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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all, I am considering purchasing a 2005 Lotus Elise at the age of 21, and I will be using it to commute to class about 2 miles a day for the next few years. The roads aren't exactly that great on downtown Birmingham, AL, but I drive my cars fairly easy. I was wondering if I am going to be able to maintain this car on a college budget. Are they expensive to keep up as far as oil filters and air filters? And are they reliable as far as myself not seeing any major problems? And what are the small problems that you guys have come across? I tried to Google all of this, and even searched the forums. I am hoping that you guys can offer me some good advice on whether or not to purchase and Elise as a college DD. I know I want be able to beat the ladies off with a stick if I do get it, these cars are quite the looker. Thanks in advance.
 

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Don't bring a nice car to college. It will get vandalized...
 

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The BIG no, no, is parallel parking, with no bumpers, a minor parking shunt can cost major money. The car is so small that sometimes other drivers simply don't see it. Regularly serviced, this car can be very reliable. Oil/filter changes if not done by yourself, should only be done by a Lotus tech, cost around $200. You really do want to avoid potholes, not good for a car like this. Being in a humid climate you will probable find that the A/C does not work very well. There are many little things, but remember it's a Lotus, and to own one and feel comfortable, you need a Lotus mentality.
 

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do you/can you change your oil on your present car?
those things are same as a toyota car.
tires, driven carefully (i'm ~77 yrs old) last 10,000+ miles.
when you bend a lotus, it's very expensive, and it's easy to hurt one.
plastic, you know.
however, the experience of having and driving one is rewarding.
few other cars can give so much fun and still be useful.
factor in the insurance costs, some are quite high for a youngster.
(and stay out of the back seat...)rotfl
good luck, sam
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ha, I never park anywhere but an end spot in a parking deck. I have never received a door ding thanks to this practice. I also have never heard of cars getting vandalized in the decks either. On the street, that is another story. I will change the oil on my own, I have built several engines, so this is a no brainer once I get a guide on how to do it. Potholes may be a problem. Just how bad are they for the car? Like structural damage? I will be driving slow bear in mind. The AC will be non-existant, the top will be off 90% of the time weather permitting. :) I really want one, and the price is right at 28k for a gray one with 12,000 miles. It is a beauty. But it can be done on a budget? The only thing I worry about is the brakes, but that can be performed by me with parts, the only question is the parts price issue. Thanks for the luck, I may need it BTW Sam. The car will be insured under my father's name too BTW. :)
 

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If you do buy the Elise you have got to try Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham. It is one of the best tracks in the country.
 

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I wouldn't bring a lotus to college, especially in the "dirty dirty." It will get stolen/vandalized.

I drove my elise to class once and parked it next to my class where I could look out the window at it. I was so distracted by the crowds gathering around the car that I didn't even pay attention in class. NEVER will I do that again.
 

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Don't make an emotional purchase, do your research and be aware of what you are getting into, and at your age drive carefully.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I do feel very emotional right now, I am pumped. I hope this is a viable purchase. I put about 6,000 a year on a car, so I don't know whether that is viable in an Elise. You guys know more than I do. Ha, and the dirty dirty it is. I don't care for B'ham. I do like Atlanta alot, I plan to practice law there. And Barber is one of the best? Damn.
 

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Parking is the biggest issue as careless parking will lead to expensive repair bills. Maintenance is inexpensive if you can do much of it yourself. Tires are probably the most expensive maintenance item, expect to replace all four around every 10k miles.
 

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Don't bring a nice car to college. It will get vandalized...
Indeed. Beware of the haters. Are you going to be studying or worrying about your car parked outside all the time?

If you're really trying for "baller status" get one and a $2K beater to bring to class. :) only drive the Lotus when you're busy trying to steal people's girlfriends and can watch the car.
 

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If you're worried about being able to afford routine maintenance like oil changes etc. I wouldn't buy it. I'm not sure how a college kid would be able to afford one in the first place without their parents taking care of it.

I think you might be better served by investing your money instead and buying one when you know you can really enjoy it and not have to worry about cost. It all depends on your financial situation. If you're on the fence not sure if you can swing it I'd say you're not thinking how you should be.
 

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If you can part with the cash and not miss it, go. If you have to borrow money, then don't.

My Elise was rear ended on Halloween and it is still in the shop. No big deal, I have another car to drive. Can you forgo use of your car for 2+ months in the case of a 2 mph collision?

Seriously, the cars are WAY more expensive than the up front price tag, if you calculate risk.

Priced insurance yet?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Can you not put a different tire on there? I know I couldn't on my Z, the handling was severely affected. I have a beater to drive, a 1991 Mazda 626. My dad will be maintaining it, but I just wanted to make sure the maintenance wasn't going to be 2k a year. I can afford $40 an oil change and brakes every couple of years. Tires aren't an issue, I have a connection on tires. Anything else? It is looking like I might be in the market as soon as my father's divorce is over... Ha. And yeah, it will be a complete cash purchase. The only reason I am getting this sort of car is because I have received a full paid scholarship, I don't want you all to think I am some prick with money. Ha.
 

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Can you not put a different tire on there? I know I couldn't on my Z, the handling was severely affected. I have a beater to drive, a 1991 Mazda 626. My dad will be maintaining it, but I just wanted to make sure the maintenance wasn't going to be 2k a year. I can afford $40 an oil change and brakes every couple of years. Tires aren't an issue, I have a connection on tires. Anything else? It is looking like I might be in the market as soon as my father's divorce is over... Ha. And yeah, it will be a complete cash purchase. The only reason I am getting this sort of car is because I have received a full paid scholarship, I don't want you all to think I am some prick with money. Ha.
If you aren't going to do it yourself, oil changes are $150. Brakes are around $600. I have a friend with a BMW, maintenance costs are about the same.
 

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Some people put less expensive tires on the car, so sure, it can be done. I think it defeats the purpose of getting an Elise though. Lotus worked with Yokohama to develop a tire specifically for the Elise. The tire's a critical component of the suspension. Change the tire and you change the handling, and chances are, you won't be improving it. You won't notice much difference on a short commute, but you probably will if you use the car as it was intended to be used.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
That is not that bad, I was hoping around a BMW's maintenance cost. I can do that. As long as there are no major problems, such as transmission failure, I can't see a big hurdle in getting one. Seems feasable. And Yokohama is the tire of choice? That seems reasonable as well. I know I have had great luck out of Potenzas as well.
 

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. I know I want be able to beat the ladies off with a stick if I do get it, these cars are quite the looker.
rotfl As a Elise owner, most "ladies" ABSOLUTELY HATE the Lotus Elise!
When they walk close to the car (I'm watching from a distance) they look the other way in total disgust!
You'll be lucky to find to a woman who will say "cute car". If you do marry her!

Lotus Elise attracts young boys (if you're into that).-poke-

This car is a driver's car. Not a passenger's car!

In my opinion, I'd buy a beater to do the dirty work, errands, college parking (DD) and keep the Elise for pure driving pleasure, great road trips and track.

--Hal
 
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