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Need advice on new/used car ... PLEASE HELP!!!

this is a discussion within the NOLA Community Forum; :casstet: Just in time for the holiday season, the old junker I've been "driving 'til it dies" has finally decided to give up the ghost. According to the mechanic, the joker has a leaking gasket or something, keeps blowing all ...

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Old 12-28-2004, 06:36 AM   #1
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Need advice on new/used car ... PLEASE HELP!!!

:casstet: Just in time for the holiday season, the old junker I've been "driving 'til it dies" has finally decided to give up the ghost. According to the mechanic, the joker has a leaking gasket or something, keeps blowing all the water/coolant out of the tailpipe (but isn't overheating ... yet). The problem is an intermittant, but developing, one. It's a 1994 Ford Escort with almost 113K miles, so it's hardly worth the cost of fixing a head gasket (estimated $500-$600).

Here's my relative financial situation. My credit's great, but I've already got a house note plus a significant note on my wife's car (plus bills, groceries, etc.). I also had a wreck that has resulted in a less-than-desirable insurance situation (fell asleep one night after working almost 24 straight hours ... jumped some railroad tracks). My wife's credit is not so hot, but needs improving and I think she could get a reasonable car loan. I'm a pretty cautious guy, therefore I don't wanna pay more than I have to just because the bank says I can afford it. I'm just looking for a reasonable, reliable vehicle to get me to work and back, and one that I wouldn't be mortified to take on a long trip if needed. Don't much care how it looks or the amount of prestige it will bring me.

I've found a few cars I think my wife might be able to get on her credit, and wondered if anyone had any good/bad experiences with any of them:

2002 Saturn SL1
4-door automatic
27K miles
$8,990

2004 Chevy Cavalier
4-door automatic
9K miles
$8,990

2004 Dodge Neon
4-door automatic
26K miles
$9,500

Has anybody had good/bad experiences with any of these types of cars, or any advice on other types of decent autos I might be able to score in this price range (less than $10K) or lower? Should I cough up the cash to fix the Ford and avoid all the car payments, insurance increases, etc. with the possibility that something else will go wrong in another week (I've already dumped significant money into the POS just to avoid a car payment)? Should I just try and find another junker I can slap cash down on?

Any advice or personal experiences would be greatly appreciated...
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Old 12-28-2004, 01:32 PM   #2
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Need advice on new/used car ... PLEASE HELP!!!

You know, all I drive are Hondas and Toyotas. My first Civic was a 1980 that everyone in my family drove and I traded in at the dealership for $500 with 360 + K miles on it. I drove a Camry for a while and it lasted forever. I sold it to buy a 1990 325i BMW convertable from a friend who was in hock.

The BMW lasted for another 5 years but died at the Circle K in 2000.

I drive a 2003 Honda Civic 4 door EX, it was certified pre-owned and my note is $300/month.

If you\'re gonna get a clunker, look into a 1995 + Honda civic or buy a certified pre-owned if you can afford it.

I buy newer cars because there is less to worry about. But for me, Hondas are basically rotating and changing tires, and changing the oil every 5 weeks- they last forever.

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Old 12-28-2004, 03:57 PM   #3
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Need advice on new/used car ... PLEASE HELP!!!

Mutineer, I spent almost 30 years in the car business. All the cars you listed are ok cars and I have sold all of them but the Saturn which is made by GM. My advise is, if you only plan to drive it to and from work any of them would be fine. You might want to look at slightly older cars say 2002 or 2003 and open your optiions more. Try however to stay around 20,000 miles. If you have access to program cars ck them out. Any major dealership should have them and they will have a warrenty. Buy only from a dealer, he\'ll only keep tradeins that he thinks will not cause him trouble,the rest he sells at auctions. If you need any help PM me I\'ll be glad to help.

Sometimes it's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought an idiot, than to open it and remove all doubt!!!!!

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Old 12-29-2004, 01:55 AM   #4
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Need advice on new/used car ... PLEASE HELP!!!

