Things to consider before buying a used car

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rex
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Things to consider before buying a used car

Post by rex » Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:32 pm

Hi Folks,

I'm looking for a used car for commuting to and from work (about 3 miles/day) - I'll not be using this for long trips or anything (we have a 2010 Sonata that's pretty reliable) - just commuting back and forth from office. Looking to spend the least amount possible for a car that'll serve me reliably for 5-6 years. I was considering an used Hyundai Elantra. Since I've never purchased an used car before, I'd like some advise on :

1. Where is the best place to look ?
2. Should I go for a certified pre -owned vehicle ?
3. What are the things i should check in addition to KBB value and Carfax report ?
4. Usually how much can you negotiate the price down for a used car (Hyundai, Honda, Toyota etc.) ?
5. What should be the maximum mileage on the car ?

Any other advise that'll make it easier to purchase an used vehicle would be appreciated as well.

thanks,
Rex.

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Index Fan
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Re: Things to consider before buying a used car

Post by Index Fan » Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:44 pm

Not that I'm addressing your specific points, but if I were in the market for a used car right now, I'd be VERY careful not to buy a Hurricane Sandy special, if you know what I mean.
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Re: Things to consider before buying a used car

Post by LadyGeek » Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:57 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (cars).
To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

jim_jim
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Re: Things to consider before buying a used car

Post by jim_jim » Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:52 pm

I would first determine budget for the car that i'm going to buy and then start loooking around for various models giving importance to reliability,mpg,resale value
then comes what options do i want to have in the car.I have always looked at nada.com to see where to start the haggling from.Then cars.com is one of the resources i have used to see what the prices are for the model across the country.
if you are looking around for german cars then certified makes sense as it is peace of mind. For Japanese certification might not be worth the initial price

DonM17
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Re: Things to consider before buying a used car

Post by DonM17 » Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:32 am

Two sites that I find useful when it comes to reseaching used vehicle purchases - both are reviews of cars by their owners

http://www.carsurvey.org/

msn auto reviews at http://editorial.autos.msn.com/articles ... index.aspx

Yam the Bomb
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Re: Things to consider before buying a used car

Post by Yam the Bomb » Wed Nov 14, 2012 7:50 am

I've bought and sold a lot of vehicles in my time. One thing to keep in mind is KBB and other price guides are simply guides. In reality no two used cars are worth the exact same amount. One is always going to be more attractive to buyers than another.

My advice is to figure out EXACTLY what you want. Narrow it down to the exact make, model, trim line, color and features you want. Then start watching those cars on eBay, cars.com, Craig's list, local listings, etc. you will soon get a feel for what a good deal is and how often they come up for sale and how quickly they sell.

Never be afraid to make your solid offer AFTER you have researched. When you find exactly the car you want and have checked that it's the condition you want, YOU set the price. The buyer has all the control in a car purchase. The seller has none. Don't get in a hurry and don't overpay.

Buying a used car is fun and exciting IF you have plenty of time to do it. If you are short on time it makes it stressful.

wilked
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Re: Things to consider before buying a used car

Post by wilked » Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:11 am

rex wrote:Hi Folks,

I'm looking for a used car for commuting to and from work (about 3 miles/day) - I'll not be using this for long trips or anything (we have a 2010 Sonata that's pretty reliable) - just commuting back and forth from office. Looking to spend the least amount possible for a car that'll serve me reliably for 5-6 years. I was considering an used Hyundai Elantra. Since I've never purchased an used car before, I'd like some advise on :

1. Where is the best place to look ?
2. Should I go for a certified pre -owned vehicle ?
3. What are the things i should check in addition to KBB value and Carfax report ?
4. Usually how much can you negotiate the price down for a used car (Hyundai, Honda, Toyota etc.) ?
5. What should be the maximum mileage on the car ?

Any other advise that'll make it easier to purchase an used vehicle would be appreciated as well.

thanks,
Rex.

