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Buying a Used Car (1 Viewer)

Johnny Angell

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A friend of mind, really, needs to buy a used car for under $14K. She needs an SUV style vehicle but a Honda Pilot, which I think is kind of a small SUV would work for her. Does anyone have a recommended online site for buying a used car? Consumer Reports has one and they also mentioned Vroom. Any other reliable and frugal sites?

If you wanted to recommend a particular car, go right ahead, keeping in mind the budget.
 

Clark Green

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In that price range and with the used car market being on fire options are going to be slim.

Carmax app shows mainly Kia Soul's, Ford Escapes, and Chevy Captiva Sports in that range. But expect very high miles on most models.
 

David Norman

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A Pilot is roughly the same size as teh Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander -- definitely not a small truck under the usual definitions.

Honestly -- a minivan would probably be cheaper, larger cargo capacity, and more useful for most folks under she really needs offroad or towing capacity.
Even the Compact SUV's (CR-V, Rav4, Escape) are selling at a significant premium over a reliable minivan

A lot comes down to the details
Does she need the 3rd row seats for 6-8 people total or is capacity of 4 or 5 plenty?
Offroad or towing needed?
Around town, short trips, or is she a long commuter or Drive distances?

Neither are particular fuel efficient, but there are more SUV Hybrids than Minivan equivalent.

All used cars are in short demand right now so prices aren't great. Just a quick sprint around Carmax, Carvana, etc seems to show older higher mileage SUV selling for a premium over what I'd consider relative similar Minvan sizes. It's almost to the point or Price Peaking and Chip shortages that a 3-4 year lease at a lower monthly payment might be more attractive waiting for the whole situation to somewhat correct itself and bring inventories back to normal. Not much experience with the Internet Only buying sites -- still a bit of "I want to see, sit in, smell the interior" before buying since I don't believe the never allowed smoking, Mint+ condition, or Grannie only drove to church on Sunday spiels. CarFax, etc only get you so far into the Water damage, repair history, accidents, etc.

At 14K you may be looking 5-10 year old at least which brings other issues into play -- longer term reliability and maintenance.

Specifically Honda vs Toyota, the one big plus to Toyota is most of their models use Timing Chains rather than Belts. Honda around 7-8 years (70-100K) need a major repair with Timing Belt/Water Pump replacement which can run $700-1200 so if you look at Honda's in that range make sure where that issue stands. I've had 2 Honda's in the garage for most of the last 20 years and it's a major $$$ factor to consider. My wife's Odyssey is in that situation now and honestly if the market was available I'd trade it in now since she'd love to drop to a CR-V sized vehicle, but it's nearly impossible to find a CRV or RAV4 Hybrid without paying MSRP+ so I'm living on borrowed time and keeping my fingers crossed that nothing untoward happens in the meantime. There is a major driving situation this summer which might be 2000+ miles over 2-3 weeks and I'm seriously considering renting a Sienna Hybrid Minivan (need to transport 3+ people, luggage, and possibly some Estate Furniture so I need the cargo room) for that trip so I don't have to worry about some midtrip disaster
 

Aussie

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Very much concur with David Norman. I'll just add that there are two-wheel and all-wheel drive variants (I only know about Hondas) ... and the all-wheel drive is safer , but gets worse miles per gallon.

Toyota Highlanders also come in hybrid format and they seem to compete very well – I just don't know about the battery systems at the estimated 10-year old vehicle. Batteries might present more of a problem than it's worth.
 

John Dirk

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We just went through this process and my honest recommendation is to avoid buying a car [new or used] right now if at all possible. Our situation was unconventional or we wouldn't have gone through with it. If you absolutely must buy, I'd recommend Carmax over a traditional dealer. Avoid Carvana at all costs. They have several pending lawsuits for failing to provide titles months after the sale.

 

Johnny Angell

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You need to give us some REAL requirements. Such as "she has 3 large dogs and needs to tow a small boat".
She will use it for feline rescue activities. Needs space to haul food, cat carriers, traps, etc. Will use all the space she has and she does a poor job of taking care of her vehicle. She is a wonderful woman.
 

Clark Green

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If the main use will be for cat rescue and it will be filled with cats who MAY have smelly accidents etc in it, I highly suggest you just look at buying an old beater SUV that you don't care if it gets messy or smelly and so on. I'd hate to buy a nicer newer vehicle to have it trashed by cats and all that is needed to deal with cat rescue events. If she is a messy car lady, like my wife, then all the better to get an 10+ year old beater car and call it good.
 

Johnny Angell

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If the main use will be for cat rescue and it will be filled with cats who MAY have smelly accidents etc in it, I highly suggest you just look at buying an old beater SUV that you don't care if it gets messy or smelly and so on. I'd hate to buy a nicer newer vehicle to have it trashed by cats and all that is needed to deal with cat rescue events. If she is a messy car lady, like my wife, then all the better to get an 10+ year old beater car and call it good.
Something to consider.
 

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