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My dad was truly a master of all trades, especially when it came to cars.  He always had one or two in the shed that he was working on at any given time.  His favorite 'tinkering' machine was the cantankerous and finicky Corvair.  As a little girl, I spent hours watching my dad tinker with old cars, and I learned a thing or too.  He planted early seeds of appreciation for a well-maintained, sparkling clean ride that anyone could be proud of.

When it came to buying a car, my dad was no less thorough in teaching me the salient points.  An event that occurred very rarely, buying a car was a really, really big deal.  He took me with him, and coached me on how to do my research and be prepared before I ever set foot in a showroom.

1966 Corvair

For some odd reason, salespeople always sell differently to women than to men.  They don't expect us to have done our homework. Women buy 60 percent of all new cars and 53 percent of used cars, and spend $300 billion on buying used cars and keeping them repaired. Polling by CarMax finds that many car-buying decisions by women are prompted by life events, with a new job cited by 37 percent, retirement by 23 percent, and pregnancy/having an additional child by 15 percent.  

Buying a car shouldn't be a scary experience, it should be FUN!  Just because we don't think with our 'small head' when we're buying (like some men do), doesn't mean it can't be an enjoyable experience.  I've bought six cars in my lifetime, and my advice:

1) choose price range you can afford
2) choose features you absolutely must have, like size (sedan or suv), driving style (sporty or luxury), gas mileage, interior design (is it easy to operate inside, easy to reach controls, etc)
3)choose dealership/brand with location near you or work for servicing (do they provide a loaner)
4) determine how you'll pay (trade-in, finance, lease, or cash)
5) if trade-in, know the value of your car
Once you figure these things out, narrow it down to 4 or 5 vehicles that you like.  Then go test drive them.  NEVER buy a vehicle on the first visit!  You will pay the highest price on that visit.

Once you narrow it down to the car that you must absolutely have, then go and look, drive, and discuss pricing. Again, DON'T buy it yet.  Let the salesman sweat it a little.  Leave the showroom and come back.

For an all-around great vehicle with great gas mileage, I have several friends who like the Honda Fit. It comes with great features, like navigation, and sports handling for around $20,000.  I'm currently looking at the Lexus CT 200 Hybrid, with 43 mpg!

So, ladies, how do you buy a car?  

Good Luck!

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (35+ / 0-)

    Know what you believe, why you believe it, who believes with you, and how it matters. Stand for what you believe, believe what you stand for.

    by VeloVixen on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 03:01:33 PM PST

  •  I picked out the features I wanted online, (13+ / 0-)

    went to the MINI dealership and told the guy who dealt with me exactly what features I wanted (NO, I did NOT want a sunroof, and stop trying to talk me into one).  

    Then I wrote out the deposit check, went home and waited 6 months.

    Strength and dignity are her clothing, she rejoices at the days to come; She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue.

    by loggersbrat on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 03:08:52 PM PST

  •  I used to sell cars and trucks. I sold the first (19+ / 0-)

    Silverado truck in Vermont. Guys used to love having a chick explain to them about short ignition wires and the harmonic tuner over the engine block.

    So I know you are giving out some good advice here, VeloVixen.

    It has been well said that a hungry man is more interested in four sandwiches than four freedoms. ~ Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.

    by 4Freedom on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 03:15:54 PM PST

  •  I was hit by a drunk driver in 2002. This (12+ / 0-)

    was a total loss for by barely owned 2002 Toy 4 Runner. (my 4th Toyota.)

    What I did was buy a 2003, but this time with air bags all over the place. ALL over the place. I didn't have side air bags in the 2002.

    THAT was my big issue, and I really didn't care about much else.

    My next vehicle will be a used pick up because sometimes, I just can't get what I need in an SUV and at some point will want to haul hay. Might buy one at the auction:)

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 03:22:36 PM PST

  •  While you're stopping by, please give a REC (6+ / 0-)

    Thanks!

    Know what you believe, why you believe it, who believes with you, and how it matters. Stand for what you believe, believe what you stand for.

    by VeloVixen on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 03:26:11 PM PST

  •  I need to fit a string bass in my car (12+ / 0-)

    So, that is my primary and secondary concern.  I was sold a Honda Fit when toward the end of the day the dealership 20 miles away from home let us take it to Costco shopping and then home to check to see if the bass fit in it before bringing it back.  This was a 40+ mile trip on a car with less than 30 miles on it.

