Buying a vehicle - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 10-02-2012, 09:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello.

We are looking to buy a vehicle.

We are wanting a mini-van.

We would like it to last years. Or we at least want years of owning a vehicle without payments.

 

Options:

buy new and make payments for 4-5 yrs but have it for many years. (good mpg)

buy a newish certified used vehicle with low milege and many years left and make payments for 3-4 yrs and have it for many years. (good mpg)

buy an older used vehicle with high milege and less years but not make any payments on it. Or pay it off within a year. (not great mpg)

 

We can afford payments, but of course would rather save our money or spend it on other things (like up grades to our fixer upper we bought 2 yrs ago).

 

What is the smart way to go around buying a vehicle?


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#2 of 8 Old 10-02-2012, 11:15 PM
 
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We are in the same situation. Part of me says to buy new or newish with a warranty. That way if something does happen hopefully it's covered. But the cheap a$$ part of me doesn't want car payments. Or maybe I'm just commitment phobic. HA! Idk. Dp and I are talking about this thing currently as we are wanting a mini-van, but can't decide the best route.


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#3 of 8 Old 10-03-2012, 09:04 AM
 
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What we did was buy a six-year-old minivan with cash.  We had been driving old cars for a long time, and with the relatively newer van we have really noticed that automotive engineers have gotten much better at engineering parts to last just a little longer than the warranty period.  So I think your best bet will be to either get a very new certified van, or a very old tried-and-tested one.  I am glad that we paid with cash and didn't take on a payment.  Even with several major and various minor repairs, our van is costing far less per month than the payments for a newer one would have.  (Plus a couple of the repairs really helped boost the gas mileage.)

 

We did take a couple of vans to the mechanic for inspection before we bought.

 

If you drive a lot, it may be worthwhile to figure out what the difference in mpg in vans comes out to in gas dollars for you.

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#4 of 8 Old 10-03-2012, 09:22 AM
 
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My plan is to do option 2 when my 15yr old car dies. Ideally I would be able to pay it off early.

mom to 14yr dd and 4yr dd
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#5 of 8 Old 10-03-2012, 10:55 AM
 
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If you opt for a used vehicle, make sure you have a mechanic look it over before you make an offer. Mine charges $100, but it's well worth it.

 

We have a 2009 Toyota Sienna, and LOVE it! It is comfortable, roomy, easy to drive, and gets 28 mpg on the highway (closer to 20 in town).

 

We bought it new, and expect to drive it until it drops dead. I would have no problem recommending a newish Sienna.

 

Honda minivans are good too, but more expensive, and the gas mileage isn't as good.

 

We've had both Chrysler and Dodge minivans, but the Toyota is by far the favorite.


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#6 of 8 Old 10-03-2012, 04:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We are thinking of a Dodge Grand Caravan.

Anyone have any experience with these?

More in our price range.

And it would be useful with the easy stow and go seats to use it to pick up materials and such that we are often getting for our home improvement projects. At this point we rent a cargo mini van whenever we do a new project.

 

Also, if we go for a certified used vehicle do you think it is necessary to have it checked out by a mechanic?

How do we insure the vehicle was not in an accident before?

 

We live in Canada, in case that matters.

 

We have only ever owned 1 other vehicle. A 10 yr old Hyundai Elantra with 320,000kms on it that my Mum gave us. It is about ready for the grave and we are about ready to add two more kids to our family.


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We are a family that loves cold.giftreehugger.giffamilybed1.giffemalesling.GIFcd.gif

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#7 of 8 Old 10-04-2012, 07:38 PM
 
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We have a Chrysler Town and Country which is similar to the Grand Caravan.We love the stow and go seats.My son was eight when we got it and he could stow and un- stow the seats.They are very easy to use and make the van very versatile.

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#8 of 8 Old 10-05-2012, 04:48 PM
 
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I sense your dilemma may be between high fuel efficiency and low (or few) car payments? You've put your finger exactly on the sore point:  Newer vehicles tend to have higher fuel economy, but are quite a bit more expensive than older ones.  In other words, being green will cost you serious greenbacks.  In the relevant equation, the cost of gas (or what you expect it will be during the time you will own the car) almost doesn't matter.  I'm afraid it's down to your loyalty to the planet versus your loyalty to your money.

 

That said, there is some leeway in your choice:  unless you live in the mountains or regularly haul large loads like a camper, you may want to look for the car with the smallest engine.  Those are cheaper to buy and cheaper to run than their same-model brethren with vroom-vroom. In fact, most of our cars in the US are way over-powered for what we use them for, and we pay for the reduced fuel efficiency in every mile we drive.

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