I do want to buy a used car

DrunkenBastard

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I recently bought a zero turn mower and it use tweels on the back. No issues with flat tires now.
 

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sedrosken

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I'm looking around getting an idea of what I want to move over to once I get moved, and I'm thinking somewhere in the range of a 2010-15 compact of some brand or other. I'm not picky as to goodies -- hell, I could make do just fine with the base model as long as it has air conditioning and either bluetooth or an aux port (I've got a bluetooth dongle I could just perma-attach to it) -- I hear Florida summers are brutal and hearing my podcast/audiobook and navigation through the car speakers is always helpful. I hear good things about Toyotas and Hondas but I am concerned about price -- I'm targetting about $2,500 down or so and roughly $300/mo as a payment. Ideally I'd not go over 30 months on the term so I'm thinking my budget is around 10 grand total (doubtless I'll be approved for more if I want it, they salivate over people with good credit). I can drive a standard, though I'd need an adjustment period to get timing down again, I'm out of practice. Cruise control would be nice but I'm in that budget range where I feel like I should just take what I can get, and I'd take something a little newer or a little better shape without it over one with. Disk brakes are preferred -- I hate working on drums but I don't mind to do my own brake work to save a little money overall.

Another option I could look at is catching a new Kia Optima at their model-year-end closeout, they apparently heavily discount them to get them off the lot and I could get a 10y/100k-mi warranty, which is worth thinking about with how little I joyride -- in two years driving I've only just now put 10k on the odometer of my Maxima, though how much of that is just me not wanting to leave the house and how much is me being scared to drive through town lest something go wrong I'm not sure. I imagine I probably would either get the max of the time term or close to out of it assuming my habits and tastes don't significantly change -- even allowing for a doubling of my total current yearly mileage.

As for why I'm not really looking to buy outright, I don't think I can gather enough together quick enough to do it that way or I would at my range. I'm going to need a car probably within a month or two of getting down there, and if I've got to get a loan anyway, I may as well get a newer, hopefully more reliable vehicle with some semblance of a warranty instead of getting a car loan at the bank, getting taken for a ride on a piece of crap and never see the end of the problems and sinking more and more money into it like with my current car.

Bitter? No, I'm not bitter, I'm just not looking to deal with that nonsense again if I can help it at all.
 
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jtr1962

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Owning a car is a great way to remain poor. Before you go out and spend all that money see what your needs really are. You might be able to get by with an e-bike, for example, especially if most of the time the only thing you're transporting is yourself. Or perhaps look at motorcycles if an e-bike isn't suitable. I never owned a car in my life. I don't really feel I missed out on anything. I was always able to go where I needed to go. Only had to bum a ride off someone a handful of times.
 

sedrosken

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I appreciate your input jtr but I don't think that would work for me. I'm looking at around, at minimum, a 20-minute drive to wherever I want to go in town down there, and that's in a car. Plus I don't have very good balance.

The public transport situation down there isn't very good either.
 

jtr1962

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You might want to start your search here then:


Better to just buy outright and get the least expensive car you can for now. I'm sure you can find something halfway decent for the amount of your down payment. Once you have steady work, if the car starts getting costly to keep on the road buy something better.

How far are you from things in terms of miles, not minutes? Also, you said you're rooming with your cousin and his mother. Do either of them have a car? If so, any chance just sharing, and kicking in something for the expenses, might be feasible?

I'm not suggesting any of this to be a pain in the behind but I know people who are my age and still don't have a dime to their name because they spent it all on cars. The first thing I tell anyone starting out is if it's at all possible to get by without a car, then do so. You'll be glad you did 10 or 20 or 30 years down the road.
 

DrunkenBastard

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Used Toyota Camry or Corolla would be solid choices. I would avoid Kias and Hyundais, they had serious engine failure problems for many years with the Theta engine.

Which Hyundai vehicles are included?
The “Class Vehicles” are 2011–2019 model year Hyundai Sonata, 2013–2019 model year Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, and 2014–2015 and 2018–2019 model year Hyundai Tucson equipped with 2.0 liter and 2.4 liter genuine Theta II gasoline direct injection engines within OEM specifications.


