Last post on Dec 08, 2013 at 7:13 PM
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Chevrolet Malibu, Nissan Maxima, Mazda MAZDA3, Nissan Altima, Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Lexus IS 250, Acura TSX, Car Comparisons, Sedan
#3389 of 3640 Naive purchaser looking for advice
Aug 19, 2013 (4:18 pm)
Hey everybody, I'm Chase and I知 an inexperienced car shopper on the hunt for a used Civic in Portland, Oregon. It is a purchase I壇 like to make in the next 6 weeks (though I値l wait longer if I have to) and I知 hoping that you all can share some of your wisdom with me so that I make a smart purchase.
Here is the lowdown as far as budget and needs are concerned:
Budget: $7,000 is the absolute ceiling and ideally it would be from a private seller.
Wants: Most importantly I want to be able to drive it for up to 60,000 miles hassle free. These would be easy city miles and I壇 expect them to come over the course of 5-7 years of driving. I would like it to be a 4 door sedan with good to great gas mileage (30+ on the hwy would be nice), and, as far as amenities are concerned, cruise control would be nice but A/C is essential.
Primarily I am looking to know what model years to look at or to stay away froom; more specifically, with regards to my hope of getting 60,000 miles of hassle free driving out of the vehicle, I'm hoping to get some insight about what my cutoff point for mileage on a prospective purchase should be or how I might change my preferences to something more realistic.
Another question that I have been wondering about in the past few days:
Should I expect to pay more than edmunds appraisal values for a vehicle?
Thanks in advance!
#3390 of 3640 Re: Naive purchaser looking for advice [acemanhattan]
Aug 19, 2013 (4:34 pm)
For that kind of money and a private party sale you can most likely get something in the 2001-2005 Civic generation, LX 4-door (with cruise and AC), with 100k miles give-or-take some. If you keep it 5-7 years, it will be at minimum 13-15 years old when you're done with it, with 150k+ miles at least.
Odds are something will break or wear out while you own it. That's the down side of driving a well-used car. The best years of such a car are behind it.
Not long ago I checked out a 2003 Civic EX 4-door that looked great inside and out. Had 120k miles. The dealer selling it had done a lot of work on it before putting it on the market. But when I test drove it, the clutch made a popping sound. So I passed. They wanted $6800, which I thought was too much for a 10-year-old Civic with 120k miles and an unknown problem in the clutch/transmission.
I wound up buying a 2005 Mazda6i Sport hatch with 160k miles for $4880. Great condition inside and out, everything worked... for a few weeks. Then the alternator started failing. Repair shop wanted $500 to replace it. (I bought the part on the Web and had a friend who's a good mechanic to put it in for me: total cost $160.)
The Civic will be as reliable as any other $7k car you can buy, but don't expect to put $0 into it for 5-7 years of city driving.
#3391 of 3640 Re: Naive purchaser looking for advice [acemanhattan]
Aug 19, 2013 (6:30 pm)
A Civic is a good choice and they are generally reliable year after year. Are you limiting yourself to just that model? Consumer Reports annual auto issue has a section called "used vehicle best bets" that is worth looking at. They also have reliability stats on each model going back several years so you can find out if there have been problems with a particular year. They also list prices you can expect to pay so you can get idea of a good amount to offer.
As others have said, you will have to do some repairs on even the best used car. A car 10 or more years old will have parts that wear out. It is imperative that you have a mechanic check out a car before you buy it to make sure it is in good working condition when you buy it.
Aug 19, 2013 (7:04 pm)
Thanks for the responses.
I am not opposed to looking at other models; I just figured it would be easier for me to become an expert in 6 weeks on one model as opposed to looking at them all. I know Mazda makes a good vehicle and the Toyota Camary would probably fit the bill too. Thanks for the information on Consumer Report, though I was under the impression that you have to pay for a subscription? What is the best way to get that issue, is it readily available online?
