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ToyotaTom
ToyotaTom, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 1401
Experience:  8+ years experience, ASE Certified
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Honda Civic: a good car to get around our town..reliable..gas mileage

Resolved Question:

I need a good car to get around our town, one that is reliable and gets good gas mileage, a medium sized car . my boys want me to get a Honda Civic, but is that the most reliable with less maintance car there is/ I need your expert opinion.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  ToyotaTom replied 3 years ago.

ToyotaTom :

How much money do you intend to spend on the 1 good car?

ToyotaTom :

A ballpark price range would be the only way to get started here really. There are a lot of different options, depending on price range you're looking to spend

Customer:

around 10-12,000 for a nice used car. I'm not sure how much a new Honda civic would cost, that is what we are looking at

ToyotaTom :

A civic is a great choice. They are very nice cars, and have a good reputation for a reason :)

ToyotaTom :

Something to plan for, is around 100k miles the timing belt needs replacement, which is a few hundred dollars

ToyotaTom :

If that breaks, the engine is pretty much guaranteed to be broken

Customer:

is that the only problem that might occur with the civic?

ToyotaTom :

For the most part, they're good, reliable cars. Basic maintenanc is required, as with any car. belts, hoses, oil change/tire rotation,

ToyotaTom :

basic stuff liek that, which will apply to any car you purchase

Customer:

would you buy one for your wife or children or daughter?

Customer:

are they a safe car to drivew?

ToyotaTom :

The other option I would very seriously consider looking into is the 05-08 corolla. The "s" model looks nice, has great safety ratings, and much like the civic, is a very reliable car (minus the timing belt, because the corolla runs on a chain instead of a belt, and the chain doesn't need replacement)

ToyotaTom :

If it were me, those are the 2 that I would be looking into.

ToyotaTom :

And when it came down to it, the basic deciding factor would be whichever was a "better buy"

ToyotaTom :

sometimes you run across something that's just a great deal

ToyotaTom :

But both cars, safety ratings are about the same. Reliability, about the same.

ToyotaTom :

Really the only difference as far as maintenance costs are the timing belt thing (because the corolla doesn't have one)

ToyotaTom :

I do believe the interior of the honda is built nicer. Feels solid and sturdier than the Corolla.

Customer:

right now I am driving a 2002 Malibu and it has 127, plus miles, but there will be some repair need soon if I don't get a new one

ToyotaTom :

(and this is coming from a Toyota mechanic) :)

ToyotaTom :

Any car is going to need some repair at 100k plus, that's a given

ToyotaTom :

And it will need more repair when it gets to that range if you only change the oil, than if you take care of it its whole life

Customer:

sounds like a Honda civic would be a good choice, maybe my kids do know something I don't.

ToyotaTom :

They are great cars, and have that reputation for a reason

ToyotaTom :

However, I would recommend one thing, VERY highly

ToyotaTom :

before you buy one (regardless of if it's a honda, chevy, toyota, etc) is take it to the dealership of that make before you buy it. most dealers will do a "pre purchase" inspection. Might cost you a hundred bucks or so (at the most) but that hundred bucks could be a hundred bucks for peace of mind, or save you from a 10k mistake

ToyotaTom :

And I recommend the dealership for one reason only... because they KNOW that car. inside and out. They know everything about it, it's common problems for that particular year, what to look for, etc

ToyotaTom :

Your local mechanic could look and say "the oil pan is leaking" but might miss the small things that could cost big money like that weird vibration, only present from 55-57mph that indicated the transmission going bad

ToyotaTom :

(just a generic example)

Customer:

do you think a new or used civic car cost around 10-12,000

ToyotaTom :

new, no. Used, sure

ToyotaTom :

you could find an 07-09 for around that range

Customer:

ok, thanks for all the help

Customer:

would you recommend a large city dealership or smaller town?

ToyotaTom :

Keep an eye out, and don't be in a hurry. There are good deals to be had, you just have to keep your eye out. And like I said, take the car to the dealership for an inspection before you buy it.

ToyotaTom :

look wherever you can. Large, small, owners...

ToyotaTom :

craigslist can be a good resource, as well as autotrader

ToyotaTom :

Don't limit yourself to looking at dealerships

ToyotaTom :

IF you are looking dealership, do yourself a favor

ToyotaTom :

if you're financing it, visit your local bank or credit union BEFORE you start looking

ToyotaTom :

get the loan ready and secured

ToyotaTom :

so everything is ready to go. Then you're basically walking in to a dealer with "cash". You don't have to deal with their finance people, or working for a "$299 per month" payment

ToyotaTom :

You are looking at botXXXXX XXXXXne, cost of the car

ToyotaTom :

They can play games and sell you a car for that 299 per month for way over their asking price for the vehicle, and the customer is never the wiser

ToyotaTom :

they're just happy they get it for the 299 per month

Customer:

is it better to buy or lease

ToyotaTom :