    Needless to say, after figuring out that it was the best overall car we had found as it was not quite the best cabin experience or rear end loading, but a good combination of both, the dealership sold us with their friendliness without a hard sell.

    Everyone has individual needs.  A good sales person listens and notes those to fill them.

  •  I remember that a while back (7+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VeloVixen, slowbutsure, chimpy, weck, DvCM, JeffW, TexDem

    Several studies showed that women are overwhelmingly the ones who ask the salesperson questions about the vehicle - concerning safety, gas, most technical aspects, insurance, etc. and men seem to buy more on impulse overall, hence it's even been suggested in several men's car magazines to actually "bring your wife with you so you aren't tempted to go for the cool but seriously dangerous car nobody would ever want be in when you're driving".

    But hey, the title of this diary should be: How People Should Buy a Car. Women and men aren't totally different creatures. ;)

  •  I bought my last two cars from friends. (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VeloVixen, slowbutsure, weck, DvCM, JeffW, TexDem

    First one was a 1991 Camry purchased from an officemate who had a new baby and was getting something larger. Put 90K miles on it and bought another Camry from a neighbor on my block who had inherited it from her father. I expect to get 90K miles out of this Camry even though it is a 1995 (but its mileage was less than 50K when I purchased it).

    I've had very good luck with Toyotas since I bought my first one (a Corolla) in 1985. I get the oil changed regularly and that's about it. I'm a fairly gentle driver, so I no doubt get more life out of my cars than most. And I'm not fussy about details (both Camrys are automatics when I'd much prefer a standard transmission - but paid $3800 combined for the cars and sold the 1991 for $1100, so I got very good deals that made up for getting features that aren't my preference).

    I think my advice to prospective purchasers is not to shop when you need something NOW. Puts you in a bad bargaining position. Lots easier to purchase something when there's little to no pressure - but the diarist alluded to that in her post. So, when your current car is nearing the end of its life, purchase its replacement before you get to the emergency stage.

    The world is not interested in the storms you encountered, but did you bring in the ship.

    by Hanging Up My Tusks on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 03:52:45 PM PST

  •  I'm not in the market for newer quite yet (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VeloVixen, slowbutsure, weck, a2nite, JeffW, TexDem

    but will be soon. I'll look for another Toyota or perhaps a Honda. Since I'm short, visibility is a big issue for me. A lot of the newer designs make it hard to see, a bigger blind spot. So I will watch for that. I'm not big on bells and whistles, so it can be a fairly simple car. But it needs to be better than the 1997 Tercel (Son is currently using) which I'll be driving at that point. No doubt, that is easy to do!

    The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway. ~ Mother Teresa

    by Melanie in IA on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 03:57:51 PM PST

  •  Just bought a Prius plug-in (8+ / 0-)

    My 17-year-old small car, aka the Peacemobile, was hit in the parking lot outside my office by a nitwit. ("I'm so sorry! I guess I should have looked before I backed into your car.") Too old to fix, according to the insurance companies, sigh.

    So we moved up the timetable, did our homework on highly efficient cars that could still go a couple of hundred miles once in a while, and set out to look at plug-in hybrids. The Ford C-max is not actually in the local dealerships yet, and I was a little worried about being one of the first 1,000 people to buy one. The Volt is awesome, and we liked that pretty well. But we loved the Prius from the first test drive around town. Since there were only three plug-in hybrids on the list, it came down to waiting a couple of months for the Volt with our preferred color and options, or taking the Prius right away. Pretty safe bet from the tech and reliability standpoint, and the most fun to drive of all three, so not that hard a call. Next up is adding solar electric to house.

  •  I think I buy a car like most guys. I go in (7+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VeloVixen, KenBee, weck, DvCM, a2nite, JeffW, TexDem

    knowing what I want, what's it's worth and what the latest research is.

    I did not test drive my last 2 cars. The first was a PT Cruiser that I special ordered. First one in town to have one. Sold it 4 months later for a profit. (It sucked).

    Next car - a Matrix I bought on line from a dealer I trust here in town. They had to order the one I wanted but offerred me a test drive in a similar one.

    I had broken my finger about an hour before I went to sign all the papers so I passed on the test drive.

    As I sat at a desk while my salesman went to get paperwork another customer came up to me and asked if I knew my salesman as he was so nice. Nope. Just met him.

