Thoughts on car payments

Yokel vs Hipster haha, just being a dick. I see merits to both, I have a bike and a car. Personally, living in a modern city seems hellish but I was raised in the country.

Kel I feel like with cars like Firebirds, they're either rustbucket beaters or collector cars. Maybe your locality is different but that might not be a good 1st car choice. Terrible on gas. When those things came out gas was cheap. Aside from that time we ran out or something, I'm younger I dont know.
 

paninaro

Woodpecker
kel said:
What's the advantage of getting a modern lumpy box? Better gas mileage, bluetooth stereo.... what else?
A few benefits:
- Safety. Technology continues to improve in this area, almost on a yearly basis. Automatic braking (pre-sense), seatbelts tightening on a collision, rear vision cameras, blind-spot monitoring, and a whole lot more.

- Technology. I got a new car because it has certain automatic driving features that make driving in stop-and-go traffic on the highway much easier. It does all the braking, acceleration, and lane-keeping for me. Technology like that wasn't widely available a few years ago.

- Maintenance. Every part on a car has a certain lifespan. Some things are rated to last every 20k miles, and others 60k miles. So if you buy a car with 0k miles vs 50k miles there's a lot fewer items that will need replacement in the next few years on the lower-mileage car, just because fewer components have reached their end of life.

Now, these benefits may or may not be important to you. You can buy a high-mileage car and be really strict about following the service schedule. You may not care about auto-driving features if you aren't stuck in traffic much. Safety features may not be that important to you, like if you don't drive often (less driving = less exposure).
 

paninaro

Woodpecker
Cars appeal to people in different ways. Some want a reliable way to get from point A to point B. They just want a reliable, economical car. It's for utilitarian purposes.

Others want a car for the driving experience, and enjoy driving. The car is a joy, not just a tool.

Both are fine -- think of what's important to you.

Personally, I'm in both categories which is why I more than one car. If it's a rainy day and I just need to run a quick errand, I'll take a "daily driver" car which is more utilitarian.

If it's nice outside and I have a bit of time on my hands, I'll take a sports car and travel via long twisty backroads, and I'll have a huge smile on my face for hours afterwards. Driving these last few weeks has been great since most roads are deserted due to the stay at home orders, and police in my area have basically said they're not running any speed traps and will only focus on serious crimes to minimize their contact with the public.
 

Zenta

Woodpecker
Gold Member
Just depends on what you can afford. I ordered a new Miata a few months ago and I'm still waiting for it to hit stateside and despite the pandemic I am still planning on buying it. I have the money to do so and there is nothing else I do with my money other than save it, so may as well enjoy the new toy, which in this case is a pure driving experience. I'll put down about a 1/3rd of it and then just do payments on the rest at an incredibly low interest rate.

Is it a terrible investment? Oh yes, very much so. If I was looking for an investment I wouldn't buy it, but instead I am looking for a very enjoyable headache-free experience, and generally thats what a brand new car will bring you.

If you are responsible with your money, do what you want to do.
 
For vast majority of people, driving isn't an enjoyable experience, or at the very least, they use it purely for their daily routine.

I don't like driving as much as I love visiting different areas, neighborhoods, towns, even if just a city limit over, visit cafes on a regular basis. It's a hobby of mine. Thus ownership of a car is an excellent investment. I do not have a car but given my ROI ,I cap the worth of car initial purchase at six thousands, maybe ten thousand if I can make it last at least ten years. Hell, it'd be worth twenty thousand if I thought it'd last me at least 200,000 miles with less than 10,000 dollar maintenance.

Unfortunately USA is hardly public transportation or bike friendly.
 

C-Note

Ostrich
Gold Member
With the popularity in the US currently for SUVs, pickup trucks, and minivans, sedans offer one of the best bangs for the buck. Sedans like a Toyota Corolla or Camry or a Honda Accord are extremely reliable and may be the cheapest cars out there to maintain, fuel, and purchase insurance for. If you buy one used, with about 10-20,000 miles on it, you can get an almost new car without having to pay the new car premium.

If you do want one new, car dealerships typically offer the best deals on those cars because they're charging a premium for the more popular SUVs and have a hard time moving the Corollas and Camrys. For example, six months ago Toyota did a huge, nation-wide sale on Corollas and were pushing to get as many out the door as they could. If you bargained a little you could get one for "wholesale" price easily, we're talking around $15k or less here. Just look at the Consumer Reports or similar website for the "wholesale" (quotes because wholesale doesn't really exist for new cars), invoice, and local market price for that particular car, then go to several dealerships in your area and play them off against each other and negotiate the "drive away" price, not the price before "closing costs". Get your loan, if you need one, from your bank or credit union rather than the car dealership, although the dealership will sometimes give you a better price if you finance with them, but remember to crunch the numbers before signing to make sure you're getting it right. Then, don't let the dealership hard sell you on extended warranties as some will try to make money off of those.

Then, drive the car for as many years as you can. With regular maintenance, one of those cars can make it 200k miles before it conks out. With moderate city driving, you probably do around 8-10,000 miles a year. If you get married and/or have kids, a mid-sized sedan makes a fine family car.
 

