Heading to Flight School....should I buy a new car now....


New Member
I am heading to ATP in the next couple of months, and the new car incentives offered here locally have me thinking....

I currently have a 2002 Protege5 that I owe about $8k on. I was thinking of getting something a little larger to accomadate my more transient livestyle. (Such as an Explorer or similar).

The local Ford dealer is offering $10k off of MSRP in addition to 0% financing for 5 years.

I don't anticipate being able to by a new car for a couple of years as I go down this path, so I would welcome any thoughts on vehicles.

FYI, I plan on paying cash for the training and I have saved up a fairly good sized nest egg to get me throug the lean years.

Any thoughts on vehicle options?

Thanks in advance
You need to check the invoice price not the MSRP. 10K off the MSRP is probably not that great of an offer. Keep in mind that car dealerships are suffering right now and they will go a lot lower then you think. Don't let them trick you into thinking that invoice is what they paid for it and that they would be losing money if they went under invoice. Especially if it's a 2003, they will be very interested in getting rid of it. I'd honestly tell them that you will pay about 10-15% below invoice and see what they say. Keep in mind how many miles you will be putting on it as well. If it's not a lot then no biggie, but if it is, then you might not want a gas guzzling, fastly depriciating SUV. You'll end up owing more then it's worth for the next year or two if you don't have a good down payment as well.If it's possible, sell your car yourself instead of trading it in, you'll get about $1500 more for it. Hope that helps....
It's cheaper to rent a uhaul then buy a new SUV. If you create a spreadsheet and run the numbers you'll see what I'm talking about. The Explorer will cost more to fuel, insurance and maintain. Also, if you bought that pro new then you've just taken the grunt of the depreciation. Get 5-6 years out of that car and you'll make out much better. If you've read any of the other threads on this board then you'll probably understand that you'll be lucky to make any money for the next 3-5 years. A new SUV is alot of car for someone that makes no money.
ditto "TheWife's" comments.

always sell your car yourself. You get so much more than from trading in. I've done this twice now and it's worked out wonderfully.

I would give second thoughts to the Explorer headed into CFIing and all that, unless you have a REALLY nice nest egg. One of my coworkers bought an Explorer this year (new), she got the 0% and all that fancy jazz, but holy cow! Her sales tax was astronomical, and her monthly car payment is more than my monthly RENT payment...
Then she got involved in a bad accident where someone ran a red light and t-boned her - she hadn't had it but 3 months. It wasn't totalled, though it had significant damage (was in the shop over 6 weeks), and the person who hit her didn't have insurance. What a mess. That deal ended up costing her even more, and she's stuck with a vehicle that is going to be hard to sell (frame was bent and everything).

I'd either stick with what you've got, or buy a nice used low mile car that you can really pour the miles on and have it survive for a long time. That's nice because that means you can drive it a good long while after it is paid off. And buying something that's got 15k miles or so means you aren't paying for something that's instantly going to depreciate significantly when you drive it off the dealer's lot. Something like a Honda Accord comes to mind - they just last forever.

Of course, your mileage may vary - I'm of the school to buy it so you can drive it forever and not lose your butt on the deal (read: end up upside-down in the loan, etc). But then again, I'm very frugal and I also put a good 100-120 miles per day on my car due to a long commute. And I listen to too much Clark Howard!

Why get an SUV when you can get a 2003/2004 Acura RSX Type-S. 2.0 liter, 200 bhp. 6 speed "crotch rocket" 0-60 in like 6 sec. flat. MSRP is like 23k. My dream car of the moment. Sports cars rock dude
Just to let you know, a car is not a crotch rocket. That term is reserved for sport bikes. Nit picking, yes, but thought I'd let you know.
I would avoid any long term commitments until you are established and have your budget taken care off. I almost bought a Jaguar when I got my first decent paying job, I am really pleased I did not as now if I want to do anything, travel, move jobs/location I am free to (minus the $150 cancellation fee for my Sprint telephone if I moved abroad).
I have a 99 explorer and I hate it. I used to have a 94 explorer and I loved it. If you're going to go big. Get something else.
Sounds like he already had flying money in addition to buying a car. You do need a car to GET to the flight training, he's just trying to figure out which one.
Sounds like he already had flying money in addition to buying a car. You do need a car to GET to the flight training, he's just trying to figure out which one.

