Go Back  British Expats > Living & Moving Abroad > USA
Reload this Page >

buying a car in Los Angeles

buying a car in Los Angeles

Old Jan 27th 2004, 2:31 am
  #1  
Forum Regular
Thread Starter
 
Bald Badger's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2003
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 75
Bald Badger is an unknown quantity at this point
Default buying a car in Los Angeles

Everybody is saying that you need a car in LA cos the public transport is crap. What sort of car would be entry level? What sort of cost. I thought something like a Toyota starlet or similar, Insurance? MOT/WOF?
Bald Badger is offline  
Old Jan 27th 2004, 3:10 am
  #2  
Arrogant ****
 
dbj1000's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2004
Location: Plano, TX
Posts: 4,323
dbj1000 has a reputation beyond reputedbj1000 has a reputation beyond reputedbj1000 has a reputation beyond reputedbj1000 has a reputation beyond reputedbj1000 has a reputation beyond reputedbj1000 has a reputation beyond reputedbj1000 has a reputation beyond reputedbj1000 has a reputation beyond reputedbj1000 has a reputation beyond reputedbj1000 has a reputation beyond reputedbj1000 has a reputation beyond repute
Default

I'm not a car buff, so I won't try to advise you on what make/model of car to buy, but I will point out that car insurance can be very expensive if you're new to the US. We paid around $3000 for our first 6 months (for 2 cars) with Progressive, who were one of only thee companies who would do business with us at all with our UK drivers licenses.

My advice is to take the US written/practical test ASAP when you arrive. Our insurance costs only became vaguely reasonable ($2800 per year for 2 cars - still a rip off) once we had US drivers licenses.
dbj1000 is offline  
Old Jan 27th 2004, 6:38 am
  #3  
BE Enthusiast
 
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 709
supernav will become famous soon enoughsupernav will become famous soon enough
Default

you need a car because to get to Point A to Point B takes 40 mins by car. With public transpo, it'll take 90 mins. Unless you're not planning on doing anything constructive the next 50 years, it's better to drive and use that extra 50 mins for your "life".

It all depends on your needs. There's too many variables.

-= nav =-
supernav is offline  
Old Jan 27th 2004, 11:30 am
  #4  
Forum Regular
Thread Starter
 
Bald Badger's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2003
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 75
Bald Badger is an unknown quantity at this point
Default

Originally posted by dbj1000
<snip>car insurance can be very expensive if you're new to the US. <snip>
I presume insurance is compulsory, (it is not in NZ) is that for the vehicle or for liability (in NZ no liability you can’t sue here for injury as it is covered by ACC) can you just get third party in case you go up the arse of a Roller ? ?
Bald Badger is offline  
Old Jan 27th 2004, 12:19 pm
  #5  
Gone but not forgotten. RIP
 
TRPardoe's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 1,570
TRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: buying a car in Los Angeles

Originally posted by Bald Badger
Everybody is saying that you need a car in LA cos the public transport is crap. What sort of car would be entry level? What sort of cost. I thought something like a Toyota starlet or similar, Insurance? MOT/WOF?
I admit a little bias (check my address) but the best solution for a first car in the US is to get something the size of a Ford Focus.

The Focus is safe, cheap to run, cheap to insure and has a lot of room inside. 3 year 36,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty.

ABS and Side Air Bags are still optional here but you should be able to find a vehicle with them. The Zetec engine will give you European performance.

Have about 1/3rd cash down and you will get bought no problem. If you have a lot of cash available for a car then go larger if you want, but the banks will readily lend on an inexpensive car with 1/3rd down.

Your interest rate will not be good, as you are a "ghost" with no credit history. After about 6 months of making payments and your credit score has started to appear you can try refinancing.

Rules #1 through #10- never, never, never be late on a car payment.

If you do want a Ford, email me with your zip code and requirements. I will do a search and tell you which dealer has what you want, and how much to pay for it.
TRPardoe is offline  
Old Jan 27th 2004, 12:25 pm
  #6  
Gone but not forgotten. RIP
 
TRPardoe's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 1,570
TRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond repute
Default

Originally posted by Bald Badger
I presume insurance is compulsory, (it is not in NZ) is that for the vehicle or for liability (in NZ no liability you can’t sue here for injury as it is covered by ACC) can you just get third party in case you go up the arse of a Roller ? ?
p.s.

