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 Post subject: Need Advice on Used Family Car
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 12:01 am 

Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 9:44 am
Posts: 139
Hi All,

We currently have 2 small cars, both paid for, low maintenance, good gas mileage, etc. We view a car as a tool only, certainly not as an "investment."

That being said, with the pending addition of our 3rd child, we're essentially being forced to get a family vehicle to fit everyone into. For a long list of reasons, we've been eye a used minivan. I've listed some thoughts/questions below and would really appreciate some advise:

1) From everything we've read, Hondas and Toyotas make the most reliable minivans. This, of course, also means they're the most expensive used ones. Have others found the premium paid to be worth it in the long-run? We do plan to keep the thing until it dies.

2) Because we want to keep it for a long time, we don't want something that will die in just a few years. However, we also don't want throw money into a new car. Is there an ideal age we should be looking for? What about mileage? Corollas/Civics can go 200k+ miles easy, what about their Minivan counterparts?

3) I know prices vary a bit by region, but can anyone share how much they paid for a similar used vehicle?

Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Need Advice on Used Family Car
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 5:42 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 5:15 pm
Posts: 1159
Capo wrote:
1) From everything we've read, Hondas and Toyotas make the most reliable minivans. This, of course, also means they're the most expensive used ones. Have others found the premium paid to be worth it in the long-run? We do plan to keep the thing until it dies.

I'm the type that usually buys quality things that I like & keep them long term. This applies to things such as clothing, jewelry, household furniture, wives, and of course cars. So I'd say get the best you can afford & keep it until the wheels come off.

Quote:
2) Because we want to keep it for a long time, we don't want something that will die in just a few years. However, we also don't want throw money into a new car. Is there an ideal age we should be looking for? What about mileage? Corollas/Civics can go 200k+ miles easy, what about their Minivan counterparts?

I'd image a Honda/Toyota van would go the same mileage. I'd shoot for one a few years old & 50k miles as a rule of thumb. Just shop around.

Quote:
3) I know prices vary a bit by region, but can anyone share how much they paid for a similar used vehicle?

Never owned a mini van.


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 Post subject: Re: Need Advice on Used Family Car
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 12:33 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:33 pm
Posts: 1146
Location: Illinois
Tightwad wrote:
I'm the type that usually buys quality things that I like & keep them long term. This applies to things such as clothing, jewelry, household furniture, wives, and of course cars. So I'd say get the best you can afford & keep it until the wheels come off.

Just curious how much your wife cost and how many years you expect to get. :rofl:

Edit: and just noticed you used the plural... how many do you have? :)


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 Post subject: Re: Need Advice on Used Family Car
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 1:36 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 5:15 pm
Posts: 1159
bpgui wrote:
Tightwad wrote:
I'm the type that usually buys quality things that I like & keep them long term. This applies to things such as clothing, jewelry, household furniture, wives, and of course cars. So I'd say get the best you can afford & keep it until the wheels come off.

Just curious how much your wife cost and how many years you expect to get. :rofl:

Edit: and just noticed you used the plural... how many do you have? :)

I have just one wife (so far) & she costs more than I care to imagine. But I've got too much invested in her to trade up to a newer model. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Need Advice on Used Family Car
PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 1:19 pm 

Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 9:44 am
Posts: 139
Thanks for the info all.

I have about 10.5k saved for a new car and will be selling the corolla for the 2k - 3k range. In total, in my part of the country, the best I am seeing on a used Honda/Toyota minivan is something that is 10 years old and has around 100k miles.

Now, I have no problems buying an older car. I could care less about the image. My only concern is reliability. From what I've read online, these larger vehicles aren't exactly Corollas/Civics where they'll be driving around with 300k miles with the original engine, transmission, etc.

To get something in the semi-newish range with less than 50k~ miles or so, it really seems I would have to spend around 20k (plus tax and tag). I hate the concept of financing 7k to 9k but I also hate the concept of buying something where I would have to turn around and dump 5k into it a year or two down the road.

The small monthly payment of a 7k to 9k loan with a low rate (I can get a low rate through my bank) isn't a concern to me and I can probably make double or triple payments and get it done quickly... but I would still be (evil word incoming) "borrowing money."

Normally, I would simply wait until I had the cash, but we have a new baby on the way very soon now and we literally won't be able to fit into our existing cars.

Advice? What would you do?


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 Post subject: Re: Need Advice on Used Family Car
PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 1:56 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 5:15 pm
Posts: 1159
Quote:
Advice? What would you do?

Well, if you're backed into a corner & have to borrow a small amount to get a reliable van then I wouldn't fault you for it especially if you're gonna make double payments towards the debt.


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 Post subject: Re: Need Advice on Used Family Car
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 3:26 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:01 am
Posts: 5370
bpgui wrote:
Tightwad wrote:
I'm the type that usually buys quality things that I like & keep them long term. This applies to things such as clothing, jewelry, household furniture, wives, and of course cars. So I'd say get the best you can afford & keep it until the wheels come off.