[/ QUOTE ]

Yeah, but he's got a perfectly good car. No need to waste money both selling the one he has and buying another. I wouldn't borrow money for a car unless you can pay it off in 12-18 months.
heck... you have a 2002 protege... that's is still a brand new car...

that puppy will run for a good 10 years - most cars do now a days as long as you maintain it.

having 8K left to pay is really excellent and I'd suggest you keep what you have, pay off the car and just drive it till it pukes and dies! you can get a ton of miles out of it and payment free - to be able to spend on other more important things...

fact is - it may look like ford is offering a good deal, but most car companies usually get that money back somehow... from what i've heard, maybe 1 or 2% actually qualify (or what they call "qualify" by their standards) for the 0% financing... and offering 10K off of the MSRP might as well be the actual invoice price for the car in which case, they're still ripping you off... because when you go to haggle, your going for less than invoice price and most likely, they'll tell you that your getting an EXCELLENT deal with 10K off of MSRP and "possibly" qualifying for 0% which is totally false...

their job is to make money and they will make back the money, you just won't notice it... usually, they'll say you don't "qualify" for 0%, so they'll tell you 2% or 5% in which case, they get back money that way... if you trade your car in, then they will find a way to add that cost back into the cost of the car - that's their job....

and the last thing you should ever do (at least now a days) is lease a car (of course, it depends on the lease terms) - because more and more people are getting caught in the "miles scam"... now a days, they only give you maybe 10,500 miles in a year... for me, that's not even my 30 minute, 2x per day commute!! that adds up fast and if you go past that mileage, then your just literally screwed for cash!! i've known some people who were so screwed, they had to buy the car for way more than it was worth and what a bad deal that is!

so i say stick with your car and save those pennies for another rainy day, when you'll really need them while working your way up to "professional" pilot!

2002 is practically brand new and you can't find a lot of 2002 cars for 8K now a days unless there's a problem with it...

Heck, i drove a 1993 toyota corolla until just a few months ago - i had planned or thought to get a new car about 5 years ago when i finally paid her off... but after putting the extra money (per month) that i was paying onthe car into an investment account for a good 5 years, i was able to afford downpayment for a BMW X5.... getting rid of debt is really quite difficult now a days and if you can manage it and stay debt free - then that's the way to live!! cuz otherwise, someone else has you by the - quote on quote - uh hummm (excuse my french here) balls...

spend your money on flying. That MIGHT pay off in the long run. A car never will.

[/ QUOTE ]

That is also a very good point - there is absolutely zero investment in a car... you get nothing out of it in the end....definately not like home equity!

just my 0.02!!
Try not to get a Ford, if you can try to buy a Saturn, they are very reliable cars and you can trust them if you take care of them.

Dan Charles
Dude, a Saturn,

If you want a decent car, get anything with a Honda symbol in front of it. I would recommend the Accord though. It is a great car and they last forever. Buy a used 2000-2002 and you will still have a great car and someone else will have taken the hit of buying new (even though that hit is low because it is a Honda).
Take it for what it's worth......I bought a new Explorer last Nov. and SO wish I hadn't! The car is very nice and I love it, but the payments and insurance are definitely NOT worth it. That is the only thing tying me down right now and I wish I had bought a used car for $10,000 and chanced the other $15,000 (That would have gone to the new car) on repairs. Do what Mrs. Jetcareers said and buy a car and run it into the ground. It took me six new cars to realize how to do it right but I have learned my lesson!!!!! No new cars after this one is paid off. Do anything with the money but do not buy a new car! (Sorry, had to get it off my chest!)
To me it makes more sense to keep what you have. You'll have it payed off quicker than a new car and I like the proteges. They look like neat cars.