First car


Old 12-04-04, 04:08 PM
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First car

Hey all. I'm 16 and recently got my license. I'm itching to get a car. I'm looking for somethign used (obvioulsy) and I really don't know what to get. I have no particular prefrence on make/models and am open to basically everying. The bad part is, I only have about $3500 to spend (Insurance is killing me, 2k a year on the crappiest of cars!). Thanks for any suggestions.
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Old 12-04-04, 04:41 PM
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Do you have any uses for the vehicle in mind? Is there something you have to be able to use it for? It will help us help you if we know what you are gong to use it for. If it was me and I was young and had a limited amount of money to spend I would get an older car or truck. They are easy and cheap to repair when something breaks, and you can fix it yourself or with the help of your friends and family. A lot of times I think trucks are easer to work on than cars. Just for the fact that you have more room to work.
Old 12-04-04, 04:42 PM
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Look around at dealers in your area. Find one you like. Get prices from several dealers and check the blue book. If you don't currently have a blue book you can go online to and use it there. You can also go there and search the prices for different cars you like. I would not go for the sporty camaros or firebirds,300Ms or anything like that.The sportier the model the higher the insurance. Also trucks have a higher insurance rate and (for some strange reason unknown to anyone but the insurance agent) the color RED. If my car was anything but red it would be $100/yr cheaper.

Check out warranty availabilty, and what it covers. Check out the motor and tranny. You don't want to spend all your money on your "dream" of car ownership only to find out that you have to dump a lot more into it for it to run.
Good luck in your search
Old 12-04-04, 08:20 PM
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I think a lot of it depends on the insurance company and driver. We saved about a $100 a month on a truck over a 4 door car of the same year model.
Old 12-08-04, 12:54 AM
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IF you don't know how to work on cars, get a Honda/Toyota/Nissan. For the love of god don't buy from a dealer, buy from a private party.

Check for deals and to get an idea of pricing in your market. You can go there and enter "Toyota - $3000-3500 and see what comes up. Check and for more pricing info.

Have a mechanic friend check out the car, or take it in to get checked out. Google for web forums for the car you like and read posts to find out what the common problems are.

Answer these questions to help us pick a car for you:

1. Do you care if it is American made or not?
2. Do you want a sporty car or basic transportation?
3. Do care if the car gets just ok gas mileage?
4. Do you care if the car is fast or not?
5. Do you need more than 2 seats?
6. Do you need more than 2 doors?
7. Do you want a stick or and automatic?
8. Do you live where it snows?
9. Do you have access to a good mechanic?
10. Do you care if the car has alot of bells and whistles?
11. Do you care how big the trunk is?
12. What cars if any, do you currently like, even if they are out of your price range?
Old 04-12-05, 01:15 PM
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Old 04-12-05, 04:23 PM
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some advice

i have a post on here titled, "how to sell overpriced car". i'm not trying to sell it to you, but look the post. most of the things mentioned in my post are very typical of what an older car will normally need. absolutely, positively ask to see documentation of any repairs. don't swallow this "it was just rebuilt". that usually means "i spray painted the engine to make it look nice" if he tells you such a such a garage did "this", check it out. if you catch a seller in a lie, run away.

one of the most important repairs you can do is the timing belt. if it is not done regularly and it breaks, the cost to fix the car go way beyond what the timing belt cost. done right a timing belt and associated other parts should be from $400 to $500. if it breaks, (depending on model) the repairs can be $2000 or more.

buying a car in your price range is not likely to get you something with a garantee. on the other hand, depending on what you buy, i can garantee something will go wrong and some of the things than can easilly and typically do go wrong will make you wish you had never bought it. it's also a "money pit"" thing in which you fix something and later something else goes bad. you figure, hey i already spent this much a little more won't hurt. first thing you know you paid twice over in repairs than you paid for the car.

in your price range, you are looking at cars probably 10-15 yrs old. i am not a fan of american cars that old. they simply don't hold up like foriegn. honda, toyota, mazda are your best bet. that doesn't mean they won't need repairs. it just means the engines will run way longer than most americans.

a common mistake is to buy a car on looks. the mechanicals are more imortant than a few rust holes, but looks tend to sway young, uneducated buyers.

