Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Buying a New Used Car

Buying a used car these days is an adventure. Kind of...

I started, like I always start, by deciding that I need to replace one of my vehicles...maybe. Then I decide how much I am willing to spend.  I find this a good approach because it immediately narrows down the number of automobiles to evaluate.  What I am willing to spend slowly increased with time as I discover more and more cars that don't fit my self imposed budget.  Before I know it (actually I know it all along) my budget slowly creeps up so it will include some additional vehicles.

I used the internet to search for vehicles and investigate gas mileage figures and resale values. I was discouraged by several of my findings.
1 - Many late model cars seem to have many more miles on them than I want a prospective buy to have. I guess a lot of people drive many more miles per year than I do. Even though I know cars last longer than they use to I don't want to buy a car that I expect to drive every day to have 90 or 100 thousand miles on it to start.
2 - The number of miles on the odometer doesn't seem to have that much effect on what dealers expect to sell their cars for. An 07 for instance will be listed for much more money than an 05 that has fewer miles on it. That may or may not make the 05 a better buy. It does however make it fit my budget better.
3 - Even in a so-called depressed used car market I found that the more desirable cars were selling quickly. On my first excursion to look at a car I found on the internet it had already been sold. I learned to call first before you travel any distance to see a car.
4 - Why is it that the best buys seem to be the farthest distance away from my home?

Once you start looking at vehicles "in the metal (and plastic)" make sure you take time to let the "initial glow" dim a little.  In my experience, some cars just say "buy me", "buy me" at first sight and it is too easy to overlook some obvious shortcomings during this "love at first sight" period. I know...I know...someone might buy it out from under you but you'll regret it later if you jump in without first convincing yourself that you really can live without it. When working with a dealer it is always best to give the impression that you can walk away if the deal isn't exactly what you are willing to pay. They want to sell you a car. And it's to your advantage if they want to sell more than you want to buy.

The last thing to remember is they will never offer you the lowest price they are willing to accept. Always be prepared to counter their first offer, and maybe the second or third. Collecting used car values from Edmonds and Kelly Blue book are good guides but those are averages and may not reflect the value of vehicles in your area. You should work to achieve a price that you are happy with before you buy. I don't believe there is such a thing as a good buy on an automobile. There are better buys and worse buys but most every car depreciates rapidly and is worth less and less as time goes by.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Voting Day

I voted today. I believe it's every citizen's obligation to help run the country, state, county, city...by being active at the polls...voting that is...and...there is absolutely no reason not to be active with a political party and/or specific "cause"...(is that a double negative???)
When I signed in today I was told, "You have to declare today." I replied, "No, I don't."
I have been and independent voter for most of my life. There are probably some very good reasons for having a party affiliation but I haven't been able to find one that convinces me that I should "declare". Clearly, in my mind, the statement regarding party declaration should have been worded differently. The insinuation was that you could only vote if you made a party declaration. Whatever...
The state of our political system is a point of consternation for me. I believe there are always two sides to most issues. Debate and discussion are great ways to solidify one's opinion. When one party (currently both major political parties) insists on total disagreement with everything said and done by the other party, something is basicly wrong. I believe elected officials should be working together for the betterment of our country, our society and the world. That doesn't seem to be happening. Therefore, we all need to vote. We need to make our opinions known at the polls.
In order to be effective citizens we need to be informed about the issues. I find this to be difficult. The media seems to be about as interested in everyday political issues as our citizenry...not very. I have to admit, I'm not as well informed as I need to be. I will declare right now to try to be better informed before the next election. Have a great day.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Round About Travels

Today the better half and I started out to look at a couple of used cars and didn't see a single one.
I failed to "let my fingers do the walking" and the first car we went to see had been sold. On the way to the next opportinity we passed a "prim shop" in West Milton, Ohio. My spouse is a great prim lover and so....we had to stop. That stop lead to a trip to another "prim" shop that was located "just a short distance from here". That stop lead to the discovery of an antiques store co-owned by the wife of a high school chum. Turns out that shop was located in Tipp City, Ohio and it was "on our way".
Needless to say by the time we finished primming and antiquing I had lost all enthusiasm for car shopping. We had a nice afternoon cruising around in our old van. It wasn't a bad way to spend a rather overcast and cloudy day that started out with a steady rain that I expected to last all day.
Such is life I guess. We set off on a journey thinking we know where we are going but getting distracted by other events that are just called living. If we are lucky the journey has been an enjoyable and fruitful one.