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Which car should I choose? Buying tomorrow, please help!

Hello, I need some used car buying advice please. I’m a single mom who needs reliable transportation.
I narrowed my car search down to a 2007 Toyota Camry V4 w/70,000 miles, 2 owners for $11,000. Or a 2004 Honda Accord V6 w/104,000 miles, 1 owner, very well maintained for $8900. The Camry isn’t power anything but the Accord is fully loaded. The Camry’s engine was loud verses the quiet hum of the Accord so I’m leaning towards the Accord. Any advice is greatly appreciated. I can also purchase a 36,000 mile warranty on either for $1695, do I need it? Any advice is greatly appreciated, thank you.

BTW, I drive around 16,000 miles per year

Thank you

You didn’t say who is selling the cars. The Accord is priced about right if it is a dealer sale and the car needs minimal reconditioning. Make sure that the timing belt was changed on this car, and find out when it was done. Honda calls for it at about 105,000 miles or 7 years. It’s a year late and the mileage is right, so it may have been done. You need to see a receipt if one is available to make sure. If it has not been changed, you need to take $1000 off the asking price to have the timing belt, serpentine belt, water pump and coolant changed.

If the Camry is an LE and for sale by a dealer the price is also average. The Camry does not have a timing belt. It was easy to tell that the Honda was an EX V6, but it isn’t clear what model Camry this is or what options are on the car.

If either car is a private sale, it is way overpriced.

Either car might work for you. Can you get them to a mechanic you trust for a prepurchase inspection? Expect to pay up to $100 each for the inspection. It’s worth it for cars of this age.

I much prefer the Honda, but I own a 2005 Accord EX V6. Great car.

My bad, it’s a dealer. The Camry is a base model. Thank you so very much, this is great advice and I appreciate your time very much.

The dealer offers a 36,000 mile warranty for $1695, not sure if I should buy this?

A noisy Camry? Could be something wrong with it. If you want the Accord, fine, that’s a good choice. But you MUST get a pre-purchase inspection before you buy it. We can’t tell from here whether that particular car is a good one.

I never buy the add-on warranties. Absolutely don’t buy it if it is not an official Honda-backed warranty.

Without knowing anything about the (mechanical condition of the ) vehicles, I’d vote for the Camry, because it’s 3 years newer, with 34,000 fewer miles.

As jtsanders noted, whatever car you choose, take it to your mechanic for an inspection.

I would not buy the warranty. The dealer will push you hard to buy it (and there’s good reason they’ll push you hard - nice $$$$ for them - usually 50% profit). The odds that you’ll ever recoup that $1695 are very very small.

I would be leaning towards the Accord, personally, and will reiterate the importance of having a pre-purchase inspection done to avoid buying a major headache. Also, as stated already, unless they can provide solid proof the timing belt was changed, they need to take $1000 off so you can have this work done immediately to avoid seriously damaging the engine when it inevitably breaks. Do not underestimate the importance of this unless an unplanned breakdown and multi-thousand dollar repair bill are no big issue for you. As for the warranty, the overwhelming majority of them are pretty much worthless to the consumer, but invaluable to the dealer selling them as they are wonderful profit generators. It is very unusual for a consumer to benefit from one of these warranties. Also, and it may be too late now, but never put yourself in a situation where you are in a hurry to buy a car. That’s how major, costly mistakes are made and often how dealers and salesmen make out like a bandit.

Too late I guess…but I would normally lean toward a make you already had satisfaction with if buying new, an Accord. But, not one with30 k more then a newer Camry. If you are buying that used, have a reliable mechanic check it out before your final decision and get a Camry…my late 2 cents.

The OP should definitely buy the Camry with a V-4 engine, as it is the only V-4 Camry ever made, and is surely extremely valuable!


In case the OP is confused, not every engine configuration is of the “V” type, and the Camry has what is known as an I-4. Or, you could simply call it a 4-cylinder engine, as most folks do. Referring to it as a V-4 may actually mark you as a “rube” to the seller, and this could have unwanted consequences for you–so it is actually important to use the correct terminology.

V-4 engines have never been common, and…to the best of my knowledge…there have not been any sold in the US marketplace for many years. The last one with which I was familiar was the V-4 used in Saabs, back in the late '60s-early '70s. That engine was developed by Ford of Germany for their Taunus model (no, that is not a typo, the model was the Taunus, not the “Taurus”!), and it was adapted by Saab to replace their 2-cycle 3-cylinder engine.

Ur ok with dropping 9k to 11k? Cash? Loan? Or lease a new civic for 200 each month. A new car. With warranty. A lease is not a waste of money. U are renting the car. That is how much ur car looses in value each month. Sort of discouraging but that’s life.

If you live in a mountainous area, then the Accord for sure. Otherwise the Camry will do just fine.

