Buying a new car?


Time for some post-purchase notes. All of the finalists were very close in terms of features and price, so I could have picked any of them.

First are corrections. I kept talking about whether the lights flash or the horn honks when you activate the car alarm. What I really meant was which does it do when you lock the car with the key fob. The “honk the horn when car is locked” was one of the first things I turned off. Just like Woodman’s Ram (pickup?), the doors auto-lock at 15 mph.

Lane departure assist will slightly apply the brakes on one side to bring you back into the lane instead of turning the steering wheel. That makes more sense than what I thought about it moving the steering wheel.

Second, I mentioned about putting stick-on blind spot mirrors on the car even though it has blind spot detection (BSD). These have helped make sure I can still see the car even as it goes into the blind spot. I have to check the manual, but I think there’s a minimum speed you have to be going at for the BSD to work. The small mirrors compensate for even when it’s not active.

These work a lot better than what I saw on one car: factory-installed rounded blind spot mirrors. The problem was they were in the top-outer corner and they prevent you from seeing traffic behind you. The further away from you a car is that’s behind you, the higher it is in your mirror.

Third, contacting dealers via email let me be more in control of communication. The ones that were slow to respond made it easier to weed them out. I did have one email that got responded to by a different person and they didn’t mention anything about handling my inquiries now, so I was left wondering if the first person wasn’t at that dealership any more or whether the second person poached me as a customer. When I stopped in for the test drive, I got confirmation it was the former.

When I was ready to get prices for vehicles, I had picked three models and gave the salespeople a week to respond. One responded promptly. The other two, I sent out a second request a few days later. They were still not responding, so I added a price request from the salesperson that was my fourth place choice. I didn’t give that one as much time, but they lost a day or two because they didn’t have their email flagged as being on vacation. But what I got from #4 wasn’t very clear what it was for and when I finally got an initial response from #3, they didn’t get a price to me before the deadline passed, and I had even extended it by two days.

So the end result was the one dealership that worked with me the way I wanted and had responded promptly got my business. They even had the color I wanted as my first pick and the car was in stock. I think I wound up with an automatic transmission instead of the CVT I preferred, but since I don’t have to do any more shifting when I drive, i don’t care about that. Getting from one place to another is a lot easier now.

When it came time to make the purchase, the price I had been given in the email given was reasonable. I never bothered to dig into the invoice cost nor try to get them to go lower because of it.

During the financing part, I was given the usual pitch for the extras that Consumer Reports says you can skip. It was laid out on paper with column 1 having everything and column 3 just having the extended warranty and GAP insurance. Column 4 was used for a couple of calculations based on how much I thought I’d be driving. I recognized it was deliberately displayed like that and decided, “You know what? I’m just going to do it,” and got the extended warranty. And yes, I’m going to pay a little extra each month because it’s included in the amount of the loan.

Maybe it will turn out to be money that I gave to the dealership that I don’t recoup in repair work. But that doesn’t matter to me. I had a good experience in looking for and buying a car. The remote starter has come in handy a couple of times already and the moonroof helps with ventilation on warm days. I am anticipating being able to pay extra on the loan each month and nibble away at the interest, maybe even being able to get it paid off as much as a year earlier.

I’ll offer one last bit of advice that I got when I was thinking about buying a house: “When you’re looking at the home you’re meant to be in, everything will go smoothly.” That applied to this car purchase.


Keep in mind that a lot of loans will just apply any extra to the next month’s payment. My Ram (yes pickup) is like that, but since I’m refinancing I’m not too concerned yet.

And in danger of derailing it, the process to change it so overpayments apply to the principal for my daughter’s college loan is insane. They want a physical letter sent to a specific department referencing specific language. And it took 45 minutes to get that information.


And others will assess a pre-payment penalty.

$wife’s school loan only allows for the former. There is no way that I’ve found that I can throw extra at the principal each month. Our mortgage, OTOH, I can do that with - and have done so since the first payment.


Aaaaand now Chef’s dad is stuck in my head. Still.

“Well it was about that time I noticed this girl scout was about eight stories tall and was a crustacean from the Proterozoic era.”

My truck and previous car both had built-ins, and I love 'em! Whether you like them or not probably depends on how you use your side-view mirrors and have them adjusted. On previous vehicles, I put spot mirrors on the upper, outer edge, too. When the main mirror is adjusted, that area is usually a useless view of open sky, so it seemed like a natural place for the convex spots.

