting, but if it's really FIVE years, that's a little less of a big deal - hell, compared to stuff like PC/TV's/etc, being able to sell it after 5 years for 50% is not bad at all

    Gdiguy on
  • GafotoGafoto Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I guess part of the deal with used cars is how good a car you can get for how good a price. Of course if you get a lemon or something crappy you get screwed, but if you know something about cars you can haggle the price down or get cars with some cosmetic issues that will lower the price. I like to tweak my car a bit (suspension components mostly) and with a new car the warranty gets in the way of that.

    Gafoto on
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  • GdiguyGdiguy San Diego, CARegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Gafoto wrote: »
    I guess part of the deal with used cars is how good a car you can get for how good a price. Of course if you get a lemon or something crappy you get screwed, but if you know something about cars you can haggle the price down or get cars with some cosmetic issues that will lower the price. I like to tweak my car a bit (suspension components mostly) and with a new car the warranty gets in the way of that.

    Yeah, that's definitely very true; I was just speaking from my perspective as someone who knows jack shit about cars, so I would be buying a used car from a dealership anyway, which is like buying used games for $5 cheaper than new at gamestop

    Gdiguy on
  • GafotoGafoto Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I found my car through Craigslist. If you can't check out a car yourself you can take it to a mechanic.

    Gafoto on
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  • Nitsuj82Nitsuj82 Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    TexiKen wrote: »
    As for cars, usual rules apply. Don't buy the VW Jetta or Rabbit in the US because they're made poorly in Mexico, Hondas and Toyotas are most reliable, Subarus are just as good but more expensive and better suited for the north due to AWD and snow.

    Don't discount the American cars now, though. 85% of the vehicles aren't as bulletproof as japanese models, but they aren't going to crap out on you like in the '90s. Except Pontiacs. Poor, poor Pontiac.

    The engines for these cars are French. Well, actually French and Japanese. For the newest generations, it's an inline five cylinder sourced from Renault, and is no longer the 2 liter monstrosity that used to power them. VW is coming back around and is making improvements so they are worth a look. I for one plan on checking out the new TDI cars 4 or 5 years from now.

    Mmm, diesel.

    Nitsuj82 on
    Your sig is too tall. -Thanatos
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  • GafotoGafoto Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I had always heard the engines of VWs would go much longer than any other part on the car.

    Gafoto on
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  • Nitsuj82Nitsuj82 Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Not in those 2.0L and VR6's of old.

    They were udder shit. Like Volvo 850 shit.

    Nitsuj82 on
    Your sig is too tall. -Thanatos
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