Also, never buy a Chevy Equinox 4 cylinder, those are ticking time bombs as well. That's why the used market is flooded with them, all super cheap.

Regarding credit scores, not sure if you are aware but auto loans use a different scoring factors from normal FICO, that is more weighted towards past auto loan performance. If you dont have prior installment loan history you may need a cosigner or settle for unoptimum interest rates.
 

sedrosken

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I'm sure one of my family down there wouldn't mind to cosign with me, but I wouldn't do that personally. As stupid as it is of me to not accept help I'd rather stand on my own feet and make it by my own merits. So I suppose I'll just have to live with whatever interest rate they decide I deserve. As long as it's not something ridiculous (i.e. much over 10%) I don't think I'll do too badly.

Thanks for the information on the Kias and Hyundais. And the Equinoxes -- though they're not the class of vehicle I'd like to find myself in, as I find in general SUVs get rather horrific gas mileage and I just don't like how they sit.
 

jtr1962

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This gives you a good idea of the rates to expect:


They mention that a typical used car loan rate is 9.69%, which is pretty high if you ask me. Like I said, try to see if you can get something decent with whatever you can swing for a cash payment. If you know anyone knowledgeable about cars, have them inspect any vehicle you're considering so you don't get stuck with a lemon.
 

sedrosken

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Thanks for the link. 9.69% seems about average, my cousin just locked in a 4% rate for her new car but she's got a lot more going for her than I have for myself. My own expected rate looks to be somewhere in the 6-8% range depending on how the thing they use to rate me that's more specifically weighted to auto loans goes, I actually have pretty decent credit especially for my age.

Having someone more knowledgeable look at them for me is a good idea, and I'm sure my family down there knows someone who wouldn't mind looking at them for me, but I'm frankly leaving most of the actually mechanically inclined family behind here. I'll admit, it is a little scary, which is why ideally I'd get something with some modicum of a warranty.
 

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Personally I would go with a used Toyota, like drunkenbastard suggested.They are good quality to begin with, they are boring = lower probability that they have been punished by aspiring F1/Indycar drivers. And smaller cars like the Corolla means less weight/less stress on the materials.

Last time I drove a Toyota the sound insulation was not great, but that might have changed.
 

sedrosken

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As long as I can hear my GPS telling me when to take a turn, I don't care about sound insulation. Toyota and Honda was already on my short list, alongside maybe the Chevy Cruze, and the more I hear about them the more I want one.
 

Mercutio

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You say that but I wind up in a lot of $40/day rental cars from my quick trips out of town. Hop in a Nissan Versa or Dodge Neon. Those things sound scary if you're not used to road noise.
 

sedrosken

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I've driven my dad's old Ranger that had basically zero noise dampening. Sounded like you were trying to kill it if you took it on the interstate. As I said, as long as I can hear my navigation over it, I don't care.
 

sedrosken

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Well it's a bit late (I got the car June last year) but I'm now running a 2010 Corolla S. Had 112k on the odo when I got it, has a bit under 120 now, and since I got it it's needed a new alternator, I've replaced the tires (Kumho Ecsta 4x), and had the oil changed twice. It's a perfectly Fine™ car, can cruise at 90 on the interstate (you need to down here just to not get run over!) and I'm going to be paying on it for probably the next couple years unless I can throw money at it once I get this promotion. I paid a bit over 8k and you might think I got robbed, but the prices are even worse down here since I got it! I could probably make money off of it if I sold it. It kinda suffers from the same thing all Corollas of this gen do where if you're giving it half-throttle you're essentially giving it full-throttle, but considering I don't drive like a maniac anyway it's fine. I tend to wait for an opening instead of making one where there isn't one.

