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Old 09-28-2008, 09:55 AM   #21
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I'd usually vote drive until it drops but since you only have one car to depend on I'd say buy a new one .
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Old 09-28-2008, 11:58 AM   #22
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If you are the kind of person who drives it until it dies, and it looks like you are, then buy a new one. You will have trouble finding a used Honda that's not almost as expensive as a new one. I ended up buying a new Honda Pilot (leftover 06) in 07 because it was cheaper than any used Pilot I could find.

Plus, the new car will be much safer than your 14 year old car.
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Old 09-28-2008, 12:01 PM   #23
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You'll get clobbered trying to buy a hybrid right now. Wait until the price of gas settles back down to pre-bubble prices and people start wanting humongous vehicles again.

Otherwise you're going to pay over sticker, if you can even get one.

If your car is unsafe, buy something new. But if its still okay to drive for another 6-12 months, then stick with it until you can get your deal.

The tax credits may get renewed.
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Old 09-28-2008, 12:19 PM   #24
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I'd buy, but look for reduced rate/0% financing to avoid selling stocks or depleting cash reserves.

My DW's last car purchase was near the end of 2002. No way I wanted to sell investments at that time. She was able to get 3.5% financing with no hassles. I tracked investment gains on that money after that. She had 100% investment gains by the time she finished paying for the car four years later. That was a really cheap car.

As far as replacing a marginal car, if it is worth your time and inconvenience to possibly save money for the next few years then keep the car. Only you can make that trade off.
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Old 09-28-2008, 12:20 PM   #25
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My Honda Accord (which I love dearly) is almost 14 years old and is in good condition except for rust. I recently had some bodywork done and was advised that its safe lifespan is limited, that I should not invest large amounts of money in it, and that I should start researching my next vehicle. No panic, though.
This weekend I've been surfing the web and doing the spreadsheets. I would like a new, reliable, fuel efficient vehicle, preferably a hybrid, either a Honda or a Toyota. My goal is to spend no more than I spent last time, adjusted for inflation. Right now I can get a $2000 rebate from the Federal government for purchasing a new 2008 hybrid, or a lower rebate for other fuel efficient cars. I can also get a $2000 rebate from my Provincial government. But these programs will end later this fall.
With the rebates, a 2008 Toyota Prius or a Honda Civic Hybrid are within my price range, ignoring the resale value of my old car. Replacing my old car with an identical new Accord would cost about the same (no rebates). I would pay cash as I do not believe in borrowing to finance a depreciating asset. Buying now would mean depleting my cash reserve. Cash flow would be tight for several months. I do use the car for business, so I guess there may be some tax relief next year. My job is pretty recession proof.
If I wait, I will still have a serviceable but aging Honda and an accumulating cash reserve. Next year there will be more hybrids to choose from. The rebates will be gone, but as hybrids become commotized, prices may fall, especially if there is a recession.
I plan to stay away from dealerships until and unless I decide to buy. I want to keep emotion out of this as much as possible.
Should I buy now or hang on till my old car really needs to be replaced in 1-2 years?
Gosh, rampant consumer lust burning a hole in your pocket is such a scary sight...

We're thrilled with our 2006 Toyota Prius, which we bought over four months ago. I highly recommend a Toyota or Honda hybrid.

Since you have the time & motivation to do the research, I'd join PriusChat.com and repost this there. You'll get good advice and you'll get a feel for the Prius market (as well as other hybrids).

I think the new-car rebates are money-wasting red herrings. You may get a few thousand bucks from the govt but you'll give it all back in depreciation. It's at least a wash to buy a 2-3-year-old hybrid from a desperate seller.

Hybrid batteries are warranteed for at least eight years, as much as 15 in some U.S. states. Even more encouraging, the battery life of the earliest hybrids is exceeding the warranty and replacement rates are extremely low. So I wouldn't waste time worrying about the hybrid battery. In fact the Prius 12v battery is far more fragile than the hybrid battery.

The hidden bonus of a Prius is the ownership cost. The car's regenerative braking means that the mechanical brakes don't even take over until the car slows below 7 MPH (or in a panic stop) and brakes on these cars are lasting in excess of 100,000 miles. Maintenance is minimal. Repairs are well below "average" rates of similar non-hybrid vehicles.

The cars are selling at or over bluebook value now, but you have the time to wait for a good price. Craigslist and AutoTrader.com, waiting patiently for the desperate seller who's moving next week or who's trying to pay Christmas credit cards...
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Old 09-28-2008, 01:03 PM   #26
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I'm also in the buy camp. You've obviously shown the discipline over 14 years that the car is utilitarian in function as opposed to a wasteful status symbol etc.
It is incomprehensible to me that a well to do professional person would drive a 14 year old car. The safety improvements alone in just the last few years would argue for the purchase, even if your current car had not been compromised by deterioration.


Ha
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Old 09-28-2008, 02:08 PM   #27
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We will never buy new again. Look for gently used 2 or 3 yr old Honda or Toyota. Let the idle rich take that hard depreciation hit on their way out the dealer's lot.
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Old 09-28-2008, 02:12 PM   #28
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It is incomprehensible to me that a well to do professional person would drive a 14 year old car. The safety improvements alone in just the last few years would argue for the purchase, even if your current car had not been compromised by deterioration.


