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Old 07-03-2009, 04:32 PM
 
1,116 posts, read 2,542,575 times
Reputation: 1468

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(I'm posting in Frugal Living v. Automotive because I'm more worried about the economy side of it...hopefully it's in the right place)

My poor car is on its last legs. It's a 2000 Saturn LS, 165k miles, and I've put $1500 into it in the last six months. No payments, I paid cash for it, and in the three years I've had it I've put 80k miles on it, driven cross country, through snow and ice, a flood, and a lot of mountain driving. It's been our only mode of transport. It needs over $3k of bodywork, replacing the windshield, a paint job, and the passenger mirror assembly needs to be replaced. It has a solid engine that probably has at least another 40k miles on it, buuut the electrical system shorts out quite a bit, and it eats bulbs like tic tacs. I'm afraid with all of the abuse it's been through, putting money into fixing it up would just be a waste. The cost of repairs would equal or exceed the value of the car.

Here's the question. I have the opportunity to get a used (barely- 6k miles) 2008 Astra, with 0% financing, and my monthly payment will be less than $200 a month. Here's where I'm really struggling- it includes OnStar service for a year, and a 5 year, 100k mile warranty plus maintainence (meaning no more repair bills!!). I love the car, and it fits DH and my needs perfectly. Better gas mileage, roomier, GPS navigation included, tons of luxury features standard, and some amazing safety features. I'll also get owner loyalty credit toward purchase, and they're willing to put my payments six months out (giving me time to figure out books and tuition for fall semester) free of charge.

The next car I get needs to last through the rest of undergrad and into med school (hopefully into residency as well) so I'm looking for low mileage and newer. DH and I are both in school, and although the payments will be tight, it's doable. Should I wait until my car just gives up, and try to get the most out of it as possible? Or should I go ahead and get the new car? It's such a great opportunity, and on one hand I like to use things until they die, but if my car does die I'll be stranded. Unfortunately my car doesn't qualify for the CARS program, so that's not even part of the consideration.

I don't know what to do!
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Old 07-03-2009, 04:53 PM
 
392 posts, read 1,682,240 times
Reputation: 278
Quote:
Originally Posted by spiderbear View Post

Here's the question. I have the opportunity to get a used (barely- 6k miles) 2008 Astra, with 0% financing, and my monthly payment will be less than $200 a month.
I wouldn't judge if a car is a good deal for me based on the monthly payment. Total cost is what needs to be judged. Not sure from your post what the total cost is? Is the 0% financing for the entire term of the loan? How many years will the car need to last? Are you going to continue to drive 25K plus a year?
How important is a car in your life? Can you walk or use public transit as backups or are you dependent on a car for everything?
I don't have an easy answer for you. I know I have talked myself into these things also, it is easy to make a convincing argument when it is what your heart is desiring
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Old 07-03-2009, 05:01 PM
 
Location: Bay Area
111 posts, read 280,873 times
Reputation: 142
With the economy as is, shopping for a great deal on a car is much easier than before....with your current car, I do suggest you get another car....Personally I will not settle on the Astro....I would rather go for something smaller to save on gas also since it seems u drive a lot
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Old 07-03-2009, 06:22 PM
 
13,714 posts, read 22,843,488 times
Reputation: 18526
Quote:
Originally Posted by spiderbear View Post
(I'm posting in Frugal Living v. Automotive because I'm more worried about the economy side of it...hopefully it's in the right place)

My poor car is on its last legs. It's a 2000 Saturn LS, 165k miles, and I've put $1500 into it in the last six months. No payments, I paid cash for it, and in the three years I've had it I've put 80k miles on it, driven cross country, through snow and ice, a flood, and a lot of mountain driving. It's been our only mode of transport. It needs over $3k of bodywork, replacing the windshield, a paint job, and the passenger mirror assembly needs to be replaced.
Whoa! Time out. You are driving a beater. It is basic transportation. At that point, you don't make body repairs unless you get ticketed. Things like passenger mirrors don't get done. Fix it in place and use duct tape. And you don't need a paint job. The ONLY repairs you make are the ones that keep it running AND keep yourself safe. IOW, don't skimp on tires or brakes. Forget about the cosmetics.

