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Old 15th October 2015, 23:38   #46
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Picked up a Toyota Camry this weekend. Belonged to a friend. CarFax was clean and AutoCheck too and it was one owner car. After the first drive, knew that there was something wrong with the suspension and the brakes were not up to the mark. Took it to a mechanic and paid him 20 bucks and he said the same thing. Rest of all the stuff seem to work and in good condition. Got the rear suspension changed and rear drums replaced and the car runs fine now. Though the brake is still not upto my liking but i guess it takes a few miles to sort it in. If i dont feel good, will replace the front discs as well.

It took me a long time to get a car after months of searching for it. (Didnt actually need to buy one as it was required only on alternate weekends for leisure) Fancied buying an Accord V6 to a Jeep (pre-owned) but settled for something lower since I dont have to drive to work and is only used for leisure and errand activities.

Here are my few cents so that others can benefit from it.
1) Buy both car fax report and Auto check. Car Fax gives more service details than Auto check whereas Auto check has a better Title and Event check.
Car Fax says unlimited reports but it is only unlimited on license plate search and not on VIN search (which is only 5). Auto check has unlimited VIN. If you are buying from a dealer there would be no license plate of the vehicle. CarFax also lets you search its site for Carfax guaranteed vehicles and CarFax buy back guarantee (please read the fine print thou)

2) The biggest way to save money is not to buy from a dealer. The same car with similar mileage and similar conditions were quoted by dealers to be at least 1000 USD above the private party price. Also the trade in was at least 1000 USD below for a 5000 dollar car. I found that it goes to at least 2500 (one side) for a 10000 dollar car. So if you are turning in your older car and getting another used one. You lose 2000 instantly. Private cars do not come with any warranty so one has to be careful. Am not sure how much a dealer will accept a warranty claim either.

3) If you buy from a private party, you could also lower the value of sales tax to a point by reducing the Sale Price

4) If you are buying a relatively newer used car, get a thorough inspection done by Carchex.com or similar. They have a 155 point check along with 2-5 mile road test and they give you a CarFax report free as well

5) Toyota Corolla, Camry, RAV4 and Honda Civic, Accord, CRV has very high resale values when compared with other brands. These get practically sold off in no time as well when compared to other brands.

6) Insurance was taken from GEICO. Progressive quotes were lower but had to make the payment in full to avail those rates.

7) The DMV experience was hassle free. Just took around 20 minutes to pay the sales tax, get the title and plates!

Last edited by JayKis : 15th October 2015 at 23:40.
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Old 20th October 2015, 15:58   #47
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Is it remotely even possible to secure a loan when you land into US for the first time? I have heard of credit unions and other agencies.

Since I am planning to be in for a while, prefer to buy new or something that's run low mileage. Looking around the 20K mark. I can finance 60% on my own. Will that make it easier to get a loan?

Know that buying new is not very wise as you get hit on depreciation.
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Old 20th October 2015, 18:44   #48
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Is it remotely even possible to secure a loan when you land into US for the first time? I have heard of credit unions and other agencies.

Since I am planning to be in for a while, prefer to buy new or something that's run low mileage. Looking around the 20K mark. I can finance 60% on my own. Will that make it easier to get a loan?

Know that buying new is not very wise as you get hit on depreciation.

If you are able to finance 60% of 20k, you dont even need to finance the car and you can drive a certified pre owned full size vehicle albeit 2011/2012 modles.

http://www.kbb.com/honda/accord/2012...08367832750080
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Old 20th October 2015, 19:41   #49
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Default Re: Guide: First-time car ownership in the USA

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Is it remotely even possible to secure a loan when you land into US for the first time? I have heard of credit unions and other agencies.
You should be able to seamlessly apply for an auto loan when you land, assuming you have all the documentation in place (lease, utility bills, compensation letters etc. in your name). I have mentioned about DCU- they would probably be your best bet. Your APR rates will be high due to no prior credit history.

