Post # 1
So… I totaled my car after a snow storm a couple weeks ago. We are about to start shopping for another car for me. It’s so overwhelming. So how do you shop for cars? Online or in person? Has anyone used Carmax? Are there any other places like it? Ideally, we want an inexpensive used car that also won’t be a money pit. What are some of your favorite car brands? I happen to love Honda Civics because both that I have owned never had a mechanical issue at all and lasted well over 100K miles. I am open to other options as well. I think I would like something that has a hatchback. That would be good in the snow which I must admit my civic really wasn’t. :'( Since we are TTC I would like something that would be easy to get a stroller and car seat in and out of which is why I like the idea of the hatchback sedan. I like SUV’s but I am only 5′ tall and I feel like I would struggle to get a car seat in and out of anything very tall. I don’t have an amazing credit score because I haven’t had a credit card until this year. I am somewhere in the 640’s according to my most recent yearly credit check with equifax and transunion.
Any advice for car shopping? Any tips on getting good deals/Negotiating? What is the max amount of miles you will buy a car with?
Post # 2
- Wedding: April 2017 - Valleybrook Country Club
herrera2016 : So sorry bee! I would recommend a crossover like the Chevy equinox or trax and Buick Encore. I had the Buick Encore and it’s saftey features saved me from being horribly injured in an accident when my car was totaled. I now drive a Chevy Equinox and I love it! The trax is just a smaller version.
To buy used, make sure you use a reputable place and check the car fax. Look up NADA pricing to use as a negotiation tool. I personally wouldn’t buy a car with more than 30k miles.
Post # 3
I highly recommend the Mazda CX-5. It’s a crossover and would be great for a family. We don’t have kids yet, but have two dogs and a lot of stuff we tote around in it easily. It’s also AWD and fantastic in the snow.
To answer your question, I did tons of research online, chose three vehicles I wanted to look at (we were doing new), and went to those three dealerships in person.
Post # 4
I also have a small SUV, a Toyota RAV 4, and I love it! It’s all wheel drive, so good in the snow, plenty of room, and great gas mileage. I buy cars from a good friend who owns a dealership so I check auctions for good deals then she buys them. So not the normal way, but it’s cool because I always get a great deal!
Post # 5
- Wedding: August 2015 - Southern Plantation House
desertgypsy : Yes! I just bought a used Toyota RAV4 last week and I LOVE it. I am not TTC, but Darling Husband and I bought the car keeping carseats in mind. 😉 Mine is 4 wheel drive and I’ve heard it would be great in the snow… However, I live in the South where this isn’t so much of an issue.
Post # 6
MrsSapphire : farmfreshjoy : desertgypsy : MrsTeacup : Oooh lots of love for the RAV4!! I have heard good things about toyota. Plus I always try to buy cars that you still see around even old. I feel like you see 10+ year old toyotas, hondas, and volvos a decent amount. I love the idea of a station wagon type set up. I am absolutely obsessed with the Honda Accord Crosstour unfortunately, it appears that most people found them ugly so there aren’t many of them out there used. 🙁
Post # 7
Subaru might be a good option. They are AWD (good in snow), last a long time, and have great safety ratings. They are also large enough for a stroller, etc. without being too large for someone that is short.
Post # 8
herrera2016 : the last time I bought a used car I made sure the dealer was willing to let me test drive it to my mechanic for a quick looksy before deciding to buy. One car I almost bought was a ticking time bomb (even though it drove like a dream) and my mechanic told me to run; the next one I brought him got the seal of approval. This is a great thing to do if you don’t have the ability to really check out a car yourself. Mileage is only part of the equation. Prior accident history and a record of proper maintenance history are also things I look for. Our current car was bought new (DH bought it before we were married) but I will likely go used for our next one. We currently have a Subaru and I’ll tell you in my opinion….they are WAY over-hyped. My old VW Rabbit actually handled better in the snow. The Subaru has grown on me but I probably wouldn’t buy another one.
Post # 9
BeachBride2015 : LilliV : I like the looks of the subarus but the seem a bit over priced compared to other cars of a similar style and age. Good call on the service records and the carfax’s I do always check those but I hadn’t thought about the mechanic. I was thinking about going to the same place that we buy and service the company I work for’s fleet vehicles as I doubt they would want to risk screwing me over because my boss buys a fair amount of vans there as well as his personal vehicles so I thought about going that route.
