Yesterday I found and purchased a 1993 Civic DX four door
sedan with 185k miles on it. I had actually been leaning
towards a newer car lately, but for one, finding a newer
used car in good condition with a clean title would cost a
lot more. I can afford more car, but fact is I wanted to
keep experimenting with older but great condition cars and
maybe save money.
I have computed the cost of owning and maintaining my 91
Civic (sans gasoline costs), and it comes to about $800 per
year. This is the initial purchase price plus oil changes,
timing belts, etc. divided by the number of years I have
owned it. It includes some high priced repairs from years
ago that I can now do myself, so I expect my yearly cost to
keep declining for some years.
On Craig's List, I did tire a little of all the multi-owner,
really often beat up and raised my sites (and budget). The
multi-owner part translates to an iffy maintenance history,
in my mind. Plus some of those owners seem to drive their
cars hard, because they know they will sell the car soon.
Here's why I ended up with the 93 Civic DX:
-- Single owner, as supported by Carfax (not 100% foolproof,
but I accept it for this car)
-- Everything under the hood works. The timing belt likely
needs replacement and could break tomorrow, but I factored
this into my price.
-- Fuel mileage better than most (all?) of the 95 and later
Civics that are most available.
The 95 Civic DX manual tranny could not be beat. A couple of
these crossed my radar. The problem was I found I really
liked power steering, and the 95 Civic DX manual tranny does
not have power steering. HX's are in short supply. By
contrast, the more fuel consuming EXs are abundant. The
coupes' small size started bothering me at some point, and I
went back to four-door sedans recently. <start agism and
sexism> More fitting for a woman my age, too.</end sexism
One thing I am theorizing at this point is that the KBB
prices (private party and retail used) tend to reflect the
concept of one owner, so better car. The retail used cars
tend to be one owner. It makes a difference, from all I saw.
I ended up buying from a new car dealership that has just
started doing internet used car sales. I saw a new ad on
Friday and called Saturday. The sales pitch (if any) was
toned down compared to that to which I was used in regular
dealership sales departments. They still cajoled, behaving
like money should really--oh come on--not be an object. I
smiled and good humoredly quipped back that it was an
object, and "Here's why I need /this/ out-the-door price,
and why /you/ need this car off your lot... " I got a free
hot dog and two bottled waters out of the deal too. My local
advisor and I talked via cell phone during the
back-and-forth, and he said that lunch was just assumed to
be a part of the deal, so cut them no slack on the
out-the-door price we had planned, just because they'd fed
me. I was ready to walk away at all times. It is sure nice
having reliable wheels at one's disposal when buying used.
Anyway, working with the internet sales crew seemed
consistent with reports in the last few years here of
negotiating over the intenet for a car. The internet sales
departments are much less ridiculous as they try to make
their money. Knock-on-wood my new used car does not fall
apart in the next seven days.
My new used car sure drives nice. I have already tried it on
the highway for 40 miles or so. It is better aligned than my
91 Civic, or maybe the new 93 Civic has had some suspension
work. I found a better driving experience (compared to my
91) to be rare. Craig's List had a lot of cars that needed
the sort of work I do want to try some day, like CV joints
(that is, half shaft replacement) and a questionable A/C
system, but I wanted to try to start off with a fairly clean
history of maintenance. The value of this became clear as I
drove much newer, younger cars and compared the feel of
everything to my 91 Civic, the car I have owned and
maintained since 1991. My 91 Civic was way too often far
superior in feel, looks, and general condition.
I spent a little more, and I think I got a little more. If
this second Civic lasts five years, I will be quite happy
with the initial investment. We are looking at some serious
gas savings as well.
I did learn that autocheck.com is thought of as a wee bit
superior (and less expensive) than carfax.com, when it comes
to title checking.
I really do read all the posts to this and other threads. At
a minimum, they go into the "put 'em up on the shelf; take
'em down when you need 'em" category.
Forward with new experiences with the 93 Civic DX.