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PR_GMR
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« on: December 08, 2010, 05:07:23 PM »

So my 14-year old Honda Civic has been given it's 'last rites'. It broke down this past weekend, and when I took it to the garage for fixin', I was told it has a fatal engine breakdown (harmonic balancer broke out of a keyway away from the crankshaft.. and is surely spinning out of place) that will cost more to fix at an engine shop than what the car is actually worth at this time. I find myself suddenly on the used car market.. and I need tips on what to look for/what to avoid/etc.

Thankfully, I've about 3grand saved.. and can trade the junker for close to a grand. I'm trying to get something used.. and not have a monthly payment (trying to avoid Carfax). What should I look for? What should I avoid? GT hive mind, help me!!
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SkyLander
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« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2010, 05:30:35 PM »

What kind of car do you want....
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CeeKay
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« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2010, 05:30:52 PM »

buy a Porsche!
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gellar
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« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2010, 05:42:14 PM »

Why on earth would you want to avoid getting a CarFax?

Generic advice:
1) Get the damn CarFax.
2) Have a mechanic you trust and have worked with inspect the car before purchase.
3) Autotrader.com still works pretty well.
4) So does Craigslist, but there's a lot more crazies there.
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PR_GMR
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« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2010, 07:06:43 PM »

Quote from: SkyLander on December 08, 2010, 05:30:35 PM

What kind of car do you want....

I hate to say it.. but I want to keep it an Asian car. Either a Honda, or a Toyota, or a Nissan. Mitsubishi maybe? I have heard bad things about American cars. That they break often. I don't want to drive that crappy Dodge Neon.  icon_lol

Quote from: Ceekay
buy a Porsche!

It's.. 'Priced to Move!' Yipee.. at 192k miles!  icon_razz That thing sounds like it'll break down the moment you drive it (fast!!) around the block after buying it.

Quote from: gellar
Why on earth would you want to avoid getting a CarFax?

Generic advice:
1) Get the damn CarFax.
2) Have a mechanic you trust and have worked with inspect the car before purchase.
3) Autotrader.com still works pretty well.
4) So does Craigslist, but there's a lot more crazies there.

I hear you. I went to the Carfax website there.. and everything listed is around $8-10k.. with a monthly payment going for 4-6 years. I'm not looking for more debt. But I totally hear you about the mechanic and the inspection.. and that will be a must for me. Thanks for the Autotrader.com link.. Will go looking there next.

I've already been looking at Craigslist. Just saw a 'hopeful': 2004 Honda Civic for $3900. Would prefer something a bit lower in price.. but, like I said, I really like Honda and Asian cars in general.
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gellar
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« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2010, 07:09:04 PM »

Are you confusing CarFax with CarMax?

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PR_GMR
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« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2010, 07:13:26 PM »

Quote from: gellar on December 08, 2010, 07:09:04 PM

Are you confusing CarFax with CarMax?



Yep! I just found out they're two different websites.  icon_redface

Yes, I will get the carfax!!
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envy24
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« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2010, 07:26:11 PM »

Quote from: PR_GMR on December 08, 2010, 07:13:26 PM

Quote from: gellar on December 08, 2010, 07:09:04 PM

Are you confusing CarFax with CarMax?



Yep! I just found out they're two different websites.  icon_redface

Yes, I will get the carfax!!

Get a carfox too
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CeeKay
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« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2010, 07:28:27 PM »

Just don't google car fuckers.
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PR_GMR
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« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2010, 07:31:58 PM »

Very funny! Yep, I've not bought a car, not even looked at the direction of a comely new car, in 12 years. Am I making the right call by sticking with asian cars?
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cheeba
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« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2010, 08:10:49 PM »

Quote from: PR_GMR on December 08, 2010, 07:06:43 PM

I hate to say it.. but I want to keep it an Asian car. Either a Honda, or a Toyota, or a Nissan. Mitsubishi maybe? I have heard bad things about American cars. That they break often.

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PR_GMR
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« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2010, 08:12:19 PM »

Quote from: cheeba on December 08, 2010, 08:10:49 PM

Quote from: PR_GMR on December 08, 2010, 07:06:43 PM

I hate to say it.. but I want to keep it an Asian car. Either a Honda, or a Toyota, or a Nissan. Mitsubishi maybe? I have heard bad things about American cars. That they break often.



