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Old 01-18-2013, 11:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default buying used cars?

curious what people suggest is the best way to go about picking up a used car. I've survived without a car for a while since I rarely need to drive anywhere, but the financial impact of needing to rent a car for 2-3 weeks at 3 different points in the year is starting to annoy me.

so, where's the best place to look locally? Craigslist?
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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go to a dealer and play hardball. I ahve been in the car business for 15 years. Pick one out that fits your needs and make an offer. Even if they dont accept, play hardball and sit back and wait for the phone to ring. Worst case, meet in the middle. Craigslist can be dangerous. Lots of scamming out there. With a dealer, you can ask for the carfax and even a detailed inspection report that the dealer needs to put all used inventory through. Good luck to ya!
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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We love our Nissan Sentra. (Well, it is my husbands primary car). This time of year you can get great incentives on a 2012 model so you may be able to get it new for what you would have paid for a used car. Good luck and let us know what you get!
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:02 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Research cars advertised online by VIN with AutoCheck - way more comprehensive than CarFax (that's why many dealers offer it for free - it misses stuff) - - it costs $15 but is worth every penny. Case in point - I was looking for a van a couple years ago and found a dealership in a small town with 9 on the lot. By process of copying and pasting VINS, I determined that 6/9 had accidents reported. Went to dealership, zeroed in on the three good ones, test drove each one, hemmed and hawed, picked over them for a good hour or so. They tried to redirect me to the dinged ones, but I declined, saying I liked these three better. Decided on one and started haggling. Best moment was when the guy went back into his office, checked online, and came out and said that I was demanding the best price on a comparable vehicle within 75 mile radius. "Why do you think I came here?" I asked - "Do you want the sale or not"? "I have this much in my checking account and you can have it or not - your choice." He caved, but then gave me some song and dance about how they take a day to prep a vehicle before the customer takes delivery. BS - do it today - I drove an hour to get there. They did it same day, and I drove home a happy boy. Truth be told, I f'in love buying used cars! We leased our newest one, and while we got an amazing deal - 0 down payment, there was almost no fun in it as there was no negotiating. I once read a book by a guy who bought used cars for people for a living - lots of great tips in there that really worked for me!
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:06 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Carfox is a joke.

If you know enough about cars Craigslist is the way to go. Or if you have a mechanic you trust they will check it out for you pretty cheap.

Simple private sale, seller has no overhead.
Dealer LOTS of over head.

Of course if money isn't an issue, dealer is the easier way to go. Just avoid those little corner car lots. Those guys are worse then scammers on Craigslist!
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:06 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Clarka3 View Post
curious what people suggest is the best way to go about picking up a used car. I've survived without a car for a while since I rarely need to drive anywhere, but the financial impact of needing to rent a car for 2-3 weeks at 3 different points in the year is starting to annoy me.

so, where's the best place to look locally? Craigslist?
Just had a feature on the news tonight here about a scam on craigslist for a used car. I would stay far far away from there.
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:07 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by hairysasquatch View Post
Research cars advertised online by VIN with AutoCheck - way more comprehensive than CarFax (that's why many dealers offer it for free - it misses stuff) - - it costs $15 but is worth every penny. Case in point - I was looking for a van a couple years ago and found a dealership in a small town with 9 on the lot. By process of copying and pasting VINS, I determined that 6/9 had accidents reported. Went to dealership, zeroed in on the three good ones, test drove each one, hemmed and hawed, picked over them for a good hour or so. They tried to redirect me to the dinged ones, but I declined, saying I liked these three better. Decided on one and started haggling. Best moment was when the guy went back into his office, checked online, and came out and said that I was demanding the best price on a comparable vehicle within 75 mile radius. "Why do you think I came here?" I asked - "Do you want the sale or not"? "I have this much in my checking account and you can have it or not - your choice." He caved, but then gave me some song and dance about how they take a day to prep a vehicle before the customer takes delivery. BS - do it today - I drove an hour to get there. They did it same day, and I drove home a happy boy. Truth be told, I f'in love buying used cars! We leased our newest one, and while we got an amazing deal - 0 down payment, there was almost no fun in it as there was no negotiating. I once read a book by a guy who bought used cars for people for a living - lots of great tips in there that really worked for me!
I am not sure why but I found your post to be very entertaining. Thank you!
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:21 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I am not sure why but I found your post to be very entertaining. Thank you!
You're welcome - you've written a number of posts that I've enjoyed, too!
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:25 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Just had a feature on the news tonight here about a scam on craigslist for a used car. I would stay far far away from there.
Seconded - plus most of the stuff on there is crap. The truth is, in the wake of Cash-for-Clunkers, used car inventories are so low and prices so high relative to wear and tear, that you're almost better off trying to negotiate a zero-down lease on a new vehicle if money is tight - you usually eliminate maintenance expenses this way, and get to drive a new vehicle. I am a convert to this approach after years of rejecting leasing.
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:28 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by miller45452003 View Post
go to a dealer and play hardball. I ahve been in the car business for 15 years. Pick one out that fits your needs and make an offer. Even if they dont accept, play hardball and sit back and wait for the phone to ring. Worst case, meet in the middle. Craigslist can be dangerous. Lots of scamming out there. With a dealer, you can ask for the carfax and even a detailed inspection report that the dealer needs to put all used inventory through. Good luck to ya!
^^^ this.. I wanted a Jeep Liberty but before everything it was $16k and I didn't want to pay that much. After a month of not returning their cars they told me they could get it to me for 13 after tax tags and title (the price I originally wanted to pay lol) be patient...

