Author Topic: Is this the time to buy?  (Read 2166 times)

Offline chopin1397

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Is this the time to buy?
« on: May 10, 2011, 06:57 PM »
I see a lot of good deals around and I'm told and read that the economy has pushed the price of cars down but it won't last long. And I see us dealers like ford are selling good. I have a 95 nissan maxima with nearly 180,000 miles but running very good, no problems. I wonder if I should buy now and keep the maxima and continue driving it. It's by far the best car I've ever driven.

Offline scuzzy

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Re: Is this the time to buy?
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2011, 09:42 PM »
Wow. That's a loaded question. It just depends on so many things, but you are right that many good deals to be had.

However, I no longer buy new cars. A car has to be at least 3 years old before I'll even bother looking at it. This is mostly due to the massive devaluation of new cars once you drive them off the lot. You can look to your own Nissan as a good example of what a great value older cars can be.

A 3 or 4-year old car with low mileage will pay off handsomely in the long run, as compared to a new car purchase.

Offline chopin1397

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Re: Is this the time to buy?
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2011, 11:00 AM »
I should have mentioned the 1-2 year old cars were the interesting ones. A friend of mine use to run a car dealership and now he is a consultant for them. He said he never buys a new car but one that is a couple years ago for the same reason. I heard that ford is now making cars again. I had a new 68 Custom 500 that year (yeah, Iím that old but donít spread it around!) and it was as fine a car I had ever driven then. Really solid. But when I went looking for a car about 10 years ago I couldnít get one off the lot they were so bad. I then drove the Maxima and I was hooked within a few minutes. Whatís your opinion on Fords. No trucks or suvs though, ugh. Just a sedan like the maxima with good gas milege but not small either.

Offline scuzzy

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Re: Is this the time to buy?
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2011, 11:53 AM »
A 68 Ford Custom 500? Wow. I'll bet that was a sweet car.

Ford has come far over the last few years and has built an excellent reputation by building high quality cars. Their current crop are considered to be the best among American auto manufacturers by Consumer Reports, and as good or better than the Japanese offerings.

Were I buying a car today, Ford would certainly be in the running. I'd probably look to a Focus for the great MPGs. For now, I'm quite happy with my 2006 Subaru Legacy GT. It's a great car, although the mileage sometimes suffers thanks to the turbo and my driving habits. But if I stay off the turbo and keep it at 65 or under, it does fairly well.

Another manufacturer that should not be discounted is Hyundai. They're probably still trying to shake off the bad reputation thanks to their cheap (literally) Excel models back in the 80s and 90s. But they have worked really hard at changing that image by manufacturing high quality cars at a low price. They still don't do so well on resale values, but that works to your advantage when you're the one buying. :)

Offline chopin1397

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Re: Is this the time to buy?
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2011, 07:49 PM »
Thanks for the tip Scuzzy. Looking on craigslist, where a lot of dealers put ads, there are a bunch of Hyundai deals.

That 68 Ford was a sweet car. I drove it for 10 years and it had about 70,000 miles, which in those days was just about the limit. I drove it from Atlanta to Minneapolis with no reverse. You have to park carefully with no reverse! When I got to Mpl it was like it had a complete tune-up. The driving on the open road really cleaned it out. The first winter, however, it was its demise. I needed reverse to get out of the ice on cold mornings. I was driving one day with the heater on full blast and suddenly the car was filled with steam. I guess it came from old hoses giving out. On a particular bad winter night, I parked it, took everything out and left it. I probably should have tried to sell it but how much would it have sold for with no reverse and no heater with temps below zero nearly every morning. I have fond memories of it to this day.

Offline pat

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Re: Is this the time to buy?
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2011, 05:39 AM »
Maybe things have changed some from last year, but I found the used car market very competitive last year. I haven't really been looking so much this year so perhaps things have leveled back off. The main reason was the Cash for Clunkers program. That program took a lot of used cars off the market and pushed the used car price up considerably. In my opinion that program was all screwed up. In my case I had an old Chevy van that was a gas guzzler, we're talking 10 MPG that was to old for the program while my newer Liberty would qualify. So what that program really did was remove more of the later models, perhaps not as fuel efficient cars and trucks. That ended up pushing the price up for used cars. In my case over $1500 on my Liberty, which I did dump last year for a better mileage Volkswagen Passat, which ended up being a pretty sweet deal. I was also in the market for a used truck last year and I ended up getting a really nice lower mileage 2003 Ford Ranger. But in both cases it was a long hard search and my only conclusion was the Cash for Clunkers program just took too many of the wrong vehicles off the market. I also had several car dealers tell me the same thing.

Anyway, good luck looking and it's just like anything else, you just have to put the time in to find that right deal. And watch that Craigslist there are just about as many scams on the thing as real deals, at least in the car department it's defiantly Caveat Emptor.   
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Offline Ace

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Re: Is this the time to buy?
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2011, 08:15 AM »
The Ford Fusion is their value/market/design leader, and actually can offer resale value. 
I'd probably seek out a mid 20__ (older) Taurus again, or possibly an Impala (although they're a bit primitive) just for the decreased cost and maintainability. 