Ha

14 years, yeah. But which safety improvements that cropped up in the past few years do you have in mind? Stability control? Greater prevalence of side airbags? Something else? Aside from stability control on hulking SUVs, I am having a tough time coming up with something that important in the last few years.
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Old 09-28-2008, 02:14 PM   #29
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14 years, yeah. But which safety improvements that cropped up in the past few years do you have in mind? Stability control? Greater prevalence of side airbags? Something else? Aside from stability control on hulking SUVs, I am having a tough time coming up with something that important in the last few years.
Stability control; better side and head air bags.

Ha
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Old 09-28-2008, 02:24 PM   #30
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Stability control; better side and head air bags.

Ha
The frontal airbags have gotten significantly better? We talking about the multi-stage/depowered ones? I wasn't aware that they made a big difference (not that I was looking).
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Old 09-28-2008, 02:42 PM   #31
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We will never buy new again. Look for gently used 2 or 3 yr old Honda or Toyota. Let the idle rich take that hard depreciation hit on their way out the dealer's lot.
With a "gently used Honda or Toyota," you will NOT see a steep depreciation after 2 or 3 years. In fact, if you are a cash buyer late in a model year, you may be able to get some really good deals off the lot from dealers looking to clear old inventory, especially if you're somewhat flexible about the model and the color and such and especially in a crappy economy where not many are buying big ticket items.

This strategy is an example of the type of thing that stops working well as soon as it becomes such conventional wisdom that many people are doing it.

If you want something like a Ford or Chevy SUV, this advice still works almost all the time. For a smaller Toyota or Honda, the depreciation schedule is much closer to linear than it ever used to be.
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Old 09-28-2008, 02:52 PM   #32
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It is incomprehensible to me that a well to do professional person would drive a 14 year old car.
Ha, I find it incomprehensible that you find it incomprehensible! This gal's a well do do professional LBYM person!!!!

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Old 09-28-2008, 02:56 PM   #33
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Ha, I find it incomprehensible that you find it incomprehensible! This gal's a well do do professional LBYM person!!!!
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Oh, wait -- that was "inconceivable." Never mind.
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Old 09-28-2008, 02:56 PM   #34
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With a "gently used Honda or Toyota," you will NOT see a steep depreciation after 2 or 3 years. . . . For a smaller Toyota or Honda, the depreciation schedule is much closer to linear than it ever used to be.
This has been my experience as well. In addition, if you'll be holding on to it for a decade, there's some dollar value (possible longevity) and peace of mind to be had from knowing that the oil has always been good quality and changed on time, that the car has never been overheated, that the undercarriage had the salt rinsed off periodically, etc. If you are holding on to it for a long time, the $$/year of spending a thousand or two more up front is fairly minor if you get another year out of the car.

But, with an American car, I'd still look to buy used, unless there was a fantastic deal on new ones. Either way, I'd want a very long, very comprehensive warranty before buying an American car. Sorry it is like that--but I've been burned enough.
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Old 09-28-2008, 02:59 PM   #35
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I'd want a very long, very comprehensive warranty before buying an American car. Sorry it is like that--but I've been burned enough.
Me too. Sorry, but I'm in the quality business myself and am biased towards Japanese cars (which are made in North America anyway).

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Old 09-28-2008, 03:12 PM   #36
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The millionaire next door recommended buying cars on a price/lb basis, since you could buy a big honking american car for less than a small foreign car, and their thesis was that quality wasnt as good but the price more than made up for it.

Not sure that advice is still good, but there it is

I also see no benefit in buying 2-3 year old far east cars unless they're kias, infiniti, daewoo, hyundais, etc. Many of those DO experience steep depreciation but you wont get anything for them when you're done with them.

2-3 year old hondas and toyotas cost almost as much as new and you dont know what was done to them for 2-3 years. Bad trade.
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Old 09-28-2008, 03:14 PM   #37
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14 years, yeah. But which safety improvements that cropped up in the past few years do you have in mind? Stability control? Greater prevalence of side airbags? Something else? Aside from stability control on hulking SUVs, I am having a tough time coming up with something that important in the last few years.
It's not as if they were deathtraps to begin with.

Hey, CFB, you might know if there's a study about this question: have airbags provided any additional safety benefit to seatbelt wearers, or is it a belt&suspenders feature?
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Old 09-28-2008, 03:18 PM   #38
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Almost impossible to say. People lie about whether they were wearing seatbelts or not.

Injury rates improved drastically almost in lock step with the introduction of air bags, which suggests more that people werent wearing seatbelts than any advantage.

I do know that a lot of people suffer minor to moderate injuries from the older style air bags. I remember a lady at work who got into an accident in a chrysler the first year they came out with the first air bags. It was a minor fenderbender, but she had both of her thumbs broken and looked like she'd gone 12 rounds with mike tyson...broken nose and two black eyes.

The new ones, fortunately, are better.

What I wonder is whether people drive more aggressively since they think they're protected by their own little cocoon...?
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Old 09-28-2008, 03:57 PM   #39
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IF you can get $4000 in rebates, I would buy now.
The cost of the batteries will be decreasing in 6-12 years when you need to replace them and odds are very high you will have a warranty covering them for at least 8 years.
If you can't get the rebates, and the car you have is safe to drive, I would try to hold out for 2 years until the next generation of EVs and PHEVs arrive. You can either buy one of those or get a better deal on this generation of hybrids.
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Old 09-28-2008, 04:07 PM   #40
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I remember a lady at work who got into an accident in a chrysler the first year they came out with the first air bags. It was a minor fenderbender, but she had both of her thumbs broken and looked like she'd gone 12 rounds with mike tyson...broken nose and two black eyes.
Did she lose part of an ear?
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