When in reality, say they were asking 10k for the car. they realize they can sell the car for 12k and still do it for 20 dollars per month under the 299 maximum the customer wants, so they make it look like it's a great deal and everyone wins

ToyotaTom :

it's better to buy. For the main reason of equity

ToyotaTom :

When you buy a car, you own it (eventually)

ToyotaTom :

when you lease a car, you're paying the 300 per month, and then after 3 years or so give it back to them with nothing to show for it

ToyotaTom :

and if you drive too many miles, have too many scratches on it, etc, they charge you extra for that "wear and tear"

ToyotaTom :

so at that point, when you give it back, you could actually owe them a couple thousand dollars to give them their car back

ToyotaTom :

When you buy a car, it's yours. After that 5 or 6 year loan, it's paid off, and it's yours

ToyotaTom :

if after 4 years you decide to upgrade, and say you owe 5k on it, but the car is still worth 9k, that's like putting 4k cash down payment towards the new one

Customer:

is cash up front better than monthly payments, maybe you answered that

ToyotaTom :

Plus, personally, after working at a dealership, I would personally never buy a brand new car

ToyotaTom :

the second you drive it off the lot you lose between 3 and 5 thousand dollars (possibly more)

Customer:

I actually have a durango 2003 to sell, so maybe with the sale of both of them, I can get a nice car

ToyotaTom :

I've seen people trade in their new car with LITERALLY less than 100 miles on it and lose 8 thousand dollars

ToyotaTom :

Cash up front, or monthly payments...

ToyotaTom :

basically that's a personal preference. Some people don't have much extra income to be able to apply to a car payment. In that case, if you have the extra money saved up that you can put down, it can save you 50-60 bucks a month easily

ToyotaTom :

But if you have little money saved up, but can afford the payment, then it doesn't necessarily do a ton of good to give it out ahead of time

Customer:

I am waiting on some life insurance and the selling of both the malibu and durango

ToyotaTom :

but in the long run will save you money in interest payments

ToyotaTom :

if you have the money to spare, put as much down as you comfortably can

ToyotaTom :

if not, paying extra on top of the monthly payments will bring the balance down quickly

Customer:

do you really spend more than the price of the car if their is a lot of interest

ToyotaTom :

absolutely

ToyotaTom :

This is the bank's fee

ToyotaTom :

for lending you the money

ToyotaTom :

say the bank is willing to take the chance and lend out 10000 dollars to joe schmoe. To compensate for their "risk" in that loan, they'll charge, say 10 percent. That's a thousand dollars. So now you're paying 11,000 dollars for the car

ToyotaTom :

And that thousand dollars is their "payment" for the risk they took by lending you the money

Customer:

ok

ToyotaTom :

and in actuality they make a lot more than that, but i kept math simple

Customer:

thanks

ToyotaTom :

actual ammortization tables would bring a 10k loan to about 14k after all is said and done

ToyotaTom :

But if you pay, say an extra hundred dollars per month on the payment, it would eat up a lot of what they're able to make money off of, and would pay off a 5 year loan in about 3 years

ToyotaTom :

or less

Customer:

cool

ToyotaTom :

Good luck with your search, and I mean that. I'm in the same boat myself right now, just not sure what I want to do yet.

ToyotaTom :

But if I can help you with anything else, please feel free to ask. All you have to do is respond to this conversation by the "my questions" tab at the top of your just answer window, even after you click the "accept" button

Customer:

I am in no hurry, my boys are going to help me this summer sell and buy my new/used car

ToyotaTom :

That's perfect

ToyotaTom :

Take your time, and plan carefully. Time is your friend. The salesmen will want you to think "you gotta buy now" but that's obviously not true.

ToyotaTom :

If you're not in a hurry, you can use that to your advantage

Customer:

is there a way I can print out our conversation so I don't have to write everything down that we've been talking about?

ToyotaTom :

honestly, you're about that thousandth person to ask me that. The chat feature is still relatively new, and they haven't gotten that far yet. However, the best bet is to copy and past into a word document to print

ToyotaTom :

Or like I said, you can always log in to your just answer account, click the "my questions" tab at the top of the screen, and bring it up that way for future reference as well

Customer:

how do I do that, I'm not sure

ToyotaTom :

When you log in to just answer (like you are now) look at the top of the screen. There should be something that says "my questions"

ToyotaTom :

if you click on that, it will bring you to a list of ever question you've had (which in your case should be 2)

Customer:

ok, I meant how do I copy and paste into word document

ToyotaTom :

oh. In the box above where you type (where you read everything) press the ctrl button and the A button at the same time, or right click with the mouse and click on "select all"

ToyotaTom :

Then open a word document, and click paste

ToyotaTom :

or wordpad, or whatever word processor program you use

Customer:

thanks for all your information, I guess I'll look under just answer

ToyotaTom, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 1401
Experience: 8+ years experience, ASE Certified
ToyotaTom and 17 other Car Specialists are ready to help you

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