    Her's was a dick and she was a buying a car more than 60k more than mine. Plus, she said she was a doctor and he was treating her like an idiot.

    I jumped on that one "Oh, you're a doctor could you take a look at my finger?"

    And I suggested she ask for a different salesman. Spending that much money should be fun!

    Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

    by ZenTrainer on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 04:15:02 PM PST

  •  In our family, I always do the car-buying. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VeloVixen, Xtatic, weck, TexDem

    My father taught me how, and I'm good at it.

    Haven't seen much change over the years in how people treat me. Men, treat me, I should say.

    You're buying the car?
    Yes, I am. I even buy my husband's car. He hates car buying and most car salesmen. He tells me what he wants, and I go research, then drive a number of them. He doesn't want to drive more than two or three. And then he's happy to disappear and let me dicker.

    My favorite buying experiences have been with women selling me cars.

    Currently driving an 08 Subaru Impreza. I love this car. It's my first non-mom car. No longer driving kids everywhere. No longer carpooling with other moms. No one to get in my car and mess it up.
    It goes really fast (not the WRX model, and it still goes fast). It's superb in its ability to hang onto the road, whether we're in the mountains, in a downpour, in the fog,supposedly on snow too but we get very little of that.
    Have had a mountain goat climb over the guardrail and stand dead-still on the center line in front of me. Nowhere to go. The car stopped, somehow. My mother screamed, and even I doubted the car, but it stopped.
    Did a nightmare trip to Kentucky when my MIL died in a downpour/fog/tornadoes in the next county that night. Three different animals ran across the road in front of me. I thought we were cursed. The car handled it.
    It's incredibly comfortable to drive. The seats fold down to nothing and with the hatchback, I can get almost anything in the back. We were renovating the house to put it on the market when I got this car. Put a lot of fixtures in the back.
    It's fun to drive, and I get 25 MPG. Only paid $19,050 for it, too. New. About $300 over invoice.

    Confession time: When I'm not ranting about politics, I write romance novels

    by teresahill on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 04:21:33 PM PST

    •  Love me some Subaru!! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VeloVixen, weck, TexDem

      The salespeople there are great- they will pop the hood to show you what's under the hood and how that's important to why you should buy. We bought our first new car - a Subaru Legacy in 1997. It has a few problems today but for the most part but it is still going!

      •  My saleswoman wanted to show me (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VeloVixen, weck, Xtatic, DvCM, a2nite, TexDem

        how great the suspension system was. Had me in an empty parking lot and told me to do some S-shaped swerves. I didn't go fast enough or turn the car sharply enough to suit her, so we did it again. I went faster and she took the wheel and really sent us into some swerves. Most fun test drive ever.

        Confession time: When I'm not ranting about politics, I write romance novels

        by teresahill on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 04:33:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Honestly this is pretty much how I buy everything (7+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VeloVixen, weck, nchristine, DvCM, a2nite, JeffW, TexDem

    It applies to computers, home appliances, power tools etc. Spend time proportional to the value of the item. I spent days researching my last vacuum (a Riccar). Know your stuff and you won't get talked into stuff you don't need and that's not a good deal.

    I always tick off the car dealers because I know I want to spend x and I have that worked out in terms of a 4 year loan and they always come back with terms of a 5 or 6 year loan. I have a finance calculator that allows you to do simple loan calculations so you can know what they are really offering you. Nowadays you can find an app or website that will do that for you. 15 years ago the salesmen were quite annoyed by my calculator!

  •  Buying a car with pennies (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    weck, DvCM, TexDem

    Know what you believe, why you believe it, who believes with you, and how it matters. Stand for what you believe, believe what you stand for.

    by VeloVixen on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 04:36:20 PM PST

  •  How to make a man buy you a car (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    weck, TexDem

    Know what you believe, why you believe it, who believes with you, and how it matters. Stand for what you believe, believe what you stand for.

    by VeloVixen on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 04:37:30 PM PST

  •  My wife knew what she wanted (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    weck, DvCM, VeloVixen, JeffW, TexDem

    when she bought her most recent car and during the negotiation process she just sat silent as a sphinx as they kept coming down on the price. After about ten minutes, at which they'd already come down $1500 on a $20K car she said, "OK, well, then, thank you", picked up her pocket book and they came down another $700 and lowered their financing rate by .5%

    Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

    by milkbone on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 05:01:18 PM PST

  •  Lexus CT200? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VeloVixen, a2nite, TexDem

    Fairly efficient, but basically a tarted up Toyota Corolla with a Prius power train. Dull as dishwater to drive.

