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View Diary: How A Woman Should Buy a Car (64 comments)

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  •  Exactly (1+ / 0-)
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    Back in the mid-eighties I found a book written by an insider (ex-car dealer salesman) who essentially gave the same advice. Only that was before the inter-webs made researching easy. You had to buy or get your hands on a paperback book that was published twice a year that listed every make and model of car and every price on every available option. The book's author gave examples of so-called rebates that were then put back into the total cost by a corresponding increase in the cost of an option.The author also advised doing research beforehand with Consumers Reports annual report on all makes and models of cars for their repair history.

    I followed his advice, with the added step of reading reviews in Road and Track, and Car and Driver -- because for me driving a car is more than just how reliable it is. It has to be fun, too. It seemed to me that a POV from car enthusiasts would help me arrive at a better set of choices for myself.

    Man, it worked to perfection! I narrowed my choices down to a Ford and a Plymouth. Sure enough, the Ford had the rebate hidden in a higher cost on one of the options. The Plymouth was fairly priced out. The Ford drove like a dog, so the Plymouth was the winner for me. I figured in what was a fair profit for the dealer, named my price, said no to all the up selling, and drove away happy. I loved that car, and was happy with its reliability, and drove it for a decade until it was nearly rusted apart.

    I have followed similar paths with subsequent car purchases, which were late model American sedans bought used. The last one, a Buick, I finally gave to my brother at 201,000 miles, and he has since piled on another 10,000 miles. I believe she has another 40,000 left in her.

    I finally did my bit for the American economy and bought a new Chrysler a year ago. This one was a re-design of an existing model, so it had no repair history. In general, I would advise against brand new models and redesigns; let others be the guinee pigs. But I took a chance, and a year later I am so far extremely satisfied. I tend to drive my cars until they're rusted out hulks (that Buick I mentioned was the exception - for some reason it just didn't rust.)

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