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Old 01-15-2019, 03:23 PM
 
Location: South Park, San Diego
4,765 posts, read 7,295,640 times
Reputation: 8723

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My very independent mom got in a fender bender a couple of days ago, visually minor damage to her car, minimal damage to a truck, no injuries or airbags going off. The problem is that her 2002 Toyota Camry assuredly has hardly any value despite it having only 40k (?!, I know!) miles on it and it very well may be totaled despite the minor damage knowing how expensive cars fixes of any type are these days.

Adjuster comes out tomorrow to inspect and determine so I am perhaps jumping the gun but figure I would throw this out to garner some opinions from those more knowledgeable about this stuff than I. I last purchased a car in late ‘01 and have little experience in negotiating, especially recently and wish to avoid most of the BS historically inherent in purchasing a car. I am going to be the dutiful son in taking charge of this though.

Money really isn’t going to be an issue, she is far from wealthy but has money and could easily afford a modest new car, though the outlay of cash for one would be a big expense for her and we are frugal people (she is a depression baby after all), not placing much value in expensive and rapidly depreciating assets.

Even though a used car is obviously a logical way to go the very thought of adding all the potential issues and deception one potentially encounters going this route makes me ill. If the car is totaled one idea that popped into our heads was that a three year lease might actually be a viable and less dicey proposition for what almost certainly will be (except another accident or theft) her final car, at the end of that term it might be time to hang up the keys. She is not a great driver but honestly never was and I have noticed only a modest decline in her skills the last few years. She drives all over town but avoids it at night. I very much like the thought of new safety technology, especially autonomous braking, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, rear view camera etc... and the like for the old gal which we could get in most new cars.

I noted a couple of what look to be decent lease deals on a couple of cars that I feel would be a good match for her. The Kia Forte and the Subaru Impreza sedan, both would equal about $240/month plus taxes when it is all said and done (including “down payment”). The lease deal on the Impreza is for the manual so I would have to negotiate a model with auto and EyeSight options. Each of those cars should be able to be purchased for around $20k, but then we would have to sell them at some point in the future. I would probably lean towards the Impreza because of its better visibility and more compliant ride but I think each are pretty comparable in terms of overall safety and packaging - AWD is really not needed (nor even noticed with the Impreza’s weak engine and CVT) in San Diego so that isn’t really a factor. And obviously with both under warranty gives me piece of mind she won’t be stranded nor do I then become in charge of her car maintenance and repairs.

One aspect about a lease is that she drives so few miles that the leassor gets a nearly unused car back - figure less than 9k miles in three years - unless I borrow it for some road trips lol.

I understand that I still need to educate myself a bit more on leasing but know enough to get in there and negotiate where I can and discern the numbers in the end.

What are your some of your thoughts and recommendations?

Thanks!
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Old 01-15-2019, 03:47 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
5,487 posts, read 1,823,611 times
Reputation: 8211
No recommendation, but this is definitely one of the narrow cases where a carefully-analyzed lease may be the right choice.
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Old 01-15-2019, 03:57 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
4,575 posts, read 4,617,157 times
Reputation: 16144
She could do a single payment on a 36 month lease for an Impreza.

Rinse, repeat until she can't drive.
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Old 01-15-2019, 04:11 PM
 
Location: Columbia SC
8,397 posts, read 7,158,146 times
Reputation: 11303
I recently rented a Kia Soul. I was impressed. Great car for the money.
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Old 01-15-2019, 04:13 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
13,683 posts, read 43,699,221 times
Reputation: 12039
Even if they total that Toyota, I would suggest you buy it back, find a small independent shop to fix the most obvious damage, and just let her keep driving that same car.
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Old 01-15-2019, 04:16 PM
 
Location: Metro Detroit Michigan
3,528 posts, read 963,856 times
Reputation: 2842
Lots of older people getting the Buick Encore.
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Old 01-15-2019, 04:21 PM
 
Location: Keosauqua, Iowa
9,069 posts, read 16,092,916 times
Reputation: 12043
Assuming there's no structural damage I'd recommend keeping the car she's got. I get that the insurance company may consider it a total loss due to the diminished market value, but in most cases like this they will allow you to keep the car and take a reduced payout (75% when I did it years ago on two cars that were damaged in the same hailstorm). Granted the payout won't cover the entire cost of the repair in that scenario, but paying the difference would me a lot more cost effective than buying a new car.

This is assuming that she's satisfied with the car and it's still in good working condition other than the damage. If she's ready for something new then by all means she should take the plunge while she still has time to enjoy it. Just keep in mind that there have been 18 years worth of changes in technology since her last new car, don't steer her toward something she'll have a hard time figuring out.

Last edited by duster1979; 01-15-2019 at 04:44 PM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 01-15-2019, 04:25 PM
 
Location: Columbia SC
8,397 posts, read 7,158,146 times
Reputation: 11303
Quote:
Originally Posted by duster1979 View Post
Assuming there's no structural damage I'd recommend keeping the car she's got. I get that the insurance company may consider it a total loss due to the diminished market value, but in most cases like the they will allow you to keep the car and take a reduced payout (75% when I did it years ago on two cars that were damaged in the same hailstorm). Granted the payout won't cover the entire cost of the repair in that scenario, but paying the difference would me a lot more cost effective than guying a new car.

This is assuming that she's satisfied with the car and it's still in good working condition other than the damage. If she's ready for something new then by all means she should take the plunge while she still has time to enjoy it. Just keep in mind that there have been 18 years worth of changes in technology since her last new car, don't steer her toward something she'll have a hard time figuring out.
Good suggestions.
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Old 01-15-2019, 04:38 PM
 
6,597 posts, read 3,660,078 times
Reputation: 8848
I'd definitely be sticking to models that have automatic braking, lane keep assist, etc at that age.

Lease makes sense to me as well. Keep in mind you don't need to just turn it in and give the dealer a car with 9k on it and let them make a killing. You can actually cash out equity as simply as just taking it to Carmax near lease end. Which a 3 year old Subaru with just 9k on it will certainly have. They essentially buy out the lease for you then buy it from you in one nice neat transaction.
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Old 01-15-2019, 05:20 PM
 
Location: Podunk, IA
3,197 posts, read 1,448,107 times
Reputation: 3307
My 85 year old mom drives a 2008 Cadillac CTS.
It only has 31K miles. Whenever we go somewhere, I drive.

Last edited by eaton53; 01-15-2019 at 05:28 PM..
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