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Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

This avatar brought to you by the 'save our dead gay forums' foundation.


I know that motorcycles are similar in overall cost to operate as a car because they eat things like tires, sprockets, and chains regularly, but they couldn't possibly cost more?

Right now my only vehicle is a 1999 Miata with 150k on it. No problems forseen, may need a wheel bearing soon but Miatas are dirt cheap to maintain.

I want to supplement this with a 2000-2004 Kawasaki Ninja 250. I'm going to do the MSF in April before I ever actually buy anything, but I'm hoping that the MSF will go well and I proceed with the plan.

I'm hoping that other than the initial capital cost (~$1500 for the bike, ~$500 in reconditioning, ~$1000 in gear) my overall recurring costs spent on transportation will even out. The Miata does 26mpg in my mixed driving with a heavy foot, could do 30mpg if I really keep my foot out of it. Doing research and talking to friends, this bike does about 60mpg in real world driving.

So the price of gas is 1/2 as much, meaning that to drive 1000 miles will cost approx $100 for gas alone in the Miata and $50 for gas alone in the Ninja 250. However, will the bike need more than $50/1000 miles in maintenance? I'll be doing as much of it as I can on my own, including adjusting valve clearances.

I know that there will be insurance to think of too, but bike insurance is cheap and I only intend to carry liability. The other benefit of having two vehicles would be that if the Miata is having some trouble, I could take care of it at my leisure rather than needing a fix urgently. This is a significant benefit to me.

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Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

This avatar brought to you by the 'save our dead gay forums' foundation.


Proposed Budget: $25k
New or Used: Either
Body Style: RWD car. I prefer smaller vehicles.
How will you be using the car?: 30 mile round trip daily commute plus occasional weekend autocross.
What aspects are most important to you?: Must be interesting to drive. Either power and / or good steering & brake feel, with a decent manual transmission.

I'm coming from a Miata with 170k miles on it, and my first candidate would be just a new Miata. I think I should give other options serious consideration, so point me to other cars to test drive. I'm going to seriously consider the 2011+ Mustang GT, but I'm worried about total cost of ownership as I'm planning to keep this car a long, long time. I worry that the 18mpg would hurt compared to the Miata's 25.

I'm very open to strange used car suggestions, but I need the car to either be reliable OR straightforward for me to fix. My coworker with similar desires got a 2004 Lotus Elise last year, but after finding out it's a 5 hour job to change the coolant or air filter, I'm afraid of too exotic a car.

The Miata is just incredibly appealing, why can't anyone else make a simple sports car? Especially because I really don't care about options or convenience features, and know I could get a new Miata very cheap by cross shopping several dealers and not caring at all about specific add-ons.

Also, I'm curious about the best thing to do with my current car. I'm not looking to replace it immediately, but it's got some serious age on it and something major will likely go wrong in the next year. I'm afraid of a daily driver that's rapidly approaching 200k miles. Would it be better to try to sell it private party before something big goes wrong, squeeze every last mile out of it before the engine needs a rebuild, or just hang on to it, rebuild the engine, and drive it forever instead of getting a new car? It needs a rear main seal replacement, which I've been putting off until it needs a clutch as well, and the soft top leaks a little around the passenger window.

Edit: What are the current car tips for getting the best deal on the financial side? I have pretty good credit, 750+ FICO, so I might qualify for 0% if I finance it, or I could just write a check and buy it cash. How big are the non-interest costs attached to financing? What's the downside, assuming I can get a very low APR?

Twerk from Home fucked around with this message at 16:20 on Jul 11, 2012

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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reflex posted:

Moreso I won't be making it a priority in my life anytime soon. I don't have access to a car to learn on, I don't have anyone to teach me with any regularity and I don't really have the time/desire to learn anyhow. Can you just pop into a driving school and get lessons in standard?

I plan on buying a used car from an actual dealership if that changes anything (Honda or whatever dealer, not GoAuto). Are dealership inspections generally trustworthy or should I still insist on taking the car to my garage before I buy?

You can buy a car that's stick and man up. Just give it a little more gas than you think it needs when you're completely new and try not to drive it home from where you bought it during rush hour. The worst thing you'll do is stall it a couple times.