I have bought a number of used cars. To your questions:

1) Craigslist is what I primarily use.
2) I would not, you will pay a 25% premium at a minimum, likely more. Not worth it
3) The primary thing I look for is meticulous maintenance records. Any car that has been meticulously cared for will last. If you find an owner selling that has excellent records you know that car has been cared for. I will not buy a car otherwise unless it is a smoking deal. When you do your search, include the word 'records' in it.
4) Completely depends... I would worry less about saving $500 then about getting the right car though.
5) Again, if the car has been cared for correctly I worry much less about mileage. Give me a car with great maintenance records and 50,000 additional miles over a questionable car with no records and lower miles every time.

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Re: Things to consider before buying a used car

Post by entropic » Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:25 am

rex wrote:Hi Folks,
1. Where is the best place to look ?
2. Should I go for a certified pre -owned vehicle ?
3. What are the things i should check in addition to KBB value and Carfax report ?
4. Usually how much can you negotiate the price down for a used car (Hyundai, Honda, Toyota etc.) ?
5. What should be the maximum mileage on the car ?


1. I use Craigslist and try to keep friends who may be getting rid of older cars in mind.
2. I don't think it's necessary for your use case at all.
3. KBB value doesn't mean much in my area; seeing what cars are priced at in my area is my best hint.
4. Depends entirely on the transaction.
5. No maximum, though maintenance records become important as mileage goes up. Non-obvious things need to be replaced with years and time.

If you're committed to spending the least possible, and you've got such a short commute, you have many many options available to you. If you provide a target budget you might get better advice. I'd be very tempted to recommend a beater for your scenario since you only mentioned spending the least possible.

I'm sure you've thought about it but are you able to bicycle to work? Like you I have a 3 mile commute and I ride most days. The days I don't ride my $750 car gets me there. Generally, between the bike and the car, one of them is fully functional at any given time. :)

rex
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Re: Things to consider before buying a used car

Post by rex » Wed Nov 14, 2012 7:52 pm

Thanks for the great advise folks.

I'm basically looking for something within $5000 . The main worry i have about an used vehicle is if something goes wrong after the purchase, say a month down the line, there is no warranty to fall back on.

And yeah, I can get a bicycle , but my commute to work is uphill and I don't think i can handle that in my current physical state :)

wilked
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Re: Things to consider before buying a used car

Post by wilked » Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:59 pm

rex wrote:The main worry i have about an used vehicle is if something goes wrong after the purchase, say a month down the line, there is no warranty to fall back on.

The good news is, these days cars are pretty reliable!

Spend $4000 then, throw $1000 in the bank as a repair fund, and hopefully you never need it.

I have had cars for nearly 20 years, have only had an issue where repairs would exceed $1000 once, and that was my first car that I beat to hell.

Follow the maintenance (and buy a car where others followed the maintenance, with receipts) and you will never have to worry

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Re: Things to consider before buying a used car

Post by heyyou » Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:14 am

Carfax used to cost $30 for a thirty day subscription. I got my money's worth from it. A dry state like Arizona, is a good dumping ground for water damaged vehicles--no one is expecting it here. One car that I was interested in, was crashed twice in Jersey, then brought to Arizona where older cars still have good paint and are worth more. Thank you Carfax for showing me that.

Consumer Reports annually has recommended and not recommended lists of used cars, some will be in their annual car buyers guide, maybe the April issue. Older copies will have lists of even older cars. At my public library, the current magazine racks open upwards to reveal storage for the older magazines.

My used car purchase was an eleven year old Toyota with a hundred and ten thousand miles on it, with excellent maintenance records. Yes, a ten thousand miles a year car being sold by someone in a retirement community.

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Re: Things to consider before buying a used car

Post by norookie » Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:38 am

" Wealth usually leads to excess " Cicero 55 b.c

gd
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Re: Things to consider before buying a used car

Post by gd » Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:04 am

Budget comment: I would expect a yearly maintenance budget of $300-500 and be prepared with up to $1000 for major surprises. And have a repair garage you trust at the ready. Buying a mid-life used car trades initial purchase cost for ongoing maintenance, even if you're very clever and/or lucky. This is based partly on the midlife costs of the cars I've purchased new, but mostly on two Ford compacts purchased about 8 years ago, both bought about 3 years old, which is probably the range you'll end up with. I haven't found them much worse than the two Honda Civics I've owned from new for 8-12 years by the way.

