Sunday, September 02, 2012

My Car Purchase Journey

On July 14, 2012 I awoke at 4:00am to a loud crash. My first thought was someone was in a car accident and was injured.  I ran outside and saw several of my neighbors outside.  I ran to the next block because one neighbor stated was yelling on the phone at the police requesting a squad car because his car had been hit.  I walked back up the street and another neighbor stated her car had been hit. 

Then I looked and realized my car had been hit too – actually it was demolished.  Both front tires flat, the car was pushed on the sidewalk, the front bumper and front light were totally crushed, the left driver’s side was crashed and there was damaged underneath the car from being pushed up on the sidewalk.  

Needless to say I was speechless and in shock. My neighbor called the police and stated she saw what happened.  Some kids stole a car and lost control on the wet pavement from the rain earlier and hit my car then hit my neighbor’s car across the street, then hit my other’s neighbor’s car in the next block.  They jumped out of the car and ran leaving the car running and their loud music blasting. 
I felt a loss because I had my car for 12 ½ years. We had been through a lot together.  I waited outside for almost 2 hours with my other neighbors waiting for the police to arrive at the scene and provided all of my information for the police report. 

I then went in my house and called my insurance company.  There were very helpful and I was provided with a rental car for 2 ½ weeks. I didn’t wasn’t ready to buy a new car yet so I continued to rent a car for the next 3 weeks.  During that time I asked my Facebook friends for advice on what car to buy.  I got several options. I did tons of research and narrowed it down to 2 choices.  I purchased a Hyundai Accent GLS standard no frills just basics last week. I am not in love with the car yet.  Hopefully it will grow on me.  I still miss my old car.  It had at least another 2-3 years of life left.  

I am grateful that I am in a position to afford a car note and car insurance.  I purchased Gap Insurance in the event my car is totaled.  If I owe more than the car is worth the gap insurance pays the difference plus an additional $1,000 from my credit union towards the purchase or a new car as long as the loan is not paid. If my loan is paid and I get in an accident or my car is stolen I still get $1,000 towards the purchase of a new car.  Here are 12 things to consider when buying a new car:

  1. Do Research.  Review consumer reports magazines and website such as Kelly Blue Book, CarMax, Edmunds, and  Use price quotes from online websites to get dealers to match the price or beat it.
    Review your budget.  Review your budget to see how much car you can afford.  Consider insurance, maintenance, repairs and the cost of filling up the tank.  Your transportation costs should be no more than 15% of your total monthly income. 
  2. Repairs. Go to small repair shops and negotiate to get a better deal on services.
  3. Move Closer.  Consider moving to the city or a downtown area to eliminate the need for having a car.  Consider getting a job that is closer to a downtown area or train station.
  4. Set a Price.  Set a maximum price you are willing to pay and can afford without a burden.  Don’t go above this price.
  5. Research Lenders. Start with your credit union first.  If you don’t bank with a credit union go to your local branch and apply for a loan. Dealer financing should be a last resort. Be aware of tricks and scams to adjust the price to get you in the car.
  6. Ask. About dealer incentives, rebates and discounts.
  7. Negotiate.  Don’t accept the first price offered to you.  If you are a woman take your husband, boyfriend, male sibling, friend or neighbor with you to assist with negotiating. Don't fall into the trap of temptation.
  8. Offer Cash. Offer a down payment to reduce the total cost of the loan and prevent you from being upside on your purchase due to the additional fees such as delivery charges, taxes, title and registration.  Consider paying in cash to gain more negotiating power.
  9. Penalty. Some dealers charge a termination penalty fee if you pay off the loan early. This is a tactic to keep you in debt and help the dealer make money. Request that this clause be removed from your loan paperwork. 
  10. Previous Year Models.   Look for models from the previous year or models that have been eliminated or will be soon to get a better deal.
  11. Warranty. Ask about a car's warranty.  If the automaker files bankruptcy your warranty may no longer be valid which will instantly increase the cost of getting your car repaired. 
  12. Trade in.  Don't trade in your old car. You will get a better deal by selling your car to CarMax, Craigslist, eBay or the newspaper.  You may be able to set a higher selling price than what will be offered by the dealer. Use Kelly Blue Book to determine your car’s value.  Consider the dealer trade-in as a last resort. 


Nannie Leick said...

Difficult as it may seem, you do need to move on with your new car. I understand that you miss your good old car a lot, since it had been with you for a long time, but I’m sure you’ll also get to love your new car and appreciate all that it offers. Just give it time, and it’ll grow on you.

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Earlene Harps said...

I’m so sad for what happened. Living with your car for almost 12 ½ years is not a joke. Those kids did not really know what they are doing. However, I agree with you that when looking for another car, it’s not necessary to have a brand new one. Instead, you can get any used car. But before making any decision, I wanted to add that always check the background of the car dealer to be sure that it was not a stolen car. I hope the incident will not happen again, and finally you can move-on and start to love your new car as what you’ve done with your previous car.

Stelle Courney said...

Oh, I know how bad it feels that your car had been hit by those kids. Yes it was an old model but still, the memories with your car are priceless. However, learn to appreciate your new car; I know it will guarantee you the best services. I would like to share with you this tip, why not buy car covers. It cannot help to prevent car collision, but it is useful the other way. Car covers will protect your car from any scratch and light damages. BTW, I would also want to add that before you purchase a new car, always do some research, compare their qualities and think many times before you buy it.

Michelina Douglass said...

Ohhh! I’m sorry for what happened. It’s like your car was your driving buddy for 12 years, and it was suddenly taken away from you. I bet, it means so much to you. However, it’s a good thing that you have moved on right away and manage to research for a new car. That’s the spirit! Hyundai Accent GLS is not a bad replacement after all. Enjoy driving your new car!

Car Finance Experts said...

That is a terrible thing to happen to all of those cars! But , good for you for figuring out the best ways to buy another ride! And two thumbs up for your tips as well! Thanks

Carry Demaggio said...

I'm glad you made use of your insurance, though I’m terribly sorry about what happened to your car. You'll learn how to love the Hyundai Accent GLS one day. :) I can't blame you if you miss your old car. I'd miss mine too if we parted ways. :P Anyway, I agree with your tips, especially with your number one tip because research is the key to unlock all doors of knowledge to car dealership.

Erwin Calverley said...

Oh man, what happened to you would have upset anybody. It’s bad enough that your car got damaged, but what made it even worse is that you had your car for more than a decade, and you have shared a lot of memories with it. Well, I think you made a pretty good purchase with the Hyundai Accent. You’ll get used to it in time. BTW, the tips you gave are pretty useful! :)

Rita said...

Losing something that has been in your possession for such a long time that it has practically become family is hard to accept, but the good thing is that you were able to use your insurance to take care of the damage. Among your tips, negotiating is the best thing to do, although at the end, you will either benefit or lose from it.

Rita McCall

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