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Old 04-18-2008, 08:26 AM
759 posts, read 3,679,856 times
Reputation: 594


So my husband and I have never had to "buy" a car. We've been very fortunate. We both received cars from our parents in college and we've made them last (well, I've since gotten a new car, but it's a company car so I didn't pay for it.)
However, My husband needs a new car for a variety of reasons. We will be trading/selling his current car (worth maybe ~$3-5K) and getting him something different. Cars aren't a priority for us, we know they're not investments and it's just not where we choose to put our money. So used will be just fine! That said, we drive our cars until they absolutely need to be replaced, so we want a reliable car. We have 3-4 models picked out.
Since we've never done this, I have so many questions. Is it better to trade in his car at a dealership for a different car and pay the difference? Or attempt to sell it privately via sitting it out in front of my office (high traffic area) and Craiglist.
A car payment makes me want to cringe... we might be able to pay the difference in cash, but our savings would take a hit. Where do we begin shopping around for financing? fwiw, we both have excellent credit. What about 0% interest? Does this ever apply to used cars?
When looking for a new (used) car, is it better to go to the big dealerships (CarMax, Ancira etc)? Or check out the smaller, local ones. What about buying privately (Craigslist, newspaper ad?)
If anyone has a dealership rec or a person that they trust, feel free to PM the info. Our current car is domestic (Ford) and we will probably purchase a domestic new/used car.

Please share any tips/advice you may have. This is a road we've never been down and we'd like to be as educated as possible.

Thanks so much!!!!!
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Old 04-18-2008, 08:36 AM
Location: Lexington, South Carolina
732 posts, read 3,546,848 times
Reputation: 313
We JUST are finishing up going through that whole process, so maybe I can help you out by explaining what WE did. First, we decided on what kind of car we wanted. We did this by perusing consumer reports etc. There are some recent articles on which used cars are the best/safest purchases. I would start there and use that + your price range to help you decide.

After that, I checked out craigslist EVERY DAY. On top of that, I went onto Autotrader.com and signed up for alerts when vehicles of our make/model were added. I would get an email right away when a new used Prius(that's what we were looking for) was listed either by a private party or dealership. I also checked out carsoup.com and mysa.com for auto listings. Also, don't forget EBAY. My husband got our other car off there and got an amazing deal - but it takes time, patience and a bit of extra effort to watch for the deals.

Eventually, we found our car on craigslist. We have the cash to pay the car but don't want to deplete our savings so are getting a loan. We were kind of lazy and just chose the bank we currently deal with (but they are so SLOW). We plan to pay the car off in 3-4 months so the interest rate really wasn't a consideration. Our primary goal was to get the deal done FAST. The car was a good price and we didn't want it sold out from under us! Luckily, the seller has been very pleasant to deal with and she should be getting her money today. She didn't ask for a deposit or anything- we just basically "shook" on the deal. I think we got lucky!

You might want to scout around at different banks to get "pre-approved" for a loan and decide from there. Make sure you know how LONG it will take to process the loan b/c it could cause snags if you have a private seller who wants his/her money right away.

Hope this helps....good luck!!!!
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Old 04-18-2008, 10:29 AM
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Location: Ohio
17,107 posts, read 37,978,338 times
Reputation: 14445
My ultimate piece of advice is before you go shopping for a car at a dealer, read this Edmunds.com article (http://www.edmunds.com/advice/buying/articles/42962/article.html - broken link). It's long, but it's worthwhile.

My other recommendation is to do your homework before you go to the dealer or seller, because information is power in the negotiating process. Check prices of the models you're considering at KBB.com. If you're going to the dealer to look at a specific vehicle, get the VIN from the dealer's web site and run it on carfax.com.
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Old 04-18-2008, 02:17 PM
1,366 posts, read 4,471,262 times
Reputation: 1494
we have bought our last 5 vehicles from a honda dealership here in town that does the one simple price --- the people there are great to work with --- no pressure at all ---

we normally get a price from them for our trade-in (it is good for 5 days) and then we go to carmax and have them price it for us as well and we go with whoever will give us the most money --- 1 time it was carmax, 1 time it was the honda dealer ---

i know you said you wanted domestic, but in our experience hondas and toyotas can be run into the ground, usually with nothing more than the required maintenance --- my dh is driving a toyota that his father gave him that is 14yrs old with well over 150k miles and it still drives like new --- very quite, very smooth ride ---

good luck in your purchase --- buying cars is one of my favorite things to do!!!
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Old 04-18-2008, 02:52 PM
Location: NYC
364 posts, read 1,975,247 times
Reputation: 173
  • Stay away from the local, "smaller" dealers: with my apologies to the few decent ones out there, they will rip you off big time.
  • DO NOT trade in. Try selling your vehicle privately and you'll get the best bang for the buck.
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Old 04-18-2008, 02:53 PM
Location: southern california
61,289 posts, read 87,139,375 times
Reputation: 55550
little is good. gas is not goin down.
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Old 04-19-2008, 11:21 PM
Location: MA/NH
17,764 posts, read 40,039,716 times
Reputation: 18066
Last Saturday, I was able to purchase gas at $3.14 a gallon. A week later, the same gas station is at $3.39 a gallon for 87 octane. My boyfriend and I fight over who gets to drive the Civic. The other car is an Integra that uses premium gasoline. The Civic gets about 30-35 miles to the gallon. The Integra gets about 25 miles to the gallon.

Buy a Civic.
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