    To my thinking it's like the Honda CR-Z, another vehicle whose marketers are expecting the hybrid halo to get potential buyers to overlook the fundamentally pedestrian underpinnings and dull handling.

    It annoys me because the manufacturers could do so much better if they really tried.

  •  I spend some time in the seat, being sure that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VeloVixen, TexDem

    there will be lumbar support for a short girl and that I can see out of all the windows. I use the consumer reports magazine to narrow down the models/prices.

    I refuse to buy any thing red (more likely to be hit from behind) or dark (don't like washing cars any more).

    Since I know I will keep the car until it gets rusty, I want it to have music but nothing delicate to break, like moon roof or fancy wheels.

    My 1990 camry was only replaced for rust; but it still had the original exhaust. The 2002 Subaru only has 80,000 miles on it, if I can keep the rust from bothering me, it's good for quite a bit longer!

    Last week at the drug store, there was a weird man smiling on the sidewalk when I pulled into a parking spot.  I fiddled around in the car for a minute hoping he would leave, but when he didn't, I got out and went into the store.  

    He followed me, (creepy) and then, asked me if I would sell him my car!  He said that the forester was the best car ever built, that he already had two of them and kept asking me questions about my car, he nearly swooned when he heard the low milage / never been in an accident info.  

    Finally I had to tell him that he was third in line to get the car, but that I knew his brother and would get in touch if I changed my mind about selling.  I estimate that will be in 2017.  

    The forester has a great seat and is a base model that gets good milage.  I can haul just about anything in my baby, and, as my friend said when we were looking at the dealership,  "there's a velvet lined box in the dashboard for your jewelry!!"  What girl wouldn't buy a car that has a built in jewelry box!

    If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. & http://www.dailykos.com/blog/Okiciyap

    by weck on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 05:21:47 PM PST

  •  I did fantastic when I purchased my 07 Corolla (6+ / 0-)

    in late December of 06.

    I had looked around, test drove, etc.  Looked up prices on various sites, etc.  After the test driving, I decided upon the Corolla.  While test driving, I knew I was going to be paying cash as I had been saving for a couple of years, but when asked about that, I was evasive.  I know I was asked about trade-in for my 89 Honda Accord.  Told them, didn't think so.....  Got all my paper work together and went to the Toyota place on the 28thish and told them I was buying.  The sales guy 'had' to bring in his 'boss' (my dad was there for moral support).  We haggled, we came to a price, shook hands on it.  Then asked about colors, they said that they had a 'dark' grey one that had just gotten off the truck, as I didn't want a white, nor black car.  Said, I'd take it.  They said that they'd get it pulled around.

    Went back to the sales guy's office and then announce, so how much for my old car???  You should have seen the faces of these two guys!!!!  I hadn't signed anything yet as they were just starting the paperwork on their end.  OMG!!!!!!  They went and looked at it and came back with $800, I had seen the Kelly Blue book value for an 89 with less than 90k miles on it... I told them I wanted $1000.  Without hesitation, they upped to $900, the amount I was going to settle for.  But, still..... the looks on their faces!!!!

    When I told the guy that takes care of my Roth IRA stuff about this deal, he was seriously impressed.  I know he's doing some sales on me, but, after that, he's a little less of a 'sales' person to me.

  •  My wife is an expert at hearing the flaws in a car (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DvCM, VeloVixen, Alfreda89, JeffW, TexDem

    You know, the kind you didn't hear over the dealer's spiel and the blasting stereo - then  annoy you for months after.

    Whenever we get in for the inevitable test drive she'll ask the rep to keep quiet and stop demoing the bluetooth, or CD player.

    I don't know how she came on this, it is a real talent. A quirky squeak or rattle that sounds (to me) like it coming from just by my left driver side will be pinpointed - accurately - to the rear passenger side door.

    (As you can imagine this is very useful when looking at any well-used cars).

    She was so good she used to do this for a Rolls-Royce/Buick dealer in Ohio - even having a chance to get rid of the rattle that was so annoying to Annie Glenn - when her husband John bought in their red Buick to be scoped out, by the experts. None of the mechanics could ace it, driver door, passenger door, hood, rims, they checked them all - it ended up being the glove-box.