Ace; if only Fusions were made in America well "U.S."....
« Last Edit: May 12, 2011, 11:41 AM by Ace »

Offline scuzzy

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Re: Is this the time to buy?
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2011, 11:53 AM »
The Ford Fusion does look like a nice car, and it's building a fairly loyal following. MPGs are up there, too.

My patrol cars over the last few years have been Impalas. They do pretty well, even when turned upside-down.

Scuzzy; what's up with that?

Offline Ace

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Re: Is this the time to buy?
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2011, 02:33 PM »
Apparently you're down with that...

I think a problem with any car purchase is "timing" to find the model, and price, desired.  The current Fusion is an improvement over the one of the original couple years (especially visually, to me) so that's one where I wouldn't really want to pick up one of the early ones (but couldn't afford the latest).  The Ford Five Hundred underwent numerous improvements when it became the "Taurus" after a year or so; but the new Taurus bears not much resemblance and to me is a bloated boat in comparison.

I actually like the look and styling (and room) of the Impala, plus flex fuel ability, but it's criticized as being outdated... particularly the 4 speed only option, and V6 but no 4.  I thought the previous Hyundai Sonata was very crisp and stylish, but that the new weird wedge is just freaky.  Mechanically it remains impressive.  I liked the Honda Accord best before the newest one, so would do better used and a few years old.  Malibus never offered the 6 speed but as an option, but now do for most all.  Nissan has gone to CVT transmissions only now for Altimas and Maximas (which are really the same size...).

I'm always mystified by the "country of origin/make" of cars, and does where it's built constitute "where it's from" or the headquarters of the company...?  To the point where Toyotas and Accords are made here, but based there, while Fusions and Jettas are made in Mexico but based... oh, you get the idea. 

Ace; being stuck with two rapidly aging "Fords" (one Taurus, one Mercury Sable) of 96,000 and 125,000 miles per I'm finding the whole topic depressing...

Offline Bill

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Re: Is this the time to buy?
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2011, 12:18 PM »
I would second Scuzzy's comment about Hyundai.  We have 2, both '06 and love them.  Mileage is is pretty good and both are comfortable, and have been trouble free.

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Offline chopin1397

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Re: Is this the time to buy?
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2011, 05:54 AM »
I was ready to return to Ford but it looks like they aren't ready for prime time yet. Looking at blogs, people say they will nickel and dime you after 100,000 miles.

I found this great site to research cars: http://nada.com/

I wouldn't buy a car now without looking at this site. They give specific details of all cars with reviews from experts and consumers if available. You can also search your area for what's for sale with all kinds of search criteria. It lists mostly dealers who give full details on their cars. You can describe the exact car you want down to the color, save it and get emails if one becomes available and nearly all major dealers in the area list their vehicles on it, complete with numerous photos. You can enter a car's VIN # and get its entire history from the day it was sold and all maintenance, repairs if any, wrecks if any, etc. It's a 5star terrific site! (how did people survive without the net?)

After a lot of research and test driving I've focused on the 4 cylinder Honda EX. The EX is identical to the LX but with a button operated sunroof, alloy rims, heated seats for making out with your girlfriend on cold nights and on some a super sound system. It has a couple other amenities but can't recall now. The EX L comes with leather seats.

I drove a 2008 EX yesterday with about 35,000 miles and I was blown away at the experience. It feels solid which is something not easily explainable but comes with decades of driving many cars. It's very roomy and the amount of glass gives a wonderful all around view but the car has great industry recognized safety features. Gas mileage on the 4 cyl on the hwy is over 30 which I haven't seen on any comparable vehicle. It was very quiet, a joy to drive. I'd like to hear if anyone has one and what their experiences are.

I also drove a 2010 Altima SX something I believe, which the dealer told me is their equivalent to the EX. First, it had cheap plastic inside, completely unlike the Honda. The steering wheel was loose and the all around view was noticeably restricted compared to the EX. There was just no comparison with the Honda.

I'm thinking about waiting for a month or 2, save some more, and get what I really want, a 2010 EX with around 15,000 miles. These go for about $24,000 but they are next to new. I'm not rushed bec the Maxima is running fine and I intend to keep it since I would get little on a trade in. The best I can do now is from a Honda dealer with a 2008 EX with 30,000 miles for around $20,000, which is a good deal. I haven't looked really close into the Hyundai but I agree with Scuzzy & Bill and will check it out further now.

I've got a 95 Maxima and at 177,000 miles I've yet to have a significant problem. Nothing but tires, on the 3rd battery, 2 tuneups. No brake jobs yet. It's starting to get noisy in interstate traffic probably due to seals wearing out. I had one problem with the engine light coming on not long after I got it. First, the catalytic converter was replaced but the light came on a month later. Then, this shop replaced 3 oxygen sensors for about $400 each and the dang light still came on. Another shop cleaned dust out of the flywheel without charge and the light went off and has never came back on.

I'm not returning to Maxima bec I think they are overpriced a little now and not making them as solid at the 95. The Altima experience soured me on Nissan.