While not exactly the same (definitely not the same source), this is along the lines of how I was taught to use my mirrors.


I already checked. My auto loan doesn’t have any penalty for paying early and the interest is calculated on what the balance owed happens to be that month. Plus, they’ve got it listed as another account so all I have to do is transfer money from one account to the loan to make the payment. If I set up a recurring transaction, it’s an auto-payment on my auto payment and I can put in the extra I want.


I did that with my mortgage. Extra ten thousand a a month really adds up!


An extra 10 grand a MONTH???
Are they hiring at your place of work?
Or did I miss a tongue in cheek?
I don’t live paycheck to paycheck but I’ve never had an extra 10k to throw at the mortgage every month.
A thousand or 2 but never 10K!


Ummm… yes.


If I could pay that much a month, the house would be paid off in under a year.


We’re doing that as well. Paying off the interest/PMI what have you. It’s only an extra $90 a month but it adds up super quick.


Well, the starter lock-out feature works. The one time I forget to lock the doors, that’s the night someone walks by and decides to see if they can get in. Got off lucky. Only thing that’s missing is some loose change.


I finally took the time to notice the gas prices at the local Costco. Right now, it’s at $2.47, 50 cents cheaper than where I usually get my gas. So, every fifth tank will effectively be free compared to the other locations. And since I’m getting 50-65% better gas mileage now, the savings could really add up quick.


I make it a practice to look up and map out Costco locations when I’m doing along drive. It’s worth even going a few miles out of my way to buy there.

Driving Cincy to Boston, I only get one, in Brookfield, CT, but it also give me a chance to grab some dinner and get off the hyper-busy roads for some lesser-traveled ones.


After seeing the lines at the Costco and where it’s situated, buying gas there is something I’ll probably do only if I’m shopping there. Paying a bit more in exchange for a faster fill-up is more beneficial for me. At least 5 minutes faster getting to/from other gas stations, plus not having to idle the car while I wait in line or turn it off/turn it on to move forward a little bit/turn it off again.

After owning a car for half a year with an automatic transmission that has responsive acceleration, I understand a lot better now why there are so many times where people suddenly have to step on the brakes. I’m doing it, too. It’s easy to accelerate just a little faster than you need and then you suddenly realize you’re closer to the person in front than you thought.

It makes me wonder if everyone had the same set-up as my truck if traffic would flow a lot smoother. This is the one where it’s a manual transmission, it takes about 2-3 seconds to shift gears (the top of the shift lever where your hand grips it is physically moving at least a foot when you go from the odd number gears to the even number gears) and it sometimes would fight with me about the gear change, either because there was something in one of the channels the lever would occasionally bump against where I’d have to back off for a second and slip past it, or the timing synchronization wasn’t quite matched yet. Plus, I was conscious that every gear change meant one more extra bit of wear on the clutch.

Either it would teach everyone to have more patience and not be in as much of a hurry, or road rage would skyrocket.

Secondhand cars (for people on a tight budget)

Can’t speak to Costco but BJ’s has poor-quality gas IMHO. Any cost “savings” I get by filling up there is lost to the reduced mileage I get out of the tank.


This. The “bargain” gas stations usually have poor quality gas. It’s worth paying more for your gas. It saves wear and tear on your car, and you make up for the cost difference in mileage. The better gas gets better mileage.


Supposedly Costco gas is good gas, but the lines often do make it silly.


I’ve noticed a drop in my mileage when I buy Costco gas, so I’m not so sure about it being the good stuff.


I had to get new tires recently and afterward noticed a drop in mileage no matter where I fill up. I get on average 25-30 miles less per tank than I did with the old tires. On the plus side, I’m no longer driving around with bald tires.

I agree with @Woodman about the lines at Costco.


Have you checked the tyre pressures? Running them a few PSI low will have that effect. I tend to run mine about 3 or 4 PSI over - mainly because the car handles a lot better that way. (But the added fuel economy is a bonus!)


They could be adding paraffin to the gas. We have a suspicion that the one gas station close to us does this as we get less kms per litre when filled up at them. Others we get more kms per litre.

Will not damage your engine though, but some diesels may have an issue.

One guy who thought he could make a quick buck by supplying “mixed” diesel to a data centre learnt the hard way, as he got sued for and had to pay for repairs to the generator sets.