I\'ll tell ya one thing man, dont get into a cavalier. Had one for about a year, took the hit and got rid of the damn thing. JoeSam has a good point, go civic. for some reason those cars last through anything. also, never buy a FORD! hehe, but experience with my current mustang. Im in the home finance business, but this might work on car finance as well. If your credit is quite nice, some companys have basically a \"stated\" program. that way u dont have to worry about the note under your name and your debt to income ratio. so u might wanna try that and also put your wife on there as a 2nd applicant to add another \"good\" trade line to her credit status to increase her score. just a thought tho, but i would definatly try and do it under your name and add her on the note so her credit can increase. I dont sell cars, but i know alot about financing and increasing credit so PM if u have any questions or want to know about any tips.

is this all really happening????
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Old 12-29-2004, 01:03 PM   #5
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Need advice on new/used car ... PLEASE HELP!!!

JoeSam has a good point, go civic.
Hey, I was the one who suggested a civic! JoeSam... JoeSam! don\'t trust that used car salesman!!

:yes:
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Old 12-29-2004, 01:40 PM   #6
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Need advice on new/used car ... PLEASE HELP!!!

I have to go with Halo on this one. I had a 1988 Honda Prelude that I finally sold when it had about 225,000 miles. I currently drive a 1992 Accord that has 216,000. I\'m about to trade it in, though I haven\'t decided what I\'m getting yet. I\'ll look at the new Hondas, for sure.
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Old 12-29-2004, 03:41 PM   #7
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Need advice on new/used car ... PLEASE HELP!!!

:yes:
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Old 12-30-2004, 03:42 AM   #8
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Need advice on new/used car ... PLEASE HELP!!!

I do apologize Halo, its been a long week. Between this weekends game, christmas and one girlfriend finding out about the other girlfriend, ive had a rough couple days. Apologies to Halo
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Old 12-31-2004, 06:38 AM   #9
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Need advice on new/used car ... PLEASE HELP!!!

one girlfriend finding out about the other girlfriend
Ahh, the good old days...


Many thanks for the advice, everyone. I had been thinking Toyota or Honda myself - having owned a couple of Toyotas in the past - but the darn things seem to be on such a premium in the Birmingham area that you simply can\'t get one reasonably. A mid-to-late 90\'s Toyota or Honda with 160K miles will still bring as much as $6,000 or more at a local dealership, and it\'s tough to get a loan that high on an older, higher mileage vehicle - even if it IS a Toyota or Honda - and we didn\'t want long-term payment responsibilites.

I ended up hitting the used lot at a local Mazda dealer (\"use a dealer,\" per JOESAM) and picked up a 1999 Saturn SL1. It\'s a really clean car, and the CarFax report was spotless. It has almost 46K miles, but that\'s in line with the age and they gave me a 24 month/24K extended warranty on it. Paid roughly $5,500, and in the Birmingham market (ridiculously high for the city\'s income level) I thought that was a pretty fair deal. I\'d always been interested in Saturns, as I\'d known many people who owned them and noone had anything but praises for their reliability. Granted, it\'s lacking in the \"creature comforts\" department, but I was never expecting a Cadillac! It should serve my needs (getting to work and back, the occasional trips to see the family, groceries, etc.) just fine, and was very reasonable on insurance costs as well.

As for financing, the dealerships kept giving us crap about my wife\'s credit, saying the banks refused to loan on her unless she bought a newer car with a warranty. That\'s fair enough, but we didn\'t want to lock ourselves into high APR payments for the next 5-6 years on some of the crap they were offering (2003 Ford Focus, 2002 Ford Taurus ... did I mention I HATE FORDS!!! too?). We ended up using my credit to lower the APR and co-signed her (\"co-sign\" per saintsfan) to help build her credit.

Hopefully this will be my last car crisis for a while, but for the sake of asking (and for what I can expect), has anyone else out there ever owned a Saturn?


[Edited on 31/12/2004 by mutineer10]
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Old 01-04-2005, 09:45 PM   #10
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Need advice on new/used car ... PLEASE HELP!!!

the fact is..the interest rate on newer cars is normally much better than used..get a new car..and bieng around the end of the year..now is the best time to get a new car..consumers digest is a good place to get advice on which models to look at..AND NEVER..EVER GET A DODGE NEON...EVER.
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