Car buying and car ownership

Since this community always has a wealth of information, I was wondering if people had good advice on buying cars. I’m not a car person, I don’t like dealing with my car, and I wish I lived somewhere that I was less reliant on a car, but since I don’t I may as well equip myself. My lease is expiring soon and I was planning on just leasing something else - I know leasing kind of sucks but it also seems to come with the least amount of hassle (you can calculate expected payments online nowadays). Probably going to get the Kia Telluride which seems to be by far the best bang for your buck if looking at a larger SUV, given that it’s somehow the least expensive yet has the highest ratings according to a couple of metrics I checked. We were planning on buying last time but the prices they were quoting us were so far off the mark that we went with a much more reasonable seeming lease.

Our other car we bought in 2013, but my cousin worked for Hyundai and told me exactly how much I could pay that the dealership would accept; still spent the whole day negotiating and they only agreed when I told them I was going to walk. My plan is to replace that car next year by buying something slightly used since buying a new car seems to be the absolute worst option. I know people say you get equity in your car but I’ve never gotten more than a couple thousand back for a car that I’ve driven for any reasonable length of time. Anyway if people have helpful advice I would appreciate it!

I’m also somewhat shopping at the moment. My wife wants something bigger, either a minivan or SUV. We are probably looking at something used but <20k miles, it just seems like better value. The Telluride is a prime candidate for us as well. I absolutely despise the process of buying a car. seems helpful.

I’ve gotten my last 2 cars through a lease and found to be loaded with tons of useful information and calculators.

We used that too, when we leased the car we had before we bought the Tesla. We should have paid more attention to the “Who should lease” section because as we found out, the answer is “definitely not us”. We drive too much (plus, the car we leased was too fun to drive) and basically had to park it for the last 6 months so we wouldn’t blast past the mileage limit.

We turned it in with 27,997 miles on it :stuck_out_tongue:

Still glad we did because it taught us a lot about driving an EV and led directly to our decision to buy the Tesla.

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I think Sklansky of all people wrote about this, but in the age of internet sales, start a new email account and email every internet sales manager at dealerships within whatever number of miles you would be willing to travel. You can negotiate completely online and grind them down for the best deal. And don’t feel bad doing it, fuck those guys.

I also like cargurus.

I dislike cars and car ownership–how is it 2020 and yet we all need to have our own 5,000-pound machine? … but now I live in a rural area where some sort of AWD vehicle is almost required. Recently bought a 2017 Chevy Equinox after my 20 year-old Wrangler slid off the road in the season’s first snowstorm.

I liked owning the jeep outright but got pretty lucky–I bought it for about $2,300 and it turned out to be very reliable (and my mechanic kept it running for cheap).

But … I don’t hate owning the Chevy. And realized that having the older vehicle, I was definitely limiting my driving (and hence, life). The dealership made it pretty simple, though I probably got a shit deal. The payments are pretty much exactly what I’d wanted.

So OP, while I definitely feel your car-angst, my recent experience and purchase has kind of left me thinking my own dislike of cars was kind of overdone.


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The last two cars we purchased we did entirely online except for going in to sign the final paperwork and driving away with the vehicles. I researched online for a fair price, (didn’t bother trying to get to the absolute bare minimum), and emailed my local dealership with my “out the door price” offer. I told them I wanted a yes or no answer, and anything other than yes or no would be responded to by me never contacting them again.

Both times our offer was accepted and I think we spent roughly 60 minutes at the dealership signing off on the final paperwork each time. My best guess is we paid somewhere between $100 and $250 more than necessary each time, had I wanted to waste a couple of weeks playing the negotiating game.


Timely thread. I’m in the middle of shopping too.

Check out the forums at I learned so much about leasing there. Also FWIW things may have changed but when I was car shopping in September of last year the Telluride was leasing terribly.

The car buying process is a complete joke. The fact that I can’t buy a car from General Motors, and need a dealer to “protect” me from the manufacturer is absolutely laughable. And that’s to say nothing of the straight up fraud that occurs in the F&I office.

Of course, it’s only like this because car dealers own every single state legislature. The whole industry is rent seeking garbage.


yeah, entirely online is what I loved about Tesla. It’s basically like ordering something from Amazon…choose your options, choose your financing, and boom, done. No dealerships, no haggling, no bullshit.

They’ll even deliver it to you if you live far from one of their delivery centers.

They have “showrooms” where you maybe get a test drive, but if you buy right there, it’s literally the guy logging into the website, making your account, and doing the same thing I did from my PC at home.

I have heard they have leasing now, but I don’t know anything about it.

It’s much easier these days to know where you stand when buying a car.

You can go to to find out exactly what the dealer paid and what a fair offer would be and places like and where you can get an idea of fair market value at the time you’re interested.

You can also do much of the negotiating via these systems so there isn’t much of a need to create emails as referenced up thread

Even if you do everything right (negotiate over email, get out the door price, don’t finance through the dealer), they still hold you hostage when you show up and make you sit there for hours waiting then dealing with the hyper aggressive mega-sleazy F&I manager. Your only recourse is to just leave when the bullshit begins, but then you’ve wasted hours and have to start over.

Think this depends on the dealership. I suppose it’s sample size but I’ve never had an issue in that room and I’ve dealt with GM, Land Rover and Volvo in recent years.

It’s also helpful to negotiate the extras into the deal to save some of that headache when you get in the F&I room. You can fold the “scratch and dent” coverage into the price if you’re interested in doing so right from the start bc that’s definitely something they’re going to pitch in there and if you’re not comfortable saying no thank you.

I used to buy online with no negotiating or other b.s. It seems a bit ridiculous at first, but you get a virtual tour of the car, see the car’s history, and then they deliver the car to your front door for a two-week test drive. Return it for free, no questions asked if you don’t like it.

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One way to avoid this is to use a broker. The good ones will 100% make sure this doesn’t happen. Yes, it’s a few hundred bucks, but when you factor in a better deal and zero hassle (with a good broker), it’s money very well spent. If anybody in LA needs a good broker I have one.

So you use a broker to protect you from the dealership who protects your from the manufacturer? Great industry we’ve got here. Be a shame if something happened to it…


IMO the smartest move for most people is to get a used car that’s 2-3 years old, keep it for 3-5 years (depending on mileage) then sell it and upgrade to another used car that’s 2-3 years old. I prefer to go Certified Pre-owned for some extra warranty protection.

New cars lose value the quickest in the first ~2 years, and then I think it drops again once you’re getting up over 100K miles and especially around 150K.

So this strategy keeps you in a relatively new car while minimizing your annual cost of ownership. You’re buying after the rapid devaluation occurs and then selling while it still has a good amount of value to throw into your next car.

I went with a CPO 2016 Mazda 6, which was close enough in reliability ratings to the Honda Accord and a little nicer to drive IMO. I’ve been happy so far. I paid about $15K for it in April of 2019 and last I checked it was still worth $12.9K, and I put a lot of miles on my cars. I think I’ve spent < $400 on maintenance, although I could be a little off.

Myself and my parents all had bad experiences buying older used cars 15-20 years ago where we spent $6K on the car and then another $6K+ on repairs. Just not worth it IMO.


My strategy is to buy new, keep up with PM, and drive it until it’s basically dead. I generally get 200k to 250k miles out of them.


I’m doing this also. I know I pay more and lose some value, but I don’t have to worry about dealing with searching and trusting ransoms. I’m willing to pay for that.

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