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

This avatar brought to you by the 'save our dead gay forums' foundation.


Unzip and Attack posted:

What aspects are most important to you?: Reliability

2003 Audi A4 quattro Turbo

Look for another car. If you want an affordable car that is going to be reliable, 2000-2005 Volkswagen group cars are the wrong direction.

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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Chin Strap posted:

Proposed Budget: 10-15k
Type of car: Used Truck
To be used for: Hauling poo poo and as a second city driver.

I previously asked about getting a much cheaper truck to just haul poo poo, but have thought about it for a while and decided that our current second car, which is a 93 Mazda sedan, is getting lots of rust and starting to show its age. We don't constantly use a second car, but we definitely want to have two. It won't be driven daily.

We would still like something to haul poo poo in (nothing too heavy duty, mainly gardening stuff like dirt and mulch), and would like it to be reasonable gas mileage, so one of the lighter weight trucks. But we have upped the budget to make this a replacement for the Mazda.

Previous a Ranger was suggested by multiple folks, but that was for a much lower budget. What would you suggest at this price range? I'd prefer something certified maybe because I don't want to have to worry about too many issues with the car.

Your best bet for a small truck is going to be a Ford Ranger or a Mazda B-Series, which is a Ranger with another badge on it. The Tacoma is another good small-ish truck, but a used Taco will have a huge unwarranted price premium on it.

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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BDM05 posted:

Hi, so I've had a common problem with my past few cars, bent tire rods. I know that hitting potholes and curbs don't help things any, and they have all been 100k+ mileage cars that I've probably pushed a bit too hard. No racing or anything, but I could be kinder.

If you keep bending tie rod ends, keep fixing them. The only way to bend tie rods is to hit things. If a car has decent alignment and no other broken suspension components, a new car will bend tie rods just as easily as an old one.

The cheapest option is definitely going to be to fix whatever you are driving right now if it only has a bent tie rod end. If you keep hitting curbs and breaking them, you could get a jack and jackstands and learn to replace them yourself. You could be getting old used cars which have bad tie rods already, in which case replacing them will make sure they don't break again without abuse. They do go bad with natural wear and tear anyway.

Edit: If you are bending inner tie rods, quit crashing into things quite so hard. That's a harder, more expensive repair.

Twerk from Home fucked around with this message at 22:16 on Aug 29, 2012

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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Agronox posted:

There might be some truth to it. I just picked up a Mazda 3 last week for $2,800 below invoice.

There are some pretty good lease deals out there too.

I would greatly appreciate some new-car buying advice on how people pull off these deals. I previously had thought that economy cars and cars with very few options had less wiggle room on the price, but then my dad picked up a 2013 Kia Soul+ for $1200 under invoice and I have no idea what a good price target is anymore.

I'm doing my best to research, but have no clue how to pick a price target because there's such huge variance. How can you know when it's OK to walk up and offer them 25% under their sticker on it like you did there and when an offer like that will get you laughed out?

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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Melting Eggs posted:

Proposed Budget: $5,000-$6,000 or less
New or Used: used
Body Style: whatever
How will you be using the car?: daily driver, road trips
What aspects are most important to you? Low TCO (fuel, maintenance, repair, etc.), reliable

Looking at the ~2000 Chevy Prizm. Any other cars worth looking at that fit the above criteria? I know I'm looking for a unicorn of sorts.

I'd suggest expanding your search to include less common reliable small cars like Mazda Protoges. Maybe look at Toyota Echos as well, and hopefully someone here can talk about a reliable Domestic from around 2000 but I can't think of any besides Buicks with the 3800 engine but they will get worse fuel economy. I don't think you're looking for a unicorn, there are a ton of people that want a solid driving appliance around $5k. I'm not sure where the Ford Focus stopped being terrible, but $5-6k would get you into the mid 2000 model years.

Also, if you're willing to pay that much for a Prizm it had better be the nicest Prizm ever seen. My girlfriend bought a '99 Prizm for $1500 about a year ago in pretty good shape, and it's still a gigantic turd because it doesn't even have power locks and has a 3 speed automatic like most of them. The 3 speed auto makes it really lovely on the highway, and it likes to consume oil when you drive at high speeds despite its solid maintenance history.