In the future I want to replace the head unit with one that'll do CarPlay and Android Auto -- mostly because audio comes through an FM transmitter right now and I get awful alternator whine from it, though navigation on the dash instead of up in the windshield would also be nice -- and install a backup camera since most aftermarket head units have the input for it. They're getting surprisingly affordable but it's not in the cards for a long, long while yet.
 

sedrosken

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Well it's a bit late (I got the car June last year) but I'm now running a 2010 Corolla S. Had 112k on the odo when I got it, has a bit under 120 now, and since I got it it's needed a new alternator, I've replaced the tires (Kumho Ecsta 4x), and had the oil changed twice. It's a perfectly Fine™ car, can cruise at 90 on the interstate (you need to down here just to not get run over!) and I'm going to be paying on it for probably the next couple years unless I can throw money at it once I get this promotion. I paid a bit over 8k and you might think I got robbed, but the prices are even worse down here since I got it! I could probably make money off of it if I sold it. It kinda suffers from the same thing all Corollas of this gen do where if you're giving it half-throttle you're essentially giving it full-throttle, but considering I don't drive like a maniac anyway it's fine. I tend to wait for an opening instead of making one where there isn't one.

In the future I want to replace the head unit with one that'll do CarPlay and Android Auto -- mostly because audio comes through an FM transmitter right now and I get awful alternator whine from it, though navigation on the dash instead of up in the windshield would also be nice -- and install a backup camera since most aftermarket head units have the input for it. They're getting surprisingly affordable but it's not in the cards for a long, long while yet.

Forgot to elaborate based on the prior posts I made regarding loans -- apparently my credit is way better than I thought because while I am on a 66mo term (of which I've paid roughly 10), my interest rate is only 3%. I barely qualified for that, and it was likely only because I was asking for so relatively little -- $8k is a bit scant to get a decent vehicle from a reputable dealer, especially out here.

Also having to replace the alternator that early on sounds bad -- and indeed I also forgot I had to replace ignition coils and spark plugs back in December or so, which I have no excuse for since I did that work myself -- but it was SO early on in my having it that despite my buying it as-is, the dealer took pity on me and covered the costs of the alternator replacement. It's been a minute, as it was right after I got the car, but I believe his exact words were "I know as-is means as-is, but three days are a bit much." Thankfully my battery was brand new and recovered from the deep-cycle event -- or they replaced it without my knowledge, as it was stone dead when the tow truck came to pick it up.

It was... an experience. I lost power steering and traction control cresting a bridge heading out of Ft. Walton into the "island" area, and managed to limp it almost to Destin where I worked at the time before the bumper-to-bumper traffic finally hit and I had to pull off to the side as the engine was trying to die the whole time without giving it gas. I waited for two hours for a tow truck in the heat of the Florida summer before my aunt came to get me and bring me to work. My car wasn't going anywhere without a tow anyway -- even my hazards cut out after about an hour and a half. I had my car back a couple days later and aside from maintenance related stuff, it's been fine.
 

LunarMist

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Well, you are young and have to suffer a little. ;) When you are more established you can buy a newer car. :)
I started driving in a hand-me-down, used old car that needed something done every few months. That was in the old days when they had RWD, big block V8s, and 3-speed auto trans with 10-12 MGP. :eek: I had two of those type in series until I bought a 1-year-old car about a year after undergrad.
 

sedrosken

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I'm actually fine with my car, being perfectly honest, and don't think I want anything newer where the driving is all done by inputs to a computer. The things I had to replace are all either bad luck or timing, or things that should have been replaced anyway. I fully expect to get another 100k on this odometer before I'm either ready or forced to retire it. I'm quite happy with my purchase.

Now, my first car? The one I had before this? That was a death-trap.
 

sedrosken

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So, for those unfamiliar with the situation, I was rear-ended back in May and only now has the shop finally deigned to look at my car. I've been driving it since the accident up until a couple weeks ago when they took it and I got the rental Camry.

The insurance company has finally decided it's totalling out my car and I'm left to do car shopping again. Although it's a worse market than it was last year when I got my Corolla, I'm ironically better prepared this time -- I have much more of a budget (though still nothing crazy) and something to put down, now.

In my area, ~19k for a used 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is actually a really good deal for right now, and I'm very tempted especially as it's local and two-owner. 2.0L i4, CVT from after they finally worked out how to make those properly, 46.5K miles, nice options package for the year, and I'm in love with the color, but I'll have to see how it drives before I make a decision, and for that I have to wait for the money to hit the bank.