If you choose the Accord, do get confirmation on the timing belt, this is critical. If they can’t prove that the timing belt has been changed, then it is time to include that in the deal. If this is a Honda dealer, then most likely the Honda dealer will have a special on this service to change the timing belt, balance shaft belt, water pump and maybe the oil seals as well, usually for around $800. This is often a better price that many independent mechanics can do it for. In any case, this is one service you want it done by a Honda dealer.

Do get them inspected by an independent mechanic and ask the dealer for a carfax report on each one, but a clean carfax report is not always correct. But the carfax report will tell you what states the car was previously registered in and be very suspicious if the car’s most recent registration is in another state, especially if the state is New York or New Jersey.

Lastly, do not get the additional warrantee. It is very doubtful that either car would rack up $1695 worth of repairs in the next three years. The only exception would be the Honda if the belt isn’t changed, but the warrantee would not pay on that anyway, they have clauses on maintenance being up to date.

Both of these vehicles are entering what is traditionally the most reliable period of their service life. By now, all factory defects have surfaced and been addressed but neither has entered the period where wear and tear begins to take its toll.

The next big expense on the Honda will be the axles at about 10-11 years (2 to 3 years from now) and that will run you about a $1000. The Toyota won’t see this for another 5-6 years. But after that, its smooth sailing for many more years. BTW, you are saving enough money on the Honda to more than cover those axles. Just be aware that it is coming.

VDC…you can put all the ;=))), you want. But i recognize someone who’s as big a wise asteroid as I. I owned one of those early SAABs and I resisted. You are right on though. It was a very good engine in it’s time, but straights are more easily balanced and the space or headache making them smooth wasn’t needed when they decided to turn 4 s sideways. Big mistake ! Subarus are the closest to a v4 today.

2 owner for the Camry and loud engine is a probable flag, either way get an independent inspection of the car, know what you are in for as far as brakes, tires, timing belts, etc., and shop around a little more but do not skip an independent inspection.

@tiffquincel, let us know what you decided to do.

I don’t like the idea of the Camry - 2 owners in 70k miles? Noisy? From a distance, that doesn’t sound like a healthy vehicle.

Between the two, I’d look to the Accord. HOWEVER - I would get it meticulously inspected first - Honda had serious, serious issues with automatic transmission reliability on a few vehicles, in the late 90s and into the 00s, with the V6 Accord being one of the more serious cases. A 2004 is on the outside edge of ages for that reliability problem for the Accord, but still worth checking it carefully.

Seriously, you’re going to recommend a lease, @Stoveguyy?

It’s a terrible waste of money. Let’s look at the current deals on the Civic. You can lease one here for $199 per month for 36 months with $1999 down. Or you can buy the same vehicle for $17,746. Say you buy at 3.5% interest rates for 72 months. That vehicle should last at least 15 years. Your alternative is leasing a new vehicle every 3 years. Assume that lease payments would go up just 1.5% per year (you’ll be fixed for 3 years at a time, but the next lease gets that much more expensive).

For the first 6 years your payments on the leases would be $18,694.55. Your payments on the purchase would be $19,700.38. However, you have a vehicle clear and free with the purchase with a LOT of life left on it that hasn’t been out of warranty for very long. With the lease you have nothing. NOTHING.

Now let’s assume that you have a discount rate of 3% and repairs that start costing you a set amount each month starting after 6 years in the purchase. At $100 per month in repairs, you still save $14,489.07 NPV over 15 years by purchasing the vehicle and keeping it. Here’s your NPV at different monthly repair costs:

$0 : $22,387.93
$100 : $14,489.07
$200 : $6,590.20
$283.43 : $0
$300 : -$1.308.66

Financially, you would have to have average repairs of $283.43 or more each and every month starting when the vehicle was 6 years old for purchasing to not to be a better financial decision.

Anyone who wants to tell you that a Civic will cost you $3,401.16 per year in repairs from age 6 to age 15 is certifiable. You won’t even spend near that on a Chrysler Sebring…

A new car has no defects. It has a warranty. It is not worn out or have smoke smells or spilled coffee. None threw up in it. Many people like new cars and can afford new cars. Maybe u get used clothes at goodwill? U buy a 6yr old car for 9k. In 3 yrs it is worth 4k. And is a piece of crap. So u buy another heap? Maybe someday u will die without ever owning a new car. Good luck with that.

Leasing is good for people who don’t mind having a monthly car payment and want to drive a new car every 2-3 years, and/or who can write off the cost of the lease on their taxes every year as a business expense. It’s not for everyone. It’s definitely not for me. I can’t afford a monthly car payment or full coverage insurance. Besides, I get a strange sense of satisfaction knowing I hold the title for the vehicle parked in my driveway. I can do whatever I want to it, even sell it if the urge strikes or the need arises. You can’t get out of a lease due to a financial hardship, at least not without incurring some major fees and probably ruining your credit.

The “buying tomorrow, please help!” phrase denotes urgency to me and that’s not often a good way to approach a car deal.