Stick or Automatic influencing car purchase

Discussion in 'Community' started by SeaFox, Aug 22, 2004.

  1. SeaFox macrumors 68020

    SeaFox

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    #1
    Hey everyone. I have been saving money for a car for awhile now. I have $3000 in the bank. The problem I'm having is I can't seem to find what I want for a price I can afford, and I have lots of trouble getting out to check out cars in the ads because I work full time evenings and go to school part time.

    Well, tomorrow I'm supposed to call this chick I talked to today and get with her to check out this car. The problem is I don't know if I'm still interested in it at this point because it's a 5 speed.

    Now my last vehicle was a pickup with a stick and I did okay. Now I'm not fantastic with a manual but I didn't grind any gears. I really just don't like the hassle of a manual. I like to cruise around town a lot so I appreciate not having to shift every couple minutes with an automatic.

    So I'm just stuck on if I really still want this car or if I want to just keeeeep looking.

    Here's what it is in case you're abou to ask:

    '90 Honda Accord
    4 door, no major body damage
    236,000 miles
    black, no moon roof
    $1,200

    current owner has had two years so she doesn't know if most of the milage is city or highway.
     
  2. iMeowbot macrumors G3

    iMeowbot

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2003
    #2
    That's kind of funny. A more common complaint is that so many cars don't even offer a manual transmission as an option any more. :)
     
  3. Rend It macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Not that it matters, but my opinion is that if in doubt, always go for manual transmissions. Here's why:

    1) Unless you drive like a maniac, you always get better gas mileage than with the automatic.
    2) When the weather turns south, you will have more control over how much torque is sent to the wheels.
    3) If the transmission or clutch ever need replacement, you will save about $1,000. Also, if you're mechanically inclined, you can usually replace the clutch yourself for about $200.

    The only time I go against my own tendencies is if you have to do a lot of stop-and-go type driving. In that case, an automatic will be a lot more satsifying. Or, if you're ever in the market for a new car, take a look at the Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) in the newest Volkswagens. It combines the best of both worlds.

    -Rend It
     
  4. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #4
    Dealers make more money on automatics than stick.

    There are still quite a few vehicles that come with stick, but the dealers do not order them. Usually is one of the special order thingies.

    But it is alway humorous to note that the "now as low as $xx,xxx.xx" is a vehicle that you'll probably never find on the lot.
     
  5. SeaFox thread starter macrumors 68020

    SeaFox

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    #5
    Yup, I am aware of that one.

    Actually, I hear an automatic is better on slippery conditions, because the slight delay in power being applied to the wheels (from the torque converter spin up) helps prevent slipping on starting from a dead stop (less jarring from 0 acceleration).

    Plus manuals last longer mechanically than automatics.

    Which is me, unfortunately. I do want an automatic instead. I'm thinking I could buy something else for now, and then get something different later. But I was originally looking for a car that would last for a few years at least. If I buy something else now I'll have to save money again.

    The used car market seems much better in nearby cities. The catch is you have to have a car to drive out there to shop for a car. :rolleyes:

    So maybe I should pass this one up, look for something cheaper to get so I can drive out to places out of town to shop...

    You see how complicated this becomes.

    This will be my fourth vehicle, and my most expensive one. I've never spent more than $800 on a car before.
     
  6. shecky Guest

    shecky

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    #6
    i refuse to drive anything but a manual, and if you have a sporty-type car you will kick yourself for getting an automatic...

    BUT....

    .....if you live in a place where you do a significant amount of stop-and-go traffic you are going to get pissed off with a stick quickly. I did a few months of commuting to just outside of boston from providence every day in heavy, stop and go rte 95 + rte 128 traffic and i just about wanted to gnaw my left leg off after an hour of crawling along.
     
  7. SeaFox thread starter macrumors 68020

    SeaFox

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    #7
    Funny you mention sporty cars...

    Honda
    1991 Accord EX, 4 door. 129K mi., very good cond., all power, sun roof. $3,500 or best offer.
    ---------------------
    Honda
    1992 Prelude S, Silver, 160K, Reliable. $3,400.

    ---------------------
    Honda
    1994 Accord LX, Blue, 4 dr., 5 spd., CD, AC, rims, exhaust. $3500/offer. ---------------------

    The 91 EX is actually pretty much what I'm looking for. But it would break the bank. All my savings + $500 from my paycheck Friday.

    But I would get a V6, and a lot lower mileage than what I'm looking at. Maybe that would be a moonroof they mean instead of a sunroof, too. :)

    What I should really be doing (sensible) is:
    Nissan
    1991 Sentra GXE, 118K, Silver, AT, AC, 4-dr, clean, $1,595.
     
  8. shecky Guest

    shecky

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    #8
    i drove exactly that car until last year, (same year and color even!) except mine did have Alpine CD, but not nice rims or exhaust. i put damn near 275k miles on it too. not the most interesting car out there, but honda is good.

    prelude is not a bad used car for sporty, but honda holds value so its gonna be more expensive than it should be.
     
  9. Bruce Lee, PhD macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    #9
    It sounds like you know what you want, and that's an automatic. You're going to have to drive this car every day, so wait for the right one.
     
  10. JesseJames macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    Personally, I'll own nothing but manual shift. I'd get bored driving an automatic. Besides, it good for the mind in my opinion. Keeps it limber.
     
  11. SeaFox thread starter macrumors 68020

    SeaFox

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    #11
    Yeah. I know. One thing that occured to me was to get a cheap car simply to use to drive out of town to shop for a better car.

    Ford
    1994 Escort, 104K miles, AT, Clean, Fair Condition. Price: $700/best offer.
    ------------
    Ford,
    1994 Tempo, 4 door, automatic, very clean. $750 or best offer.


