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To have or not have???

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by DrWho?, Aug 1, 2006.

  1. DrWho?

    DrWho? Junior Member

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    So, I just bought a new battery to my very old car. My mechanic pretty much told me that I needed a new car, because my car is really trying to die on me. So, I am starting med school in the fall, and I'm moving to a city where a car is a must according to people that currently live there. So, since I am pretty much broke, but in need of a car, should I finance a car???? I am attending a privat med school, and will be heavily in debt anyways, so I am really confused as to what to do. Any suggestions??????
     
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  3. Frijolero

    Frijolero Member
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    Define "very old". With the limited information you gave I would suggest that you repair your current car and drive it throughout med school. Find an apartment within walking distance of school if you can. IMO, buying a new car is out of the question, and buying a car that you can afford (about $4,000?) just buys you a car that will likely also need major repair work sometime during your career and will also depreciate. In the end you have to decide what rarely worrying about your car is worth to you. Buy a new(er) car and you won't have much trouble, but by the time you pay it off your cost per mile will be insanely high. Conversely, continue to drive your old beater, occasionally have it leave you stranded (got friends?), but also have a very low cost per mile. That old beater may need work but it's not likely to depreciate and if you stay on top of the maintenance shouldn't leave you effed too often. You just have to decide what your values are regarding money, nice car, and being occasionally inconvenienced. I can tell you that the cheapest route (besides public transpo) is likely to drive your old car into oblivion. Good luck, man...


     
  4. samenewme

    samenewme Senior Member
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    In what ways is your old car trying to die on you? Does your mechanic know of another old car that he thinks will NOT try to die on you? Some old cars have a lot of miles left in them, and some are crap. I don't know which you have, and the definition of crap does kind of change depending on your finances. Does your mechanic understand how very, very broke you are?
     
  5. julie29524

    julie29524 Member
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    I would get rid of the car you currently have, and buy a used car ( 5000 - 7000 ish) that doesn't have any problems. That way, you will have a fairly cheap ( reasonably priced) vehicle that can get you through the next 4 years.
    Buying a brand new car is too much, we are all poor students. My car is a 99 Civic, and its totally dependable with no problems at all, I think the current price for it is 4000-5000 ish. However, I am still planning to switch to a newer car before Med school, because I don't want to have any car problems in those 4 years.

    I think having a dependable vehicle is very important. You don't want to have any transportation issues while you are busy studying, fixing a car can be exhausting, and you don't want to keep asking favors from your friends. I guess my advice is: better safe than sorry. :thumbup:

    julie

     
  6. DrWho?

    DrWho? Junior Member

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    I think that my mechanic meant a different, more recent made car, not necessarily a new car. I am afraid that I would spend to much time and effort in keeping my car functioning. It's a 94 Ford Escort, so it's 12 years old. I don't think I would have mind keeping the car if it was maybe a honda or a toyota. I would like to possibly finance a honda/toyota that's at least 10yrs or younger, so that I would be able to keep a functioning car throughout med school. Will see how my budget looks like first.
    Thanks for everyone's opinions.

     
  7. Church

    Church Snark-free since 2008
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    DrWho, what is the car doing that makes you feel that it's dying? Making smoke? Hard to start? Hard to shift gears (or lurching into gear for automatics)?
     
  8. jonathon

    jonathon Membership Revoked
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    Maybe get a car for about 4,000 or 6,000 dollars and work a small part-time job on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights to pay for the monthly loan cost. If you work as a waitress you could bring in good money each weekend. If you do get a car, get one that has good gas mileage. One thing to keep in mind is, the older the car is the worse gas mileage you get (with some variables of course). If you get a 2000 used car it shouldn't cost to much. I have a 2001 Ford Focus ZX3 with only 65,000 miles and is only worth around 4 or 5,000 by now.

    You are now at a point in life where you are learning what needs to be done to survive this world. What did you learn about evolution in your biology class? Survival of the fittest. If you need a new car you can make it work out. If you have to work, then you have to work!


     
  9. jbrice1639

    jbrice1639 Cub Fan, Bud Man
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    talk to your school's financial aid department. you can have your budget increased (i.e. get more student loans to cover your costs of living) if you show that you need the extra money to make a car payment.
     