    So, yeah, my wife helped give John Glenn peace of mind - over his car.

  •  Expect them to cheat you (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DvCM, VeloVixen, TexDem

    Expect the sales people and finance "manager" to cheat you.  The 4-square paper they use to figure price and payments is designed to confuse.  The will cheat you on the value of your trade in.  They will cheat you when they print the contract with a price higher than you've agreed to (I have seen this twice).  They will cheat you with phony charges on the contract that the buyer does not have to pay (I've seen this twice).  They will cheat you with an overpriced prepaid repair contract falsely called an extendd warranty.  They will cheat you with imaginary extras on the car...paint protection, etc.  they will cheat you with overpriced financing where they get a kickback.

    Here are some good tips:  http://www.carbuyingtips.com/  

    Here's pricing info:  http://www.truecar.com/

    You MUST make the stealership people believe that you will walk out if  you don't get YOUR deal.  That is the only leverage you have.  You gott'a be willing to walk.  If you figure out an Out The Door price including tax and everything, write that on a business card or Post It note with the car you want and your phone number, give it to a salesman, and go home.  Let them call you.  Stand your ground.

    Women, and men, if the employee does not treat you with respect, find the general manager.  Tell him that the person is a jerk, and tell him why.

  •  got an '09 fit (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DvCM, VeloVixen, TexDem

    an awesome car.  if there's a single drawback it's that the tiny battery has failed to start the car when it's really cold out.  remedied by plugging it in for a couple hours.  like most AK cars it is equipped with an engine block heater.  just be sure to get the 5-speed manual trans and not the automatic.  making an already underpowered car even more so.  the good news -- 40 mpg out on the open road, 37 or more in the city.  and it has incredible room inside.  highly recommended.  i wouldn't have bought it brand new, though.  would have bought an american car built by unionized workers!

  •  Mileage whoop-dee-doo (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VeloVixen, TexDem

    This diary - and the comments - have been a great read, but all the appreciation of such low mileages really bums me out.   My '94 Geo Metro got 37 to 43 mpg.  I'd still be driving it if some axxhole hadn't hit it so hard that the unibody cracked.  We should all be demanding 50mpg, which is much more reasonable and easy for manufacturers to accomplish.  I'd like to see a diary on the history of the suppression of automotive technology!  

    Too soon old, too late smart.....

    by DvCM on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 06:24:07 PM PST

    •  I had a Geo (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VeloVixen, TexDem

      superb car. It has the same engine as a Toyota. I've had 2 Camry's, 2 Corollas and a Geo- bought 'em all myself- used. All superb cars.

    •  oops (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VeloVixen, TexDem

      should also have added that I'm a rural newspaper carrier- drive 100 miles/ day for the last 15 yrs.  Before that, a rural mail carrier.Can't beat a Toyota. All of mine have gone over 220,000 miles.

    •  they can't make those anymore (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, VeloVixen, TexDem

      the cars have to be heavier with enhanced bumpers, airbags, emission controls and such... all adds weight.  [even more of a problem with a hybrid.]  so the geo metro, honda CRX and the like are no longer possible.  there are great gains being made... V-6s being replaced with turbo 4 cylinders; smaller displacement engines outperforming larger older ones.  change doesn't happen overnight.  the '12 subaru impreza was completely redesigned, with a new engine that's smaller than the old car's but the same power and realized an 8 mpg gain.  the idea that improvements are deliberately being withheld is a little tinfoil hattish for me.  what would be the advantage to the carmaker?  

    •  I recall sometime in the late 70's there was (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VeloVixen, TexDem

      a car that got something like 40mpg.  It quickly disappeared from the market.  Even Ford and a couple of other early developers had gotten fuel consumption to around 70mpg.  But, no.... we need to have gas guzzlers.

  •  I have been a car salesman for 11 years and (7+ / 0-)

    actually not buying a car on your first visit is not that great advice....Your first visit is actually the best time to get a deal, becasue the sales guy (me) will do anything he can to keep you there and buy the car....why you ask?   Well the sales guy is playing the odds.

    The odds are about 20% that you will come back to that dealership and buy from that sales guy (me).  That's two in ten, not good odds.  The sales guy knows that.  So any price you get just before you leave is probably the best price becasue if he lets you walk , that means he can't go any lower and you have won.