Yes it is compulsory. Yes, a lot of people drive without it.

You cannot get finance if you don't have insurance. The finance company will repo you if they find that you have let the vehicle insurance lapse. If you get reposessed then you won't get financed next time.

Only a***holes drive without insurance here.
TRPardoe is offline  
Old Jan 27th 2004, 12:27 pm
  #7  
Forum Regular
 
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 74
CaliforniaGroom is just really niceCaliforniaGroom is just really niceCaliforniaGroom is just really niceCaliforniaGroom is just really niceCaliforniaGroom is just really niceCaliforniaGroom is just really niceCaliforniaGroom is just really niceCaliforniaGroom is just really niceCaliforniaGroom is just really niceCaliforniaGroom is just really niceCaliforniaGroom is just really nice
Default

Originally posted by dbj1000

. . .

My advice is to take the US written/practical test ASAP when you arrive. Our insurance costs only became vaguely reasonable ($2800 per year for 2 cars - still a rip off) once we had US drivers licenses.
To obtain a California driver's license, you're going to need a US social security number. I hope that's not a bigger challenge than the actual driver's test itself.

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/dl/dl_info.htm#2500
CaliforniaGroom is offline  
Old Jan 27th 2004, 4:09 pm
  #8  
BE Forum Addict
 
ScousePete's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2003
Location: Naples, FL
Posts: 1,264
ScousePete has a reputation beyond reputeScousePete has a reputation beyond reputeScousePete has a reputation beyond reputeScousePete has a reputation beyond reputeScousePete has a reputation beyond reputeScousePete has a reputation beyond reputeScousePete has a reputation beyond reputeScousePete has a reputation beyond reputeScousePete has a reputation beyond reputeScousePete has a reputation beyond reputeScousePete has a reputation beyond repute
Default

Originally posted by Bald Badger
I presume insurance is compulsory, (it is not in NZ) is that for the vehicle or for liability (in NZ no liability you can’t sue here for injury as it is covered by ACC) can you just get third party in case you go up the arse of a Roller ? ?
To answer your first question, every state has different rules. Wisconsin, for example, does not require you to have insurance. Other states, such as Colorado where I am now, require a minimum of third-party insurance. Check the website for California's DMV to find specifics for there.

For your second question, it depends on whether you own the car (or better put, does anyone else have a financial interest in your car). If you lease or finance the car, the "money company" will insist on fully comprehensive insurance. They wont let you have the car until you can show them this proof of insurance. Depending on where you live, this can be very expensive. If you own your car outright, you can get away with the cheaper third-party insurance, but then if your car gets stolen.....
ScousePete is offline  
Old Jan 27th 2004, 10:42 pm
  #9  
Rock Goddess
 
Rockgurl's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2003
Location: Connecticut USA
Posts: 1,429
Rockgurl has a reputation beyond reputeRockgurl has a reputation beyond reputeRockgurl has a reputation beyond reputeRockgurl has a reputation beyond reputeRockgurl has a reputation beyond reputeRockgurl has a reputation beyond reputeRockgurl has a reputation beyond reputeRockgurl has a reputation beyond reputeRockgurl has a reputation beyond reputeRockgurl has a reputation beyond reputeRockgurl has a reputation beyond repute
Default

I'll echo what others have said here. Don't even think about buying anything bigger than a Ford Focus as your first car. The insurance quotes will make your eyes water, so forget about a quote for a bigger car. And don't even bother trying to buy or insure a car on your UK (insert whatever country here) licence as you will pay through the nose and then some. My advice to you is to rent a car initially when you get here (watch out for the "extra" costs they stick on), and take your US test as soon as you arrive. Make sure you find out about the insurance the rental company offer. You can rent a car as a tourist over the internet on a foreign licence. This will keep your insurance costs down (and boy will you need to!). My first insurance quote was $4000 for six months (on my UK licence) . The second quote was for $2000 for six months and that was after I took the US driving test. Now I have my own car and a US licence I am paying about $1000 for six months...still extortionate but manageable. Before I got here I figured it would be a case of "what fabulous car can I pick?" but when I arrived it was a case of "what is the cheapest car I can find to keep the insurance costs down and who will sell me one". Ford are easily the easiest company to get credit with and if you saw my thread recently you will know that I bought a Ford Focus on a 10% deal with a $3500 rebate.

