Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Hello Gas Prices

The time has finally come to give in and buy a new car. The only reason I have put it off as long as I have is that I love not having a car payment. But now that car payments have turned into car repairs, and the cost of gas is skyrocketing again, it's time to just face the music. My current beast gets 18 mpg on a good day, and the a/c is shot, so I'm hoping that by getting a smaller more fuel efficient vehicle, I will save something on gas, and therefore be able to afford more in a car payment. (For you non-DC people, gas here is hovering around $3/gal.) I drive 52 miles roundtrip to work each day, and I'm spending about $300/mo on gas.

So here's the deal. I suck at negotiating and I know little about cars. So if you are so inclined- help a girl out! I need advice and suggestions on cars. My only requirements are - affordable, fuel efficient, and it has to be American made. Currently I am considering a Pontiac Vibe, Chevy Malibu, Ford Escape hybrid, and any Saturn. Does anyone have any experience with these? I also truly love VW's but the "Buy American First" side of me can't compromise. Also, I have found a great deal on a Vibe, and I really want it, but it's been in an accident (hence the really low asking price). What do you think about buying cars that have been in accidents? Good? Bad? Good way to get a good deal? Any suggestions for other cars?


  1. First thing you want to do is to get a guy to go with you, a father or a brother, if you go to a dealership. In my experience, they're all sleazy, and will take you for all you're worth if you don't have someone there to stand firm. I took my brother with me in Dec. when looking for my car, and I got my Honda CRV for $3000 than their asking price. If you are as firm as my brother was (it took FOUR HOURS of negotiating, and he never budged), then perhaps you won't need someone with you, but I find it helps out a lot. Basically, my brother says, you should walk out the door several tiems and they'll come running back.

    If you can wait till Dec., they're desperate to sell then. But then, that's a long time away.

    I don't have any experience with any of those cars, but girl! $300 a month! I thought $120-150 was bad. This is why there needs to be better public transportation in places like Seattle and D.C. I'm moving closer to work this Saturday, actually, to cut that bill. I'll be 2 miles away, and have no social life, but I won't be dependent on the gas companies!

  2. I'm a saturn girl through and through. Good mileage, Good reliability. Between my two cars, I've had Saturns for the last 8 odd years and have no complaints. Although I hear that the electrical can be iffy later on, which is why I opted for non-power windows.

    Also, I learned that if you get your financing through a bank before you go--you have a set amount to work with, and you have a lot more negotiating power. When I bought my first Saturn I had a check in hand, and they wanted me to pay about $2,500 more than I wanted to. I was like 'look, you can take this check, or I can leave.' I left--with the car;)

  3. That's what happened with me, too, which is why I think we were able to walk out with the car, rather than just walk out. Look at credit unions, especially, because they usually have better rates than banks. I got preapproved through BECU (a Washington state credit union) and had a letter that said how much credit I'd be allowed, and then you had to check with them to see how much they'd let you actually borrow for a particular car. I knew what they'd lend me for the CRV, and I knew I didn't have any downpayment money, so I held firm and it worked.

  4. justin4:58 PM

    Do you know how the vibe was damaged? Can you take it for a test drive to make sure it handles ok and doesn't have any weird creaks and rattles?

  5. justin6:00 PM

    Also, for a reasonable fee you could probably have a dealer service center inspect the repairs.

    Other suggestions: Ford Focus and PT Cruiser. Also, Mazda's are often rebadged fords, so they might meet your american requirement. The chevy aveo probably has the lowest total cost of ownership out there but it's small. Might be worth a test drive though.

  6. Also, several European companies actually manufacture their cars here. There's a factory in Bloomington-Normal, IL, or perhaps it's near Peoria? (can't remember) that makes...

    And now I've forgotten what kind of car they make. I don't think it's Mazda, though it could be, and that might explain the Ford connection.

    Oh! I know what it is! It's a Hyundai plant. Though I've heard that Hyundais aren't the most reliable, so I wouldn't really go that route, myself.

  7. Anonymous6:50 AM

    Get a mew job and move closer to home


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