Unfortunately that maxes out my budget pretty definitively -- anything else is either a compromise on year, mileage, package, or kind of car -- and I want a crossover or small SUV for visibility reasons as well as my knees starting to have issues with small compacts.
 

Mercutio

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I currently have two long-term guests. One of them is my quasi-SO. The other mostly chooses to live in her car when she can get away with it, but she has a key to my place and can come and go if she wants a shower and/or a safe place to be.

My second friend recently had a bit of a windfall, and was finally able to trade up to her first decent car. She found a 2020 Elantra and made a big enough down payment that her monthly is extremely reasonable. She could've scrapped her other car, her former house, but it turns out my other roommate didn't have a car at all and was mostly relying on me to give her rides and borrow my car. Roommate 2 gave Roommate 1 the car we call the Haunted Subaru, a 2005 Subaru Legacy with 287,513 miles on it. All of the warning indicators on the dash stay on at all times. Is the oil really low? Who knows! Does it have gas? Yes, because the gas gauge works in spite of the low fuel light staying on for the last 40,000 miles. Some of the body panels are partially secured with zip ties. Depending on how fast the car is going, it has all sorts of interesting vibrations and howling noises that have apparently been there since forever. The engine and transmission are supposedly sound. The tires are in decent shape, the rotors and brakes were replaced in March and the battery is only a year old. This 100% the worst car I have ever been in and it is hard core scary to drive, but my roommate only needs it to drive over to the train station or to get groceries, liquor or whatever she puts in her vape. Given that my other friend was living in it, I'm thinking it's worth the $1 + $175 in plates and paperwork it took to do the title transfer.

Roommate 1 is currently being very angry, because she just found out how much car insurance for a 22 year old with no real driving history costs, a thing she never had to think about before.

None of the three of us know even one single thing about cars. I can swap a battery, check fluids or change a tire and the former owner has figured out where to put zip ties to keep rattling to a minimum. I feel like we're embarking on an adventure with this stupid thing. I told my friends one of them better start screwing a mechanic because I'm staying out of it.
 

jtr1962

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This 100% the worst car I have ever been in and it is hard core scary to drive, but my roommate only needs it to drive over to the train station or to get groceries, liquor or whatever she puts in her vape. Given that my other friend was living in it, I'm thinking it's worth the $1 + $175 in plates and paperwork it took to do the title transfer.

Roommate 1 is currently being very angry, because she just found out how much car insurance for a 22 year old with no real driving history costs, a thing she never had to think about before.
Just a question-how far in terms of miles are those trips? A free car sounds great until you consider insurance costs and possible repairs. When my father died in 2006 some people asked me why I didn't want his car. Putting aside that I didn't/don't have a driver's license, I realized it was a piece of junk which probably would cost a lot in repairs eventually, plus as a new driver, even one way over 25, insurance would easily have been $4K or $5K a year. Besides that, for my lifestyle a car is a solution in search of a problem.

She might be better off putting the money into a bike or e-bike. An e-bike can handle longer trips. My brother is getting 25 to 30 mile range out of his using medium pedal assist settings. When I was your friend's age, I thought nothing of taking 40 mile round trips by bike for shopping or other errands. I'd still do it now at 59, except that I can't be away from my mother for that long.

As an aside, when my mom goes, I want to end up in a situation like yours, with a few 20-something female house guests.
 
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Handruin

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You can even get 35+miles out of a decent eScooter these days like an Apollo City (2022) and some can go over 50miles.
 

Mercutio

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Northwest Indiana is not a safe place for cycling. Not even a tiny bit. I live in a gentrifying but still pretty scary area. Places that sell groceries a ~10 minutes away at 60mph (Gary, where I live, has one supermarket within its city limits. It's on the far side of town from where I live and it's easier for me to go to Portage instead). It's also difficult to exist here as a pedestrian. Sidewalks aren't common and if I get outside my immediate neighborhood, everything is a Stroad, one of those places with four lanes where cars might be going anywhere from 45 - 70mph and businesses up and down both sides but almost no stop lights or turn lanes.