Make sure you shop around...you will always find a good deal. They will try it on and try to scam you so have your wits about you. If you don't have an SSN you won't be able to get a US licence. Keep up with the payments for at least 6 months and you will be able to trade it in and get something bigger and better, and get a better deal on your insurance.

Finally, I would advise everybody and anybody to get decent insurance. This is America...the land of the big sue. If you hit someone, damage to the car is the least of your worries. If they require medical treatment they will sue you not only for the medical costs (which can run into thousands) but also for anything extra that they can think about: lost days at work, lost time with the cat, lack of ability to go shopping....anything. You may end up in real trouble if you are not covered with a decent personal liability coverage. Good luck navigating through the US auto insurance minefield.
Rockgurl is offline  
Old Jan 28th 2004, 12:13 pm
  #10  
Gone but not forgotten. RIP
 
TRPardoe's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 1,570
TRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond repute
Default

Originally posted by Rockgurl

They will try it on and try to scam you so have your wits about you. If you don't have an SSN you won't be able to get a US licence. Keep up with the payments for at least 6 months and you will be able to trade it in and get something bigger and better, and get a better deal on your insurance.
The "scam you" part is a bit severe. It is quite hard for a car salesman to make a decent living, especially when the buyer can look up the invoice on the Internet. I once made $150 selling a $45,000 Excursion. Try walking into Best Buy and asking to see the invoice on a computer.

Having said that, a car buyer needs to ensure that they are given ALL the appropriate rebates. If you do not know what is available don't expect the dealer to freely give it all away. Negotiation is the name of the game and you should always negotiate from a position of strength.

If any member of this forum, anywhere, wants knowledgable help on buying a vehicle in the USA, particularly a Ford, feel free to email me at the addess below. I will do locates for you if you tell me what you are looking for and then tell you which of your local dealers has it.
TRPardoe is offline  
Old Jan 28th 2004, 2:21 pm
  #11  
Rock Goddess
 
Rockgurl's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2003
Location: Connecticut USA
Posts: 1,429
Rockgurl has a reputation beyond reputeRockgurl has a reputation beyond reputeRockgurl has a reputation beyond reputeRockgurl has a reputation beyond reputeRockgurl has a reputation beyond reputeRockgurl has a reputation beyond reputeRockgurl has a reputation beyond reputeRockgurl has a reputation beyond reputeRockgurl has a reputation beyond reputeRockgurl has a reputation beyond reputeRockgurl has a reputation beyond repute
Default

Originally posted by TRPardoe
The "scam you" part is a bit severe. It is quite hard for a car salesman to make a decent living, especially when the buyer can look up the invoice on the Internet. I once made $150 selling a $45,000 Excursion. Try walking into Best Buy and asking to see the invoice on a computer.
No....they tried to scam me. They put 2 warranties in front of me and told me they were a really good deal and that I would get a big discount on them. Warranty 1 was just mechanical and I should definitely take it, they said, and brushed it aside. It cost $400. Warranty 2 was pushed as the mega-super-must have warranty that covered absolutely everything and I'd be crazy not to have it and if you would just sign here please......That one cost $900. Only when I questioned the dealer intensively did I discover that the manufacturers warranty covered exactly the same things....free, except that their super warranty was for 6 years and the manufacturers was for 3! They never mentioned the manufacturers warranty at all, and made it look like there were only 2 choices and I had to choose at least one of them. They had automatically added them to the contract without discussing them with me and tried to make me sign it without me knowing what it involved. I would have lost $1300 for a product I didn't need. I only intend on keeping the car a year, maybe two max, so why would I need an extended warranty for 6 years? It was a blatant scam and luckily I asked lots of questions, but I am sure many people have been stung by this. I don't trust anyone, and it's lucky I don't.
Rockgurl is offline  
Old Jan 28th 2004, 7:00 pm
  #12  
Gone but not forgotten. RIP
 
TRPardoe's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 1,570
TRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond repute
Default

Originally posted by Rockgurl
......They had automatically added them to the contract without discussing them with me and tried to make me sign it without me knowing what it involved.......

