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Aw, That Guy Again!? Is He Ever Going To Stop Bellyachin' On This Forum And Buy A Car Already?

Some other recent discussions got me to thinking. I didn’t want to hijack another thread so I started this one. Buying a brand new car seems like a frivolous use of money. For $19,000 I should be able to get a decent used car AND a decent used truck. I’m thinking, like, a 1 or 2 year old version of that Mitsubishi Mirage that someone else bought new and decided was too primitive to be tolerable, and I swoop in and buy it for like $8,000. Of course you’ve gotta be in the right place at the right time to find a sweetheart deal like that.

I see several problems in buying a used econobox. First, the best ones are priced almost as much as a new one. Second, there seem to be very few with manual transmissions (Apparently the people who buy these cars have the same mentality I do - gonna keep it for many years - so they don’t turn up very often as used cars). Thirdly, many people treat these econoboxes as throwaway cars and don’t maintain them properly, so by the time they turn up on a used car lot with 100,000+ miles on them, they’re almost junk. Forthly, with all the hurricanes, storms, and floods in recent years, you can never really be sure you’re not getting a flood car. Buying new avoids all these hassles. Maybe that’s why new cars cost more?
I’ve been looking at these used car buyers magazines you pick up for free in front of convenience stores, and all the ads are 99.44% pure deception. First of all, EVERY ad seems to start with, “No Credit, Bad Credit, Bankruptcy, No Problem” “Your Pay Stub Is Your Credit” “Buy Here Pay Here” Nobody wants to sell a car to anyone with good credit, cause that’s not where the BIG MONEY is. (I know we’ve already discussed here, ad nauseum, how the “buy here pay here” model works and how extraordinarily profitable it is. " There’s no money to be made in cash sales."- Captain Obvious)

Not many of the cars advertised include a price, its mostly just $X,XXX “down”; OR, $XXX per month (or week). Even fewer ads state the mileage on the vehicle, they all say “good miles” or “low miles”. All of this makes it darn near impossible to tell what used cars are ACTUALLY selling for.

All these factors make buying a “NEW” car seem quite reasonable. You know it hasn’t been wrecked, flooded, thrashed, abused, or neglected. Buy new, maintain it by the book, keep it for 15 - 20 years, perhaps the high upfront cost can be justified by amortizing it over many trouble-free years of driving pleasure? And when you buy new, you can configure it just the way you want it without making compromises. Color, transmission, floor mats, lighting, privacy tray, “Have It Your Way”, without compromise, and that sounds pretty good to me. . .

But I’m wondering, have I gotten too “soft” and lazy for my own good? Back when I was young, I was more than willing to spend days or weeks making phone calls and driving all over town to squeeze out an extra $20 or $50 dollars of savings on a major purchase. NOW, I contemplate spending the next 6 months to a year reading car ads, looking up blue book values, visiting various dealerships and interacting with pushy obnoxious commissioned salesmen, and I think, heck, just pony up the $19 grand and buy the brand new car and avoid all that hassle, time, and risk in finding the best used car. Of course, I’ve been working overtime, scrimping, saving, and living frugally for close to 3 decades now. I guess I’m just not “broke and hungry” like I used to be. 20 years ago I would have relished the challenge of finding that diamond-in-the-rough used car deal. Today, it just seems like nothing but hassle. I guess I am getting old. . .

Hey, if any or all of you are sick and tired of my bellyaching, you don’t have to read this or respond to it. Whoops, guess I should have put this line first. :open_mouth:

Ed: I find myself going through that same thought process.

I got off the new car habit over 10 years ago and buying a used vehicle makes good sense. If you buy a newer used car or truck…say 5 years old or newer…you can save a lot of money and still get reliability. I’m lucky that I have the training and experience to sort out the duds in the automotive world so finding a good one is easy for me. If you don’t have the training and experience necessary then pay someone who is qualified to inspect your purchase before you buy it.

But does a good inspection detect previous poor maintenance? eg, infrequent oil changes?

Ed do you just stay up at night worrying that you will not have anything to worry about the next day?

But does a good inspection detect previous poor maintenance? eg, infrequent oil changes?

In a word - YES.

I’ve Bought New, Used, And Certified Used.
The New Cars Were Not Much Better, Just More Costly. Now, I Mainly Buy Used And Certified.

Buying other than used comes with a risk, regardless of how carefully one checks out the car.
If I buy older cars I buy used ones. If I want an almost new car at huge saving I buy certified “Pre-Owned” (used). The factory bumper-to-bumper and drive-train warranty is a feature I like. The GM certified cars cost the dealer about 360 bucks to certify them. Shopping carefully can usually find a deal where you’re not really paying extra for this.

I base my purchase prices on a vehicle’s trade-in value, not private owner or dealer prices. I drive a hard negotiation.

Used and certified purchases offer fewer color and option choices than new, but huge savings. However, there are lots of these fish in the sea.