too many shady sellers on cl
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:29 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Just had a feature on the news tonight here about a scam on craigslist for a used car. I would stay far far away from there.
You heard about 1 scam on craiglist so you tell someone to stay far away.....but at the same time you still visit the blowout forums?

I'd buy off craigslist but I'd have my mechanic look at it before I bought it.
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Old 01-19-2013, 02:24 AM   #12 (permalink)
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autotrader.com Not a bad site.

Ive sold a couple of my vehicles on there. You can go to a dealership and do well especially if you are paying with cash.
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Old 01-19-2013, 02:54 AM   #13 (permalink)
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thanks for the input guys and gal. not sure which route I'll go. What's the story on a lease? Basically you get it for that time period with a monthly payment- then what happens?
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Old 01-19-2013, 03:10 AM   #14 (permalink)
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We bought my first car in April last year. My mom had found it on autotrader.com after days of looking on Craigslist. The owner was a older gentleman who had recently bought a mustang. We got a good deal on it and it runs great. I did change fluids (radiator, transmission) but overall the engine was good. My advice for you is to either buy low mileage or have a mechanic come with you. We are lucky enough to have a mechanic as a family friend but he was not there when we made the purchase. And i will tell you i got my car for $2250 which i thought was a good deal. Bought it with 104,500.

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Old 01-19-2013, 03:59 AM   #15 (permalink)
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thanks for the input guys and gal. not sure which route I'll go. What's the story on a lease? Basically you get it for that time period with a monthly payment- then what happens?
You do not want to lease. You are limited on miles you can drive and if you go over you pay per mile. There is also a decent chunk due at the signing. 36 month lease and you give the car back and have have nothing.

Also keep in mind that you are STUCK in the lease until the end. Say you buy and after 1 year dont like it atleast you can sell it. With a lease you may be able to sublet the lease if you can find someone else to take it.

Leasing basically starts the pattern of having a car payment for life. Who wants that?
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Old 01-19-2013, 05:12 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Depends on how much you want to spend really. If you have enough to make payment of like 150- 170 a month, just go buy a brand new car, its much better. Your covered with warranties, its new, and you dont have to worry if the previous owner actually took care of it. You can buy brand new cards from 8-11,000. Its much more worth it that route, just trust me on that. You can even haggle to get the price down.
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:36 AM   #17 (permalink)
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We bought my first car in April last year. My mom had found it on autotrader.com after days of looking on Craigslist. The owner was a older gentleman who had recently bought a mustang. We got a good deal on it and it runs great. I did change fluids (radiator, transmission) but overall the engine was good. My advice for you is to either buy low mileage or have a mechanic come with you. We are lucky enough to have a mechanic as a family friend but he was not there when we made the purchase. And i will tell you i got my car for $2250 which i thought was a good deal. Bought it with 104,500.


lol forgot the plates in the front view haha
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:27 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Craigslist is a great start.

My wife sold her car on Craigslist with ease. Went to the bank and DMV with the buyer on the same day and completed the transaction.
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:29 AM   #19 (permalink)
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You do not want to lease. You are limited on miles you can drive and if you go over you pay per mile. There is also a decent chunk due at the signing. 36 month lease and you give the car back and have have nothing.

Also keep in mind that you are STUCK in the lease until the end. Say you buy and after 1 year dont like it atleast you can sell it. With a lease you may be able to sublet the lease if you can find someone else to take it.

Leasing basically starts the pattern of having a car payment for life. Who wants that?
Leasing is not for everyone. However, if you want to 'rent' a car for two years and have a brand new car to drive without maintenance issues, it can be a better alternative. It's generally harder to get new leases than than new financing, and there are fees and deposits associated with it. However, the OP said that he doesn't drive many miles, so going over the mileage limit is not an issue.

As far as getting out of a lease, its definitely easier to get out of one versus a really upside-down financing arrangement (which usually happens if you pay no $ down and finance at a long term), but obviously harder to get out of versus a situation where you have equity in the car.

If having a 'new' car is not a priority, buying a reliable used car for a few grand I think is still the smartest 'financial' move.
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