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Old 20th March 2014, 04:13   #3631
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Thank you all. Looks like a mini van would be the best choice. Any suggestions on mini vans, considering my limited resources initially and with no credit score to my name.
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Old 20th March 2014, 04:47   #3632
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

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Originally Posted by Mudhalaipatti View Post
Thank you all. Looks like a mini van would be the best choice. Any suggestions on mini vans, considering my limited resources initially and with no credit score to my name.
For the minivans, Indians typically go for Japanese such as Toyota Sienna or Honda Odyssey. These are reliable machines and all you need to do is fill gas and forget everything else.

I have driven the Sienna and I very much like the way it drives. Don't know about Odyssey.

Then comes other popular minivans such as Dodge Caravan & Chrysler Town and Country. I've heard mixed reviews about these for their reliability, power and resale value.

You'll get decent ones from private sellers for less than $20K. Browse through the local Craigslist and you'll find a good buy. If you go to a dealer then most likely you'll be paying more money than the market value. But on the other side most dealers will provide you with warranty which will give you peace of mind.

Don't worry about your credit score. Since you're new to US, you job offer letter/salary slip should suffice to get you an auto loan. With that you should be able to get an auto loan from credit unions such as Tech CU or Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU). Interest rate will be high but then after 1 year you can do refinance to get better rates.

Like everyone mentioned, I also do not recommend getting a car now and then upgrading 6 months later. I was also in the same situation as you when I came to US initially. Bought a car thinking I'll upgrade soon but in my case things didn't work and I'm driving the same car for last 2.5 years. Don't take hasty decisions, take your own sweet time and keep looking.

Last edited by josejoseph : 20th March 2014 at 04:55.
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Old 21st March 2014, 10:33   #3633
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

After a lot of deliberation, I have decided against Mini-Vans. Apart from looking ugly, I don't wish to be, just a lame driver. Also the fact that my parents are not ready to land there atleast for the next one year or even more. So it's a family of 4, with 2 kids. Any cars that fit two baby seats and still have some space for an adult ? I gather the SUVs are not easy on gas and so they are out as well. Unless there's a great FE car out there.

That shortens the range to full size sedans. Any possibility of getting a decent sedan under 10k? Location is Rhode Island. Any guidance on the maximum odo and maximum year that I should be considering, while going for a used car ?
Or should I be looking at a new one. It's just that I don't have any credit history to my name.
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Old 21st March 2014, 11:37   #3634
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

Ha ha ha. That was a classic response from someone who actually loves to drive, Mudhalai.

About buying a vehicle, think about the following questions before you make your decision;

1. How long are you here for?
If you are here short term, say 2 to 3 years, forget about buying new. You will just be throwing away your hard earned money. Long term, see answer to question #2.

2. Do you know the kind of driving you enjoy?
If not, please take the time to test drive all kinds of vehicles, that fits in your criteria, to get an idea on what you really enjoy. You're in automobile Mecca of the world. Please take the opportunity to actually find out what the automobiledom has to offer. And please, do include something other than Toyota and Honda and other Japs. Other countries make great cars too. You might be surprised. And keep in mind, performance vehicles have a much higher expense burden, but heart does have a tendency to overrule such silly considerations.

3. Do you have a flexible budget?
It'll be a shame to settle on a decent car within your budget when, an additional $1500 might have put you in a great car.

4. Finally, please, please take your own time to make the decision. Meanwhile, you can also rent various cars long term to get an idea about the different driving experiences available. Let only your heart and head make the final decision. Once it's made, do not let others talk you out of it.

There is a ton of info on this thread. Please use the search option to filter your requirements

Good luck and Cheers.
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Old 21st March 2014, 18:18   #3635
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Arrow Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

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Originally Posted by Mudhalaipatti View Post
After a lot of deliberation, I have decided against Mini-Vans. Apart from looking ugly, I don't wish to be, just a lame driver. Also the fact that my parents are not ready to land there atleast for the next one year or even more. So it's a family of 4, with 2 kids. Any cars that fit two baby seats and still have some space for an adult ? I gather the SUVs are not easy on gas and so they are out as well. Unless there's a great FE car out there.
I wasn't expecting this response but bravo!

Try to get a mid-size or even better full-size sedan so you can fit in an adult along-with two baby seats.

You're new here, so your insurance rates will also be kept in check if you restrain & go in for a slightly used family sedan.

I know a few families who made it just fine with two kids & a large sedan till the kids were older without shelling out for a SUV.

When your parents visit, you can always rent a larger vehicle if you need to travel together.

With a small SUV, the only advantage you'll have over a full-size sedan is a little more trunk space - that's it. Seating space will be the same.

Used should be a good buy if you do your research properly. Don't buy your first car off Craigslist. Its fine if you're a single guy or a college student but with family I strongly recommend buying from a reputable car dealer.
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Old 21st March 2014, 19:01   #3636
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

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Originally Posted by Mudhalaipatti View Post
After a lot of deliberation, I have decided against Mini-Vans. Apart from looking ugly, I don't wish to be, just a lame driver. Also the fact that my parents are not ready to land there atleast for the next one year or even more. So it's a family of 4, with 2 kids. Any cars that fit two baby seats and still have some space for an adult ? I gather the SUVs are not easy on gas and so they are out as well. Unless there's a great FE car out there.