You would do well to use your stated repayment ability intelligently with a one-strike-two-birds approach:

1. Take out a car loan (will help build up that all-important credit history I'd articulated about). Else, 1 year down the line, due to no major credit performance, your credit score could continue to be low and could constrain other financial transactions at the time.

2. Use your repayment ability to plough back larger amounts periodically againt the loan principal (this will shoot up your credit score nicely); there are no pre-payment charges.
An ability to repay back large amounts periodically rather than one-time, could also help manage cash liquidity better.


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If you are able to finance 60% of 20k, you dont even need to finance the car and you can drive a certified pre owned full size vehicle albeit 2011/2012 modles.
Although a sound model in India (loan free), I would recommend initiating a car loan in the US for reasons I've described above, for people settling in for the first time in the US.

Last edited by theMAG : 21st October 2015 at 04:30.
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Old 20th October 2015, 21:03   #50
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1. Take out a car loan (will help build up that all-important credit history I'd articulated about). Else, 1 year down the line, due to no major credit performance, your credit score could continue to be low and could constrain other financial transactions at the time.

2. Use your repayment ability to plough back larger amounts periodically againt the loan principal (this will shoot up your credit history nicely); there are no pre-payment charges.
An ability to repay back large amounts periodically rather than one-time, could also help manage cash liquidity better.
Thanks a ton. Both seem to be excellent options. Truly one strike, 2 birds strategy. Will definitely check out DCU.

Also any idea how the compact SUV market is shaping up in the US? We only have 2 or 3 options.
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Old 20th October 2015, 22:05   #51
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Thanks a ton. Both seem to be excellent options. Truly one strike, 2 birds strategy. Will definitely check out DCU.

Also any idea how the compact SUV market is shaping up in the US? We only have 2 or 3 options.

If you are looking to finance get yourself pre approved from a bank or credit union. Dealers will not be able to get you as good an APR as you can get from outside. DCU is a great option. I'm currently on 1.74% APR with DCU. That is as good a deal as you can get. Perhaps a manufacturer backed finance may be better. Ex honda fiance offers 0.9% finance for some new cars. Don't expect such offers on popular cars like the crv.

Also, if you cannot get a good deal to being with because of poor or no credit history, don't worry. Just get whatever you are being offered and re-finance in 6 months. It is very easy to re-finance auto loans and you will be able to get a good deal as your credit would have improved in six months.


As far as compact suvs goes, not sure why you think there are only 2-3 options. It is the hottest segment in the us and there are multiple options in that segment from each manufacturer. Note that the US definition of compact suv is slightly different than the indian definition. Here honda cr-v defines the compact sub/ crossover market as against something even smaller like ford ecosport in india. Your options in the compact suv market are cars like honda crv, toyota rav 4, mazda cx5, ford escape, hyundai tucson, nissan rouge - the list goes on. Mazda cx5 is widely accepted to be the best drivers car while crv is the best balanced suv. Offerings from ford, hyundai and nissan will give you more features and tech options.

If you are looking for something even smaller, a sub compact suv/ large hatchback, you now have options like honda hrv, mazda cx3. But to be honest, thats a very nascent market and i'd stay away from those offerings.
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Old 21st October 2015, 21:31   #52
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As far as compact suvs goes, not sure why you think there are only 2-3 options. It is the hottest segment in the us and there are multiple options in that segment from each manufacturer. Note that the US definition of compact suv is slightly different than the indian definition. Here honda cr-v defines the compact sub/ crossover market as against something even smaller like ford ecosport in india. Your options in the compact suv market are cars like honda crv, toyota rav 4, mazda cx5, ford escape, hyundai tucson, nissan rouge - the list goes on
Apologies, I meant the class smaller than the CRVs & RAV4. HRV to be specific. Going by reviews, its a good compromise to the CRV. The mid level trim is pretty loaded and cost bit more that the Civic (comes with same engine). Perfectly slotted between Fit and CRV. As I am used to the Fit (our Jazz), thought will be good. But if I am able to secure a loan at good APR, CRV it is.
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Old 21st October 2015, 23:14   #53
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Apologies, I meant the class smaller than the CRVs & RAV4. HRV to be specific. Going by reviews, its a good compromise to the CRV. The mid level trim is pretty loaded and cost bit more that the Civic (comes with same engine). Perfectly slotted between Fit and CRV. As I am used to the Fit (our Jazz), thought will be good. But if I am able to secure a loan at good APR, CRV it is.

