Buying a vehicle

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by ActivePower, Nov 28, 2014.

  1. ActivePower

    Thread Starter Member

    Mar 15, 2012
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    Hello everyone,

    It has been some time since I've been here. The last few months have been very busy: landed my first job, moved to a new city, looking for a place to stay etc. Now that the dust has settled, I hope to be more regular. (Loving the new look, BTW)

    So, I'm looking for some advice from all the wise folks on AAC about buying a vehicle in a big city. Right now, I'm staying close to my workplace so I walk to work which is really pleasant and cheap. It is well-connected by bus and suburb trains and almost all basic needs are close by.

    A couple of friends advised me, though, to buy a scooter/motorbike nonetheless because of the mobility it would provide but I'm not sold.

    As I said, it's a big city and the distances are more. Going anywhere worthwhile can be prohibitive enough on my trainee-engineer pay. Plus the public transport options are almost great.

    What do you think about owning a vehicle? Is the mobility worth the investment?
     
  2. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    It obviously depends on the city where you are living and working.
    What is the traffic like? Is parking easily accessible and inexpensive?

    That is a great plus. Private car ownership can take a big bike out of your income.

    Look around you. How many people travel by bicycle, ebike, scooter and motorcycles? Are your potential routes safe for cyclists?

    I commute daily to work on bicycle. I also ride an electric bicycle which gets me around the city easily. I can do this comfortably because I live in a cycle friendly city that has bicycle paths and lanes on the main roads.
     
  3. sirch2

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2013
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    I wonder why your friends think you should get a motor bike? Is it because they are feeling tied/obligated by your lack of transport? If getting a cheap scooter helps you socially then that is no bad thing.

    What about hiring an appropriate vehicle as and when you need one? It may seem expensive but if you only need it very occasionally then it will work out cheaper and also it means that you can get the appropriate vehicle for the journey. Or split costs with a friend and share.
     
  4. Brownout

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2012
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    Save your money. If you can get to where you need, don't buy a car. I assume you're very young and have most of what you need close by. In the log run, you'll be better off by putting off the purchase for now, and having the cash reserve later, when you really need a vehicle.

    On the other hand, an inexpensive scooter might not be a terrible idea.
     
  5. ISB123

    Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2014
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    I would buy second hand city car since you can't drive scooter while it's snowing outside.
     
  6. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    ActivePower says he's in India. I don't know if they ever see snow.
     
  7. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    I definitely prefer a car. You break less number of bones when having a traffic accident.
     
  8. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
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    I would never want to live in the city but if I did, chances are I would not own a car. We have zipcar here in the US. Not sure if they have something similar in India. Zipcar is a rental car company but they keep their cars parked in various spots in major US cities. You sign up ahead of time then just take a car when you need it.

    You might want to consider getting a bicycle too. Not sure how bicycle friendly you city is but if I lived in the city where I work I would for sure be using a bicycle most of the time. I use one now, in the warmer weather, when I go grocery shopping or want to ride out to get take out food.

    Using zipcar, public transit, taxis and a bicycle is the way to go in a major city IMHO.
     
  9. ActivePower

    Thread Starter Member

    Mar 15, 2012
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    23
    Thanks for all your thoughtful replies. Much of what everyone said agrees with me. I am living in Chennai at the moment which is the 4th biggest city in India (I suppose) and that means the traffic density is high, to put it lightly, especially during office hours.

    A car was/is then definitely out of question and so is a motorbike. But I am considering buying a used electric/mechanical bicycle for when I have to go short distances on those brutally hot afternoons.

    As a matter of fact, Chennai is as far as it gets from snow or even cold weather for that matter. Its almost always hot and humid the whole year round. Don't know if that is a bad thing given that I am definitely not a cold weather person :p
     
  10. amilton542

    Active Member

    Nov 13, 2010
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    If money's an issue you could always buy a really cheap second hand car for about a £100 that has several months car tax and MOT left on it. When it runs out take it to the scrap man and you've near enough made your money back. You then repeat this process with another car. All it would have cost you is a cheap car insurance package that you would transfer over for each car and the fuel of course.
     
  11. Brownout

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2012
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    You're forgetting maintance, repair, parking and licensing costs, which all add up. And probably some which I'm forgetting.
     
