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Ok, I have a bit of a conundrum. I'm trying to buy a new car.

I've already put a deposit on one for $500 (car 1)

I found another, which is in a color I prefer, for around the same price. It also has 30,000 miles less (car 2). I bargained him down $200 to make up for my $500 loss of deposit on the other one.

However, car 1 has a two year warranty on all major components (engine, transmission, suspension), whereas car 2 only has a warranty for up to 6 months, and I'd have to purchase it separately (for about $200-300). If I want to have car 1 be the color I would like it to be, I'd need to paint it/have it painted.

What should I do in this situation, and why?

I intend to keep this car for 3-4 years. Possibly more.

Cars are around the same price. Total, with loss of deposit for car 2 is $7300, total for car 1 is $7100.

If I get my deposit back on from car 1 (presuming I went with car 2), it would be $6800. Probability of that seems low.

Both are 2005 Ford Mustangs, one with 150k miles and the other with 120k miles.

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the color seems to be a complicating factor that only you can place a value on. What year, make, model car are we talking about? Some cars are more likely to need work than others. What are the actual (not relative) mileages? A car with 200k miles compared to one with 230k miles is a wash. –  mac Nov 13 '12 at 21:51
    
The color is important, but I can always get it painted. A friend I have's brother is a car painter, so I can probably get it done cheap. Mileage is 120k vs 150k –  Andrew Alexander Nov 13 '12 at 22:05
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again, i suggest you edit your question to include the year, make, model, and mileage of both cars so that you might get some answers based on experience with those actual vehicles. This is fundamentally a question of risk tolerance--you want a warranty because you don't want to be on the hook if something goes wrong. Well, what's the likelihood that something goes wrong? It depends on the car. –  mac Nov 13 '12 at 22:10
    
Alright, fixed. Thank you for your assistance so far. I have included the information. –  Andrew Alexander Nov 14 '12 at 0:04
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2 Answers

I'd go with the car that's the color I prefer. A decent paint job costs more than replacing an engine/transmission... Last time I did a new engine in my car it was $4500. Wife's new transmission was $3400. I just recently got paint quotes and they ran from $6000-8000...

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Yea, for like, a professional/show paint job. Haha, for a normal paint job, you're probably not looking at anything north of $1200 to 1500, MAX. I'd be getting just above bargain basement (enough that the paint won't flake off). –  Andrew Alexander Nov 14 '12 at 17:53
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You'll never paint it, let's be real. I believe that the warranty is a better value, but if you're like me and this car will be an extension of self, get the one you like more... –  Eric Fossum Nov 15 '12 at 0:51
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If you are looking at an older car, with reasonably high mileage (which both of these are), the value of a warranty can be high.

The way you should look at it is to ask yourself whether you would expect to spend over $200 on major components in the next 2 years (remember, as they are major components, a single failure is likely to go over this)

If so go with the better warranty!

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