#3394 of 3640 Re: Naive purchaser looking for advice [backy]
Aug 20, 2013 (12:03 am)
I agree with backy's thoughts here. A 10 year old car with nearly 100k is going to have some expensive repairs over the next 7 years.
If you have $7000 now, how about this: get a brand-new 2013 Civic LX for c. $17,500. For only a little bit down you'll have payments of about $300 a month. A new Civic is likely to have at least 7 years of almost trouble-free driving, with only regular maintenance. And at the end of seven years it'll probably have a resale value of c. 7000 or so. With a 10-year old used car, you might have repairs of as much as 3000 or more over 7 years. In other words, the cost might actually be about the same in the long run, but rather than driving an old car that'll probably cause you considerable trouble you'll be driving a new car that's faster, safer, more reliable, and gets better mpg.
You local Honda dealer (or Toyota or Hyundai etc ) wants your business and has low 1.9 factory financing available if you have good credit.
My guess is that you're in your 20s. When I was in my 20s I bought used car after used car, another one every 5 years or so, and each one had significant repair and maintenance issues that cost $$$. Looking back on it, I think for the same money I could have been driving a new car and keeping it longer.
Just my 2 cents.
#3395 of 3640 Re: Honda Civic [acemanhattan]
Aug 20, 2013 (2:39 am)
The Civic is a good choice if you want to look at just one model. The library sometimes carries Consumer Reports issues; the April issue is their annual auto issue. Edmunds also has good info on used cars as does Autotrader online. Toyotas are also good choices, especially the Corolla. One you may not have considered is the Pontiac Vibe, a hatchback which is actually a Toyota Matrix but cheaper because it doesn't have the Toyota nameplate. I have one and it is like the Earthshoe of cars; just keeps on going in its plain solid way year after year.
If you look at a hybrid consider how old the battery is as they are very expensive to replace. You will probably be able to get a newer gas model cheaper and they get good gas mileage too.
Tom and Ray, the car guys, say that as a rule of thumb you should expect to put $1000 per year into a used car. Maybe not every year but there will be some years when you do. So put some $ aside for the inevitable repairs. That's still less per year than a $300/month car payment. Insurance is less too. When I was in my 20's I couldn't afford a new car payment and we had used cars for years. My kids did too.
#3396 of 3640 Re: Honda Civic [acemanhattan]
by Kirstie@Edmunds HOST
Aug 20, 2013 (5:31 am)
I rarely give absolute, black-and-white advice, but I'm going to this time:
DO NOT GET THE CIVIC HYBRID.
If you have to replace the hybrid battery during your period of ownership, which is almost a certainty, you are looking at thousands of dollars. The model years you would be looking at also had some issues, one of which caused degradation of MPG, so you would have a problem vehicle AND you wouldn't be reaping the benefits of fuel savings. Just enter "Civic Hybrid" into the search box on the left of this page and you can find a list of discussions about that vehicle, most of them with the word "problems" in the discussion title.
#3397 of 3640 Re: Hybrids? [acemanhattan]
Aug 20, 2013 (6:44 am)
Ace - agree with Kirstie - Honda Civic Hybrids have a very poor track record. I had an 09 - hybrid battery was replaced in first year I had it - vehicle was returned at the end of 2 year lease. If not under warranty, hybrid battery replacement would've been $3-4000.
#3398 of 3640 Re: Naive purchaser looking for advice [benjaminh]
Aug 20, 2013 (7:10 am)
Benjamin has a good point here. Even a lease might work. A 10 year old Honda civic will not be worth much in 5-6 years from now not to mention the repairs you might face. Bethpa over in the civic lease thread just leased a couple of LXs for a around 200 a month with zero due at signing. You could use your $7000 fund for the payments. Honda leases are very customer friendly - includes gap insurance, $1500 wear and tear waiver at end of lease and you have the option to extend the lease up to 24 months if you wish at the same payment (they adjust the residual accordingly). I only offer the lease option because you stated you won't be driving many miles.