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Old 03-24-2013, 05:18 AM   #41
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About 2 1/2 years ago we bought a 2005 stick shift Honda Civic.........no problems....we love it.

Just prior to last Christmas my wife's SIL bought a brand new Volkswagen Jetta diesel.....it died on the way home from the dealership, (and a number of times subsequently, after supposedly being 'fixed').

The dealer gave them a loaner, (interspersed with abortive attempts at making the new vehicle roadworthy); after ~ 2 months they supplied another new model, which thus far hasn't broken down.

As Chuck Berry used to sing "Goes to show you never can tell".
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Old 03-24-2013, 05:37 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by Snidely Whiplash View Post
...I usually buy new GM products ....

... The few used cars I have bought in my lifetime have invariably been lemons that the previous owners were happy to unload on someone else so I am very gun-shy about buying used.

Was it a long time ago that you last bought used? While the US manufacturers have done a good job closing the quality gap, that gap was quite real 20 years ago.


I think buying (say) a three year old Honda in 2013 is a much better bet than buying (say) a three year old Ford or GM in 1986.


edit to add: I bought someone else's lemon in 1989 - it was a three year old Ford.
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Old 03-24-2013, 05:54 AM   #43
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If you are okay with a little elbow grease and footwork, I have found the sweet spot to be ~10 year old Japanese luxury cars.

By them for about $4500-6500 at around 10 years old.
I agree. I get 5-7 year old Acura, Lexus, even Hondas from private owners. I plan on putting $1000 in for misc repairs. These cars at 100k are just getting broke in. Why mess with GM or Ford reliability, quality or like the OP know the problems start at 100k miles. My everyday car is 1995 Honda wagon with 185k and 1996 Acura tl with 80k. Last year the Honda took me to Colorado, Tenn, and Florida.
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Many different opinions
Old 03-24-2013, 06:04 AM   #44
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Many different opinions

My self, I have bought more new cars than used. Each was bought with the idea of keeping it till the wheels fall off. In my raising kids days a Plymouth Mini Van lasted 8 yrs, 215000 miles with only having to replace a fuel pump. Other than that just normal ware and tear items. My problem is that I just get tired of a car after 5 years and enjoy a change. Often you are in a different stage in your life with kids grown and off on there own, or your interested in new hobbies and a different style ride would be a better fit. I am sure I have spent more on cars than I needed too over the years but I love weekend road trips and it's worth it to me.
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Old 03-24-2013, 08:04 AM   #45
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I'm looking for a different car now. My present car is a 95 Nissan altima that I bought used from a private seller - $10k with 10,000 miles in 97. It's been a great car. New tires, 2 mufflers (bought the lifetime guarantee, 2nd one was free), valve cover gasket and most recently the o-ring in the distributor. The body and paint has not endured well.

I've been trying to find a used vehicle again, unforunately there are a lot of private sellers who want (desperately need) what they have left on the loan vs. blue book. There's no reasoning with these finance fools I've learned.

On the new car front I discovered that thru my employer I can get an employee discount on most makes of cars. Ford seems to offer the best deal on new with this scenario - for me, cost is dealer invoice + incentives on new vehicles. Here is the long list of partner companies that Ford offers X-plan pricing. Still not sure if I want a Ford.
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Old 03-24-2013, 09:02 AM   #46
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I always buy new and keep the cars for 15 years. I done that with the last 10 cars.
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Old 03-24-2013, 09:23 AM   #47
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Worked in the auto industry a fair bit. The quality gap was quite real even 10 years ago, the car companies were extremely lazy about improving their quality when they had a firm lead on foreign cars, and even when their lead was slowly shrinking. It was not until the car companies started going bankrupt that they really started changing their ways.

The car reviews improved drastically as a result as well. The problem with the reviews though was they were rating some of the worst model years for US cars (the ones from the early-mid 90's) as pretty good, even though the US auto makers were reaching their peak idiocy point. This was about the time when they hopped on the, "lets make only SUV's and discard all our sedans because it makes us lots of money," idiocy train. Gas had been sitting at $3-4/gallon for multiple years and the only new models they had planned for the next four years at the time were SUV's at the particular company I was working for (which is the one I would least recommend buying anything from).
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reliability
Old 03-24-2013, 09:55 AM   #48
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reliability

Consumer Reports used to have a graph of car brand reliability (as measured by average number of repairs) over time. I can't find it at the moment. Toyota brands destroyed everyone else over time. By 8-10 years old, Toyota brands significantly gapped even the Honda brands, which hugely gapped all other brands. CR has been criticized as having Toyota-mania, but their data collection methods seem more solid than anyone elses'. Certainly their stats are more reliable than the anecdotal evidence from one or a couple individuals.