Twerk from Home fucked around with this message at 16:29 on Aug 31, 2012

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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lol internet. posted:

Thought this thread might be a bit relevant to ask my questions:

1. Pros and cons of dealership mechanic vs wal mart mechanic? I was told the transmission and transmission fluid needs to be replaced by the Toyota mechanic.

2. When do you know the transmission needs to be fixed? Is it mileage based?

1. Do your best to find an independent mechanic near you. You'll get better results with that than a Walmart or dealership. The dealership shouldn't charge you an excessive amount to drain and fill transmission fluid, though.

2. Your car's manual will have a maintenance schedule in it. If it claims that the transmission fluid is "lifetime", then go ahead and replace it every 60,000 miles anyway. Lifetime ATF doesn't really exist, unless you want the car's "lifetime" to be very short.

Edit: Wait, your transmission needs to be replaced? That's going to be very, very expensive. Good luck. Find an independent mechanic.

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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Scrot Eel posted:

I don't see to many suggestions for Hyundai in this thread. Is there a general consensus against their cars for some reason?

I was thinking about test driving a Sonata and an Elantra soon, so just wondering.

Many of the recommendations in here are for used cars, often relatively old used cars because budgets are under $10,000. Hyundai only started making excellent cars around 2010, and only started making passable cars a few years before then. Because their cars got so much better so quickly, long-term reliability isn't certain either way right now. The warranty makes it very nice for first owners, but they are still trying to prove that they are real competitors.

If you're looking for peoples individual opinions, I think that today's Hyundais and Kias are going to end up like 90s Japanese cars: reliable little econoboxes that undercut the competition and will last a long time.

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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Captain Capitalism posted:

My current car is starting to die after several good years, and I need to start looking for a new one.

Proposed Budget: 13,000 - 15,000
New or Used: I would prefer used, but if a new car ends up being more cost effective I'd be willing to go that route.
Body Style: Sedan
How will you be using the car?: I'd be using it for a 20 mile commute 5 days a week as well as driving 25-50 miles on the weekends.
What aspects are most important to you? I'd like a car that is a little more recent that has some of the newer technology, power steering and windows. If I could reach a bit, I'd like a sunroof. Basically my car is a machine that gets me from A to B, but I don't want to get a beater.

You want an economy car for under $15k. Start by looking at used these:

leica posted:

Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Mazda3 or Protege, Chevy Cobalt, Ford Focus.

If you can't find any clean, cheap examples of those you can look at new Hyundais and Kias as mentioned. My parents just got a Kia Soul+ with an automatic transmission out the door for $16k, and all of the Korean economy cars even do bluetooth speakerphone in their cars on top of the basic power locks / windows. If you're ok with a baser car, I'm sure you could swing a Soul or some other econobox for $15k and have that 5 year bumper to bumper / 10 year powertrain warranty and just not think about cars for a long time.

Twerk from Home fucked around with this message at 16:47 on Sep 5, 2012

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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Rhyno posted:

I don't know about other places but the local KIA and Hyundai dealers offer a deal every three months where they double the length of the warranty.

What city is this? This is absolutely insane, given that the base warranty is 5 year / 60k bumper to bumper and 10/100k powertrain. I'm imagining someone getting a turbo replaced under warranty on a 14 year old, 160k mile car.

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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LorneReams posted:

I got the same thing, and it uses the exact same verbage as the original warranty, it's just 10 years now and it is transferable (as opposed to the powertrain which is not). Hyundai must be desperate or something.

Research tells me the cost is $800 to $1K for the addition if it wasn't comped. These cars must be really realible or just cheap to fix, or this is a huge loss leader for them.

The Hyundais and Kias I've seen with automatic transmissions claim that the ATF is a "lifetime fluid" and the service interval on the engine coolant is 10 years / 120k miles for the factory fluid and then every 2 years after.

I'm pretty impressed that they're doing these insanely long powertrain warranties in combination with unbelievably low maintenance schedules. The manual for the Kia Soul said it needs nothing more than oil changes and new air filters, and a coolant change after 10 years for the first 150k miles. The manual even explicitly says not to check your ATF. How long does a conventional auto last with no fluid changes ever?