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happymob
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Re: Things to consider before buying a used car

Post by happymob » Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:23 am

How odd, was thinking of starting a similar thread after our 150k+ miles Saturn station wagon was showing serious signs of electrical problems. In our case, we drive it even less than the original poster, but the same rules apply - wanting a reasonably reliable 2nd car that really doesn't get driven that much. What is the Bogleheadish way to do this?

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Re: Things to consider before buying a used car

Post by Imbros » Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:53 pm

rex wrote:Hi Folks,

I'm looking for a used car for commuting to and from work (about 3 miles/day) - I'll not be using this for long trips or anything (we have a 2010 Sonata that's pretty reliable) - just commuting back and forth from office. Looking to spend the least amount possible for a car that'll serve me reliably for 5-6 years. I was considering an used Hyundai Elantra. Since I've never purchased an used car before, I'd like some advise on :

1. Where is the best place to look ?
2. Should I go for a certified pre -owned vehicle ?
3. What are the things i should check in addition to KBB value and Carfax report ?
4. Usually how much can you negotiate the price down for a used car (Hyundai, Honda, Toyota etc.) ?
5. What should be the maximum mileage on the car ?

Any other advise that'll make it easier to purchase an used vehicle would be appreciated as well.

thanks,
Rex.

1- 80% craigslist, 20% autotrader. You can occasionally find good deals at dealers. They tend to let newer but higher mileage cars go for a pretty competitive price when they can't sell it for a long time. The sweet spot is the week before they send out those cars to auctions.

2- For a late model Japanese/Korean, I wouldn't. And I don't think you can find a CPO in $5000-$6000 range.

3- Have a good mechanic inspect the car if you think your personal inspection will not suffice. Carfax does not show everything.

4- Depends on the situation and your skills.

5 - Depends on how well the car maintained.

Elantra is a decent, underrated car. With some due diligence you should be able to find one in good condition for $5000.
There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness and truth. -L. Tolstoy

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Re: Things to consider before buying a used car

Post by ruralavalon » Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:09 pm

We have putchaes numerous used cars over the years. REX, you left the most important item off of your list, that is: Have the car inspected by a good mechanic (not associated with the seller) that you can trust.
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Re: Things to consider before buying a used car

Post by Dog_Papa » Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:33 pm

I have never really found a good way to buy a used car. I seen a lot of info on doing it, but it is just not all that easy. There really is now way I have ever
found to lower auto ownership costs. Used cars have never done that for me. Used cars just don't last as long and have more repair bills down the road.
The downtime means renting a car or bumming rides, neither a real good choice. The lowest cost auto ownership I have ever had, is when I bought a 1994
8100 Toyota small pickup. Drove it for 6 1/2 yrs and got almost as much as I paid for it, after it was in an accident.

The worst deal I get into was what I call a Lee Iaccoca Special. In 1991, I bought a piece of junk Minivan. It only lasted 2 1/2 yrs, during that time,
I put almost $4000 into it. Which is almost as much as I paid for it used. It was a 1987 Dodge minivan/junk heap. The total I spent on it was $8000.
I sold it after driving it about 35K miles for $400. That is the last Big 3 auto I ever bought. Since then it was always Toyota, Nissan or Honda.

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Re: Things to consider before buying a used car

Post by mike143 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:31 pm

Don't buy from a car lot, they basically get their cars from auctions, they know nothing about them. You are better off buying from anywhere. I have never test drove any car unless I drove it like I stole it. Buy a proven vehicle, I prefer Honda but there are many makes that cut the mustard. I bought my 04 Accord for $10k the end of 07 with 108k, kbb fair value. I drive the S out of it and it now has 165k on it and runs like a charm, I think that it will be good for 200k before I might consider other options.
Nothing is free, someone pays...You can't spend your way to financial freedom.

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