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Car help for my MIL
Old 07-26-2009, 05:04 PM   #1
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Car help for my MIL

My MIL has had some pretty bad car trouble. She's gone through 3 cars in the last couple of years. I'd like to start helping her make better decisions.

She currently has an old Mercedes that has been a money pit. She $2400 into it in the last couple of months. She's doesn't want to get rid of it because of the how much she's put into it but it's leaking a lot of oil and is like a ticking time bomb.

Safety is a big concern of hers so she would like something safe and reliable. I think buying a new car with a 10 year/100,000 warranty would be a good option but she doesn't have the best credit or job security. I'm not sure how much she has saved (if any) for a used car.

What advice do you think I should give her?
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Old 07-26-2009, 07:23 PM   #2
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Ask her what her budget is.
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Old 07-26-2009, 09:15 PM   #3
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Ask her what her budget is.
It was $2,000 a couple of months ago but that was before spending $1500 on a new transmission. Maybe I should recommend trying to save until she gets to about $3,000 and then help her find something? I know you can buy Kia's and Hyundais in decent shape for cheap. I would make sure to have a garage inspect it before buying.
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Old 07-26-2009, 10:04 PM   #4
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Maybe I should recommend trying to save until she gets to about $3,000 and then help her find something? I know you can buy Kia's and Hyundais in decent shape for cheap. I would make sure to have a garage inspect it before buying.
That looks like the right option to me.

It might be difficult for her to go from a Mercedes (even though it does need work) to a Kia, so while she's saving some money, she can look around and feel comfortable with her choice.
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Old 07-27-2009, 08:14 AM   #5
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Craigslist has a lot of choices, although there are scammers there too. If the state where she lives has an inspection requirement make sure it will pass that before writing a check. Maryland's inspection standards are stringent enough that anything that will run and pass inspection is worth at least $2k. More than one buyer has bought a car for $2-$3k and then found they had to put another $2k into it to get it through inspection so they could get tags.
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Old 07-27-2009, 10:46 AM   #6
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Craigslist has a lot of choices, although there are scammers there too. If the state where she lives has an inspection requirement make sure it will pass that before writing a check. Maryland's inspection standards are stringent enough that anything that will run and pass inspection is worth at least $2k. More than one buyer has bought a car for $2-$3k and then found they had to put another $2k into it to get it through inspection so they could get tags.
Also for about $70 a local mechanic will do a full used-car test. This is what I would do before buying used. Not only will they check to make sure it will pass inspection, they will also test the engine, check the belts, check for oil leaks, and pretty much everything else that's involved.

I think one problem my MIL has been running into is she'll go into a used car dealership and buy a car that runs "well" from a "nice" salesman.
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Old 07-27-2009, 02:52 PM   #7
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Suggest used Buick if $, or credit is issue. They are usually not abused, given the age group that buys them new. Comfortable cars. Pretty good reliability/safety. DW would never buy anything else. Whatever, do get it checked out before buying. Too many potential problems if you don't know what to look for.
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