I like value when I spend money, and that certainly includes my cars. I have to say with pride that I have never bought new and have always ended up with cars that I love and that love me back by being trouble-free. Since I live in Houston, you might think that the only place I can get this kind of great deal on a valued luxury car is a place like Mercedes-Benz North Houston or some other fancy car lot.
But you would be wrong. I buy my used cars from everywhere including EBay, CraigsList and random cars I have seen on the street with a For Sale sign hanging in their windshield. How have I been so lucky? It isn’t luck, its understanding what you want in a car. Here are three scenarios that you might be in when shopping for a used car and how I solved them.
Teens and the First Car
When my teenager finally got up the courage to ask me if I could help him shop for a used car, I was glad to help. That may be because I have always picked out great cars or it may be because I had the wallet, who knows? But I found him a great car and for far less money then you would think. The trick was to not spend a fortune and make sure it was a solid safe car. I ended up with an Chevy Malibu that we bought from a rental car company.
Yes, it may be the most boring car in the world but they are solid. Plus, rental car companies take good care of their cars so it was serviced well. As a bonus, the controls are really easy for a new driver to figure out and feel relaxed using quickly. My advice is to let them trick it out with their own paint job (paid by him, by the way) and plenty of bling in the car. It is their ride, I just want to be sure it is safe for my baby.
The Budding Musician’s Car
A friend of mine has a kid in a band so I decided to help him find a car that could move all their equipment in a pinch but didn’t cost him an arm and a leg. The perfect solution was the Kia Soul, a square boxy looking thing that actually drives quite well and has tons of room for a small car.
Because it is a hatchback he can grab his equipment quickly, the heavy sidebars in the back are good protection for that equipment in case of a rear-ender (hey, he lives in LA where this is always a problem) and while not the smoothest ride, it is economical on gas. That is important since his gigs tend to be all over SoCal.
The Geekster Young Dad
A young friend of mine is a bit of a hipster. He is a graphic designer with a small child and a big love of anything having to do with comic books, animation and well, fun. But he doesn’t have a ton of money and he didn’t want anything too “square” so the VW Rabbit was a great choice. The backseat is roomy for a small car, the hatchback can convert into a third row when his kid wants the team to come along and it handles well. This last one is a good feature since my friend has a bit of a distraction problem, namely anything in a skirt on the street. But in his zippy little Rabbit he is the cool Dad, so it all works out well.
So, there you have it, three cars, three buyers and all of them will love these cars until the metal scrap yard guy comes to tow them away from exhaustion.