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cmears
Feb 6, 2004


My money pit of a car is going to die any day now and I'm looking for advice.

I am trying to figure out a short-term vehicle because my fiance will be finishing school in a couple years and we'll be going from single income to two income household. I was hoping my current piece of poo poo would last till graduation and then we could afford a new car on both our salaries but it's not going to. I've saved up $4k towards a vehicle and can afford $300/month.

I planned on spending around $8-9k on a used sedan but most of the vehicles in this price range are high mileage and I don't want to get screwed on repairs (my current predicament). This is also my first car purchase and I don't have a mechanic I can trust so I'm wary of buying used in case I get a train wreck worse than what I'm currently driving.

Given the fact that my income will change dramatically in less than 3 years I thought about doing a lease due to:

- Short term nature of the deal
- The factory warranty
- Drive less than 10k miles a year
- Quit smoking and clean
- Stable employment

I'd be out a couple grand on the down payment but I have good credit so I should be able to get low interest and can probably keep the payments under $300/month for a basic model. While researching leases I came across swapalease.com and it looks like it might make more sense to take over another lease.

Specifically I'm looking at http://www.swapalease.com/lease/details/2010ChevroletMalibu.aspx?salid=589003

This seems like the perfect deal for me due to:

- 35 month term
- $217/month
- $650 one time fee
- 2010 Sedan, loaded, no mention but probably factory warranty for the duration of lease
- 1,092 miles/month allowance

That monthly payment is less than what I was looking to spend and If I'm doing my math right this should come to a total $8257.95 which puts it in the $8-9k range, same as my used car purchase. In addition I don't have the risk of any major repairs on top of the $8-9k.

The two drawbacks I see are that there doesn't appear to be a buyout option at the end of the lease but I doubt I'd exercise that option. Also the car is more than 1,000 miles from me but I have friend in that state that can do an initial check to make sure the deal is legit before I spend money and go out to look in person. Are there any other concerns I should have?

If I go with the used car option I could probably get a couple thousand using it as a trade-in but I've heard the dealership will just jack the price up a couple of thousand on the new car so its a wash. It seems like a much better deal to drive a brand new fully loaded sedan for $217.37 with only $650 down for 3 years and not have the hassle of trying to resell it. Once the lease is up we'll be purchasing a long-term vehicle that I plan on driving for 10+ years.

Where's the catch?

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cmears
Feb 6, 2004


Engineer Lenk posted:

What kind of car do you have right now? If I was in your situation I might start looking at high-mileage cars with high-level reliability that you could get for <$5k. Then you'd have to put more than $4k on repairs in the car for it to be a wash financially, and with that sort of high mileage car, only putting ~10k/year on it you can sell it private party for about the same price when you're ready to move up.

Currently I'm driving a 97 buick park avenue with around 154k miles on it.

It is in poor condition after driving it for 8 years and doing several cross country trips as well as living in it for a while on a 9 month road trip. The car was great but started having problems last year where it would intermittently start making a ticking sound coming from the passenger dash and would refuse to start.

I'd call triple A, they'd send a tow guy who would try to start it up, it wouldn't and then they'd tow it to whichever repair shop was close and AAA approved and then as soon the car was off the truck it would start right back up. The shop would look at the car but there were no error codes and everything checked out so I went on my way after wasting several hours. This happened 3 times and it was close to costing me my job so I started having the repair shops throw parts (new ignition, crankshaft sensor, fuel pump, testing relays, etc) at it to see if anything would fix it. A couple of more trips to the repair shops and a couple of thousand dollars later the problem seemed to go away but now its back and once again I'm on the verge of losing my stable good paying job so I need reliable transportation.

I did come across a local listing for a 97 buick park avenue identical to mine with 107k miles and in great condition looking at the pictures. The price is $4,100 and I could probably get it for $4k and get the 30,000 miles I need before my income doubles and I can afford a good long-term vehicle.

Edit: Situation resolved, I got a 95 Jeep Cherokee with 150k for $1800 and it is running great. Now I can afford a major repair or two and still save up more for retirement/vacation.

cmears fucked around with this message at 07:20 on Feb 16, 2010

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