I check out the cars carefully and have never purchased a used or certified car that has had any problem that was hidden from me.

I love/hate buying cars. It’s a lot of work, but after all the careful research, shopping, checking, and negotiating, the final result is quite enjoyable.


The purpose of this forum isn’t to judge others. It’s to help those with car problems. If someone is having a terrible time deciding on a used car, we should try to offer advice without judgment. If he then finds a way to buy a new car instead of a used car, we should congratulate him, not criticize him.

It’s easy to criticize others. It’s a lot harder to help them.

@the same mountainbike
I Got The Impression That Ed Was Talking About Himself With A Little Self-Deprecating Humor.

Ed, you have my sincerest apology. And my sincerest respect.
The title bothered me and I failed to read much of the thread. I hope you can forgive an old man an honest error.

Over the years I’ve bought 3 new cars and 10 used cars. Two of the new cars were necessary for my job. Of the used cars two did not live up to expectation. Although I recommend a professional inspection, I did my own on all the used cars.

All in all I would recommend buying used over new, but being very selective.

A friend of my wife, a 70 year old widow, was thinking of selling her 2007 Accord with only 82,000 miles on it. The car is loaded, immaculate and dealer maintained. New it sold for $35,000.

This would be the type of car to look for.

The strongest argument I can come up with for new cars is that the technology of rear view cameras, parking assist, lane change warnings, adaptive cruise control, adaptive braking as you approach another vehicles, etc., is all very new. If you want it, you are forced to look at new or very close to new.

And I ain’t so young anymore, so some of that stuff has some appeal.

I am going through something similar now. Need a smaller CUV, after many test drives, narrowed it to a used Hyundai Tucson vs a new or used RAV4.

The CPO Tucsons I find are all ex-rentals, 2014 or 2015 with close to 40K miles on the ODO and if I am lucky, I will get them for $16-17K (+ TTL). A 2014 or 2015 RAV4 with 30K miles is close to $20K and the new 2016 is $24.5K. It is almost a wash or feels like it.

I just hate having a dent on a new car and I’m sure it will happen, so I guess I like to spend less and get a CPO.

Finding a good used car is not easy either. The one that fit the bill online, turned out to have a nasty bump when shifting the transmission (Tucson), some poor soul walked in after us and seems like they bought the car. The salesman was telling me that the bump is okay because I have the warranty :smiley:

I don’t know about anyone else but I absolutely hate looking for cars. Others see it as a challenge, but I just want it over-with. Then consider the number of people anymore that abuse their cars with extended oil changes, and really little long term financial difference between new and used, and I find new a much better and easier choice. Go in, pick the car you want, and drive out. Any problems, there’s a warranty. I used to like it but now its just a confusing mess. Maybe my age.

Remember @bscar? He spent like forever looking for an SUV before finally buying his Mazda CX-5. It’s no problem @“Ed Frugal” and it’s fun to talk about it. Take all the time you like and enjoy the ride with us. I like car shopping and would enjoy the vicarious thrill of helping you look.


“I like car shopping . . .”

That may be so . . . but I’m willing to bet lunch that an extremely high percentage of us regulars actively DISLIKE car shopping, whether it be for a new or used car

That’s ok. You are welcome to like or dislike anything you want. I normally don’t like shopping, but cars are different. I enjoy the search to narrow the list to a couple-a-three specific cars, and I treat the buying process like a game. Maybe I’ve just been lucky, but I have gotten incredible deals on two of the last three new cars I bought, and a great deal on the other new car.

hmm … interesting question … My 20+ year old Corolla I bought new, and my 40+ year old truck I bought as a 1 year old. Both have proved to be good choices. Although in retrospect I’d have preferred my truck to be differently configured, with a manual transmission instead of automatic, and a 6 cylinder engine instead of the 302 V8. Given that the price difference between new as I’d liked to have it configured and used as I bought it, the price difference would have been around $2-$3 K at the time, maybe I’d have been even better off buying the truck new configured as I preferred.

All that would be assuming I had an extra $3 k sitting around, which I didn’t. So my only option was a used truck. And the used truck, since it was high-end configured, came with some stuff that has proved useful, like a nicer interior, power steering, and high end transfer case and axels.

There are plenty of gently used econoboxes out there with a stick shift that are within your budget. The problem is that you’re looking in the wrong place. Check out the Internet sites–two are and–and you’ll find lots of potential cars that fit your needs. Nobody reads those free used car magazines any more.

I used to be absolutely convinced that buying used was the way to go. I’m not so sure now. There’s something to be said for paying extra to know that your vehicle wasn’t abused or neglected before it becomes yours. Getting a good used vehicle requires a good amount of time, knowledge, and some degree of luck. Who am I to say that someone shouldn’t pay for a new vehicle who doesn’t have the knowledge, want to spend the time, or wants to rely on luck?