Post # 10
If you’re on or near the east coast, I really, really recommend checking out a place called Carlotz. They sell cars on consignment, so the prices are lower than a dealership or Carmax. Also the salespeople and the company don’t make commission off of the sales, so they’re pretty objective and transparent. I used to work there, so I can vouch for all that.
I second the suggestion to take the car to a mechanic of your choice for a PPI (pre-purchase inspection). Those run about $80, but I think they’re a great idea to be sure. RAV-4s have pretty good reputations, as do CRVs. I’d stay far away from anything Dodge or Chrysler. I only buy Subarus myself, so I definitely recommend those. They’re a little pricier than some, but they can last for hundreds of thousands of miles.
Post # 11
herrera2016 : used subarus are hardly ever a good deal because they retain their resale value so well – you might as well buy one new especially since many dealerships offer deals and incentives on the new ones in order to boost their sales numbers and they end up being a wash. They are not super powerful in my opinion (when I hit the gas I expect the car to move now…not in 7 seconds) but they have good cargo space and last forever. The stock tires SUCK and we had to replace them in order to get any traction in the snow. Our plan is to drive this 2012 impreza until the wheels fall off or we run out of space for the kids and the dog. Right now it’s us, one large dog, and a baby on the way so we’re fine for awhile. But since we want 3 kids we will outgrow it before it actually wears out.
If you have a relationship with a dealer that’s always a great place to start!
Post # 12
If you decide to buy new, there are some great deals on 2016 models if you can find them. We bought a new Malibu for a little over 8k off MSRP.
I like to use sites like Autotrader to find out which dealer is the cheapest and then going into the dealership with their online prices. 90% of the time dealers will quote at a price higher than what the car is listed for on their dealer website if they think you don’t know any better.
I know this is hard to do, but you should always walk the first time. Even if you are sure that the dealer has the car you want. It took us a week to deal on the Malibu but it resulted in getting a much better deal than we would have otherwise. Dealers will tell you they can’t go any lower but they tend to find a new bottom dollar the longer you make them wait 🙂
Post # 13
herrera2016 : My mom just bought a Nissan Rogue and absolutely loves it. It’s a small SUV and she lives in Maine and it’s done well in the snow up there. Her other choice was the RAV4, but she thought the Rogue was more comfortable.
I will always recommend Toyotas, you can’t beat the reliability. I drive a ’14 Corolla now and had a ’01 4Runner before that (never had any problems, just wanted a smaller car). My husband also works at a Toyota dealership, so there’s a little bias there (though I drove the 4Runner long before I met him).
If going the dealership way, it’s often good to submit a lead online on their website (or wherever you see the car online). An internet salesperson will contact you and they usually come in with a their best price since they know you’ve been shopping around online. Another note, according to my husband, TrueCar (site that gives you a pre-negotiated price) is useless and you often get a better deal without it.
Post # 14
I could have written parts of this myself! I just bought a new (well used but new to me) 2014 ford escape 2 weeks ago. I love it! I had a small Honda civic and wanted something larger but not too big as well. I think my escape is the perfect size. I went on trucar.com and to each dealerships website in my town. My escape was cross posted on both websites by the dealership. I took my dad with me because he knows way more about cars than me. He looked up every car I was interested in on kelly blue book to see if they were asking a decent price for it. Maybe see if you could get financing through your bank as opposed to the dealership financing their interest rates are typically higher but they only want to highlight how much your monthly payments will be not the bottom line of how much interest they’re charging and how much the total cost of the car is. 99% of the time a dealer can/will go lower than the list price. Don’t be afraid to walk away and 9make em sweat.
ETA: mine had 45,000 miles when I bought it which was a little high. I really didn’t want to go over 40k miles but the deal was good so I compromised a little on that
Post # 15
SithLady : I love rogues! I like the Jukes and Murano’s as well. Also good tip on TrueCar because that was one of my next questions. lol I feel like Toyotas are a lot like Hondas sometimes you see one that’s like 20 years old still buzzing down the highway which makes me feel like they are good cars.