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New attending. Car likely totaled. Suggestions?

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  • New attending. Car likely totaled. Suggestions?

    So I only just became an attending last month. Haven't even had a chance to set up an emergency fund yet. Today, after leaving my board exam got into a doozie of a fender-bender. My car is 9 years old, and despite only having 68,000 miles on it, will likely be totaled. I hope to get 4-5k from the insurance company, but we will see.

    Anyone got any suggestions on buying a new vehicle? I want it to be as painless as possible. I'm thinking about looking at a 2-3 year old vehicle with mileage in the 20-30k range, if I can find one. Anyone got suggestions on make/models and how to go about making this as easy as possible? Should I just go to a lot and do certified pre-owned?

  • #2
    This happened to me about a month ago.  My vehicle was a Ford Edge. It took the insurance 2-3 weeks to decide to total it.  (My adjuster went on vacation.). The vehicle was fairly low mileage and 5 years old.  I looked around on dealer websites.  They even have videos of used cars.  I found a one year old Ford Escape with only 15000 miles on it.  I went ahead and bought it before I knew if they would total it.  It cost me about $9k.  The new car was 24k and I got 16k on the total.  I feel good about the transaction.

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    • #3
      carmax.

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      • #4
        Regardless of your income I would recommend the same thing - a low price and low total cost, reliable, used sedan.  And drive it into the ground.

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        • #5
          Take your time to decide. Rent a car if need be to give yourself breathing room. Be honest with yourself on what you need vs what you want. Then decide how much you are willing to spend. It is reasonable to say a reliable car is probably about $10k, so anything above that is just to fulfill your wants. Nothing wrong with spending some of your fun money on a car you could enjoy for the next decade but realize the cost of not having that money to invest. Assuming after tax return of VTSAX (5%) over the next 30 years your cost will quadruple ($1k really costs your future retirement fund >$4k).

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          • #6




            This happened to me about a month ago.  My vehicle was a Ford Edge. It took the insurance 2-3 weeks to decide to total it.  (My adjuster went on vacation.). The vehicle was fairly low mileage and 5 years old.  I looked around on dealer websites.  They even have videos of used cars.  I found a one year old Ford Escape with only 15000 miles on it.  I went ahead and bought it before I knew if they would total it.  It cost me about $9k.  The new car was 24k and I got 16k on the total.  I feel good about the transaction.
            Click to expand...


            Yeah you do, sans the accident part.

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            • #7
              Cars.com, Zag/TrueCar, autotrader.com, Carvana, Carmax...lots of comparison shopping available. If you can't buy cash now, you should be able to get a 12-36 month note for a tiny interest rate, and pay it quickly (like a year). Don't allow this to lead you to spend more than you otherwise would, though. Use your brain and beware the slippery slope.

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              • #8
                What monthly payment can you afford?

                Just kidding.

                If you are average and have lots of student debt then I recommend a mass produced 4 door sedan to keep both initial costs and maintenance low. You havent been high mileage on your old car and hopefully that wont change. A higher mileage car for cheap may be a good option if tou arent racking up miles.

                If you are already surging ahead I always recommend what I drive, the Hyundai Genesis sedan. You can pick them up used 2-3 years old for significantly less than new and the still have a great features.

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                • #9
                  When I was a pgy4 I needed a "new car" and ended up buying a 6 year old Subaru with 90k miles. I did a bunch of research online and when I had a few models/years in mind I used TrueCar and Kelley blue Book to figure out what i should expect to pay in my area as a bargaining chip. Then searched sites like AutoTempest, Autotrader, craigslist and local dealer inventories to find some to test drive. When I found the one I wanted I had it inspected by a mechanic at another dealer to get an independent opinion. I actually applied for a used car loan with lightstream because I didn't have enough cash. I know everyone here says to pay cash but if you don't have enough due to being a new attending and don't want a total beater you may need a small loan. They have very low rates and since i knew what I was prequalified for i haggled the dealer down to a price i was willing to pay. Then when I went back to close the deal the next day and they tried to sell me their financing deals, my money had already been wired into my checking account as an unsecured loan, so I just went in and wrote them a check before I drove off the lot. I paid the loan off in short order of course...

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                  • #10
                    You are probably a super busy person -- I know I am.  Don't spend days and days trying to get $600 less on the car you want.  Like Nike, Just do it!

                     

                    I absolutely loved driving a Prius because I didn't have to go to the gas station very often and when I did I was pumping only 7 gallons which was super quick. Right now the cost of used cars is low generally and the Prius is super low because gas is fairly cheap.  I recently helped my niece who is 2nd year med school buy a 3 year old Prius with really low miles coming off lease for about $14000.  A leased Prius will likely have had all its servicing done as it is part of he lease.  If you get a Prius, just make sure you sell it around 8-9 years of age so you don't get into he "old battery" time of it's life.