  12. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    Walk and use the public transport. Maintenance, parking and repairs are a major downfall.
    I visited a friend in New York City one time. It seemed half of the walking space in his tiny apartment was filled with his two bicycles. It seemed they were constantly moving one of the two bikes to accommodate dinner, sleeping or sitting in the "living room".

    If you have space, ok. If you don't, think about the trade-offs and real benefits.
     
  13. WBahn

    Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
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    As others have said, there are a lot of considerations to take into account. What you need to do is sit down and list the advantages and disadvantages of having a car and also the options available to you. One thing to consider is what the basic cost of ownership of a car would be separate from the operating cost. So assume that you buy a car and do not drive it for the next year. What will it cost to buy it, license it, insure it, park it, etc.? Also, what are the options for parking it for extended periods of time and how accessible would the car be to you? How often are you likely to need (or really want) to use the car and how much lead time would you have? If you can plan your car trips several days in advance and they are pretty infrequent, then renting a car when you need one is a lot more viable than if you need it several times a month and you may not know you need it until just before you need it. One more option would be to consider going in with some of your friends and buying a cheap car and splitting the expenses. Just be sure that you are all in agreement as to how you will split the expenses and how you will coordinate using it. One way would be to figure up those fixed costs and have each person pay their share into an account on a regular basis (monthly or annually or whatever) with the understanding that no one can use the car at all unless their payments are current. Then each person pays so much per mile that they use the car into the account to cover the variable costs. You can stipulate that some costs are out-of-pocket, such as parking tolls, while others, such as gas and oil, are covered by the per-mile rate. That way no one has to fill up the tank after every trip and whoever does fill up the tank just gets reimbursed from the account.
     
  14. atferrari

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 6, 2004
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    Second hand cars mean maintenance needed at unexpected moments. Don't please.

    Buying a car is reasonable if you actually need it. Otherwise, don't please.

    It is true. I hope you have space enough not only in the appartment but also in the elevator. Oh yes!
     
  15. WBahn

    Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
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    Plenty of maintenance gets needed at unexpected moments with brand new cars, too.

    While someone has to buy cars new, that person will almost certainly never be me. We have four vehicles and the current market value on all four combined, plus the trailer, is probably about $12k. Yes, we have maintenance costs (but so does a new car), but we are far, far, far money ahead compared to the cost of even a single comparable new car.
     
  16. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
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    There are such things as folding bicycles. Stuff them in a closet and you will never know they are there. Downside is that good ones are not cheap.
     
  17. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    I just heard last night, the AVERAGE new car loan is $27000 in the US. In the range of 5 year loans.

    I could not get myself to to do it.
     
  18. WBahn

    Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
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    And the moment you finish signing the paperwork that car has dropped about $3000 in value and after five years it is only worth about a third of what you paid for it. Those are the averages, so of course some cases are better and some are worse.
     
  19. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
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    I had the same problem. After 15 years of keeping my Toyota, it was time for a new car. The car still had a few more years left but really does not fit my lifestyle anymore. I opted for a new vehicle. Paid a around $@25K with taxes and all. That was a base vehicle too. I plopped down $11K + $1.5K for the trade in. I could afford to pay cash for the whole thing but money is so cheap now plus looking to buy a house so I figured why do it.

    I have not had a car payment in almost 25 years. Paid cash for my last car and the one before that I kept 13 years before buying a new car.

    My co-worker just bought a used 2012 and paid $5k more than I did. He of course got a vehicle with all of the bells and whistles. He financed for 60 months or more. He thinks in terms of payments, I keep trying to tell him that he needs to give cost the priority but he won't listen. Sadly too many Americans think like he does. That is why no one has savings for their retirement. I watch what I spend and will probably do OK in my retirement years but still worry.
     
  20. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
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    It really depends on what you buy. I looked long and hard at buying used. I really wanted a compact SUV. First it is hard to find one that is a year or two old and low miles, at least around here. You might save $1.5K to to $2K on a 1 or 2 year old well rated SUVs. I figured that for the length of time I keep a vehicle and the small amount of savings in the models I was looking, it just was not worth the risk of buying used.
     
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