Just curious how much your wife cost and how many years you expect to get. :rofl:

Edit: and just noticed you used the plural... how many do you have? :)


I noted that as well. I am still on my first wife and her wheels are still firmly attached. I think she is high quality. I'm wondering though Tightwad, when you replace wives, what do you d with the old one? From what I understand, the disposal fees can be quite onerous. That usually makes it worthwhile to keep up the maintenance and learn to live with any gradual decline in performance. At least that's what I have been told.


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 Post subject: Re: Need Advice on Used Family Car
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 3:28 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:01 am
Posts: 5370
Tightwad wrote:
bpgui wrote:
Tightwad wrote:
I'm the type that usually buys quality things that I like & keep them long term. This applies to things such as clothing, jewelry, household furniture, wives, and of course cars. So I'd say get the best you can afford & keep it until the wheels come off.

Just curious how much your wife cost and how many years you expect to get. :rofl:

Edit: and just noticed you used the plural... how many do you have? :)

I have just one wife (so far) & she costs more than I care to imagine. But I've got too much invested in her to trade up to a newer model. :D


I believe we refer to those as sunk costs. What you have sunk into the existing model should have no bearing on your decision to keep or replace. You should focus only on future expected return.


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 Post subject: Re: Need Advice on Used Family Car
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 4:06 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 5:15 pm
Posts: 1159
It's good to see that a couple of people get my sense of humor. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Need Advice on Used Family Car
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 4:33 pm 

Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 9:44 am
Posts: 139
Alright all you thread hijackers. As punishment for your hijacking, you must now share your point of view with my dilemma! :)

If you don't... well, I'll sick my "sunk cost" on you!

Aha!


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 Post subject: Re: Need Advice on Used Family Car
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 5:18 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:33 pm
Posts: 1146
Location: Illinois
Well, since I have to share my point of view...

My opinion on cars differs from nearly everyone here. I buy new, usually with cash, but I will finance if interest rates are very attractive and it doesn't change the previously negotiated cash price. I don't buy grossly expensive new cars, and I buy ones with great reliability and gas mileage. I also make sure to take meticulous care of the car, and drive them for about 150K to 200K miles (6 years or so)

My reason for doing so is that I have had horrible luck with every used car I have ever purchased, and ended up dumping tons of money into them within a year or two. Additionally, I drive a lot for work and due to the nature of my job, having the car break down can be a HUGE disaster. Judges don't like the "my car broke down" excuse; I may get away with it a few times, but that certainly isn't guaranteed. For me, the added assurance of knowing (as best as one can) that my car isn't going to break down is worth the premium I am paying for buying new, but I recognize mine is probably a special case.

Since I haven't shopped for a used car in a long time and haven't ever owned a minivan, I can't really speak for your situation.


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 Post subject: Re: Need Advice on Used Family Car
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 6:51 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:01 am
Posts: 5370
I'm of a similar opinion to Bpqui. I buy new then drive them to death. I currently drive an Acura (Honda). But if I have to worry about what a judge thinks then I have much bigger problems than BPqui would!

I never pay interest unless it is trivial and gets me something far better in return. I have always bought new but kept the car for about 15 years.

The trouble with used, and I think it is very possible to get a quality used car, is that someone is selling that car for a reason. The reason often has to do with the hassle or reliability. If you can find a good deal then go for it. But you must be especially careful in doing due diligence. If you buy from a dealer you are paying a premium for the used car that is likely higher than for new. If you do not pay cash then you pay a much higher interest rate in most cases.

With a new car you also get a warranty. That is extremely valuable in my opinion.

I have never owned a minivan.

Personally I would not rule out a new car but would look at both new and used.

Hondas and Toyotas are very good and reliable cars.


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 Post subject: Re: Need Advice on Used Family Car
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:24 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:31 pm
Posts: 405
The only minivan I've ever driven was my parents Ford Aerostar back in high school. I definitely wouldnt reccommend a mid 90s Ford Aerostar, as helpful as that is. :)

There are plenty of websites and magazines that rank reliability of new and used cars. Often they will have estimated maintenance costs, so you should be able to get an idea of what the overall costs would be of new vs used.


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 Post subject: Re: Need Advice on Used Family Car
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:36 am 

Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2008 12:29 pm
Posts: 1616
Location: Seattle, WA
I also buy new cars and keep them for a long time. I dislike car shopping and like consistency (i.e. I don't mind, and in fact prefer driving the same car for 10+ years).


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 Post subject: Re: Need Advice on Used Family Car
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 9:40 pm 

Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 9:44 am
Posts: 139
I really appreciate all the feedback.

To be honest, I'm surprised to see so many people here say they "buy new" with all of the frugalness around here (I'm the same way).

I'm curious -- is this viewed as a personal preference/luxury or from your calculations, does buying new (and eating the premium you pay for buying new) actually end up being cheaper in the long-run if you keep it until it dies?

If you were in my shoes, what would you do? Buy a new 25k to 30k car and keep it until it does or buy a 15k or so car and keep it until it dies (obviously assuming the latter will not live as long as the former).


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