how to buy a used car (by necessity...car wreck)?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Clint B, Nov 22, 2003.

  1. Clint B

    Clint B Second Unit

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    Hi. I was in a car wreck on Saturday. While I think I'm ok (other than a mild neck sprain), my car is not. It may need to be totaled. I can't afford a new car right now, so I would have to buy used (maybe from a place like Carmax, but I don't really know). I've never bought a used car before. On top of that, I'm physically handicapped and can't use just "any" vehicle...most vehicles are fine (cars, small pickups, SUV's), but I need one with automatic transmission. I have no idea what the insurance check will be yet, but in case I need to buy a used car, does anyone have any tips on how to do it and on where I should buy from? Also, are there particular years or models that I should look at or stay away from? I need to go pretty cheap (something that would be less than $18-20K new...but less if it's used). Thanks for your help.
     
  2. Bob Graz

    Bob Graz Supporting Actor

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    Sorry to hear about the accident. You have a number of choices. Carmax tends to sell at the upper end of used car pricing. Hertz sells at lower end, but I've not been happy with the cars on my local Hertz lot. Lots of minor bumps/scrapes that aren't repaired well. I have bought a number of former rental cars though and have had better luck with them than new ones I've bought.

    Used cars on dealers lots are going for very good prices these days depending on what you are looking for (and if you have data and twist their arm really good). I use the Hertz pricing as my target when looking at Dealer used cars. I recently bought a 2002 Ford Taurus SES (which is next to highest trim line and has ABS, CD, etc) with a leather interior and spoiler with 21k miles for $11.4k. Car was in immaculate shape and only 9 months old when I bought it from a local Ford Dealer. I'm extremely happy with the car, having had it for about 5 months now. New, it would have sold 9 months earlier for $18k-20k. Recognize that a Taurus/Sable depreciates very quickly making them attractive used car buys and the more recent model years have been much more reliable. Cars that do not depreciate as much are not as good a buy in the used car market.

    Good luck.
     
  3. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    my number one tip is to try to get your financing approved ahead of time. this will help you determine what you can afford, but *more importantly*, it takes away a tool that the dealership can use to help them "mask" their profits.

    i don't know the technical details behind it, but i know when you finance from a dealer, it is much easier for them to play with the numbers to their advantage. they can lower the payments, but increase the finance, etc.

    if you already have financing in place, then the only thing you have to negotiate is the bottom line price of the car. it is a much simpler and straightforward negotiation.

    be sure to check out www.edmunds.com - they have several great articles on this topic. also, when you finally have your car narrowed down, you can research at edmunds the "TMV" (true market value) of the car - that's the average price you should expect to pay for that car in your area. they also have some great articles about car-buying in general.
     
  4. ChrisMatson

    ChrisMatson Cinematographer

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    DO NOT TELL THEM YOU NEED A CAR!

    If you sound desparate, they mark you as a sucker.
     
  5. Eric Kahn

    Eric Kahn Guest

    It would help if you established a price range that you can afford right now and if you need a large car or any size would do.

    My advice would be to buy a 4 cylinder Toyota Camry with as few miles as you can find.

    If you do not like foreign cars, a larger FWD GM car with the 3.8 V6, that drive train has been very durable and the price of domestic used cars is quite low right now.

    Avoid the Chrysler LH series cars from 93 to 99, fragile trannies.

    Ford Crown Victorias are good cars also, if you like large cars.
     
  6. Clint B

    Clint B Second Unit

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    Thanks for all of your responses. I'm wondering, though, if there are any other makes, models or years of cars (besides the Camry or Taurus) that I should look at or that I should stay away from. My big things are safety and reliability, because I don't want to get another car for quite a while. Also, can you negotiate the price of a used car, and if so, is it similar to negotiating for a new car? Finally, I've heard that it's best to have a mechanic look at a used car to make sure that it's ok. I do have a mechanic that's done a small amount of work on my car, so I guess I'd take a used car to them. But how does the procedure of taking a used car to a mechanic work? Must you get the owner's permission? How long do you have to get it looked at? Those are all my questions for now, but I might be asking more later.[​IMG] Thanks again.
     
  7. Pamela

    Pamela Supporting Actor

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  8. DaveGTP

    DaveGTP Cinematographer

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    Just ask the owner/dealer if you can take it to a mechanic for an inspection (or if they will go with you for the inspection). Anyone not willing to have a car inspected when you are seriously considering buying from them should be considered suspect, or at least unreliable.

    I will offer some advice on domestics, since the trendy thing these days is to believe that anything foreign is 800% better than anything domestic.

    I worked at an auto auction for about a year doing condition reports, etc, so I do have a lot of general knowledge. Worry more about the transmission and engine than the model.


    I'm generally a GM guy myself (stylistic reasons that are changing rapidly) so I will positively on a couple of GMs. Probably move to a Nissan Z or a Mazda RX8 next, someday, when my Grand Prix GTP is paid off.


    I would say to avoid GM's 2.4L OHC 4-cyclinder - personal exp and known defects in it's predecessor (the 2.3L Quad4) make it a little questionable. I think the 2.2L is OK, but I certainly wouldn't swear by it (no 1sthand knowledge).


    GM's 3.1L V6 is good for a lot of reliable miles (personal exp with my excellent Beretta, my friend's Corsica has 200k on it). (Malibu,

    I would heartily recommend GM's 3.8L V6 - even the people that insist only foreign cars are any good admit that this is an excellent engine! (Grand Prix, a lot of Buicks, Monte Carlo, Olds Intrigue).


    Here is a good site that tracks defects and recurrent problems. Good reading!!

    http://www.autosafety.org/autodefects.html

    See Transmissions, Engines, etc under Auto Defects.
     
  9. Clint B

    Clint B Second Unit

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    Forgive me, folks, but I've gotta revive this thread again because I've still got questions (yes, I'm still looking for a car). Here goes:

    1) Is it possible to get financing for a car that you're buying from an individual as opposed to a dealership?

    2) I've heard that going through a bank or other loan service besides the dealership can often be advantageous. Any recommendations on places to look for cheaper loans?

    3) I'm trying to limit the cars I'm looking at to 60,000 miles or less, and 1998 or newer cars. However, can I still get good, reliable cars that have more than 60,000 miles (I'm pretty sure I can get ones older than '98 that are still good)?

    4) Money's tight, so I need to keep my payments under $200 per month. What's the best way to estimate what my payments would be (I think I've heard of a general rule that for every $1000 you finance, your payment would be "X" amount)?

    5) Does it really pay to get a "certified" vehicle?

    That's all (for now--LOL). Thanks!
     
  10. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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  11. Bruce Hedtke

    Bruce Hedtke Cinematographer

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  12. DaveGTP

    DaveGTP Cinematographer

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