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Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted September 12, 2004 16:47      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Since Newfie started it by bragging about his new beast, I'll ask y'all for help with my next purchase. [Smile]

I need some advice about buying cars. I haven't much of a clue about what questions to ask sellers. I've talked with three trusted men who sell cars (I know, I know... but they DO exist!) and they've given me some good advice, but because they sell cars, I need another perspective.

Man A wants to sell me a 2003 Toyota Echo, 4-cyl, automatic, 8000 miles, Amazing gas mileage and from a company I trust (Grandma K and Mom both have newer Camrys.) US$9,995. Thing is, he got it from an insurance company and replaced parts of the front bumper, the hood, and the headlights.

Man B says in a soft, concerned voice, "Oh, [Rhonwyyn], you don't want that car. If he got it from an insurance company, it must have been in a pretty bad accident and was totalled by them. It might have some frame damage and you don't want that." Then he advised me to check the title to find out if it's been reconditioned. Then he tries to interest me in a '98 Ford Escort (Escorts are just buckets of bolts, IMHO, that I won't even consider).

Man C says he'll have a '96 Toyota Camry, ~80k miles, on its second owner (he sold it to her and she's trading it in for a newer car), US$6500, but the kicker is it's manual and I haven't learned yet how to drive stick. Mom doesn't like stick, but most of the guys I know prefer it to automatic. I've always wanted to learn to drive stick.

My criteria when looking for a vehicle include reliable, within reason pricewise (initial budget of US$4000, but quickly realized I won't get much for that amount), and did I mention reliable? I'd ideally like something fairly recent and with a good resale value when I upgrade in a few years. "Sexy" is not required, but I'll take it as an option only if it's free. ( [Wink] )

What are your recommendations, thoughts, advice?

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted September 12, 2004 19:02      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Get the Camry and learn to drive stick.

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Allan
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Icon 1 posted September 12, 2004 20:27      Profile for Allan     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
In Europe most cars are manual (stick), so it really can't be that difficult to learn. If you understand the principals of gearing already it's especially easy and it becomes second nature once you get used to it.
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spungo
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Icon 1 posted September 13, 2004 04:07      Profile for spungo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I don't think I could ever drive an automatic - my left hand would be constantly hanging in the air waiting for something to do... an you know full well that sort of thing can lead to one getting arrested. [Wink]

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted September 13, 2004 04:10      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Rhonwyyn______The biggest problem with buying used (more than 10000 miles) is did the first owner do maintanence and service? Try to get a car just off lease, as most of them had a maintanence schedule, or a dealer Demo. My preference is American. Have you thought of VW, Chrysler, Pontiac or Chevrolet, they all make good small cars.

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CommanderShroom
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Icon 1 posted September 13, 2004 05:03      Profile for CommanderShroom     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Rhonwyyn,

First of all. I don't think you have met a truly honest car salesman yet.

#1 Is trying to sell you a car that was probably totaled by an insurance company. This can cause trouble down the road. I know in CA there can occasionally be issues about smog and transfers.

#2 Is selling an Escort! Need I say more?

#3 Has about the best deal of the three. But, I am a bit concerned about anything that close to 100,000 miles. And a stick is just fine. It does take a little getting used to. Though, once you got it there is no better fun than cranking throught the gears.

I say keep shopping. Look for what feels right. Find a price range you can spend. Lock in and stay there. Don't buy what you think is out of your range. And take a friend that is a decent mechanic.

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spungo
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Icon 1 posted September 13, 2004 05:48      Profile for spungo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
 -

Nah, you wanna get a Reliant Robin - they're really safe, honest!

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Posts: 6529 | From: Noba Scoba | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
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Icon 1 posted September 13, 2004 07:02      Profile for Number 2608     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by spungo:
Nah, you wanna get a Reliant Robin - they're really safe, honest!

Robins are safe. That is a Rialto that you have on fire there...
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drunkennewfiemidget
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Icon 1 posted September 13, 2004 07:07      Profile for drunkennewfiemidget     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
#1: Overpriced. Badly.

#2: Ford Escort. End of story.

#3: Best choice of the 3, but you can do better. Much better.

Learning standard would be a good idea. Not being able to drive that many cars just because of something like that is a bad thing IMNSHO.

Once you learn standard, you'll probably never want to drive automatic again. Automatic is boring. Very boring.

If you want reliability, you have to pay. It's a tradeoff. Cars that are reliable hold their value better. My opinion is to go for Honda, Nissan, Toyota, or Mazda. Stay away from American domestic. While parts are cheaper, they don't last as long. I'd avoid Ford, Chrysler (ESPECIALLY PRE-1999), and Chevy.