Check out the two attached docs. I wish it weren't true, but it seems like there is still a huge reliability gap between Asian brands (especially Japanese) and American and European brands. In the reliability vs score matrix, obviously the "test score" on the x-axis is a very subjective measure, but the reliability on the y-axis is not.
Attached Images
File Type: png 2013-03 - Auto Brands - Reliability versus Score.png (340.3 KB, 43 views)
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 2013-03 - Auto Brand Reliability.pdf (70.2 KB, 13 views)
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Old 03-24-2013, 10:59 AM   #49
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We buy three to four year old low used cars mileage cars.

But we would never consider GM, Chrysler, or Ford products. These tend to be at the bottom of the quality/reliability spectrum. I drove a new one of these every year as a company car...everything from the luxury versions, the SUV's, and the standard sedans. My experience was far too many issues and the dealer service deptartments were much less oriented to service and to quality than their foreign plate cousins-notwithstanding often being manufactured in the same country.

We have had great success buying higher end Toyota and Honda sedans. Usually with a full load. We get them inspected, etc. At four years old, we expect to pay around half of their current price. The last car we bought, a 2006 Accord EXL had 26K miles with full load/leather etc. It has been a great car.

I picked up the recent Consumer Reports New/Used car mag. It is on the stands now. Take a look at their comments and their reliablity records.
+1

In 2003, we purchased a 3 year old Toyota RAV4 with 50K miles. It now has 175K miles and we've never had a serious issue. We'll probably replace it at about 200K miles (with another RAV).

My son is still driving the 1992 Toyota Tacoma we bought new. It has well over 200K miles. I'd never consider buying a car that could give me only 100K miles of reliable use. The longer we hold onto a vehicle, the less the overall costs (assuming the kind of reliability we've come to expect from Toyota)
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Old 03-24-2013, 11:35 AM   #50
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Now that we are retiring ... we drive very little > maybe 50 miles a month. We walk to our center~ for gym/food/etc. The main town is a straight 6 miles down the road >> so we make a run once a week or so. This 96 Acura will most probably be our last .
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Old 03-24-2013, 12:23 PM   #51
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Agree most stats suggest overall car reliability has improved significantly over past 10yrs for all makes. The defect rates of "best"models from 10-15yrs ago could be below ave in today's market. And the absolute ave defect rates between best & worst models seems to have narrowed over the years too.

I agree that anecdotal experience is not as good as large survey stats, but respectfully disagree that CR's data collection methods are the "best". CR surveys have significant issues. Surveys are sent only annually (recall bias) and include only CR subscribers (sampling bias).
New Car Reliability | Best & Worst Reliability - Consumer Reports
Those who don't agree with CR's opinions tend to cancel their subscriptions. And others who have criticized CR methods have been (ahem) 'contacted' by CR's aggressive legal dept.
Statistical problems of Consumer Reports auto ratings
And some top reliability rated cars in CR survey have had serious widespread problems, like infamous engine sludge legal settlement covering some 3+million Toyotas (inc Camry) TOYOTA DEAL: HERE COMES THE SLUDGE JUDGE | The Center for Autosafety
Personally I have more respect for the other large auto survey, JD Power, which subscribes to survey industry code of ethics (inc methodology & respondent rights standards).
2013 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study Results | J.D. Power
Not quite sure what to think about the newest large auto survey, TrueDelta.

In any case, I would research the specific car I'm considering. Overall brand reliability is nice for advertising, but truth is every maker has had at least a few less than stellar products over the years. And there are some great cars from some mediocre brands.

BTW...Ford shoppers- Ford's X-Plan is NOT "employee discount" (A-Plan) but rather less generous "supplier discount". I have been X-Plan eligible for years & found many dealers beat X-Plan pricing anyway on all but the most popular models. (See edmonds.com for True Market Value, or what folks have actually paid recently for specific cars). Ford's A-Plan is much better if you qualify, and dealers usu won't meet that deal for non-employees.
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Old 03-24-2013, 12:41 PM   #52
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Wow, you folks really work hard at finding cars compared to us!

Let's see:
Only car ever bought new was 1988 GMC Jimmy. Put 385,000 miles on it.
Since then we've bought:
90 something Buick wagon for $1,000, drove 2 years, sold for $500.
90 something Saturns, one stick, one auto, $1000 for stick, I think maybe $3000 for auto. Drove them from around 100k mile mark to way way over 200k mark.
Current daily drivers (my commute is 60 miles rt and DH actually drives for work)
2000 or so Oldsmobile $1000 and a 2001 Buick LeSabre. Love these cars. We bought them a couple of years ago, both with over 200k miles.