    Waiting for the 'right one' has gotten to be a great pasttime of mine. What normally happens is I save up for the car, then something stupid happens (like my job suddenly ends) or I have to pay tuition and I end up spending my car money on it.

    The other problem is I start saving and what I'm looking for is always $500-$700 more than I have. Save $1700 for a late eighties Accord, and the price is $2300-$2800. Now I have three grand for an early nineties Accord and the price is $3500+. Now, when I have no money at all I'll see the late eighties for $1600 and basic early ninities models for $2300+ but get some cash and prices skyrocket.

    Edit: I have already decided to call the chick back tomorrow and cancel checking out that 1990 for $1200. I might as well spend $400 more and get the Nissan with a lot lower mileage and AT.
     
  12. Powerbook G5 macrumors 68040

    Powerbook G5

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    St Augustine, FL
    #12
    I refuse to own anything other than a manual. I don't care how much traffic there is, I still prefer a manual over an auto. It is one of those make or break deals when it comes to my opinion on a vehicle.
     
  13. revenuee macrumors 68020

    revenuee

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    #13
    i don't have a problem driving manual in stop and go traffic -- keeps me busy while driving
     
  14. Powerbook G5 macrumors 68040

    Powerbook G5

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    #14
    There's nothing like the complete feeling of control you have over the driving experience you have when you control the gears under your left foot and right hand. Every time you execute the perfect shift and match just the right revs over the arch of a curve or chirp the tires in second and third gear as you bring the engine to an escalating melody of high rpm song it just brings you into the driving experience. I cannot imagine flogging the turbo in my car any other way than with the close ratio 5-speed and clutch. It just feels weird driving an auto anymore. Whenever I drive my dad's car I reach for the gearbox instinctively and put my foot down where a clutch should be whenever I start it up. Just driving is annoying when the engine shifts at the most bizarre times and never letting the engine quite reach its full ability. There is a period of hesitation on an auto that you just don't get with the direct control of a manual.
     
  15. SeaFox thread starter macrumors 68020

    SeaFox

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    #15
    It's only really a problem to me when I'm on a steep hill facing up. I'm always afraid I'll roll back into the person behind me and end up with an accident and higher insurance rates because the car can't hold itself still on a hill.

    Automatics can have that problem too if the hill is steep enough. But then, since the petals don't outnumber my feet I can keep my foot on the brake with my left foot, then slightly depress the gas with my right (like a couple hundred rpm at most) and when I lift my left foot the car will either be standing still or moving slowly forward.

    Part of the reason this car thing has come up is my job isnt very secure right now, and I don't think I'll have it in a few months at most. I'd like to get a car so I have an easier time finding another job and so I don't end up spending the car money on bills like I did last time I saved up.
     
  16. Powerbook G5 macrumors 68040

    Powerbook G5

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    #16
    You won't roll back on a hill if you learn to modulate between the clutch and the gas. You can learn the technique by feel, as you let off the clutch while adding throttle, you can feel the car hold instead of roll back. In time, you should be able to do this as second nature without ever having the car roll back. I've heard that some new cars actually have an anti-roll feature now, too. Subaru apparently has this in their new cars that prevents the vehicle from rolling back on an incline.
     
  17. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #17
    I don't know if they stopped doing it for a while, or just started marketing its existence, but Subarus had this ability in the early 90's. I dated someone who drove one, and it worked reasonably well.
     
  18. SeaFox thread starter macrumors 68020

    SeaFox

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    #18
    It's not the modulating between the clutch and gas that's the problem, it's the split second between taking my foot off the brake and putting it on the gas. It seems as easy to let the clutch out to far, have the car stall, and roll back as it is to not let it out far enough and have it roll back. And nowadays there's more people who insist on pulling up right behind you at the stoplight so there's no buffer for error.
     
  19. shecky Guest

    shecky

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    #19
    i just do the parking brake trick to prevent rollback on a steep hill.
     
  20. Powerbook G5 macrumors 68040

    Powerbook G5

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    #20
    That's the fun part. I bet you that once they see your car coming downward they will soon stop pulling up right behind you ;-)
     
  21. Macmaniac macrumors 68040

    Macmaniac

    #21
    Well I'm 17 and as soon as learned to drive our families minivan my dad taught me how to drive stick on his 88' Volvo 240DL, now that he has bought a 3 Series, I got the Volvo so unlike all the weenies in my High School I drive stick:)
    Oh and talk about reliability my dad has had the clutch on the Volvo replaced only once, and this car has 315,000 miles on it:)
    Oh as well I got to drive my dads BMW and the clutch on that car is insane, its spring loaded madness!! In my Volvo I can't even make a turn without up-shifting to second because the Volvo would stall, but in the beamer you can really cruise, god they are sweet cars.
     
  22. SeaFox thread starter macrumors 68020

    SeaFox

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    #22
    I tried that but the parking brake was a pull lever under the dash, not quite as handy to manipulate as the pull arm between the seats variety.
     
  23. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    Jan 1, 2004
    #23
    I only drive stick unless I get stuck with a rental. I hate automatics. I have no control over the car.

    My suggestion? Learn to drive a stick. I've met very few people who learn how to and then prefer an automatic to them. Plus they get better gas mileage and are less expensive.
     
  24. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #24
    I prefer stick as well, but driving in Boston traffic has led me to appreciate automatics. Still, my next car's going to be a stick again. I've been without one for too long....
     
  25. revenuee macrumors 68020

    revenuee

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    #25
    if you catch the friction point ... you don't need to modulate ... you can acctually have the car creep up by finding the ideal spot
     

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