Edit: Don't these 6+ speed automatic trannys also make more heat because they are constantly shifting? Lifetime fluids freak me out, but given that both luxury and economy manufacturers are doing it I suppose they must know much more than I do. I just think its crazy that my Miata suggests replacing the whole goddamn waterpump every 60k miles while I'm in there doing the timing belt, and modern cars have coolant that lasts a decade.

Twerk from Home fucked around with this message at 20:38 on Sep 6, 2012

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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Falcon2001 posted:

Thanks! I have a secondary problem that is now becoming more of an issue.

My current car is a 2007 Nissan Maxima SL 3.5 in great condition. (The only problem with the car is that it's both too drat big and a gas guzzler as well, so I'm upgrading to something newer as I can afford it. Additionally, the loan that this is under is at a 10.7% APR, as I got it back when my credit wasn't as good.)

KBB on that car's trade in value is 14.5k, and I owe 18 on it. What's the best way to negotiate this with a dealer? Ideally I'd like to just have them soak it and pay it off and then I'd take a bit higher price on the new car, as the loan I got approved for is only at 2.7%. My worry is that somewhere in this hassle I'm going to get screwed as this ends up being a multi-part negotiation. If it gets close I can just pay it off out of pocket, but covering the whole gap plus a down payment is pretty cost-prohibitive.

Anyone handled something like that before successfully?

When dealers see someone upside down on a loan, they get giant dollar signs in their eyes. They will be extremely willing to help you roll the extra debt into a new car loan and make it easy on you as they can. Just negotiate both parts of the deal separately, make sure you get a decent price on the new car and a fair trade in rather than letting them talk to you about monthly payments.

Are you sure that the gas savings make sense at all? Changing cars to save money on gas is almost always a losing proposition unless you have an extreme commute (50+ miles daily) or are driving a V8 or V10 SUV or truck that gets 10-13 mpg.

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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Is Edmunds the best tool out there for estimating depreciation? I know everything that's not a Civic / Corolla / Accord / Camry will depreciate like crazy, but their little calculator is telling me that a V6 Mustang will hold its value pretty well while a Hyundai Genesis Coupe will depreciate off a cliff, while my gut instinct tells me that Ford is selling a billion V6 Mustangs and one would be worthless in 6-9 years and the current Genesis Coupes are pretty good cars with a strong warranty that should hold their value better. I'm sure I'm biased, the Edmunds calculator just seems to give me strange results.

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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skipdogg posted:

I've found KBB's True Cost to Own calculator to be reasonably close to estimated depreciation. As a broad sweeping generalization you're looking at 20% of MSRP the first year and then 10% each year after that for about the next 5 years. Look at lease residual values to get a good idea of expected depreciation. Cars that have big rebates on them depreciate faster. After 3 years and 45K you should be around 55% of MSRP on most vehicles.

Thank you, I'll check out KBB's as well. I'm just confused because the Mustang has some rebates, I have them set up for identical MSRP, and Edmunds is saying the Genesis Coupe will lose 20% more of its MSRP over 5 years than the V6 Mustang.

Edit: KBB's depreciation calculator tells me that a used 2011 Camaro is worth $126 less than a new 2012. This depreciation thing confuses me. I get the feeling I should just not worry about this too much and plan to drive whatever I buy longer.

Twerk from Home fucked around with this message at 18:40 on Sep 18, 2012

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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Costello Jello posted:

Later, it turned out you can have kids, and not put your balls in a safety deposit box.

I may be way off base here, but the vast majority of "car guys" I know would much rather drive a wagon or gigantic sedan than a crossover. Heck, I wish the Dodge Magnum was still around. I really wish that Audi and BMW weren't the only remaining wagon options in the US. What am I missing. The Outback?

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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IOwnCalculus posted:

But after actually clicking on it, despite them trying their best to call it a crossover, it does still look like a wagon, just with a bit too much ride height and grey plastic. I want a V70 goddamnit!

This is exactly how I feel as well.

I think the defining line between crossover and wagon is the seating position, I really prefer to feel like I am sitting in a car rather than on top of it. However, this seems to be exactly the opposite of what the car-buying public wants. I've seen most fresh graduates who don't care about cars other than price and comfort get the tallest crossovers they can.