one last disclaimer. even though a car can be in great mechanical shape, i can think of no worse way too wear out, break, and just plain wreck a car than having a 16 yr old drive it. sorry about that, maybe you aren't like the typical 16 yr old. good luck.
Old 04-26-05, 05:20 AM
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I highly recommend an old Escort. Cheap to buy and own. Very fixable if you are handy. Replacement parts are real cheap and easy to obtain, even if you are picky like me. Should be able to get a nice one for $1000.00
Old 04-29-05, 04:35 AM
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cheap transportation

Man dude if you have 3500 bucks you have a lot of options. The practicle approach would be looking at a midsize kinda ugly cars, you can get someting well under 10 years old in real good low mileage condition for that amount of money. Look at the most plain cars on the market, the ones that the rental car companies favor like chevy malibu etc. Drive one of these for a couple of years and then you can save your money and trade up to something a bit nicer. I know you are wanting that real sharp camaro or mustang but that is not the best way to go in terms of initial cost and insurance rates. There is a way to gage whether or not you bought the right vehicle, if your friends are making fun of you then you know that you are on the right track LOL
Old 05-04-05, 04:57 PM
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If you're not particular about make/model, then make your first criterion SAFETY, second RELIABILITY. Or the other way around. The statistics on 16 year-olds in their first cars, especially with other teenagers as passengers, are (to put it mildly) not great.

For 3500 dollars, you can easily get into a high-mileage Miata or something (depends on where you live), which would not be the best choice. Use the money to buy a duller but safer car.

Plus, a safe car will cost you less in insurance.
Old 05-05-05, 06:07 AM
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I'm a foreign car guy, so I'll give you an opinion from that perspective. I feel that these cars last longer than most domestics (again, my opinion and $1.25 will buy you a 20oz coke). For that reason, I feel that they are a better option in this price range, as they will not be quite as worn out.

In that budget range, my personal choice would be a 1990-1993 Honda Accord EX. I've owned two of them (albiet one was a 2 door). These cars last forever (well, you know what I mean) if properly maintained, and can easily be had for $2000-$3500. The EX gives you a couple of nice touches including a sunroof and 15" low profile wheels, over the LX. Don't get a DX, as it lacks power windows & locks (the price difference will be negligable). The 1990 and 1991 do NOT have air bags, so its probably best to get a 92 or 93 for insurance discounts.

The 1994-1997 Accords will probably be out of your price range.

The 1992-1996 Toyota Camrys are nice cars, but if you consider one, have it inspected for engine sludge...I got burned bad on one of these, and the engines pf Camry's from this time period had a BAD problem with this. I'm not saying they are bad cars, but check it out good. I wouldn't get the V6 as you don't need the extra horsepower (the 4 banger has PLENTY of power) and it might drive up insurance.

An older Nissan Stanza/Altima would also be a good economical choice, though I can't give you specifics as I've not owned one.

To save on insurance, buy a 4 door, don't get something "sporty", get something with airbags, try to get anti-lock brakes (aka ABS), and don't get a red car (ok, I've heard some say this doesn't matter, but some say it does).

Now, on the $2k a year insurance, is that for liability coverage, or full coverage? I'm hoping thats full coverage, because that seems like a ripoff for liability. Of course, a 16 year old is considered "high risk", so the insurance will be higher, especially if you are male. I wouldn't carry full coverage on a sub-$3k car (but that's a personal choice and my driving habits are such that I am unlikely to be "at fault" for an accident). If you live in a "no fault" state you will pretty much have to go with full coverage. If you make decent grades, you should be able to get a "good student" discount. If you DON'T make decent grades, start studying! You can same a LOT of money that way.

Good luck! Buy something that you can be proud to own, not because you will be "showing it off", but because it will be YOURS. Take care of it, be careful, and remember that the gas pedal has more than two positions.
Old 05-06-05, 05:13 PM
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Completely Depends on Your Lifestyle

At your age, consider these options.

1. Is this purchase to attract friends, or get me to work?
2. Is this purchase supporting my lifestyle, off road interests, can it get me there and back with my limited driving skills? Is this a vehicle that I just want to use to socialize but do not want to party much or be influenced = two door or preferably two seater, who is beside you will influence you.

3. A wise man once said, show me your friends and I will show you your future. Think hard, then look at the market, me, personally, I avoid dealerships as they are usually over inflated or do not offer to tell the story of the car. I have owned many but usually sell too cheap. I am not alone in this weakness I am sure.
I have owned fifteen trucks, and five cars so far I love vehicles
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