Elaborate, please. hehehe.
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gellar
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« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2010, 08:20:18 PM »

Quote from: PR_GMR on December 08, 2010, 07:31:58 PM

Very funny! Yep, I've not bought a car, not even looked at the direction of a comely new car, in 12 years. Am I making the right call by sticking with asian cars?

I would say you are arbitrarily limiting yourself and potentially having a false sense of confidence.  Contrary to what some say, make reliability varies greatly on a model by model and year by year basis.  I would say identify a handful of specific models in your price range and do research.  The good news about used cars is that there is a small army of reliability data you can find.

American cars have really upped the overall quality in the last decade.  They make some vehicles that are just as reliable as their asian counterparts.  That being said, a couple of caveats:
1) You are looking used, so if you're buying something over 10 years old then the spread is greater.
2) If you care about resale value, there are still more people who think like you do than don't, so generally speaking a used asian car will have better resale value than a used american car.

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SkyLander
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« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2010, 08:24:54 PM »

Quote from: PR_GMR on December 08, 2010, 07:31:58 PM

Very funny! Yep, I've not bought a car, not even looked at the direction of a comely new car, in 12 years. Am I making the right call by sticking with asian cars?

Depends on the year. As long as you test drive it do research on whatever model you come across. You should look at every car within the price range you have.

I mean i'm in a 96 crown vic right now which for all intense and purposes was considered an unreliable car. But the thing has been incredibly reliable as in the all the time I've owned it I've only had to do regular maintanence. Some eletrical issues awhile ago but really, the car always starts and moves, and that's all I need it to do.

Either way as gellar said, don't limit yourself to just Toyotas and Hondas.
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PR_GMR
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« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2010, 08:25:27 PM »

Quote from: gellar on December 08, 2010, 08:20:18 PM

Quote from: PR_GMR on December 08, 2010, 07:31:58 PM

Very funny! Yep, I've not bought a car, not even looked at the direction of a comely new car, in 12 years. Am I making the right call by sticking with asian cars?

I would say you are arbitrarily limiting yourself and potentially having a false sense of confidence.  Contrary to what some say, make reliability varies greatly on a model by model and year by year basis.  I would say identify a handful of specific models in your price range and do research.  The good news about used cars is that there is a small army of reliability data you can find.

American cars have really upped the overall quality in the last decade.  They make some vehicles that are just as reliable as their asian counterparts.  That being said, a couple of caveats:
1) You are looking used, so if you're buying something over 10 years old then the spread is greater.
2) If you care about resale value, there are still more people who think like you do than don't, so generally speaking a used asian car will have better resale value than a used american car.



Thanks for the elaboration, gellar. I've been looking at Autotrader.com and I'm really liking the options I'm seeing here. Great site! I'm trying not to buy over 10 years.. Something from '00 or '01 is looking like the ideal. But also, a car under 125k in mileage. I would say under 100k, but I'm already seeing that anything that's 10 years old but will low mileage is prohibitedly priced.
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cheeba
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« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2010, 08:26:01 PM »

Quote from: PR_GMR on December 08, 2010, 08:12:19 PM

Elaborate, please. hehehe.

Honda and Toyota are excellent carmakers. Great in reliability, especially at the price/year you're looking at, no doubt.
Honda and Toyota = good. That does not mean Asian = good.
Nissan is about the same level as GM and Ford. All 3 of those are very close to Honda and Toyota.
Mitsubishi is far below those.

At the price point you're looking at, you are MUCH better off doing what gellar says and having a mechanic look at the car. This will tell you MUCH more about its reliability/dependability than some misguided, uneducated notion that American cars sux, Asian cars rox.

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PR_GMR
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« Reply #16 on: December 08, 2010, 08:27:37 PM »

Quote from: SkyLander on December 08, 2010, 08:24:54 PM

Quote from: PR_GMR on December 08, 2010, 07:31:58 PM

Very funny! Yep, I've not bought a car, not even looked at the direction of a comely new car, in 12 years. Am I making the right call by sticking with asian cars?

Depends on the year. As long as you test drive it do research on whatever model you come across. You should look at every car within the price range you have.

I mean i'm in a 96 crown vic right now which for all intense and purposes was considered an unreliable car. But the thing has been incredibly reliable as in the all the time I've owned it I've only had to do regular maintanence. Some eletrical issues awhile ago but really, the car always starts and moves, and that's all I need it to do.

