cbjI work at a bank so I feel like I'm qualified to answer.
A line of credit is good because you can make easy payments to it, and most FI's have a visa access card which you could use your LOC for other things as well. Typically, LOC interest rates are a little bit better on interest (prime +1.5, for example).
A loan is good because your payments are in even increments and as long as you make them you will be paid off in a set time. Also, if you have a spending habit, having no access to the funds is good. Making additional payments on top of regular ones is a little more difficult and usually requires a physical trip to the bank.
Its all dependent on you though. Both are borrowing products, so just don't bite off more than you can chew.
So I was fishing for a response like this, not the whole guide to buying a car.
But I do appreciate all the other response because its giving me more to think about.
Just to let you know I'm gonna add a couple things.
$8000 was just a ball park number. While I threw out that number I am most likely gonna go lower. Not gonna buy an $8000 BMW cause it looks cool. If Im paying $5000 it better be rock solid in engine and transmisson before I care about outside.
Yes not living in your means is an ongoing problem in America. However as a person who lives and works between 3 different states (AK,MN,CO) I would like to buy a semi-decent used car that can make back and forth between AK for a few years. Will a $1000 civic make it to AK? Yes. But I want to have a vehicle that can also go over some snowy passes, go down some dirt roads, and not worry if my transmission is gonna blow up 5,000 miles into owning the vehicle.
I know from working at car dealerships you get what you pay for. That's been one of the reason I haven't had a car since college(2010). I have ridiculous high standards for used cars.
The other reason for getting a car, while being car less these last 5 years hasn't been bad, its is starting to impact my career and personal desire to just travel in the off season. I can't go get certification's in the off season cause I have stay in one place (usually with family) and I'm borrow their vehicles. For fucks sake I'm 26.
My plan is to buy a semi decent vehicle(spend 2-5000) put a little money into it if needs it(tires,light bars,modify for sleeping in,ect) and own it for hopefully for a long time.
But like all cars the second you turn that ignition, you are spending money, regardless of loan payments or not. I know that going into it.
And I know I said I was a seasonal worker(year round), but come on I afford a couple hundred a month.
Thanks for all the responses NSrs.