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Buying and Trading

My husband drives a 98 Chevy Lumina and I drive an 07 Dodge Caliber. He hasn’t had payments for awhile and I just got my car paid off. The problem is, the Caliber has given me nothing but problems for the past 3 years and the Lumina is falling apart. We’re looking at getting a good fuel efficient car and an extended cab truck and keeping the payments for both as low as possible. I’ve recently come across a 2010 Toyota Corolla for around $15k. I’m thinking we should jump on this before it disappears and my husband wants to wait awhile before we get anything else. I’m just afraid we’re going to be left on the side of the road with nothing of any trade in value what so ever. Oh, and I’m in advertising and trying to work with one of my clients who owns a Dodge dealership. That throws another wrench into the situation. Anyway, looking for general thoughts on the situation at hand.

Do your homework on both what you intend to trade in and the asking price of the Corolla. Take a look at,, to get a feel for pricing.

Nothing wrong with asking your client Dodge dealer to see what comes across his used car lot (doesn’t have to be a Dodge brand), and see what kind of deal can be had. Take your time and see what the market may provide you.

Stay away from Dodge. You’re experience with the Caliber should have taught you that.

Find a copy of the recent Consumer Reports Magazine “Annual Auto Issue,” and read it from cover to cover. It will give you lots of good information about buying a new or used car.

Then go car shopping.

There are tons of used Corollas out there. There’s no reason to “jump on” one. Take your time, do some research, and make an informed purchase.

If you’re in advertising, does that mean you do a lot of highway traveling? If so, a small diesel car like the Passat or Beatle would be perfect for that.
For the truck, are you looking at something smaller, like a Ranger, or something larger, like the F-150?

Lucky. The Consumer Reports April issue is on sale now. Best & Worst 2011 Cars. There is a lot of information about new and used cars. Check every page and learn about this issue.

It could save you a lot of money because one rotten car will cost a lot. The Caliber isn’t rated badly in all categories but you may not get any respect in a trade. I recommend that you keep it as long as possible.

The Lumina? It won’t cost a lot to replace it with something a bit more together.

So much depends upon your financial situation. You will be “buying” more reliability with the Corolla and IMO, you can’t go wrong with the brand if the car was serviced and driven well and the price a is right. You’ll get little compared to what you have put into your two Chrysler cars in trade. Keep this in mind before you commit to another Dodge brand.
But, in general, I’m in “mcparadice” camp and feel his overall advice is sound.

Is that Corolla used?
If yes, you should consider something else.
You can probably get a nice Elantra, Versa, Sentra or something similar that gets better gas mileage and is more comfortable than the Corolla for the same $15k.

As for the truck, just wait until you actually need one, and then rent it from a rental place, and leave that expense alone for as long as possible.

Also, sell your two older cars privately, and you will get more money for them that way, instead of the pittance that a dealer will give you for them.


Just a quick look on the net shows that you probably could get a brand new Corolla for less. That is if you negotiate on the net and then walk in the dealership. The financing would probably be better too. We just went through this wanting to by a new/used Honda. See link bellow.

My late Father used to say “There will always be cars”, and he lived through WW II when cars weren’t even being manufactured from early 1942 through late 1945. Both your cars apparently are running. The right vehicles will come along. Your husband is right in waiting for a while and not wanting to jump at purchasing the first available vehicle. My plan has always been to spot several vehicles on dealers’ lots. I watch these vehicles. If the vehicle sells to someone right away, I assume it must have been a good vehicle. If the vehicle stays on the lot, I assume that it probably has something wrong with it and I stay away from it. The plan saves me a lot of money. Of course, I never buy a car this way.