                     

                    I am now driving a very affordable used mini van because I have 3 small children and need the room.  I love the thing except that it only gets about 25 MPG.  It's not the cost but the time.  I have to go to the station 2-3 times more often than I did with the Prius.

                     

                    Good luck on your search!

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                    • #11
                      Thanks for all the good suggestions. I plan on putting down probably about 75% of the car's worth. Should be able to swing that. Pay off the rest in short-term financing over 6-12 months. I will look at dealer websites for certified pre-owned vehicles and also look at carmax/truecar etc. Luckly the 2018 model years have just come out (or will be coming out) so a 2015 civic/corolla/camry/elantra with under 30k mileage may just do the trick.

                      I just hate that my car was in such good condition and that it could have lasted me another 8-10 years. Sigh. It is what it is.

                      I've learned a very costly lesson: maintain distance, even if you're only going 30mph!!

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                      • #12
                        A couple of piece of advice I would offer is:  a. Use True Car/Kelly BB or other car valuations sites as a negotiation start point.

                        If there is a 'must have' feature on your next car, try to use it to your advantage.  I bought a 3+ year old 328i because it had my 'must have' feature; it was a manual stick.  I was able to negotiate a lower price and didn't let them know I was there only because the vehicle was a stick.

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                        • #13




                          Anyone got any suggestions on buying a new vehicle? I want it to be as painless as possible. I’m thinking about looking at a 2-3 year old vehicle with mileage in the 20-30k range, if I can find one.
                          Click to expand...


                          If you drove 68k in 9 years, and are sad to see it go, then why not buy a Honda or Toyota new? You sound like the type to be excited about a 20 year old 400k mile vehicle - if that's the case you don't really save anything buying a high reliability brand CPO vs new.

                          It's not completely painless, but I had a blast buying my last vehicle via method touted on bogleheads:

                          - Choose make/model/trim/which colors acceptable to you ahead of time

                          - Email every internet sales desk of every dealership within a couple hundred miles, with the vehicle you want and ask for the "drive out" price, with all TTL included. Say you're emailing everybody and will choose the best price and that you will be doing everything by email. Make a new email address for this purpose

                          - With the people who follow up, pick the lowest price and send it to every one else to give them an opportunity to beat it

                          - Play the game as long as you like, when you're done ask them to send a sales sheet to confirm the actual VIN and price exists, and only then pick up the phone

                          - When two were competing against each other I negotiated free delivery to my home and larger credit card max for the downpayment

                          - This process costed me a few days worth of emails and about 15% under the truecar "exceptional" price, with car delivered to my home and 5 minutes of paperwork done at my kitchen table.

                          - Normal economics apply: the more vehicles that fit your spec and lower the demand the better. The highest volume sales dealership can discount the most. Good time of year because 2018s starting to show up but lots of 2017s that will need to move.

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                          • #14
                            What Tex said.  You barely save anything on a used 1 or 2 year old Honda or Toyota, might as well buy new.

                            Also you should consider getting a car with Honda Sense or Toyota Safety Sense to help you avoid future rear-end collisions.   

                            Just go buy you a brand new Accord or something.  It should be very easy to find a brand new 2017 at a big discount, under or around $20k depending on options.  Like Tex said, email at least a dozen dealers, maybe more, know exactly what you want, but maybe be flexible on color.  E.g. "2017 Honda Accord EX Sedan with Honda Sensing."  Ask for an out-the-door total price.  And then bounce them off each other.  Don't give anyone your phone number, do all your shopping via email.  Should take you a few days, tops, to get a nice deal on a brand new car.

                             

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                            • #15
                              What Tex and Craigy said.

                              Decide what you want/need.  Is it just you in the city, or do you need room for 6?  Do you have to drive the mountains in bumper deep snow 7 months a year to go to work?  Are you hauling scuba tanks, dead deer, or fishing equipment around?  Do you want a tiny city car that darts around well and squeezes into tight spots?

                              Go for a decent, middle of the road, reliable car/SUV if you're out on you own with no help nearby.  To me personally that means Toyota, Honda or maybe Subaru.  The newly-used prices on these often aren't worth the small savings.

                              Decide exactly what you want.  Go test drive a couple of models if you aren't sure, then walk out.

                              Then, research and decide what price you want to pay.

                              After that, go though the internet sales department of multiple dealerships, get out-the-door pricing, compare, show up and buy.

                              Never be afraid to walk out on misdeal, in fact you should do it a few times to get comfortable with the concept.  Sales folk are counting on your meekness.

                              Finally, enjoy for 200,000 miles if you like.

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