And WTF is with you freaks talking about shifting with your left hand? YOU SHIFT WITH YOUR RIGHT HAND! [Wink] </ignorant self-centred canadian bastard>

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted September 13, 2004 07:37      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
DNM: Spungo's British. His steering wheel is one the right.

Y'know Rhonwyyn, it might not hurt to start looking at the classified ads. If you go with a Japanese car, you can get something that's old and cheap ($2000-4000) but got years left on it. I'd buy from a private seller, ie, someone like you who's just trying to get rid of a car. You'll want the service records of course, but most keep them (mine's got a little notebook in it full of four people's handwriting). You'll also want to do something I neglected to do when I got my Subaru and that's get the car inspected. But definitely go manual. They're more fun, and once you learn stick, you've got it for life. You'll also be able to drive in foreign countries...if the native drivers don't scare you (France anyone ? [Eek!] )

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ooby
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Icon 1 posted September 13, 2004 08:37      Profile for ooby     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
My first suggestion is to bring someone wlse with you when you look at the car. It would be ideal if that someone is a mechanic, or very knowledgeable about cars.

Also, check out these geeks http://cartalk.cars.com/

Now would be a good time to get a 2004 model car, the 2005's are coming and in some cases, may already be for sale. This means that 2004's are being cleared out. If you are thinking about leasing, you should also think about financing.

If you plan to put a lot of miles on your car (i put 30K on last year), then leasing may not be an option.

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drunkennewfiemidget
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Icon 1 posted September 13, 2004 09:45      Profile for drunkennewfiemidget     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Xanthine:
DNM: Spungo's British. His steering wheel is one the right.

I know that, that's why I put the fake closing quote there. [Big Grin]

quote:

Y'know Rhonwyyn, it might not hurt to start looking at the classified ads. If you go with a Japanese car, you can get something that's old and cheap ($2000-4000) but got years left on it. I'd buy from a private seller, ie, someone like you who's just trying to get rid of a car. You'll want the service records of course, but most keep them (mine's got a little notebook in it full of four people's handwriting). You'll also want to do something I neglected to do when I got my Subaru and that's get the car inspected. But definitely go manual. They're more fun, and once you learn stick, you've got it for life. You'll also be able to drive in foreign countries...if the native drivers don't scare you (France anyone ? [Eek!] )

OK, so then the Quebecers didn't develop it since migrating to Canada. [Big Grin]
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Stereo

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Icon 6 posted September 13, 2004 10:00      Profile for Stereo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
<just teasing back>You don't get it. Since the patriots' failed uprising, it's the only way we've found to boot the English outta'here: scare them with bad driving tactics. [Big Grin] (Too bad we've got to practice within ourselves fist... [Embarrassed] )</just teasing back>

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zesovietrussian
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Icon 1 posted September 13, 2004 10:56      Profile for zesovietrussian     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Make sure you check the KBB used car private party value before you buy, that'll give you some room for negotiation. As far as your current choices go, I'd say keep shopping. A and C are way too overpriced; as far as escort goes - well, it's a Ford. You might get over 170K miles out of it without major mechanical problems if you're lucky, but don't be too surprised if it blows up before reaching 100K.
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yossarian
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Icon 1 posted September 14, 2004 08:10      Profile for yossarian     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
From someone who sold cars for eleven years, are you sure you really need a car? I make out just fine using public transportation and cabs, save hundreds of dollars a month, and, if I really want to drive someplace, I rent a car.

Having said that, there are way too many problems buying a used car. I've seen plenty of cars purchased at auction that were real dogs, reconditioned nicely, and customers were never the wiser. Many expensive headaches later. You're better off with a new one from a reputable dealer, assuming there is such a thing. My experience says not.

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spungo
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Icon 1 posted September 14, 2004 08:15      Profile for spungo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Huh? I thought it was illegal not to have a car in the US? I remember when I visited my brother in VA - I decided to go for a walk - a patrol car followed me for a while, wondering what the hell I was doing.

Welcome, Yossarian - watch out for Nately's whore, now. [Wink]

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted September 14, 2004 10:33      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by spungo:
Huh? I thought it was illegal not to have a car in the US? I remember when I visited my brother in VA - I decided to go for a walk - a patrol car followed me for a while, wondering what the hell I was doing.

You're not kidding... you wouldn't believe the aggravation some people gave my mother when I was walking around in the area one evening - I later heard that these people were confused and asking "But I saw him pass by my house, and then not too long after, he went the other way, walking down the road. Was his car broken? Does he know someone who lives down the road? What was he doing out there?" This came after I was just trying to take a nice simple walk for peace and quiet. Stupid people.