I was actually hit by a car while I was out for a walk a few years ago. I wound up with a hematoma the size of an American football on my hip. If my arm had been at my side, I'm sure it would've been broken instead.

But yes, having a car is kind of a necessity to exist as an adult here. I'm sure sed is in the same boat. Welcome to the midwest, I suppose.

Also the part of Gary where I live is more or less the LEAST scary part.
 

sedrosken

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Ok, well, that didn't take long. Also, yes, by the way, I do actually need a car. When I'm not able to work remotely I have to be able to get on-site after all, and it's a 40mi roundtrip just to the office and back, no client sites involved. Riding a bike out here will get you ran over. Not to mention I'd immediately die of a heat stroke even in the winter.

I'm now the proud owner of a 2018 Toyota RAV4 LE. 79K miles on the odo, base package, but it's mechanically mint and cosmetically only slightly imperfect. (Some scratches in the paint on the passenger side door.) 2.5L inline-4 making I think 176hp? 6 speed automatic transmission because manuals+traffic=:(. It's in a lovely bright shade of blue, and when I first sat in it I had a huge feeling of deja vu because it felt and sounded nearly identical to my Corolla. That tracks, since the pre-2019 RAV4 is built on the Corolla platform. Steering is a bit more stiff though. I fell in love with it practically immediately. A Corolla isn't really something you love out of the gate, you grow to love it, and then things that remind you of it get that affection transferred to them. I will totally be calling it the "big Corolla" in conversation, though. :p

My payment is... well. More than I wanted it to be, but nothing I can't handle. I set a "hard" limit of $300/mo for it, but I'm pretty satisfied with $348/mo at 4.34% with my credit and the current market. My insurance supposedly goes up all of 15 dollars per month because it's insuring a more valuable vehicle, but it's also probably being discounted some because of the extra safety features it has. That backup camera is going to be so awesome.

It's still at the dealer being touched up and looked at one last time, because they need the money in-hand for the down payment before I can drive it home, and the check hasn't even cleared my bank yet, so I'm hopefully going to be picking it up later this week.

My plates are supposedly going to soft-transfer from one vehicle to the other in the state DMV's system -- is that typical? I've only ever driven one car in any other state, so I don't know what to expect. I would hope so, considering I paid up my tags for the next two years back in July, but I just don't have the experience to say one way or the other.
 

sedrosken

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Huh. I went to change my insurance over today (cleared it with the dealer, it's fine for me to do that now) and it's actually... cheaper. Not significantly so, roughly a 3 dollar per month difference, but still... not bad. Hopefully I can get to the point soon where I can just pay the 6 month premium all at once instead of having to do it monthly so I can save a little more money.
 

sedrosken

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I have the car now, I'm quite satisfied with it. I can't believe I only just now came upon the idea to use the cargo hooks to strap my real jack down so it doesn't make the devil's own noise rattling around as I drive through town, but here we are -- granted, I bought those straps specifically to hold down the trunk on my Corolla, so... likely it just didn't occur to me to buy straps for that purpose.

It's not in perfect shape. There are scuffs and scratches in the paint at points, the interior isn't completely mint, it was obviously actually used. Much like my Corolla -- good shape for the age of the vehicle, but not perfect, and honestly it may just be me trying to justify making a bad decision but I like it better that way. Minor flaws kind of make it match my own insecurities and let me know it's okay if I don't, yknow, take it to the car wash every two weeks or whatever. And a "lived-in" vehicle gets much more of my trust than something that was obviously barely driven because I start wondering just why that was.

It's a one-owner vehicle, though I'm not sure why that matters -- it's something people like to hear, at least.

I did find a trailer light cable in the spare bay, so I think I will be having a tow bar installed sometime. Capacity's only rated at 1500lbs, but that's a small u-haul and some furniture, so I'm satisfied.

I'm less than totally impressed with the dealer, as they tried to let me leave without a full tank of gas as they promised, and I had to uber out there and give them the receipt as their driver is off on Mondays and I didn't have anyone to take me to them, and also for some reason I don't have any floor mats? They're looking for them but honestly I'm not too broken up about them because I mean to have some WeatherTech-style floor liners installed eventually anyway -- I live near beaches, floor mats just attract sand.