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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Leperflesh posted:

So OK, yes, by all means think about SUVs, if that's what you want to have. But don't just blankly declare that you must get an SUV because, welp, kid's on the way so that's the only option! Get an SUV because you want a tough rugged offroad vehicle with big tires and a V8, but you also want seating for seven and a liftback and I don't know cupholders or something. A minivan won't do because you have testicles, and a wagon won't do because there's only four or five being sold and you hate them all. Go for it, it doesn't bother me.

Many of the SUVs and crossovers now are relatively inexpensive, though. Minivans have gotten extremely expensive new, and depreciate gigantic amounts. The family hauler crossover doesn't have a V8 engine and is FWD, but definitely can't be called a minivan, wagon, or hatchback.

If you are an average Joe who wants to buy a car for family stuff, is unwilling to pay more than $25k but wants a new car for financing reasons, warranty, or just pride, your options are crossover SUV family haulers or the Subaru Outback. All of the station wagons on the market besides the Outback are very expensive, and hard to find on the used market because of how slow they sell.

If you are willing to go used, you have a million Explorers and other decently nice SUVs for low prices. It's a feedback loop that makes SUVs the most convenient and inexpensive option for families because most middle-class families use SUVs for kid-hauling. The highest volume "SUVs" nowadays are FWD crossovers that are almost competitive on fuel economy with the cars they platform-share with.

Edit: Good call on the Jetta SportWagon. I didn't know that existed, and might be looking for one of those when I have kids. I'm assuming that VW has figured out how to build a window regulator by now.

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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Part of the huge conflict over what makes a car suitable for new kids is how much bigger infant seats have gotten. I think this is probably a side effect of new cars having 10+ airbags, though. I'm sure many of us, myself included, were riding in the front bench seat of parents cars or pickup tracks WAY before modern safety standards would say, but it didn't matter as much because there weren't airbags to injure or kill small children in an accident.

Edit: I just remembered that modern cars won't set off the airbag if not enough weight is detected. My knowledge of car safety is about 10 years out of date, I think. My car still has a switch to turn on or off the passenger airbag, and a couple of my friends cars don't have passenger airbags at all.

Twerk from Home fucked around with this message at 21:13 on Sep 21, 2012

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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I LIKE COOKIE posted:

Proposed Budget: >15, I have 9 saved up so far (make 650 a week right now with 0 expenses)
New or Used: Used
Body Style: sedan/4door manual
How will you be using the car?: daily driver with long commute. I drive ~500 miles a week.

I currently drive a 2001 accord, and am so bored of it. It's great for my long commute (40 miles each way, 4 days a week) but I want a more exciting car.

So am I stupid for wanting this car? If so, what should I get?

Also this may matter, I'm 19.

So when I was 19 and bored of my perfectly valid FWD econobox, I swapped it for a beater Miata and everything was great. I don't think there is any fun car that is cheaper to drive than a Miata. You could pick up a Mustang or something, but you'll get eaten alive on gas and the 4.6 Mod motor wasn't all that excellent.

I can't think of any fast 4 door sedans anywhere near your price range and suitable for your 2000 miles per month commute. Maybe look at a 4th generation Camaro? The LS1 is shockingly good on highway fuel economy and the thing will have lots of torque.

Twerk from Home fucked around with this message at 18:55 on Sep 24, 2012

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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I LIKE COOKIE posted:

ugh you guys talked me out of it Guess I'll just keep my accord and put 5k into a Roth IRA or something. Thanks for the honest advice.

That's the BFC solution, but I'm going to play devils advocate and say there are fun cheap cars. You spend a ton of time in your car and seem to have some disposable income, and sound like you're interested in learning to work on cars. If your drive isn't 100% straight highway and you don't need more than 2 seats or a real roof, you might look at Miatas. If your drive is all highway, take a peek at 4th generation Camaros and Firebirds. I'm sure we can come up with some other fun cars suitable for a 19 year old commuting 25,000 miles annually.

Edit: Also, used Honda prices are massively inflated so you should be able to do an even trade or even pocket a little cash if you find a good buyer and a good deal. There's no reason you can't have a car you're really excited about, it's just that getting THAT S4 would be as financially sound as setting your Accord on fire.

