Tag Archives: used car

Fuel Efficient Used Cars

Now, more than ever, people are trying to save money by purchasing fuel efficient cars.  Often the focus is on new cars, which offer high miles per gallon, but also come with a big price tag.  The cost of technology to create lower emissions and high efficiency can create a daunting monthly payment, which voids the savings, unless driven for years to come.  I suggest purchasing a good fuel efficient used car and below are my two suggestions.

Ford Focus

The Ford Focus has proven itself to be a reliable small car.  It’s offered in several different styles, from 4 door to hatch back, but all provide gas savings.  Usually equipped with a 2.0 liter 4 cylinder engine, these small cars are capable on the freeway, small enough for the city, yet provide enough cargo space for most daily needs.

A 2001 used Ford Focus can be found for as little as $6,000.  What’s even more important is that there were a lot of these cars manufactured, so there are plenty of options in the used car market, to find the Focus that’s right for you.  A used Ford Focus would be the perfect car for a ‘work’ car making a long commute or for quick trips in the city running errands.

Although not overly luxurious, a good used Ford Focus can be one of the best used cars on the market.

Honda Civic

My next suggestion would be to purchase a good used Honda Civic.  I’d recommend the Civic for most of the same reasons as buying a used Focus.  Fuel efficiency, reliability, and sheer numbers in the used car market.  Although it can be a positive or negative, a Honda Civic will hold a higher resale value than the Ford Focus.  This doesn’t mean there aren’t good deals to be found.

As of this posting I’ve found a listing for a 2000 used Honda Civic for just $6,000, albeit with a little over 120,000 miles.  High miles shouldn’t be a major deterrent when purchasing a used car, especially when looking at a reliable car like the Honda Civic.  If well maintained it’s not unheard of to push these cars past the 150k or 200k mile mark.

With the Honda Civic’s proven reliability record and high resale value, I’d recommend a used Honda Civic to any used car buyer trying to save on transportation costs.

Dwindling Car Lot Inventory

I was reading an article earlier today discussing the state of the US economy and what it means to domestic car manufacturers.  They listed the start of the recession as December of 2007, which means we are about to reach 2 years.  Couple this with the news that GM had been losing money on Saturn since day one and it’s face palm city.

They say the Midwest is always the last to feel economic changes, well let me tell you we are feeling it.  I’ve been noticing locally much of the car manufacturers are starting to not park their inventory as close together.  A few years ago you couldn’t even drive onto a car lot, now there’s enough room to maneuver a school bus.  They say we are starting to come out of the recession, I hope THEY are right.

But it’s not just new car inventory that seems to be slipping away.  I’ve been actively searching for a used car in the $10,000 range for months, without any luck.  People are holding onto their used cars longer or got rid of them 2 months ago in the cash for clunkers program.

Come on economy, start getting better, I’m tired of writing about bad news in the automotive industry.

The Best Interest Rates For Used Cars

Used Car Loan

Used Car Loan

Buying a used car is a little bit more difficult if you’ve got bad credit, compared to those with options as a buyer with good credit.  The restrictions on buying a used car with a loan can vary from bank to bank, so hopefully these tips will help those with good credit score the best percentage rate.  In my experience, the bigger the bank, the higher the percentage rate on your used car loan, so let’s look at some options.

Factors when getting a loan for a used car include the age of the vehicle, Blue Book value, and obviously your credit score.  Generally speaking, the older the vehicle the higher the interest rate will be on your loan.  At one point most banks won’t even loan you money for a used car, generally the cut off is 6 years old.  So, getting a used car loan for a model year 2003 vehicle will difficult, depending on the bank you use.  Also, your interest rate will be higher on the 2003 vehicle than the 2008 used vehicle.

When you get a loan for a used car, the vehicle you purchase is used as colateral to secure the funds.  So, once you license your new vehicle the title is sent to the lien holder, the bank.  Once you pay the vehicle off, the title is then sent to you.  To protect it’s loan a bank will make sure the vehicle is worth at least as much as the loan they give.  Therefore a bank will use Kelly Blue Book to decide a market value for the used car, sometimes you can get a loan for 100% of the used car value.  As mentioned previously, the older the vehicle the less the bank will be willing to loan you for the car.