  10. Frijolero

    Frijolero Member
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    I don't think the OP is in your shoes. Someone who is trading up a 4-5g car for something newer clearly isn't "broke". Someone also suggested getting a newer car and working nights or weekends to pay for it. Personally, I rather drive a POS and have that time free to do whatever. Dr. Who, unless your car is seriously jacked (major engine/tranny issues) then I suggest you drive it through school. Buying a 5-6g newer ride does not guarantee that you won't have any major repairs...quite the opposite: A ~6 year old car is just coming to the point in the wear cycle that things start needing to be replaced. Again, figure out how far you're living from school and decide if you're willing to sacrifice all that cash and/or free time for slightly better dependability. If you pay that 5g car off in 7 years at today's rates it really will have cost you ~8500. Good luck....
     
  11. Frijolero

    Frijolero Member
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    I'm pretty sure most schools explicitly say that car payments are NOT a valid reason for getting more funds. At least that's the way my school is.
     
  12. samenewme

    samenewme Senior Member
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    That's my question, too. All we've got is that the mechanic says it's dying. Mechanics are like doctors; they're not perfect. At best, they can give you the facts about the condition of your car so you can decide what to do. At worst, they get peeved because they banged up their hand in your crowded engine compartment and the customer before you acted like a jerk and they decide you need a new car.

    You have to get details and a second opinion before do major surgery on your budget like this.

    I'm kind of a tightwad about cars; my first car was a 77 Skylark that I bought from my sister "on its last legs" for $500. It had 60,000+ miles on it and a habit of stalling in intersections. Once I found the brand of gas it liked, it ran okay (with occasional frustrating visits to the mechanic) and I put 90,000 MORE miles on it and sold it for $500. And it was a 77 SKYLARK (=LEMON). So you can get lucky with even a notoriously bad car and you can sometimes get away with stubbornly repairing the basics and just driving the car until the doors fall off.

    I did once ditch a car with 130,000 miles on it because my new mechanic, after looking for a mysterious exhaust noise problem that he determined was probably a rather expensive-to-fix cracked manifold, then explained that he kind of lost track of the number of oil leaks. "Now," he said, "let's talk about your suspension..." At this point there really WAS a lot of expensive stuff wrong with the car AND I had a good job and could afford to replace it. Had I been in med school I would have replaced the CV joints (it was a Ford Tempo and it went through CV joints like so much toilet paper), waited for the manifold to finish cracking before fixing it unless the mechanic thought exhaust would leak into the driver compartment, and ignored the oil leaks and just checked the oil a lot.

    You still have a lot of choices in how you manage your transportation even when you're broke. It's just that the options available to you kind of suck.
     
  13. Bobblehead

    Bobblehead Senior Member
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    From a pure financial standpoint, and assuming your time is free, the only time it makes "sense" to buy a newer car is when your current expenditures on maintenance is starting to exceed your monthly payment on a newer car. Note I said newer, not new. It could also be a used car that's financed. This is after you take into consideration the additional taxes and insurance on a newer car.

    Another consideration is how much time and effort is it taking to keep the car running? If it's in the shop for major repairs every other week that's problematic. If you're simply afraid that your car will die on you and can't sleep as a result that could also factor into your decision.

    However, ALL cars have maintenance issues. A battery is NORMAL maintenance. Brakes and other wear & tear parts are NORMAL maintenance. Oil changes are NORMAL maintenance. Transmission rebuilds, for example, are not normal maintenance.

    You have to decide when you are financially better off replacing your car where you know the problems with a newer car where you may not know the problems. Also if you're thinking newer car keep in mind that if you're talking payments without talking interest rates or overall cost of the car you may as well put a "Sucker" sticker on your forehead before you walk into the F&I office of the dealership.
     
  14. db1

    db1 Member
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    Another option is to keep the car (you won't get anything for it anyway) and by a cheap motorcycle or scooter. Gas is cheap, parking is cheap, they are really low maintenance. I have a 1994 Honda Nighthawk that I bought for $1000, it only had 1500 miles on it. I use it to commute, I live about 8 miles from school. I get 75 mpg, parking is cheap compared to a car and I can park much closer, and there is pretty much no maintenance. I still have my car when I need it. I get a discount on my car insurance because I drive it less than 3500 miles a year, and I keep low coverage on it. I live in Florida so I can drive the motorcycle year round. I guess if you live up north this might not work out so well.
     

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