I buy from Craigslist, individuals only, no dealers. Look people in the eye. No lemons...ever. We also own a 76 Airstream and a 1990 school bus. The AS is the most expensive vehicle in the fleet, having cost $9k or so in 2003.

Cars mean absolutely nothing to us--just something to drive to and from work and out of town on occasion. If they break down and are too expensive to fix, just sell them to the junk yard and pick up another one for a few thousand dollars. Meh.

I can't imagine wasting more energy, effort, or money on nicer cars. Ever. They all get sold by the pound to the scrapyard eventually so why bother?
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Old 03-24-2013, 01:11 PM   #53
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I always buy new and keep the cars for 15 years. I done that with the last 10 cars.

Now there's experience you can trust; what oil do you use?
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Old 03-24-2013, 01:22 PM   #54
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2 years into a Subaru Forester.....they just don't sell as many total cars, but I don't understand why they don't get accepted more. With hind-site... coming back from the UK to the US I would have bought a Honda Fit....would have been more appropriate.
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Old 03-24-2013, 01:51 PM   #55
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I would rather buy new and keep it for 10 years. The depreciation factor is offset by piece of mind
This is what we are doing. We bought used cars when the kids turned 16, and probably easily spent double or triple the purchase price in keeping the darned things running.

I save up and pay cash, and DH's employee discount helps, but it's still a painful experience. I'd rather go to the dentist.
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Old 03-24-2013, 02:05 PM   #56
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I can't imagine wasting more energy, effort, or money on nicer cars. Ever. They all get sold by the pound to the scrapyard eventually so why bother?
You could pretty much say that about anything. I mean almost everything eventually becomes worthless junk. That doesn't mean that there isn't any value in buying something of higher quality. (I'm not saying that high quality is always worth it, but sometimes it is).

That said, I think one can make the case that nicer cars can be worthwhile.

When I was working full-time both DH and I had long commutes. My round trip commute was usually 2 to 3 hours a day and DH was similar. When I spend that much time in a car 5 days a week, well that was something where I didn't want to be in a junker. Even now when I commute only twice a week (about 3 1/2 hours in the car for the round trip) I like being in a car that is comfortable to me. Many of the more frivolous features while certainly discretionary make that long drive much more pleasant for me.

And the safety features of newer cars and the less basic cars are very real. If I was only driving a short distance each day I might feel differently but with having to drive almost 60 miles to my office on a major freeway, I like having adaptive cruise control and blind side warning, for example. I use the rear camera back up all the day. It is infinitely safer than a car without the rear camera. I like having navigation and it enhances my quality of life.

I don't believe in frivolously replacing cars. Our last few vehicles we have given to kids to drive as they turned 18, but the last vehicle we actually sold before that had almost 200k miles on it when we sold it.
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Old 03-24-2013, 02:35 PM   #57
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I can't imagine wasting more energy, effort, or money on nicer cars. Ever. They all get sold by the pound to the scrapyard eventually so why bother?
You could pretty much say that about anything. I mean almost everything eventually becomes worthless junk. That doesn't mean that there isn't any value in buying something of higher quality. (I'm not saying that high quality is always worth it, but sometimes it is).
No kidding. Sarah, do you feel the same way about food? After all, it winds up in the same place. You could save a lot of money by just eating ramen noodles, why worry about taste or comfort or health or safety or reliability or anything like that.
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Old 03-24-2013, 03:32 PM   #58
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Was the thread about saving money on buying used or new?.......or just which car you preferred driving? I think we were getting away from the topic...everybody likes to stick up for the way they do things....nothing wrong with that....to each their own. I don't think there is a definite "right" answer to the question though...
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Old 03-24-2013, 03:45 PM   #59
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Trust me, my cars have AC, stereos, good tires, brakes, and whatever that newfangled anti lock stuff is called. And I drive 60 miles a day and DH drives 30,000 miles a year.

Maybe we are just hardier folk, Katsmeow!
After all, our idea of an awesome vacation is driving a Mototaxi 1500 miles across Peru!

Food is good, either way. We do like cheap Mexican, though, come to think of it! So yes!

And I was saying y'all put a lot of effort into it, not that there was something wrong with you.
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Old 03-24-2013, 05:10 PM   #60
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Sarah sounds like you've got some great car deals! In many areas (inc mine) $1000 would not buy you a car that runs, let alone runs well. From what I can tell, published valuations of 2001 LeSabre w 200k mi in ave condition are generally ~$3,000+ (bit more from a dealer). Maybe you could start a used car business
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