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Used Car Advice

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
I totaled my car a couple days ago. For the last 10+ years (>115,000 miles), I had been driving the venerable Honda Accord. Since it was only worth about $5K, it wasn't going to take much to total it. Rest in peace, good friend. You served me well.

Now I find myself as a 28 year old in the market to buy a car for the first time ever, and I have no idea what I'm doing.

I have my heart set on a 2008 Infiniti G35 sedan. I just like Infiniti's style, especially the G. That being said, I'm open to other cars that are similar (luxury + sporty/sleek). I'm willing to spend up to $20,000, but I keep hesitating between splurging or maybe just spending $5K for a solid reliable Honda again.

The thing is, I've never had nice things. It's a byproduct of having assholes for parents. It's gotten to the point where I almost pride myself on living in shit, despite earning a higher than median salary. It's become a joke amongst my group of friends, since I drive the shittiest car out of the whole group. So I'm tempted to go big, do something admittedly foolish, and drop $20K on a luxury used car like the G35.

I currently have about $45K in savings, projected to save another $15K by the end of the year. I figured spending up to 1/3 of my total savings for the year is "reasonable." So what I want to know is, is it worth it? $20K on a 5 year old Infiniti G35? I've been researching older M35's but haven't formed an opinion yet.

If it's not worth it, what kind of car would you recommend that is cheaper?

And regardless, where the hell do I buy a used car?! I keep reading that Craigslist has better deals, but the cars I've seen posted in DFW have prices at about the same rate as the certified pre-owned in dealerships. If they're on par, I'd rather go with a dealership since I get higher assurances and recourse.

I appreciate any advice you guys can give me. Help a dumbass n00b out!
post #2 of 33

I think with your current savings and what you predict to save by the end of the year. It's not to unwise to buy a $20,000 car, you deserve it. Craigslist, Auto-Trader, and eBay are all good places to look. I take it you probably don't know much about cars but the easiest way to check over a car without getting technical. Look for car history on Carfax or Autocheck websites, but not all accidents are reported (Unless police report or insurance). Look for car maintenance history and match it to the owners manual, is every thing done? Look at gaps between panels, is everything even? Hows the paint? Use polarized sunglasses on bright sunny day with metallic paints (make it easier to see if the metal flakes in the paint are even). Magnets on metal panels should stick, if it does not, cheap repair...

 

There's many cars in the $15,000-20,000 range. Just have to see what you want/need. Jeep Wrangler, Mustang GT, C5 Corvette, etc.

 

Edit: Cars can aways be negotiated down, if they don't (like Carmax) walk away. Your a cash buyer, cash is king!

post #3 of 33
Go pre-owned certified at a dealer.

Save yourself the time and hassle and potential shitstorm of a private sale. You really don't save anywhere near enough to justify an as is sale.

Dealer will probably try to sell you something new, especially given your price range. Don't do it unless you know the extra cost involved (can seem like just a 'few thousand' but factor in insurance, financing etc). Stick to your guns and get something affordable. I've never believed in buying luxury (or near luxury) cars used. If you have to buy used, you can't afford luxury. Get another reliable decent car. Keep saving, make better investments and life choices. Good things come to those who wait.
post #4 of 33
I say get yourself a 2005 330ci.

Will cost you around 12-15K depending on condition and the steering feedback is just AMAZING. It also has a timeless look and it just drives so well. Screw the G. Only douches ride in G35s (0).
post #5 of 33

definitely CPO from a dealer

I would look at Audi or BMW

for example you can get a nice A4 quattro with 25k miles and 1 year of regular warranty +2 more CPO'ed for 20k or so

I'm sure BMW has similar

 

the warranty will give you peace of mind for 3 years or so

post #6 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by KurtS90 View Post

I think with your current savings and what you predict to save by the end of the year. It's not to unwise to buy a $20,000 car, you deserve it. Craigslist, Auto-Trader, and eBay are all good places to look. I take it you probably don't know much about cars but the easiest way to check over a car without getting technical. Look for car history on Carfax or Autocheck websites, but not all accidents are reported (Unless police report or insurance). Look for car maintenance history and match it to the owners manual, is every thing done? Look at gaps between panels, is everything even? Hows the paint? Use polarized sunglasses on bright sunny day with metallic paints (make it easier to see if the metal flakes in the paint are even). Magnets on metal panels should stick, if it does not, cheap repair...

There's many cars in the $15,000-20,000 range. Just have to see what you want/need. Jeep Wrangler, Mustang GT, C5 Corvette, etc.

Edit: Cars can aways be negotiated down, if they don't (like Carmax) walk away. Your a cash buyer, cash is king!

Not true. A lot of companies now set a price for a car, with very little room for negotiation. All cars are bought with cash. It makes no difference if you hand them 20k of your own cash, or a 20k check from a bank from which you took a loan. The dealer gets 20k either way.
post #7 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by sns23 View Post


Not true. A lot of companies now set a price for a car, with very little room for negotiation. All cars are bought with cash. It makes no difference if you hand them 20k of your own cash, or a 20k check from a bank from which you took a loan. The dealer gets 20k either way.

 

actually, the dealer sometimes prefers a loan, they make the interest

but try to negotiate, all they can do is say no

post #8 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by bringusingoodale View Post

I've never believed in buying luxury (or near luxury) cars used. If you have to buy used, you can't afford luxury. Get another reliable decent car. Keep saving, make better investments and life choices. Good things come to those who wait.
This made me go... facepalm.gif
post #9 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayJay View Post

This made me go... facepalm.gif

 

a low mileage used CPO'ed car is better than new sometimes

 

a few years ago Audi was clearing inventory

they CPO'ed brand new cars, 0 miles, 1 model year old, and dropped the price 15% or more

so you got a car with the full 4 years and 50 k factory warranty PLUS 2 more years up to 100k of CPO warranty

heck of a deal

post #10 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayJay View Post

This made me go... facepalm.gif

+1. Some luxury cars have horrible resale value, some Porsches for example. You can get a one or two year old model with limited miles for tens of thousands of dollars less and still retain benefits such as a factory warranty.
post #11 of 33
CAn you drive stick? Are you willing to travel to find the perfect car?

http://miami.craigslist.org/brw/ctd/3022100367.html
post #12 of 33

While that's a nice car and I am not one to be afraid of miles. But for that price and miles, I would be look else where.

 

As for cash, I still feel the power is more in your hands. Lots of people credit is shot and/or unemployed. I see lots of cars sitting at the lot. With cash your not dependent on a loan and if they want a fast sell they will work with you. If not make an offer your willing to pay (within reason) and the worse they say is no. I watch my grandparent do this for years, they usually did not get a yes right away. But they almost always got a call back a few days latter willing to deal.

post #13 of 33
Oh wow, yeah, nearing 100K miles! Did not see that.

Doesn't matter though -- car already sold!
post #14 of 33
I don't think OP wants to go out and buy an AMG Merc for 38000 and feel like he got a hell of a deal.

Buying luxury used usually is a bust because everyone forgets about insurance costs. But if you have money to buy new, the insurance cost shouldn't be a problem, or surprise.
post #15 of 33

From what I hear Japans luxury cars are cheap to insure compared to Germans.

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