Either way as gellar said, don't limit yourself to just Toyotas and Hondas.

Yes, I need to get the 'Honda smokescreen' out of my eyes. I'm already seeing at Autotrader.com some American models that are very decently priced. They must be considered.. and they seem very faily priced. Why break the bank with a $5k, 10-year old Honda with high mileage that could break on me during the next year or two? I must be wise.
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gellar
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« Reply #17 on: December 08, 2010, 08:33:54 PM »

Yeah the add that I'd make here is that for a 10+ year old car, the maintenance and general condition of the vehicle matters a HELL of a lot more than the Make when it comes to whether or not it will break down on you in the next 10 years.
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PR_GMR
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« Reply #18 on: December 08, 2010, 08:38:19 PM »

Quote from: cheeba on December 08, 2010, 08:26:01 PM

Quote from: PR_GMR on December 08, 2010, 08:12:19 PM

Elaborate, please. hehehe.

Honda and Toyota are excellent carmakers. Great in reliability, especially at the price/year you're looking at, no doubt.
Honda and Toyota = good. That does not mean Asian = good.
Nissan is about the same level as GM and Ford. All 3 of those are very close to Honda and Toyota.
Mitsubishi is far below those.

At the price point you're looking at, you are MUCH better off doing what gellar says and having a mechanic look at the car. This will tell you MUCH more about its reliability/dependability than some misguided, uneducated notion that American cars sux, Asian cars rox.



I got you! It's just this damn myth I've had in my head for the past ten years: Asian better than American. I'm glad to hear it's not true.
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PR_GMR
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« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2010, 09:01:26 PM »

Quote from: gellar on December 08, 2010, 08:33:54 PM

Yeah the add that I'd make here is that for a 10+ year old car, the maintenance and general condition of the vehicle matters a HELL of a lot more than the Make when it comes to whether or not it will break down on you in the next 10 years.

I hear you... and will be on the lookout for that. I want to take a moment and thank all who have responded to this thread...gellar,skylander,cheeba (and ceekay even for the humorous break) This whole thing is a bit daunting to me. I'm feeling a bit more confident about my search and about what I'll be doing when closing in on that used car.
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J.J.
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« Reply #20 on: December 09, 2010, 03:44:02 PM »

If you're looking for something about 3grand and no monthly payments I think Honda/Toyota/Nissan are your best bet. American makes have definitely improved (especially Ford) but when it comes to driving with tons of miles the Asian makes are tried & tested.

Also, don't tell the dealer you're paying cash until the price is set. A lot of them make more money off of the financing so if you tell them upfront you're paying cash then they won't budge on price. If they assume you're financing they'll go easy on price because they're planning on more than making up for it from the finance department.

Hope this helps!
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cheeba
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« Reply #21 on: December 09, 2010, 04:10:02 PM »

Quote from: J.J. on December 09, 2010, 03:44:02 PM

If you're looking for something about 3grand and no monthly payments I think Honda/Toyota/Nissan are your best bet. American makes have definitely improved (especially Ford) but when it comes to driving with tons of miles the Asian makes are tried & tested.



And on your first post too! Welcome to the forum. However, as we've already stated, when looking at an old car it's far better to look at the condition of that particular car than go by the make. Also, Nissan is not now nor has ever been any better than the American manufacturers (except maybe Chrysler).
« Last Edit: December 09, 2010, 04:13:08 PM by cheeba » Logged
Crux
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« Reply #22 on: December 09, 2010, 07:15:36 PM »

Quote from: cheeba on December 09, 2010, 04:10:02 PM

Quote from: J.J. on December 09, 2010, 03:44:02 PM

If you're looking for something about 3grand and no monthly payments I think Honda/Toyota/Nissan are your best bet. American makes have definitely improved (especially Ford) but when it comes to driving with tons of miles the Asian makes are tried & tested.

And on your first post too! Welcome to the forum. However, as we've already stated, when looking at an old car it's far better to look at the condition of that particular car than go by the make. Also, Nissan is not now nor has ever been any better than the American manufacturers (except maybe Chrysler).

Wait. So since you've already stated it he is wrong? His differing opinion isn't allowed?

