I just totaled my car this weekend. I’m trying to figure out what to buy next, but I have no clue where to even begin. I should probably buy a used car because those cost less money, but I don’t want one so used that it’ll require frequent repairs. I’m a female in my twenties living in northern Virginia, and live within a few miles of my job, gym, grocery store, etc.
The car I totaled was a 1996 Toyota Camry that I bought in 2008 for $6,000. It had 56,000 miles on it when I bought it, and I chose it because (1) It was affordable, (2) It got good gas mileage, and (3) Toyotas have a reputation for being reliable.
This time around I’m looking to buy something in the $3,000 to $9,000 range. Where I’m struggling the most is in deciding which features are worth paying a little extra for. For example, is it worth it to pay a few thousand dollars extra for a car that has 10,000 miles instead of 50,000 or a hundred? Are bigger cars really that much safer than smaller cars? How important is getting good gas mileage if you use the car mainly for local trips? Is a sunroof worth the extra money? What car has a good mixture of being safe, reliable, and affordable? And where should I look to get a car? Should I go to a dealership or look online?
Those are a lot of questions, so to distill this post to its purest form: I don’t know a lot about cars. Please give me any advice you think would help me decide what to buy.