Repo

Hummingbird
A 1400 mortgage for a 200k income is pretty damn reasonable. If he’s making 200k a year he can probably easily be able to contribute enough for retirement and pay his mortgage while having a lot left over. Maybe cars are your thing to spend a little extra on, maybe it’s something else like trips or other hobbies. If all of your other bases are covered and you have enough emergency cash, nothing wrong with it. Just realize it’s not an investment, your just spending money for fun, so if cars aren’t a source of fun for you than reconsider spending that money elsewhere.
 

JiggyLordJr

Woodpecker
Driving sucks. I don't think I've met anybody that truly likes it - they just have to. When you live a 10 miles from the nearest anything, your car literally becomes your lifeline. Funny the people that hamster away their cars as a "luxury."

Why do you think most of the wealthiest countries have robust public transit systems? Not just city-wide either, but nation-wide. In Japan, I was able to climb 3 mountains, go on several multi-day hikes, EXCLUSIVELY by using public transit. I didn't step into a car once, and I made it everywhere just fine. Countries with a "driving problem" actually have a "lack of public transit" problem. This could be solved, but, ya know, automotive lobbying.

Again, driving sucks. I'm sorry to hear that a lot of you depend on these monstrosities to get you everywhere. I'll keep using my legs.
 

Mountaineer

Kingfisher
Gold Member
I can counter balance your post. I find driving exhilarating and a pure expression of personal freedom. It's a flow state activity for me. My car is a nimble, lively little bastard with an revvy, effervescent engine and when I take it out to the mountains I have an absolute blast. It's a great adrenaline rush, a test of courage and a challenge to be good at it. I even go to track days and motorsport events. The fact that I can simply get in my car whenever I like and go wherever I want without depending of anyone is a right worth fighting for. Of course driving is not always like that. When I do it out of necessity it removes a huge chunk of pleasure out of it but when I do it for my own amusement I have great fun. And it got me places I never were before, it enabled me to find some amazing trails and have hikes there. It all depends on your location, setting, the type of car itself and general personal preference. It's a tool, you have to learn how to use it for maximum potential.
 

Mochihunter

Woodpecker
I can never get on board with train enthusiasts. As someone who used it most of his life I can say Public transportation sucks. The crowds, the people, the lack of hygiene (hence the current pandemic) and worst of all the noise. Plus lack of precision. A car will take you exactly where you need to go. With a tain or bus, it may take you to in the general vicinity where you need to go if you're lucky. The nationwide train thing is European fantasy. The US is just too damn big. It might be possible to get a railroad network connecting to all the major cities in each state, but that doesn't seem too feasible or practical.

As the previous poster said, cars are a true expression of freedom. "The fact that I can simply get in my car whenever I like and go wherever I want without depending of anyone is a right worth fighting for." Is right on the money. If you want to go to some random spot in the Everglades or check out The Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, a car will get you where you need to be.
 
lunchmoney said:
Taking the current economic climate aside, speaking with a guy I went to college with last week made me realize how many I know who have exorbitant car payments. In his case, he makes salaried roughly 200k a year, no kids and casually dating with no plans for marriage (36).

His current ride runs 745/mo. His mortgage is 1400, but he also shared he has nearly 70k in student loan debt.

Maybe I am risk adverse, or just plain cheap, but even with a net monthly income of close to 10k, I don't want over 5% going to a depreciating asset.

Thoughts?
Not cheap at all. Just smart. I have a 2000 TL (Acura) I bought from my old man 3k in 2010. It's almost 300k miles right now and the most I have had to do it was replace shock mounts and replace O2 sensor. Many people have issues with driving something that is about as old as themselves but I find if laughable when they are driving their BMW that cost more to get an oil change than my car will cost me a whole year. Not even getting into the car note side.

Another point is if he is making 200k a year and still has 70k student loan debt. Well do I need to say more?
 

bucky

Pelican
I see a lot of people here saying driving sucks. I used to feel that way too. Then I got a brand new 2019 vehicle with adaptive cruise control. It's amazing. It breaks for you in traffic, so you feel relaxed and peaceful when you're in a traffic jam, rather than tired and stressed. It's hard to explain if you haven't experienced it. I wouldn't have believed it myself, but I now have zero desire to ever buy another vehicle without adaptive cruise control.

The bluetooth integration with your phone is great too. If I'm stuck in traffic I just phone a friend and chit chat, and if the wife calls me to ask me to pick up milk on the way home or something, I just press a button on the wheel to pick up. Yes, I realize it's probably spying on me. I accept that since I've long thought of the 21st century USA as a modern version of the USSR, with uglier women and more stuff on the shelves in stores. The walls have ears, what are you going to do.

The payments are killing me though, and I earn quite a bit above the average.
 

monsquid

Woodpecker
bucky said:
I see a lot of people here saying driving sucks. I used to feel that way too. Then I got a brand new 2019 vehicle with adaptive cruise control. It's amazing. It breaks for you in traffic, so you feel relaxed and peaceful when you're in a traffic jam, rather than tired and stressed. It's hard to explain if you haven't experienced it. I wouldn't have believed it myself, but I now have zero desire to ever buy another vehicle without adaptive cruise control.