    If you are buying a new car, it really is simple.  There is no need to go back and forth.  Go on-line and get the invoice for the particular car that you want with the options etc..
    Then go in to the dealership and offer two hundred dollars over invoice. That is two hundred dollars over what they paid for the car.  And with rebates and other incentives you will actually end up getting the car below the dealers cost.  Trust me 90% of the dealers will take that deal, they are more interested in volume than profit per car.

    On a used car things are slightlly different but just as easy.  When you find the right brand, year, and model find out what  the wholesale bluebook price is...and offer $500-$1,000 above the wholesale bluebook (depending on the vehicle).
    That is a fair price and again most dealerships will take that deal...

    Most car salesman now, make their paycheck on units sold ( volume) They have certain bonuses at certain levels...so they and the dealership are interested in moving the metal and not making a killing on one vehicle.  I am not saying it doesn't happen mind you, I am just saying it's more the exception now....Hope this helps....and if you are ever in San Diego and want  a Kia or a good used car  look me up LOL, I treat all my customers men , women and Romney voters with all due respect........

    " We're all here for a spell, get all the good laughs you can."................Will Rogers

    by tvdude on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 06:35:53 PM PST

    •  That's great advice from an insider (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Trotskyrepublican, JeffW, TexDem

      Thanks!

      Know what you believe, why you believe it, who believes with you, and how it matters. Stand for what you believe, believe what you stand for.

      by VeloVixen on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:11:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TexDem

      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.)

  •  i've never been able to horse-trade on a car (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VeloVixen, a2nite, TexDem

    mainly due to timidity. i've had a lot of new cars and the only one that i didn't pay extra for was a special build 1986 buick le sabre where i took in a home-made form with price and everything i wanted, went off to a dealership, and just handed the salesman my form.

    recently i've got a mild case of used-car fever (can't afford new anymore) but i'm going to have to work up to going.

  •  i found that the car gets its best mileage (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VeloVixen, TexDem

    and also pollutes a lot less when i leave it in the driveway and ride my bike to work!  ;

  •  A good way to avoid the hard sell (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, VeloVixen, TexDem

    My brother and sister-in-law decided on what car they wanted and how much they wanted to spend.  She called a dealer and said, "We want to buy an ABC for $XYZ.  If you have one, we'll come in for it.  Otherwise, we'll look elsewhere."

    After a few minutes, the salesman told her that, yes, they had one at her price and she could come in for it.

    Then she said, "We don't want any extras, add-ons, or special deals.  If you try to sell us anything other than this car, we will turn around immediately and walk out.  Do you understand me?"

    "Yes."

    They went in, signed the papers, and drove away.

    "If they give you lined paper, write the other way." (Juan Ramon Jimenez)

    by bread on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:12:45 PM PST

  •  haven't had to buy for me since '03, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TexDem

    but bought for my SO in '05, son1 in '09, and my MIL in summer of '10.

    1. Do your research.
    2. Know what the person you're buying for can afford.
    3. Trust your gut: if the sales sharks are pushing you to something other than you want, or need to know stuff like your SSN when you haven't looked at a car yet, get the hell out of there pronto.

    LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

    by BlackSheep1 on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:33:55 PM PST

  •  This diary reminds me of a story (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    harchickgirl1, Mrs M, TexDem, greenomanic

    that my Mom told about my "Gram" and "Pop" (not really my grandparents but called them that since mine were all long passed) buying a car in the 1960's.  They walked into a Buick dealer in Chicago, my Gram wearing a "babushka" scarf on her head and an old, slightly shabby but warm coat since it was freezing out.  She also had a big shopping bag with her.  She was looking at the high end cars and a snotty salesman tried to imply that she should be looking at the used car side of the lot or maybe not even be there.  She simply walked away from him, waited for another salesman to approach, and negotiated to buy the most expensive car on the lot.  She then reached into the shopping bag and pulled out something like $17,000 (a LOT of money for a car in the mid 60's) and paid cash.  As they pulled the new car up for her, she excused herself and walked over to the snotty salesman.  She said in her heavy Chicago accent "Now, sonny, that will teach you to be rude to an old woman in a babushka".  Then she got into her shiny new car and drove off.

    The GOP -- Hating Women, Gays and People of Color since 1854

    by Former Chicagoan Now Angeleno on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 11:09:33 PM PST

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