Well, as i said, the really small crossover market is not very mature. In general we indians are looking for a car that will sell quickly and depreciate the least. The HRV may not really fit that bill. CRV is a good option. But do check out the 2016 hyundai tucson. It's a bit smaller than the CRV but it left me mighty impressed. Has a good turbo charged petrol engine mated to a segment first dual clutch automatic and a very very long warranty in case DCTs scare you
Also the infotainment system in the tucson left me feeling that my 2015 crv is from the 90's !!
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Old 22nd October 2015, 15:02   #54
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But do check out the 2016 hyundai tucson. It's a bit smaller than the CRV but it left me mighty impressed. Has a good turbo charged petrol engine mated to a segment first dual clutch automatic and a very very long warranty in case DCTs scare you
Also the infotainment system in the tucson left me feeling that my 2015 crv is from the 90's !!
Thanks for this great suggestion. In the US, common Indian mentality is to not look beyond Honda/Toyota and I was thinking the same. I just researched Hyundai/Nissan/Mazda and all seem to have great options. Will keep my eyes open.
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Old 28th October 2015, 01:58   #55
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Apologies, I meant the class smaller than the CRVs & RAV4. HRV to be specific. Going by reviews, its a good compromise to the CRV. The mid level trim is pretty loaded and cost bit more that the Civic (comes with same engine). Perfectly slotted between Fit and CRV. As I am used to the Fit (our Jazz), thought will be good. But if I am able to secure a loan at good APR, CRV it is.
You may also look at Mini Countryman and Subaru Outback or may be Subaru Impreza Sport. Although Impreza is more or less a hatchback but sub-compact SUV is also a fat hatchback
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Old 28th October 2015, 02:45   #56
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Default Re: Guide: First-time car ownership in the USA

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Thanks for this great suggestion. In the US, common Indian mentality is to not look beyond Honda/Toyota and I was thinking the same. I just researched Hyundai/Nissan/Mazda and all seem to have great options. Will keep my eyes open.
There are definitely more options than Toyota/Honda. It depends on which part of the country you are coming to, if you are going to be driving in snow consider Subaru Forester or AWD options.
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Old 29th October 2015, 10:41   #57
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Forester is same size as CR-V and may be too big for him. You can also look at station wagons. Used Acura TSX wagons, A3 sportsback, Infiniti ex35 can be bought at similar price range as HR-V.
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Old 29th October 2015, 11:15   #58
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Thanks for this great suggestion. In the US, common Indian mentality is to not look beyond Honda/Toyota and I was thinking the same. I just researched Hyundai/Nissan/Mazda and all seem to have great options. Will keep my eyes open.
You are in the USA, THE car country in the world! Just about any car and model in the world is availalbe in the USA.

You might want to consider getting a car that you would never ever buy in India. Because it's not available, or to expensive etc. In the US, car wise, just about anything is possible, so go for something completely different!

Good luck
Jeroen
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Old 29th October 2015, 11:52   #59
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You are in the USA, THE car country in the world! Just about any car and model in the world is availalbe in the USA.

You might want to consider getting a car that you would never ever buy in India. Because it's not available, or to expensive etc. In the US, car wise, just about anything is possible, so go for something completely different!

Good luck
Jeroen
Exactly my thoughts as well. Couldn't agree more. In my couple longish stints in US got a nicely maintained 1999 Lexus RX300 SUV & 2008 Toyota Prius.

Both were pleasure to drive and practically maintenance free.

If I go back to US again it will either AUDI or BMW now.
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Old 17th November 2015, 19:15   #60
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Team, any tips/guide to pass the driver written and road test? I mugged up the Texas drivers guide, took a few online sample tests and scored close to 90%.

I am getting confused with the yellow and white lines, broken...solid..Grrrr
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