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in a web of glass, pinned to the edges of vision

So, if I don't do this, I will wind up doing something horrible.

I'd forgotten how often we saw Magritte

mucha mosaic

So, if I don't do this, I will wind up doing something horrible.

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mucha mosaic
Ergo, I'm shopping for a car. Used, most likely: it's not going to get used too terribly often (only when housemate is out of town and I cannot carpool with her).
Either I do this or I kill someone; the long-term grind of the commute via train is just driving me nuts.

Suggestions on looking for a used car, anyone?
  • Craig's List.
  • My parents got mine at a used car fair (car show?) in Hayward. Apparently, there were quite a few good models available, and very reasonable, too. I think a major hitch in the gitalong, though, is making sure your credit is up to snuff.

  • mak sure they come from the first owner. make sure they are ok with letting you take it to a mechanic for a onc over. it should cost like $100.

    do you want make /model suggestions?
  • See if you can get hold of a Consumer Reports reliability ratings for that sort of thing, so you know what's good as a used car and what isn't.

    My credit union offers some sort of car-buying fair. Your bank might have similar connections.

    Involve a reliable mechanic or reliable dealership.

    Look into a local area parking permit, or attempt to find out if any of the spaces in your building are available.

    I think you already said Rideshare won't work for you because of on-call. How about someone nearby with a vehicle who happens to be poor? I'd have happily lent you the old Vlvo for gas money and the occasional chip in towards its housing and maintenance; keeping a car in the city is pricey, and there's got to be folks around who'd take you up on such a deal even if it did mean a few midnight phone calls. (Assuming their vehicle is reliable, that is.)

    The long-term grind of the train was decidedly a factor in the breakdown of my health. But I've always been fragile and shit.
  • I don't have an awful lot of suggestions on finding a used car. I have some on qualifying on once you find it.

    What I might suggest, which my father suggested to me, is just going the 'certified pre-owned' route. They're pretty much as good as new, but they've already taken the depreciation hit in price for being pre-owned.

    Err. And my dad's advice means more to me on that front 'cause knowing about cars and their value and shite is, you know, part of his job. So. There you go. That's my advice.
  • Carfax
  • I'd second the 'certified pre-owned' suggestion. If you can find one that still has warranty left, or if you can buy an extended service contract, that can be worthwhile too. Consider an inexpensive new car, too. You may pay more up front, but if you plan to keep it for a while you may save in the long run on maintenance and headaches, especially if you get one with a good warranty.

    Talk to your credit union or bank about getting pre-approved for a car loan before you go shopping. That way you'll know your budget and won't have to deal with the financing people at the car dealership, who are sometimes even sleazier than the salespeople.

    When you walk into the dealership, don't let them know you have cash in hand. Don't even talk about payment methods or financing until after you have settled the deal for the car. Stick to the car, the options, the warranty/service contract, and the price. Don't be afraid to get up and walk out if you aren't happy with what they're offering. They need you more than you need them, and sometimes heading for the door will get you the deal you're looking for (within reason -- car salesmen need to make a living too). Don't let them baffle you with promotional BS about interest rates or cash-back deals, tell them you are just interested in the bottom line for you to drive the car home. Make sure they don't stuff in bogus prep charges for rustproofing or whatever after the fact. Once you have a written sales agreement, then tell them how you will be paying. If at any point you don't like how things are going, just get up and leave. There are lots of cars out there, and there's no reason to get pushed into a deal that's not right for you.
  • Hertz and Enterprise

    I bought a used car from Hertz and have beeen very happy with it. I was only one year old and I could look at the maintance record of the car. They have a web site where you can look at the cars. I think you need a covertible to go over the bridge with.

  • Want a 69 VW Bug? Probably available March 1st...
    • Tempting... but I am going to say no for the same reason that I'm not buying a '72 vespa: I don't have time in my life to acquire both a vehicle and a hobby of automotive repair.
  • What are you looking for in the car really?

    Consumer Reports has interesting data but a lot of it may not fit you.

    If I only got to have one car, it would be a hatchback, because you rarely have to ask for help hauling anything. Flop the back seats down.

    I wouldn't recomend the used route for a car you're only going to drive occasionally. The value proposition gets turned on it's head (the car will still depreciate like crazy, and the utility you'll get out of it won't be that great). Lately I've gone the route of buying cars that have no depreciation left (the ~$1k pricerange) and I've ended up w/ some decent machinery (one of which is about to be for sale)

    Also, aftermarket warranties are a complete scam with fineprint. You will want to buy one when you're at a dealership, but resist it.

    Also, find me on IM today, we'll chat about car stuff more.
    • I'm thinking, honestly, about getting a Miata or something equally frivolous. There's a larger car in the family, as it were- this is just something for those days when housemate is not in town and I have to get to-and-fro on my own. Smaller is also a high value modifier, because I'll likely park it at my folks' house in San Mateo when housemate's in town.
  • tell me about it

    I'm on the train 3 hours a day now. And I know how the caltrain compares to what I'm riding now (minus the infamous sardine effect in Tokyo). Caltrain shakes a lot, and the lights are so bright its impossible to sleep. Fun party btw...
    • Re: tell me about it

      yeah, 3 hours is about what I'm spending on the train when I don't hitch a ride in with lyricagent; this means I run real short on sleep, and am a cranky little monster: I just don't deal well with sleep dep ever since The Incident.

      And I'm glad you enjoyed the party: thank you for making it a good one! After all- sure, we hosted it and all, but hosting a party is just cleaning up the house and telling people they can come over. If nobody came, it'd be a pretty boring party. ;)
  • Check out Enterprise you can get a good car for under 10K that is only a year old. I got two cars from them. I have only had one problem, and I think it was my fault.
  • only appropriate ride for a cool formerly dead guy, but maybe I'm biased
  • Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a Carmax close to you, but I thought I would mention it anyway in case factors I'm not aware of make it reasonably feasible to get to somewhere that does have one. We bought our two most recent cars from them, and it was a pleasant experience both times, and I have heard similar happy stories from other people who've purchased through them also. They do offer extended warranties on most of their cars, and you can shop online and have them transfer cars from other locations.
  • Dealer

    For the money you have you can get a passable used car from a big dealer and get a one year warranty in the deal. You then take it to a shop where they can fix anything that is covered in the warranty before the year is up. Just make sure the warranty is not only with the dealer. That's what I did and I wish I would have had all that work done sooner.
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