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Doco

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Icon 1 posted September 14, 2004 10:36      Profile for Doco   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
spungo - I don't think it was the walking that concerned the cops but the you were trying to lead an ewe along as you went [Big Grin]

Honest advice - find out from local friends/family who is a good mechanic in the area, and then go ask that person. Any used car will eventually need some work and having a mechanic (that you trust) and likes or is familiar that kind of car is worth the money.

As for the Escort knocks - hey it got me to and from my now wife's place for quite a few trips when in college. It was a bucket of bolts - but the price was right. Actually - it was sort of two cars - but just one engine. The first one was $50 but it needed a new engine. My dad and I put that engine in and after a year or so my uncle crashed that one. The engine was then put into a second body that cost a whole $100. Eventually that car went to my uncle who kept it running for a lot more miles after I was done with it. However, without the inclination to dig in and fix it yourself it would have been a very expensive car(s).

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spungo
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Icon 1 posted September 14, 2004 10:41      Profile for spungo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Doco:
spungo - I don't think it was the walking that concerned the cops but the you were trying to lead an ewe along as you went [Big Grin]

Actually, it was in front. [Wink]

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted September 14, 2004 10:50      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by spungo:
Huh? I thought it was illegal not to have a car in the US? I remember when I visited my brother in VA - I decided to go for a walk - a patrol car followed me for a while, wondering what the hell I was doing.

Depends on where you live. In VA it might be seen as odd, but here in Boulder people bike so much that, on nice days, the bike lanes get congested. On not so nice days the bike traffic is much lighter, so, perversely enough, I've started preferring the ride to work when it's shitty out.

OTOH, I definitely created some confusion and questioning by riding my bike in Rochester, NY. Apparently even when the roads are plowed you still shouldn't ride in the winter. Even so, I never got fololowed or questioned by the cops, though I did take some mild ribbing after one almost hit me (I was a medic, so I saw a lot of cops...they're a lot nicer when you're also wearing a uniform).

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted September 14, 2004 13:50      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by spungo:
Huh? I thought it was illegal not to have a car in the US? I remember when I visited my brother in VA - I decided to go for a walk - a patrol car followed me for a while, wondering what the hell I was doing.

Good judges of character, those VA cops. [Wink]

I remember walking around in much of the US was quite difficult sometimes.
It's amazing how many places don't have foot paths at all, and if there is a grassy strip you can walk along, you eventually get to a bridge and have to either turn back or run for it.

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spungo
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Icon 1 posted September 14, 2004 14:00      Profile for spungo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Here's a question - do people in America ramble? I'm not one of the woolly-socked, canteen-dangling, OS-map-pimping gimboid brigade, but I've done a fair few miles in my time (the South Downs, the Mendips, the Wye valley, etc.) Does such a species exist outside the 'Nuts in May'* UK stereotype?

(* humourous Mike Leigh film about walkers in Dorset )

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted September 14, 2004 14:36      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Rambling UK style would get you shot in the US.

(For the benefit of our US readers, much of the route 'ramblers' walk along is on private property, the farmers hate it, but the law allows you to legally cross farmers fields along 'public footpaths' most of which date back to the time of Robin Hood)

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted September 14, 2004 15:20      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by spungo:
Here's a question - do people in America ramble? [/i]

Short answer: no.

Longer answer: We hike/backpack. We have a lot of preserved wild lands for the foolish to get lost and killed in, and there are three major trails that go from the Mexican to the Canadian border (Appalachian, Continental Divide, and Pacific Crest). You don't get this impression from the movies and TV shows, but there are some very wild and little traveled places in this country, more so than in Europe. You don't have to go near any human's property to enjoy being outside, and if you pick the right place you can go for days without seeing anyone other than your buddy (which gives the trip a cool post-apocalyptic feel). We also bike tour. You can ride your bike on the shoulder of public highways (but not most interstates, though if you want to ride your bike on an interstate you need suicide counselling, I think) all the way across the country (my cousin has done this, my mom wants to) and there're also extensive systems of bike trails in most states. You can, in principle walk along a bike path, but that's usually not done for the sake of adventure.

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spungo
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Icon 1 posted September 15, 2004 02:52      Profile for spungo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ah, yes - I believe Bill Bryson wrote a book about the Appalachain trail... never got round to reading that one. I know in Ontario we had the Bruce trail - but I never found out where or what that was... a pack of lost Aussies, I expect.

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