Buying a New Car
So my old 1997 Corolla from Toyota failed the AirCare test. It’s the final year of AirCarein BC, but with some problems (like stalling while driving) this year and the windshield being quite scratched making it a hazard to drive in rain, I finally decided that it was time to get a new car. Of course, I could continue to drive the car after the AirCare is gone. But although I wouldn’t call myself a ‘tree hugger’ or super ‘green’, I do recycle as much as possible and try to reduce my waste (ie. donating items instead of throwing things away, taking reusable bags when shopping, reusing the backside of printed paper, etc).
The diagnostic test to see why it failed AirCare cost me $180 + tax. It was the catalytic converter that had over the years become clogged and needed to be replaced. The car is still safe to drive and it’s not a problem except it’s just exhausting a bit over the acceptable levels of hydrocarbons determined by AirCare. They told me that the Toyota replacement part would cost $970 + labour $200 and so on, totaling well over $1100. For a car I bought for $1000 in 2009 from my parents, this seemed ridiculous.
But buying a car is no easy task. It’s not a shopping decision that if you don’t like it, you can just keep it in the closet as some clothes that you thought looked good in store but not when you came home. It takes a lot of time. I would be able to extend the insurance from ICBC by 3 months to give me some time to do as much research as possible should I not be able to get a new car in time.
Phase one: Deciding what kind of car you want.
Since I don’t have kids and live in the city, I wanted something that was compact, fuel efficient, easy to maintain and affordable. With gas prices always going up, I was definitely looking for a compact car from the beginning. With budget in mind, I started looking at used cars. I found prices that were really likeable, but there was a downfall – most of them were 2001-2004, meaning not much newer than my ’97, and the odometers were in the 200,000km which was way more than my 130,000km on my Corolla. Most used the same amount of gas so there weren’t going to be any savings from gas usage and not very friendly to the environment either. I was stuck in this stage for a while since the price was so attractive. However, thinking of the future of the vehicle and how it would likely cost more just to maintain it and repair as it gets even older (as I found out with the Corolla), I moved myself into getting a car that was 2 years or newer.
Phase 2: Used or New?
As I started to look at newer (but still used) vehicles, I saw that the prices weren’t that much cheaper than a brand new one. I figured that if I was going to pay that much already, why not add $2000 or so to get a new one instead. It would eliminate the possibility of the used car having through accidents or problems that the dealer may not be honest about. You would be starting at 0 mileage and super clean. The price was still a bit of a deterrent, but when I saw that many were offering 0-0.9% interest and allowing up to 84 months to pay it off, it didn’t seem too big of a monetary issue that I could handle. I figured that I paying $200-$300 per month was doable. So I finally decided that buying a new car was the way to go.
Phase 3: Narrowing down your options
After much research online and talking to people, I narrowed down my options to a Prius C, Yaris, Kia Rio and Honda Fit. There are pros and cons of each which you can read about, but the only way to find out if they’re really fit for you is to go see the actual cars and test drive them. It’s a good idea to go to different dealers even for the same vehicle as each dealer may have different pricing and incentives, not to mention service by the actual staff.
Phase 4: Haggle
I started by emailing local dealers for the Yaris 2014. Let me tell you that none of them would give a straight out price. They wanted me to come in to test drive (even after I had already done that at a local dealer), and still come in, or talk over the phone. I tried, but since the margin for the dealerships on small compact cars is so minimal, all I could get was $150-$200 off. Though I know a friend who haggled and got close to $5000 off of her BMW…but then BMW are more expensive in the first place. I didn’t want to deal with trying to sell the Corolla on my own. Although I frequently resell my old stuff on Craigslist and such, I only had 2.5 months left before my insurance ran out. Also, I was going to be away in Europe for a month, cutting down the time even more. I traded in the Corolla instead.
Phase 5: Final Decision!
After you’ve tried them all out, went to different dealers and continue to look for reviews and videos online, it’s time to make the final decision into which one you want to get. Mine came sort of abruptly. I was pretty sure of getting the Yaris, and started to ask for a white colour. When I found out that there weren’t any whites left in the Lower Mainland, I started to panic. When I went to see a dealer, he also mentioned that the reds were also all sold out. My second colour choice was dark grey, and there was only 1 left. I knew for sure that I didn’t want the ugly 2015 model. So I decided right there (after another test drive, lol) to buy.
Awww…I’m not really into cars, and don’t really get attached to them, yet it was still a little sad to see the car go after it had been with me since I was a teenager. It had been a really good car.
Check back for my review on my Yaris 2014!