It is always hard to know when to hold them and when to fold them. Personally, I am not into car payments at a time when you are also facing years of student loans. Personally, I would look for a 4-5 year old boring domestic car, coming off lease with 50k miles or so for $5-6k. Again, you are looking for basic transportation, not great looks.
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Old 07-03-2009, 06:33 PM
 
1,116 posts, read 2,542,575 times
Reputation: 1468
Quote:
Originally Posted by stock66 View Post
I wouldn't judge if a car is a good deal for me based on the monthly payment. Total cost is what needs to be judged. Not sure from your post what the total cost is? Is the 0% financing for the entire term of the loan? How many years will the car need to last? Are you going to continue to drive 25K plus a year?
How important is a car in your life? Can you walk or use public transit as backups or are you dependent on a car for everything?
I don't have an easy answer for you. I know I have talked myself into these things also, it is easy to make a convincing argument when it is what your heart is desiring
The car is $13k before negotiations, $6K less than it would be new for a practically new car. Total cost, it's a great value. The car needs to last at least six years minimum. 0% for the life of the loan. I doubt I'll be driving as much as I was in the past few years since I moved cross-state three times and took a cross-country trip, but it will still get quite a beating. Insurance would be about double because we'd want to add collision. Public transportation is available, but inconvenient and relatively expensive (I'd spend more on public transportation than I do in gas for the car). Also my route goes through some sketchy areas which makes it not an option at night. Having at least one car between my husband and I is a must, since I live ten miles from school.

It's hard to not be biased when making the decision..especially when it's what I want. Arg, I'm trying to be responsible..

MyPOV- it's not a Chevy Astro, it's the Saturn Astra. 32mpg average, a smaller hatchback car.
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Old 07-03-2009, 08:23 PM
 
Location: In America's Heartland
929 posts, read 1,824,660 times
Reputation: 1173
I would suggest that you only pay cash for a used car. Don't have enough cash... well it means you can't afford it right now. Lower your expectations or keep driving the beater. Cosmetic fixes are not necessary. Who cares about what it looks like.

I don't understand why the next car has to last through undergrad school. You could buy 4-5 good used cars for 13K.

It is hard for me to believe that public transportation would be more expensive than driving. I saved over $800.00 riding the bus to work last year. I agree that it is inconvenient at times. But it will sure help to bleed some extra life out of your beater.
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Old 07-03-2009, 08:37 PM
 
3,460 posts, read 4,793,244 times
Reputation: 6677
As long as the car is running, drive it into the ground and don't spend any money on it that you don't have to. In the meanwhile, save the money you'd spend making car payments, and use it to buy another beater. Repeat as necessary until you have enough money saved to buy the car you really want with cash.
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Old 07-03-2009, 08:42 PM
 
13,714 posts, read 22,843,488 times
Reputation: 18526
Also remember that if you buy the newer car, you'll pay higher insurance costs, higher personal property taxes (in some states), and you'll pay sales tax on the price of the vehicle.
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Old 07-03-2009, 09:04 PM
 
Location: Steilacoom, WA by way of East Tennessee
1,044 posts, read 3,526,579 times
Reputation: 692
Buy a 4 - 6 yo car with under 60k miles for $4000-$5000 cash and you're done. I paid $5600 for a 2003 Toyota Matrix with 60k miles, paid too much, maybe, but this car has a good reliability rating, with a timing chain vs a timing belt (less maint). I hope to drive it for 100k w/o too much trouble.

My 99 Jeep Cherokee, paid cash 6 yrs ago with 40k miles is just now being a royal PIA at 126,000 miles. I paid way too much for it years ago, but I haven't had a car payment in 6 years with it.

Don't go into debt, I wouldn't buy a Saturn now, that brand is being sold down the river by GM, after market support???

Tony

fwiw: I just saw a 2007 Pontiac vibe with 10k miles for $9300. That is the same as a Toyota Matrix, nearly new for 50% off new price, still too much money, but $5000 - $7500 cash can get you a recent made model of some sort and no car payments for another 5 years.
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Old 07-03-2009, 09:05 PM
 
4,948 posts, read 16,057,339 times
Reputation: 2855
I have a honda crv year is 2002, and did buy in new. This car now has 20500 miles, and paid off!
Well, I did think, a new car, however, last year did get the car a honda battery, anyway, this car
really does fit my style, so I got 4 tires, buy 3, get one free, and just did pay that one off! Yes, also,
for the use this car does get, no way more insurance now do I wish! Love my Honda! When, I was really, thinking, the service advisor, at honda
gave me the look, sure, I will call a sales person, if that is your wish! That made my mind up ASAP, I do all the require stuff, and the car, has been
great! The look was, you have a great car, so do keep it!

Last edited by maggiekate; 07-03-2009 at 09:17 PM..
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