T Nation

Buying a Car...Completely Clueless

So my car broke down about a week ago, and I’m looking for some assistance in what I should do. I’ve gone around and scouted at various dealerships, but I am always leering that I am going to pay for more than I need.

Ideally I’d like to pay under $10,000 for a car that is low maintenance, good fuel economy, and reliable. I don’t give a shit about a ton of bells and whistles–as long as it gets me from Point A to Point B cheaply and in relative comfort (though that is secondary) I am happy. High safety ratings are nice too.

I don’t care about excellent acceleration or anything like that, as I won’t be drag racing. So long as it isn’t so bad it is dangerous, I am not really interested in performance.

At the moment, I am looking at a

-New 2008 Hyundai Accent manual transmission, without power locks or windows (I actually prefer non-power windows/lock…cheaper to fix if they break) and no radio

-Certified Pre-Owned 2007 Hyundai Accent automatic transmission, no power windows, locks, but does have a radio. The 2007 got “Best Buy” on consumerguideautomotive.com (http://consumerguideauto.howstuffworks.com/2007-hyundai-accent-5.htm)

-Toyota Yaris

-Kia Rio (also a Best Buy)

-2004 Honda Civic with 80,000 miles, good condition

Do people have tips for what to check on, what to look for, and how to deal with salepeople? I really feel out of my element on what to do or get, but am highly skeptical of the things that salespeople tell me. Last thing–what do people think about buying a car off, say, craigslist? Any experiences good or bad?

Don’t buy new cars.

I’d get the 2004 Civic.

Get ballpark figures on what your insurance premiums will be like for each car. They shouldn’t be too different, but you never know.

Check the interest rates, as used car rates can be higher. That slightly older car may be have a cheaper sticker price, but you could end up paying more for it in the long run.

Check to see if that Civic has an extended warranty and what it covers.

Out of those I’d say get the civic, low maintenance and great gas mileage, though I hate the body style I’d say go for a 2006 civic coupe, you could find one for 10k if you looked hard, but 11-12k would be easy.

But, thats just my thoughts.

toyota corrolla or matrix

So why all the love for the Civic and not the others?

[quote]Fiction wrote:
So why all the love for the Civic and not the others?[/quote]

Personally I’d go for a new car, but that’s not what this is about. It’s about you gathering the info you need to make the best decision for you. Don’t let anybody talk you into a car you don’t want, unless there’s a really good reason. And no that crap about depreciation is not one of them.

[quote]Fiction wrote:
So why all the love for the Civic and not the others?[/quote]

civics are good cars,but there are alot of them
parts are cheap fuel economy is good,but rally and no offense to anyone on this,civics are overrated I tuned hondas my whole life almost
kids love hondas,I personally own several “honda killers” one of which is a 96 nissan sentra.

My toyota smokes acuras and i have yet to turbo my toyota yet.last one is the one my wife took I will try and find a pic it was an 89 prelude with half million miles on it and still looked and ran brand new.

hondas have problems,yes you can run them to hundreds of thousands of miles but it is hard to find a civic that was not thrashed on by a kid thinking he was in the fast and furious.

also the very first thing I advise you to do if you want the civic is change the timing belt,I dont care how many miles of condition of the car change that thing,hondas are interferance engines meaning if the timing belt breaks you run a good chance of destroying your entire engine.

if you want a car that will last forever,is comfortable,fast and fun to drive compared to other 4 cylinders I would suggest a late model toyota

I have a 04 corolla with 102 thousand on it now,bought it used with 33 thousand on it a year ago.

the spark plugs on those are to be replaced at 120 thousand miles.

they have their quirks like any other car but they are the best for your dollar I think

the matrix is the exact same car just a different body style.

if you like fast cars that will last forever but they are out of your 10k range look into the subaru series of cars.
all feature all wheel drive they are turboed and fast as hell but they still get in the 30s for gas milage

DO NOT go domestic,dont get me wrong I love domestics but I as well as many other auto techs out there have to admit that americans quality is not up to par with the japanese.

I have been looking into the kias,kia and hyandai are the same car its like chevy and gmc,but my understanding is that they are doing pretty well as far as quality now but I dont know first hand.

they are dirt cheap.a brand new one will run you around 12k with 100k miles warrenty…

My daily driver is the corolla it gets beat down I had jumped it into a ditch,8 feet deep and I flew about 30 feet,the car had no damage but light scratches and broken plastic. nothing mechanical,suspension is fine.

I also drive dirt roads to my home about 20 miles a day is on unmaintaned roads at 35 mph on average and the car is still solid after over 60k miles.

on a recent trip to new mexico about 1200 miles round trip I was running average 42 mpg on the freeway with cruise and ac on. I get mid 30s in town
I commute 75 miles one way and it takes me about 1/4th tank with a 10 gallon tank.

The camry v6 is going to be my next car it has v-6 power the size of a mid sized sedan and still in the 30s for mpg

Bar none you can not top the durability and the quality of a toyota,my life is with cars I have driven many and abused every single car i have ever owned. the only ones that stood up to any sort of long term abuse with me is the toyotas

I even found on youtube where they tried to kill a toyota pick up and couldnt ,try and look that up youll see what i mean

I’d get the Civic.