That shortens the range to full size sedans. Any possibility of getting a decent sedan under 10k? Location is Rhode Island. Any guidance on the maximum odo and maximum year that I should be considering, while going for a used car ?
Or should I be looking at a new one. It's just that I don't have any credit history to my name.
Awesome!! Hats off to you dude! Now we are talking.

Is the 10K the amount you are willing to shell out in cash? Or is that the total amount you can borrow? If 10K is the amount you can use for down payment, then you can get a loan from a credit union for the remaining amount and get a swanky new or sparingly used full size car.
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Old 21st March 2014, 20:04   #3637
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

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Originally Posted by Mudhalaipatti View Post
Any cars that fit two baby seats and still have some space for an adult ?
Way to go! That is a big u turn.

You should check out large/ midsize sedans - With the 10k total budget you are looking at 2006-7 Japanese and at least a year or two newer American cars. You can also get Acura/Lexus etc. 2004-5 models I guess. It all boils down to what do you want, there is a lot of choice in the US in terms of used cars. You could also try small wagons/ entry level CUVs (RAV4, CR-V, Outback, Forester etc.) - they are not very fuel inefficient, plus they give you a lot more practicality and cargo capacity.
Perhaps it might be worth going to Boston to checkout cars - RI is a very small auto market. I used to live there and had to really buy without a lot of choices.
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Old 21st March 2014, 21:18   #3638
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

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Perhaps it might be worth going to Boston to checkout cars - RI is a very small auto market. I used to live there and had to really buy without a lot of choices.
I agree. There is a CarMax that is not too far from Providence.
The CarMax price will be on the higher side by 1 to 2K but you will get a better peace of mind.
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Old 22nd March 2014, 02:49   #3639
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

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I agree. There is a CarMax that is not too far from Providence.
The CarMax price will be on the higher side by 1 to 2K but you will get a better peace of mind.
Yup. Carmax is also a good idea.

It's one thing being already in a car looking for a second car. Being in the US at a place with hardly anyone you know and no public transportation worth mentioning and in desperate need of a car is a totally different ball game.

Mudhalaipatti, do you have someone you can pester to take you around or are you taxi/ rental car dependent?
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Old 22nd March 2014, 07:37   #3640
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Yup. Carmax is also a good idea.



?

I agree. I have good experience with Carmax. No hassle. Bought our Ford Focus there and sold it back to them, without atrade in, three years later and got it really decent price.

You cant really negotiate the price. You pay what they ask. But you do get a car thats beeb properly serviced and with a researched history. You can be on the road within 30 minutes, all paperwork done.
Jeroen
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Old 22nd March 2014, 11:31   #3641
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

Just to have a small price update.

After looking around for a week on Craiglist in Cincinnati, I picked up a Honda Fit at $5500 for my friend.

Great space and decent mileage of about 35mpg.

The odo read 120000+ for a 2007 year model and car is maintained very well. The owner also gave almost unused extra spare set of 4 tires for free.

The car came fitted with 5000 miles done tires and also an after market SONY I-Phone compatible HU.

I found it to be great deal looking at all the options on carmax and craiglist.

Hope it gives some idea of the prices.
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Old 22nd March 2014, 21:57   #3642
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

Thats a great deal @bhardwhu.

I'm likely to stay in US for about 4 years or so, but definitely not more than 5 years. Parents may visit once a year and that not stay for more than 2 months.
Looking at a downpayment of around 5k and taking a loan in a Credit Union for around 5 to 7k max. Looking at refinancing option, perhaps after I build my credit history.

I own a XUV in india and I just love the drive. That should give some indication of my driving preference. But in US, with 2 kids around, and no long trips planned in the immediate future, looking for hassle free, comfortable ride initially.

I do have a couple of my friends' car that I can choose from, to drive initially. I hope my Indian driving license is valid for 6 months in RI. I'm not hard pressed to find a car on day 1 though.

Thanks for the carmax suggestion. I shall speak to them as well to get an idea.
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Old 23rd March 2014, 10:47   #3643
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

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Thats a great deal @bhardwhu.
Another update on a seemingly good deal here.

http://cincinnati.craigslist.org/cto/4342321338.html

http://cincinnati.craigslist.org/cto/4387521560.html

By the way, I am thinking of one of these for myself too.

Though I am too keen to go for a sports cruiser motorcycle like FJR 1300 and ditch the whole idea of using car here for my office commute.

Looking for a word of support to push me further for away from a car!
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Old 24th March 2014, 01:41   #3644
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

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Law aside coasting in neutral is a bad practice, its will fry your brake pads besides gives you less control over the car.
LOL, unless you're driving a semi-trailer or descending from the Himalayas, that should definitely not be any concern for a modern car. It won't save him any gas unless he's in neutral in an automatic, but it is indeed a pain to go in and out of 1st or 2nd in bumper to bumper traffic.
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Old 24th March 2014, 20:28   #3645
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

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LOL, unless you're driving a semi-trailer or descending from the Himalayas, that should definitely not be any concern for a modern car. It won't save him any gas unless he's in neutral in an automatic, but it is indeed a pain to go in and out of 1st or 2nd in bumper to bumper traffic.
Not sure what you found so funny, but holding brakes over slope for hours will definitely impact the brake pads life. Besides the point was that using gear was a safer option that coasting in neutral & using only brakes.
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