It's this sort of crap in the Finance office that gets the whole industry a bad name. Thankfully, I am fortunate to work for a reputable, family owned dealership. The mantra here, direct from the owner is "do the right thing".
TRPardoe is offline  
Old Jan 29th 2004, 10:38 pm
  #13  
Arrogant ****
 
dbj1000's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2004
Location: Plano, TX
Posts: 4,323
dbj1000 has a reputation beyond reputedbj1000 has a reputation beyond reputedbj1000 has a reputation beyond reputedbj1000 has a reputation beyond reputedbj1000 has a reputation beyond reputedbj1000 has a reputation beyond reputedbj1000 has a reputation beyond reputedbj1000 has a reputation beyond reputedbj1000 has a reputation beyond reputedbj1000 has a reputation beyond reputedbj1000 has a reputation beyond repute
Default

For an excellent (and really, really worrying) account of what goes on in many new and used car dealerships in the US, read this (it's long, but worth it!):

http://www.edmunds.com/advice/buying...ng.buying..4.*

I'm sure our friend TRPardoe isn't like these salesmen, but my experience in the US has been that buying a car (new or used) can be a VERY unpleasant experience, with salesmen who have been taught to do anything they can to grind you down, and will stop at nothing to get the deal with the maximum margin possible.

As the article points out, it's not us, the internet-savvy people who can find the invoice cost of the vehicle we're interested in, who get screwed, but it's worth being aware of the tricks that can be used against you all the same!

Personally, I'll stick with buying used from Carmax (a "no haggle" dealership).
dbj1000 is offline  
Old Jan 30th 2004, 11:56 am
  #14  
 
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 6,843
Englishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond repute
Thumbs down

When we ordered a new Volvo the receipt for the deposit listed a $150 charge for etching the windows with the VIN!

We got that taken off! In England a few years ago there used to be guys in car parks all the time etching windows for about 25-30 pounds.....

Fortunately we only discovered this little 'scam' from reading the excellent:

http://www.carbuyingtips.com
Englishmum is offline  
Old Feb 1st 2004, 3:15 pm
  #15  
Gone but not forgotten. RIP
 
TRPardoe's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 1,570
TRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond reputeTRPardoe has a reputation beyond repute
Default

Originally posted by dbj1000
For an excellent (and really, really worrying) account of what goes on in many new and used car dealerships in the US, read this (it's long, but worth it!):

http://www.edmunds.com/advice/buying...ng.buying..4.*

I'm sure our friend TRPardoe isn't like these salesmen, but my experience in the US has been that buying a car (new or used) can be a VERY unpleasant experience, with salesmen who have been taught to do anything they can to grind you down, and will stop at nothing to get the deal with the maximum margin possible.

As the article points out, it's not us, the internet-savvy people who can find the invoice cost of the vehicle we're interested in, who get screwed, but it's worth being aware of the tricks that can be used against you all the same!

Personally, I'll stick with buying used from Carmax (a "no haggle" dealership).
One thing you can do to evade the aggressive salesman is to avoid the "national" chains. Stick with the family owned businesses where there is a real person with his name on the door who is ultimately responsible for his name's reputation. Avoid those who won't or cannot put their own name over the dealership.

In any event, go to the reception desk, or better still telephone reception and ask to speak to a sales manager. Tell him you want an appointment with a non-aggressive salesman. They will always accommodate you. .Never be aggressive or cocky with either the sales manager or the salesman, you are leaving yourself wide open for a grudge match and you will lose
TRPardoe is offline  

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.