Also, it depends largely on the model for Nissan.
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cheeba
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« Reply #23 on: December 09, 2010, 11:21:33 PM »

Quote from: Crux on December 09, 2010, 07:15:36 PM

Wait. So since you've already stated it he is wrong? His differing opinion isn't allowed?

No, he's wrong because of all the vast market research data that shows reliability/dependability for Nissan was not the same as Honda/Toyota and was about the same as Ford/GM. For newer cars, it could be argued that Ford/GM have surpassed Nissan and in some cases Honda and Toyota, but that's far more dependent on the particular car and we're not talking new cars here.

Quote
Also, it depends largely on the model for Nissan.

We're talking 10 year old cars here. A beaten up Sentra is not going to be any better than a well maintained anything.
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Crux
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« Reply #24 on: December 10, 2010, 01:29:05 AM »

Quote from: cheeba on December 09, 2010, 11:21:33 PM



No, he's wrong because of all the vast market research data that shows reliability/dependability for Nissan was not the same as Honda/Toyota and was about the same as Ford/GM. For newer cars, it could be argued that Ford/GM have surpassed Nissan and in some cases Honda and Toyota, but that's far more dependent on the particular car and we're not talking new cars here.

Except he didn't just reference Nissan, did he... I'm just saying the fail pic and talking so dismissively to the guy was completely unnecessary.

Quote
We're talking 10 year old cars here. A beaten up Sentra is not going to be any better than a well maintained anything.

Sure. But I think it'd take a special idiot to buy a beat up anything over a well maintained anything unless we're talking about an old porsche or some other 'collectible' that has value in its rarity rather than reliability. Maybe he didn't feel the need to specify that if looking at cars in equivalent shape, the japanese model is more likely to be the better buy. Because the equivalent shape thing is.. you know.. obvious.
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cheeba
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« Reply #25 on: December 10, 2010, 01:44:36 AM »

We get it, Crux. You don't like me. No one cares.
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Crux
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« Reply #26 on: December 10, 2010, 03:45:52 AM »

Quote from: cheeba on December 10, 2010, 01:44:36 AM

We get it, Crux. You don't like me. No one cares.

Independent of the fact that I don't like is the fact that you don't need to be an asshat to a new member of the community for no fucking reason when he makes his first post. But maybe it's the fact you do things like that that contribute to me not liking you.
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cheeba
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« Reply #27 on: December 10, 2010, 04:38:04 AM »

Crux, jesus. Posting a picture of a stupid beaver isn't being an asshat. Now STFU and run along, kid.
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Geezer
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« Reply #28 on: December 10, 2010, 05:26:03 AM »

If the op is a fan of Japanese cars, I might suggest that while actual mechanical quality of domestics has improved significantly, the aesthetics and the quality of the "touch surfaces" and the interior design may not be to his liking.     
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Crux
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« Reply #29 on: December 10, 2010, 01:27:10 PM »

Quote from: cheeba on December 10, 2010, 04:38:04 AM

Crux, jesus. Posting a picture of a stupid beaver isn't being an asshat. Now STFU and run along, kid.

Make me slywink
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PR_GMR
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« Reply #30 on: December 10, 2010, 03:38:20 PM »

Quote from: Geezer on December 10, 2010, 05:26:03 AM

If the op is a fan of Japanese cars, I might suggest that while actual mechanical quality of domestics has improved significantly, the aesthetics and the quality of the "touch surfaces" and the interior design may not be to his liking.     

Thanks, Geezer! I've looked at some of the 10-year old American cars online.. and yeah, their interiors are fugly (fake wood paneling?!). But, at this point, all it matters is that the car is in good-condition, decently-maintained, and that it can run for the next 3 years or so.
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« Reply #31 on: December 11, 2010, 06:23:50 PM »

I'll throw Subaru into the mix, although it seems like the resale prices are pretty high on them. I've had more people tell me I bought the right car (since I bought mine) than any other make I've owned.
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theohall
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« Reply #32 on: December 11, 2010, 11:58:03 PM »

I've owned a Datsun, a Nissan (I know - Datsun used to be Nissan), 2 Fords, and a Chevy.  I will never own a Chevy again thanks to every part being priced 3x more than the same part for other makes of cars.  I would, however, stick with any Nissan or Ford product, because they were all reliable with nothing more than regularly planned maintenance.
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