Twerk from Home fucked around with this message at 20:49 on Sep 24, 2012

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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I LIKE COOKIE posted:

Alright well maybe I should elaborate some more then. I live in Denver and plan on spending a lot of time in the mountains this winter, so AWD would be nice That's one of the reason's I was so attracted to the S4.

Get a Subaru Impreza WRX. Budget for terrible gas mileage. Enjoy your fun-rear end car in the snow. Done.

Edit: Miatas are excellent at many things, but serious snow is not one of them. I'm sure you could man up with snow tires, but you live in a cold enough place that it wouldn't be ideal.

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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dexter6 posted:

So, if I wanted a Honda Civic-sized car that isn't ugly as sin and can potentially take a beating (DC roads and drivers are crappy), what would you recommend. I have every intention of keeping this car long term and driving it into the ground.

$$$: I'm assuming I can sell this Civic for ~12k, that would leave me with about ~$6k to put down. I would love to get a brand new car with 0% financing or something and throw that $6K down and pay it off in a year, but not sure any dealers are offering those deals anymore. I'm pretty sure a lease isn't right for me.

If you have the income and good credit, do this and look at the current Mazda 3, Ford Focus, and Hyundai Elantra. If you are really price-sensitive and like quirky looks I think that the current Kia Soul is a hell of a value car right now, and pretty comfortable too.

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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dexter6 posted:

Thanks for the tip. Looks like Mazda 3 is the only one with a 0% APR offer, unless I missed something. Or were you just suggesting them as comparable to the Civic?

And the Kia Soul....

I suggested those as my favorites for "car the size and price range of a Civic, but better." I'm sure there are other good options, those are just quick picks and definitely some standout cars in the class.

If you buy a '12 anything, you had better get a smoking deal. I finally went ahead and bought a car, and I found a dealer willing to order one from the factory for me for $50 less than invoice price before any rebates have been applied. After the incentives, I'm at $2550 under dealer invoice for a 2013, so if you're making an offer on a '12 lowball the hell out of them as respectfully as you can.

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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I recently ordered a car, and made sure that all the dealers quotes included destination charge. I paid $50 under what KBB and Edmunds said dealer invoice was BEFORE any rebates were applied, and the sheet I signed when I ordered the car had me $500 under indicated dealer invoice with fees and such. After rebates I'm at $2050 under dealer invoice. The Mustang thread is giving me a hard time saying I could have gotten a better deal, is there really that much more wiggle room if I'm ordering a car? I expected that custom ordering one would be less flexible than picking one off the lot. I beat every Edmunds, KBB and Truecar target price by a ton, and beat Ford X-Plan by a moderate amount.

Twerk from Home fucked around with this message at 20:57 on Sep 27, 2012

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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KYOON GRIFFEY JR posted:

If you are ordering a car rather than taking from dealer stock, it's tough to get a whole lot of money out of the dealer. This is why if you're less picky, you can and should agree to take the car from dealer stock in return for some cash money.

Yeah, I was being too picky, but the vast majority of cars on dealer lots were automatic and covered with stickers, dealer adds, and cosmetic packages. That means that even getting $1k+ more off would basically be getting me stuff that I don't want for free.

This experience has made me realize just how badly most people buy new cars. All of the target prices on KBB / Edmunds / Truecar / Ford's X-plan are apparently really high, I didn't work all that hard and got under dealer invoice before rebates. Are things really so bad for car dealers that they're giving away most of their holdback and not just part?

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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dexter6 posted:

How are you people finding out what the dealer invoice is? I always thought that was super secret voodoo?

Dealer invoices are pretty easy to find, it's not a secret at all anymore. What is more secret is the dealer holdback, or any behind the scenes manufacturer to dealer incentives.

Try KBB or Edmunds to find dealer invoices. Or you can find actual dealer paperwork listing out every single option and the invoice cost and MSRP as PDFs on enthusiast sites.

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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pamchenko posted:

I'll be moving back to the US next summer (after a few years overseas), and it's starting to hit me that I need to start doing some prep work. And I know jack all about cars.

