Buying a car? [Need help with strategy for purchasing a used car]

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
Topic Author
lazylarry
Posts: 438
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:35 pm
Contact:

Buying a car? [Need help with strategy for purchasing a used car]

Post by lazylarry » Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:05 pm

Unfortunately, I got into a minor fender bender and insurance is not picking up anything b/c it was my fault :(. Car is worth about $500 Kelly BB value (corolla 2001), but costing about $3000 to repair (grill, hood, radiator damage). So after I recovered from being very upset at getting into an accident, I was looking into a new car - read some forum posts but had questions more specific to my situation.

1 - What's the best and safest way to buy a car? I'd like to buy relatively quickly (as I don't really have a ton of time to spend on this). Looking for a used car (Toyota/Honda, <$10k, preferably $5-7k), and I don't really care about looks,age, or features (e.g. scratches, dents, manual locks are all fine with me), just wanna get from point A to B. I also don't want to get stuck with a lemon though too.

2 - I've seen thoughts about craigslist+mechanic which probably wouldn't work given time. Dealers likely too expensive. I was going to use autotrader and cars.com, look for low mileage cars. Any other thoughts or tips on buying cars?

3 - On a side note, what's the best way to get trade-in or salvage value for my current Corolla? Everything is in quite good condition except for the grill, hood, radiator and front sidelights.

Thanks!
My profile: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=86026 | Virtua lBogleheads® Blog: https://virtualbogleheads.wordpress.com/

sport
Posts: 7722
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:26 pm
Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: Buying a car?

Post by sport » Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:30 pm

You say you don't care about looks. How much will it cost to get the car repaired just enough so you can drive it? A lot of repair costs are related to making things look right.

Jack FFR1846
Posts: 8537
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am

Re: Buying a car?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:39 pm

sport wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:30 pm
You say you don't care about looks. How much will it cost to get the car repaired just enough so you can drive it? A lot of repair costs are related to making things look right.
I'd ask the same thing. A radiator support can be welded in, fenders replaced, hood replaced, front bumper replaced all from a junkyard car. Replace the radiator and I'll assume some other things like the overflow bottle and headlights. Work with a body shop and let them know that you only need the car to function. You don't care that the fenders and hood don't match color.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

User avatar
sunny_socal
Posts: 1739
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2015 4:22 pm

Re: Buying a car?

Post by sunny_socal » Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:00 pm

I'd buy a new Corolla from your nearest Toyota dealer @ 0%.

And drive for the next 15 years.

/Thread

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 15209
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Buying a car?

Post by Watty » Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:51 pm

I once had to buy a replacement car in hurry once when I moved across the country. I could not find any good deals on new cars right then so I ended up buying a used rental car from Hertz and it worked out well for me. You can sometimes rent the car for a few days to see if you want to buy it or not.

There have been a number of threads on buying rental cars that you can look up, lots of posters had good experiences but some people were concerned that a rental car might have been abused. My personal opinions is that as long as you have a mechanic check out the car, like any used car, that a rental car would not be any more risky than buying a car from someone you do not know.

The one I bought was under the full factory warranty but in the price range you are looking at you could probably find one that still had at least some of the powertrain warranty left.

In your price range I would try to flexible on the brand since a Toyota or a Honda would cost a premium so you might be able to get a great car that is second choice brand instead of a mediocre Toyota or Honda.

Be sure to consider the long term cost of ownership and not just the purchase price. It could be that spending a bit more on a car that last a long time would be a good value.

There was a thread recently about Hyundai quality that you might want to read.

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=235981

I have not owned one but in your situation you might want to even consider a new base model one since it has a ten year powertrain warranty.

Sandi_k
Posts: 923
Joined: Sat May 16, 2015 11:55 am
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Buying a car?

Post by Sandi_k » Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:03 pm

You want a car for under $10k, and "don't want to get stuck with a lemon."

I've bought brand new cars that were lemons, so not sure how you can make that happen.

IIWY, I'd create some base requirements - sedan, under 50k miles, manual transmission, Japanese make, not the dirst or second year of a model...and then search Autotrader, and check out the local Carmax.

Warranties and after-market warranties are expensive. Are you willing to pay for one to assist in the financial realm if you *do* get a lemon? If not, I'd spend a lot of time checking out "most reliable lists," and buy from there.

I'd probably look for one owner cars, with at least 2 years of ownership, and one owner. Toyota RAVs, Lexus IS sedans, Mazda CX-5 seem to do well in reliability rankings. I am sure there are plenty others, depending on budget and style preference.

mega317
Posts: 2610
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:55 am

Re: Buying a car?