Reason being is because I had a civic and trashed the fucking tits off it and only one thing ever went wrong which cost like $100 to fix. This is over a 2 year period. I was a delivery driver as well so it really did have alot of demand on it.

Most reliable car I’ve ever seen/had. I’ve also known a few people with Civics, and think they are a great car.

Honda is right up their for reliability. They also aren’t overpriced and are just a good all round car with a good amount of features. Great on petrol. The VTECS, which I think are pretty standard now, are good also.

If I were to go buy a car tomorrow, I would most likely get another civic, or most definately a Honda.

Corrolla’s are also good. Ask almost any mechanic and they will rate them as one of the most reliable cars ever.

Don’t know so much about Hyandi’s but I haven’t heard many bad things about them.

[quote]hardgnr wrote:
I’d get the Civic.

Reason being is because I had a civic and trashed the fucking tits off it and only one thing ever went wrong which cost like $100 to fix. This is over a 2 year period. I was a delivery driver as well so it really did have alot of demand on it. Most reliable car I’ve ever seen/had. I’ve also known a few people with Civics, and think they are a great car.

Honda is right up their for reliability. They also aren’t overpriced and are just a good all round car with a good amount of features. Great on petrol. The VTECS, which I think are pretty standard now, are good also.

If I were to go buy a car tomorrow, I would most likely get another civic, or most definately a Honda.

Corrolla’s are also good. Ask almost any mechanic and they will rate them as one of the most reliable cars ever.

Don’t know so much about Hyandi’s but I haven’t heard many bad things about them.[/quote]

funny you say ask a mechanic.

my opinion is based on the fact that I am an ase master certified auto tech. and I drive and work on everything.

one last thing and the edit button isnt working on my machine.

what to look for,figure the year,average person droves 10k miles a year

if its really old and has low miles that can be good or bad,could be they didnt drive it anyplace and skipped the maintance because they didnt drive.

well fluids break down in time not just from driving you still every few months have to change things if you drive 100 miles or 10,000 miles.

again if its high miles on a newer car this could be that they had it in a fleet or again may have skipped maintance ran it to death and traded it in type thing. or they could have been really good every 3 thousand mile oil and that but you really cant be sure.

look for leaks,climb under the car see if there is build up where the tranny meets the engine see if theres fluid slung under the car take a good look.

also if its too clean that means the car lot of the guy selling it washed off a dirty spot,need to ask why because they may be hiding a leak.

when test driving do not be afriad to get up into it.

take it on a back road slam the breaks,do a fast rabbit start that kind of thing,reason is you may not drive that way , but if you take it out and beat on it you can see if anything is broke or coming close to breaking.

what if you have to hit the breaks on the freeway and make a dead stop from 75 also what if a truck is merging over cant see you and you have to step on the gas to get ahead of him before he runs you off the road you want to know that the power to go or stop is there.

with sale people first your just driving it,they will try selling it to you if you dont know what you want,do not let them.

just drive it and leave,once you find what you want then search,ask around anything on that model car.

learn the engine codes learn the kelly blue book price,learn everything about he car.
I mean the sales guy dosent have to sell it to you because you already know wha tyou want,you just need as much ammo as you can get in order to bargan a decent price.

and nothing is set in stone if you cant get the car you want with the price you want then oh well you will find it next door.

this is with car lots,
if you find a car on craigs list,ask the guy if you can have him take it to get a once over at a shop so you can get an idea of whats wrong with the car.

offer to pay for it even if he does not agree then move on.
if he does agree then take it in to a reputable shop and look it over before buying it.

thats about all I can give right now I am exhausted sorry .

I also found a 2003 Acura TL for $5200.

http://omaha.craigslist.org/cto/900996091.html

Assuming it is not a piece of crap this seems like quite a good buy, yes?

I just bought one:
but I don’t think you can get the Aygo. A Toyota that does 48 MPG with a conventional engine.

[quote]Fiction wrote:
I also found a 2003 Acura TL for $5200.

http://omaha.craigslist.org/cto/900996091.html

Assuming it is not a piece of crap this seems like quite a good buy, yes?[/quote]

that one looks good to me,I would ask if you can take it to your mechanic first.
I know the ad says that it was looked at and theres no sign of flood damage but just like in a house the flood damage can show up later.

I would talk them down starting at 3000 simply because of the the salvage title.
I have gotten some very good cheap cars that were salvaged because of theft recoveries,thats something else to look for.

[quote]Pluto wrote:
toyota corrolla or matrix[/quote]

Your avatar is amazing.

To the OP, I would suggest going used as well. If you get a used toyota or honda you’ll be buying a car that still has a LOT of miles left, and you can avoid paying for depreciation, which is pretty gnarly.

If you’re looking at a private-party used car, definitely have a mechanic look at it. It’ll cost you around $50 and can save you a lot of trouble in the long run. With the money you save from not going to a dealership, you still come out way ahead.

Dude, get the accent.

I own a 1995 Hyundai Accent.

184k miles on it, gets 30 mpg on the highway.

I’ve never had a problem with it, neither had the previous owner. Just regular maintenance (spark plugs, oil) will keep it running well.

And don’t get something new. Buy the yesteryear model, which is still good, and save some coin.

Get a used Honda or Acura. You’ll thank me later.