Proposed Budget: $15k-$20k. Cash. I'm not looking to owe money on this thing.
New or Used: Used, but if I could get something decent enough new for that amount, I'd be willing to look into it.
Body Style: 4 door, Compact.
How will you be using the car?: Mostly to run short errands around the neighbourhood, grocery shopping and doctors appointments and such. Maybe 10-12 longer drives (200-300 miles round trip) per year. But mostly city driving.
What aspects are most important to you? Reliability, cost of maintenance, MPG. Probably in that order, but they're all pretty important to me. On a more shallow note, I would like one with an auxiliary dock so I can plug in my iPod.

Thanks for any advice!

If you want a new car and can plunk down $17 or $18k cash out the door, you've got plenty of options. Look at the Kia Soul, Ford Focus, Mazda 3 to start. I think that the Kia Soul is one of the best pure utility value cars that there has ever been, my parents recently got one with an auto for $17k out the door, and the thing can actually hold 4 adults, has the 10 year warranty, and does bluetooth hands free calling through the speakers on top of robust audio in connections.

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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Forbidden Kiss posted:

In general, how much more will a G35 cost me for parts & maintenance compared to, say, a Mazda 3?

If you are comparing a G35 has the same purchase price as the Mazda 3 you are looking at, drastically more. If you are comparing a G35 in the same age and condition as the Mazda 3 you are looking at, moderately more.

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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nm posted:

Seriously? Guess this is why I never recommend used civics.

Are Civics and Corollas still the paragon of reliability like they used to be? My girlfriend's family had a '98 Corolla that began drinking oil like a motherfucker despite religious oil changes, only to be told that many of them did that due to a ring problem, and a 2006 Civic that had the block crack earlier this year. At least a new block was covered by some Honda extended warranty.

I've been pointing friends and family who want a pure utility economy car to Hyundai and Kia for a while.

Twerk from Home
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Xguard86 posted:

What is the protocol for buying a car from a dealer if you aren't financing? I'm like 5 years out from a buy so I'm saving now.

I would probably go for a CPO or maybe new, I've heard that you actually get better deals these days if you are financing versus just showing up with cash in hand but I'd obviously like to avoid interest payments. Is it possible to negotiate based on some horrifying APR and then pay down the principle 24 hours later or some kind of trick like that, or is it better to just say "I will pay cash" and keep it simple?

Usually cash incentives are bigger if you're financing a new car, so just ask if there's an early repayment penalty. In some states it's illegal to have one, but sometimes manufacturers will make you keep a loan active for a minimum of 6 months to get the full incentive. I'll say that in my family's experience there's no minimum loan duration or repayment penalty, so my parents have financed cars with "zero down payment" and then paid them off in full in the first month in order to get the best prices and incentives from dealers.

Edit: I'm buying a new car and have no clue what the best thing to do to build credit. I'm going through Ford for sure because there's an extra $1000 incentive if you finance with Ford. If I'd also like to use this to build good credit, do I need to keep the loan alive longer or will it be equally good for my credit to take a big loan and then pay it all off immediately?

Twerk from Home fucked around with this message at 14:53 on Oct 12, 2012

Twerk from Home
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Xguard86 posted:

This is what I was thinking. Let the dealer assume they'll make their money back in interest, then pay down everything right away. Does this cause any problems in regards to repeat business or servicing? Basically, do they get pissed?

Sales guy won't get pissed, he's moving cars. Someone at the dealer might get bugged, but my parents have done this at the same dealer twice and they were still thrilled to sell him the second car the exact same way.

It's a business transaction, only what is written down counts. You're not deceiving anyone, you are taking a loan for a car that has no early payment penalty and then exercising your ability to pay early.

Twerk from Home fucked around with this message at 14:58 on Oct 12, 2012

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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AznKwaiJai posted:

Proposed Budget: < $20,000ish.
New or Used: Either.
Body Style: Either 2 or 4 depending on "trunk" space of the hatchback.
How will you be using the car?: This is a commuter car.

Add the Mazda 3 to your list, although I don't know if it has an easily replaceable double-DIN stereo. I think that's going to be your priority if you want to put good audio in it. Easily replaceable stereo and speakers.