Immediately I needed to replace both wiper blades -- they're new I'm sure, but they're awful stock wiper blades that just kinda push water all around the windshield instead of where they need to go. I bought a set of RainX Endura Silicone -- I was happy with the ones I put on my Corolla, and funnily enough this uses the same sizes. I don't see a rear wiper blade listed in the catalog at the auto parts store, but on Amazon apparently it's a 10-inch blade but it doesn't come all the way up so I don't see how I'm supposed to replace it. That one must have been the stock one, as it's not in good shape at all.

There is exactly one bugaboo about the base LE trim that I'm not too sure I'm happy about -- the LE is FWD only, the others add AWD at least as an option. Granted, I don't expect very many instances where AWD will save me down here in Florida, but it'd come in handy in a state that actually sees snow once in a while. Also, I'm pretty sure that's why the tow rating on the LE is only 1500lbs -- the offroad ones are rated for 3500 I believe.
 

sedrosken

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Okay, a couple corrections.

The Adventure trim is the one with a 3500lb towing capacity. The only significant difference over the next lowest trim is apparently a better suspension and bigger wheels/tires...? I don't know. Anyway, most of the lineup has a max towing capacity of 1500. Again, that's fine for my use.

The rear wiper blade is a 10-inch. There's a clip at the base of the... stalk(?) that you unhook and then the blade can pull fully away from the window. The rear wiper is a little more fiddly than the front ones.

The tow bar and clone-weathertech liners are more expensive than I thought they'd be, so it'll be a while before I really can put that kind of money down again.
 

sedrosken

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Another small addendum: I noted that the steering felt stiffer. Well, that's because of the lane assist -- turn it off, and it's fine now.
 

sedrosken

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I'm sure there is plenty of people out there that like the adaptive cruise control (radar) standard on most cars these days; I am not one of them. I find it annoying how it tries to keep whole football fields between me and other vehicles and will slow down to do it. So I was quite relieved to find that holding the "cruise on" button will put it in traditional cruise control mode. Alas, it's not a toggle, you'll have to do it every time, but it's better than the rental I had where adaptive cruise was all you got.
 

LunarMist

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If the closest setting is still too far, then you shouldn't be using an automated system in that sort of traffic.
Don't follow too close and wreck your car. ;)
 

sedrosken

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Wait... you can choose how far it follows? God I'm dumb. I didn't realize the screen it was showing after activating the radar was a menu, it just looked like some kind of "informational slide" or something.
 

LunarMist

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Before the virus I rented a LOT of cars including Camrys. :LOL:
There were three settings, far, medium, and close that cycle through. IIRC the setting is far each time you start the vehicle.
 

sedrosken

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1663561093944.png

I guess this shows how this is the newest vehicle I've ever driven extensively. I never took the rental Camry anywhere I didn't need to go, so I never learned how its adaptive cruise worked.
 

LunarMist

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I think the fancier safety systems have been standard only for the last few years. They used to be options in luxury cars and then options in more ordinary cars, but rentals usually are lower trim lines and get them last. I was assigned to large organizations that had specific travel policies, and did not usually get the nice cars or even a large car unless there were 3+ pax or one was a VIP. A few years ago it seemed like every other rental was an Altima.
 

sedrosken

Florida Man
Joined
Nov 20, 2013
Messages
1,304
Location
Eglin AFB Area
The Camry was newer than my RAV4 is by a few years, and mine is base trim -- IIRC the Camry was one level below top trim. I don't know if it's just Enterprise upping their game or what. And yes, the of the other options I had available to me, there was an Altima. Also a Charger, but I turned that down as I thought that was far too much car for me.

Either way, by the time something like that makes it into base trim, it's at least a good sign that it's reliable...
 

LunarMist

I can't believe I'm a Fixture
Joined
Feb 1, 2003
Messages
15,630
Location
USA
If the system fails to function, such as in a strong rain, snow, or ice storm it just disengages.
The rental companies were hit hard by the pande and vehicles and service are worse than ever.
 
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