The bluetooth integration with your phone is great too. If I'm stuck in traffic I just phone a friend and chit chat, and if the wife calls me to ask me to pick up milk on the way home or something, I just press a button on the wheel to pick up. Yes, I realize it's probably spying on me. I accept that since I've long thought of the 21st century USA as a modern version of the USSR, with uglier women and more stuff on the shelves in stores. The walls have ears, what are you going to do.

The payments are killing me though, and I earn quite a bit above the average.
What about that random asshole that changes lanes in front of you without signaling?
 

bucky

Pelican
monsquid said:
bucky said:
I see a lot of people here saying driving sucks. I used to feel that way too. Then I got a brand new 2019 vehicle with adaptive cruise control. It's amazing. It breaks for you in traffic, so you feel relaxed and peaceful when you're in a traffic jam, rather than tired and stressed. It's hard to explain if you haven't experienced it. I wouldn't have believed it myself, but I now have zero desire to ever buy another vehicle without adaptive cruise control.

The bluetooth integration with your phone is great too. If I'm stuck in traffic I just phone a friend and chit chat, and if the wife calls me to ask me to pick up milk on the way home or something, I just press a button on the wheel to pick up. Yes, I realize it's probably spying on me. I accept that since I've long thought of the 21st century USA as a modern version of the USSR, with uglier women and more stuff on the shelves in stores. The walls have ears, what are you going to do.

The payments are killing me though, and I earn quite a bit above the average.
What about that random asshole that changes lanes in front of you without signaling?
The ACC does a great job at catching most of those. It will slam on the brakes and take you from full speed to a full stop if it has to. That said, it's not even close to fully self driving and you do still have to watch the road. I could see some situations where there's a funny angle involved and maybe a slippery road and it might not stop you in time. I also occasionally think it's engaged when it isn't. Like I said, I still watch the road and brake myself when I need to.

One annoying thing is that in heavy mist or snow if one of the sensors gets covered the whole system shuts down and you have no cruise control at all. I think the idea is that you shouldn't be using cruise control in bad weather anyway, but it's still annoying.
 

Repo

Hummingbird
Gazeebo said:
lunchmoney said:
Taking the current economic climate aside, speaking with a guy I went to college with last week made me realize how many I know who have exorbitant car payments. In his case, he makes salaried roughly 200k a year, no kids and casually dating with no plans for marriage (36).

His current ride runs 745/mo. His mortgage is 1400, but he also shared he has nearly 70k in student loan debt.

Maybe I am risk adverse, or just plain cheap, but even with a net monthly income of close to 10k, I don't want over 5% going to a depreciating asset.

Thoughts?
Not cheap at all. Just smart. I have a 2000 TL (Acura) I bought from my old man 3k in 2010. It's almost 300k miles right now and the most I have had to do it was replace shock mounts and replace O2 sensor. Many people have issues with driving something that is about as old as themselves but I find if laughable when they are driving their BMW that cost more to get an oil change than my car will cost me a whole year. Not even getting into the car note side.

Another point is if he is making 200k a year and still has 70k student loan debt. Well do I need to say more?
If you can get a 200k job (which will likely go up over time) for 70k of student loan debt, you would be stupid not to. The student debt is a one time expense, but the compounding interest on the higher retirement contributions that a 200k salary will allow will completely outweigh the loan debt. Granted if you can get a 200k income without the debt, by all means do it.
 

Kona

Crow
Gold Member
bucky said:
The payments are killing me though, and I earn quite a bit above the average.
But you are happy, so just go with it. Use it as a motivator. Find a way to cover the payment with an easy side job. You're set.

I mean this with all due respect, but all the guys that say "cars are stupid" have shitty ones.

Aloha!
 

bucky

Pelican
Kona said:
bucky said:
The payments are killing me though, and I earn quite a bit above the average.
But you are happy, so just go with it. Use it as a motivator. Find a way to cover the payment with an easy side job. You're set.

I mean this with all due respect, but all the guys that say "cars are stupid" have shitty ones.

Aloha!
Yeah, I do love driving it and it's not literally killing me. I can afford it, at least as long as I manage to stay employed given current events. The main reason I got a new car is that it was intended for my wife to drive around in with my kids while I'm at work 50 miles away when she finally learns to drive, so I wanted something reliable.

I have incredibly shitty luck with used cars. I always managed to get the one where it has major frame damage that went unnoticed or an unfixable fuel leak or something like that. I think buying a new car can be all right financially if you get something reliable like a Honda or Toyota and plan on keeping it for 20 years. My other car is one of those that I bought new in 2009 for about 16k. Cracked windshield and hail damage now, but other than that it drives pretty much like new and I imagine it will last at least until 2029.
 

bucky

Pelican
Mochihunter said:
Out of curiosity, what is the milage on your '09?
About 32-33 a gallon, freeway. It's a regular, FWD base-model compact car from one of the top Japanese manufacturers. I'm reluctant to give away the exact make and model because I'm paranoid about getting exposed as a thought criminal for posting here.
 
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