Twerk from Home
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RadioPassive posted:

Am I missing anything? Is this stupid? I have a decent understanding of what most Car Stuff costs (and I like my mechanic), so I'm not worried about getting screwed on repair bills. I guess I'm worried about buying something and going through another few years of ~$300-500 problems every 4-6 months. Is this just a (oh god I hope this isn't a ) problem with Ford Focuses falling apart after 100k miles and any other 5-speed hatchback would've been fine? Is this typical for cars above 100k and I should look to spend some more money on a lower-mileage car?

Putting $1000 into repairs every year instead of eating depreciation isn't that terrible a deal, if that's really what it's costing. You are also replacing things that have a service life of about 10 years or 100k miles, so after you've fixed something right that component should be good for another 10 years or 100k miles. If your engine and transmission are solid, and your body doesn't have rust or much body damage, hang on to your car!

Any car you're getting for $8000 will need maintenance and regular repairs as well, and still has a way to depreciate while that Focus is pretty fully depreciated already.

If you want a new car and can afford it, that's one thing, but if you like your current car and don't want to spend more money on your car you should generally keep fixing it.

Twerk from Home fucked around with this message at 16:38 on Oct 17, 2012

Twerk from Home
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RadioPassive posted:

This is why I want a different car. I need to drive 2 hours to a bike race this weekend, and now I have no idea if I'm going to make it or not, and this has happened too many times already. I've already had to cancel races last summer when those wheel bearings and tie rods went bad. This car has ruined too many weekends and I'm angry about it.

If you don't like your car, want to get a new car, and can get a car without losing your emergency fund and eating cat food, you can get a new car.

The winners you're looking for in the used around $8-10k range will be Focuses, Mazda 3s, Chevy Cobalts, and Civics or Corollas but those generally cost more.

I don't know how much Hyundai Elantras have depreciated but one of those past 2006-ish should be ok.

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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RadioPassive posted:

Just heard back from the shop. It's not an exhaust leak, turns out the engine mounts are broken. ~$350 parts and labor for that, plus I'm having them replace the front brake rotors and pads because I'm sure they've got less than 5000 miles left in them.

It's going to cost pretty much exactly what I expected, so I'm going to do exactly what I planned: Get this fixed now and keep driving it, and keep an eye out for something to replace it some time inside of 6-12 months.

Thanks for the help, guys.

It sounds like everything you are replacing are things that wear around and need to be replaced after a decade of hard life. I really think if you ride out this chunk of maintenance and repairs then you'll have years to come without stuff constantly going wrong.

Twerk from Home
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Can someone help me estimate the difference in total cost of ownership between buying a new 2013 Mustang V6 Premium vs a 2012 GT Premium that has 7000 miles on it? Price before TTL is the same on both cars, between $23k and $24k. The new car has an MSRP of $28k, and the 2012 an MSRP of $35k.

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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nm posted:

Screw TCO, you want the five-oh.

I want the 5.0, but this is supposed to be my big comfortable soft car, I'm keeping the Miata for a fun car. I'll be driving at least 30 miles in stop and go every day in this car, and intending to use it on road trips. I'm trying to justify the higher fuel, insurance, and tire costs by telling myself I let someone else eat the 1st year depreciation.

I really just want an excuse to grow a mullet and drive around revving at things that have LS3s in them.

I'm going to be keeping this car for 8 years at least. Will the GT hold its value on that time scale, or won't both be worth very little then? Part of me worries that gas will be $9 and I'll be sitting on something that does 15 MPG in the city.

Twerk from Home fucked around with this message at 16:51 on Oct 20, 2012

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Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

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PT6A posted:

The V6 is plenty powerful if you already have another "fun car" anyway. The 2013 V6 is more powerful than the 2010 GT already. Crunch the numbers based on how far you intend to drive in stop-and-go and see what the break-even point is based on the relative fuel economies, and then decide which one you want.

I drive a 2011 V6 and I don't think I've ever seriously thought, "this needs more power." It would be fun it if did, I suppose, but the V6 already makes enough power that you have to be careful not to break the law or do stupid poo poo with it.

My understand has been that the fuel economy difference in V6 vs V8 muscle cars isn't that huge, I have a friend with a 2009 Bullit who has proven to me that it can do 27 MPG highway and ~22 in mixed driving.

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