At the beginning of this article I mentioned that in my experience the highest interest rates were at the largest banks.  Three weeks ago I purchased a 2004 F150 and I needed a small loan (under $5000) to complete the transaction.  Interest rates were all over the board on a 48 month term, the highest being from 5/3, a bank I’ve been using for years.  Their current interest rate on a vehicle older than 3 years was 9%, which is outrageous, especially for me, a person with a FICO score over 820.

After talking with the loan officer I found out a few of my options.  I am a member of a local credit union, which was much smaller than 5/3 Bank, but their interest rates matched their size.  They were both small, to the tune of only 6% for 48 months!  By doing a little searching around and going with a smaller bank I was able to secure a loan for used cars with a much lower interest rate, saving me hundreds of dollars.

It’s not always this easy, especially if you have less than perfect credit.  Furthermore, different areas of the country have different interest rates for small loans, depending on what the market can bare.  Considering the state of the economy, finding a good interest rate for small loans can be difficult, but whatever you do, make sure you search around before committing and signing on the dotted line.

Buy Used, Save Thousands

Right now is quite possibly the worst time in the history of car buying to buy a new vehicle. I’m not even kidding.  The car companies could fail, the banks don’t want to loan money, and to be honest with the recession economy being what it is it is hard to say whether you even have your job a year from now. So, if you’re thinking about buying a new car, don’t. It is a terrible idea.

Of course, buying a new car is almost always a terrible idea.  The only thing you get with the new car is an overpriced warranty, a sleazy salesman, and the new car smell. Oh wait, you also get saddled with thousands of dollars of extra car payments that you shouldn’t have to pay.  Compared to buying a used car, a new car is the scam of the century.

Once you drive a new car off the lot.  Its value drops by thousands of dollars.  In the first two or three years, the value can drop anywhere from 25 to 50%.  Yet, if you have a five-year loan, after two years your vehicle is likely to be worth less than what you owe. Not only that, but you are likely to be stuck with the vehicle because of it.  For that much longer. After 5 years, a used car doesn’t lose its value as fast, so you don’t get hit with the same depreciation penalty that you get with a new vehicle.

One time I actually sat down and ran the numbers, and I quickly realized that the difference between buying a new vehicle, or even a one-year-old vehicle to buying a three or four-year-old vehicle is staggering.  If you were to compare a five-year-old sedan for $7,000 and a new sedan for $15, 000, you’ll find that over the life of the vehicle, say over the five years you own it, you’re likely to pay well over $15,000 more for the newer vehicle.

Actually, if you were to hold onto the vehicles for 10 years, it gets even worse. the amount of interest you pay on a new vehicle is so much higher, that in 10 years, you could buy a used vehicle, drive it for a few years, pay off the loan and get another one, and still end up paying less than the purchase price of the new vehicle. What a deal right? That doesn’t even figure in the extra cost of interest on the new vehicle.

Don’t be a fool, by used and save yourself thousands of dollars.  Also, I’m pretty sure new car smell rots the brain anyways, so you’re not missing out.

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Rat Rod On eBay

Here at The-Grayline we do not always cover the custom angle of out automotive love.  Personally, I hate myself for that, because customizing is what brought me to love autos of any time, the want, need, and ability to make it my own.  So, I started checking out what people were most into during the month of April and it looks like Rat Rod’s on eBay took the cake.

Right now on eBay there are over 3,600 parts, accessories, and cars that fit the description of Rat Rod.  Furthermore rat rod is one of the top 10 searched queries in all of eBay motors, just above Mustangs I might add.  But why not, a rat rod is the original customized vehicle, dating back to the early 50’s or later and sporting a mish mash of parts and primered paint.

Furthermore, those on a shoe string budget could afford the parts and accessories to make their own Rat Rod.  That’s where eBay comes into place, it’s made the gathering of assorted parts easier, since it’s one HUGE garage sale of rat mobiles.  Maybe I should get started on my Rat Rod project this summer.

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