Post by mega317 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:42 pm

lazylarry wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:05 pm
I've seen thoughts about craigslist+mechanic which probably wouldn't work given time.
Does this (+mechanic) mean you aren't planning to have the car inspected? I think that is a big mistake and could end up costing you much more time in the long run.

harrington
Posts: 155
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:09 am

Re: Buying a car?

Post by harrington » Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:45 am

Buy a 2007-2010 Elantra. Extremely reliable and very low cost to maintain. We have one in the family and it's approaching 200,000 miles with no issues. Should be able to find one for around 5K

User avatar
lthenderson
Posts: 3657
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: Buying a car?

Post by lthenderson » Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:47 am

Some of my best deals on used cars have been done through eBay. I typically limit myself to a large urban city that I can get a cheap direct flight too, sort through the ads and buy one through eBay. Almost all have been used cars of different makes on a new car lot, i.e. somebody traded it in for a new vehicle but because it is a different Make than what they sell, it doesn't get a lot of visibility and makes it hard for them to sell. Once I win the bid, I hop the flight, take a test drive, hand over the check and drive it home. Other good places for cheap used autos are auctions but they don't happen everyday and there are a lot of hidden risks with them if you don't know what you are looking at.

As for getting the best value from your wrecked car, it is by far trying to sell it privately as a parts car with a working engine. Since it is an old corolla, probably the most valuable part of it is the engine and transmission to be used in someone else's car project.

bloom2708
Posts: 5496
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:08 pm
Location: Fargo, ND

Re: Buying a car?

Post by bloom2708 » Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:05 am

Look at your local Craigslist (Cars.com, Cargurus.com, carsforsale.com) for a 2001 to 2006 Lexus LS 430 with under $100k.

There might be a one owner/well cared for LS sitting there for $7 to $10k with all the maintenance done.

Toyota quality. Comfortable. Smooth. Powerful. It will feel like riding in a limo every time you drive compared to your buzzy Corolla.

Maybe take one for a test drive just to see how one drives.
Last edited by bloom2708 on Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
"A Stoic believes they don’t control the world around them, only how they respond--and that they must always respond with courage, temperance, wisdom, and justice." --Daily Stoic

User avatar
Kenkat
Posts: 4629
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:18 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Re: Buying a car?

Post by Kenkat » Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:16 am

If you are interested in getting a reasonable price with minimal work, CarMax might not be a bad option for used cars.

I recently bought a used car and used cars.com to find it. Some dealers will price cars high online, some will price cars low for quick sale. After looking for a couple of months, I found the car I wanted at the price I wanted - it was priced to move, so I jumped on it. I knew what the price range was from research over the past couple of months. Some minimal negotiation and I was out the door.

User avatar
kacon85
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2016 4:41 pm
Location: NY

Re: Buying a car?

Post by kacon85 » Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:18 am

Just purchased a car for my son from hertz car sales and the process was fairly pain free with no surprises. They have 2016 Nissan Versa/ Kia Rio and some Chevrolet Sonic’s under $10k. Mileage is ~40k for these and I believe Kia are still covered under factory warranty.

There inventory turns over quickly by sales location and if you are a hertz gold member they take $350 off price. My son signed up on-line at their office.
Good luck

nick evets
Posts: 184
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2017 5:40 pm

Re: Buying a car?

Post by nick evets » Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:54 am

IMO:

First Choice: private individual -- *not* craigslist, but ask around at work. Do you have a neighborhood or community mailing list? Post a "wtb" there. The idea is, you're gambling a sense of personal/professional connection will reduce the chances of a really malevolent transaction, and buying a time bomb. If the car has a clean history and service records, and the price is fair...done.

Second Choice: high-volume dealership of your brand of choice. They'll have used car sales, with a (hopefully) decent inventory -- maybe trade-ins, maybe auction/fleet purchases (including rentals), who knows. But in general the cars will have good tires, a recent service, and the dealership isn't going to intentionally try to foist off a lemon.

The suggestions for being flexible re: Kia and Hyundai are good. $7-8k gets a Korean car with a lot fewer miles than a Honda or Toyota (100k+).

Rupert
Posts: 4075
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:01 pm

Re: Buying a car?

Post by Rupert » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:11 am

Just out of curiosity, I checked Carmax.com for their inventory of sub-10K cars. In my region at least, you can't get a Honda or Toyota for that price at Carmax unless the car has 100K+ miles on it and/or (usually and) the car is more than 10 years old. I did see a Mazda3, a Volvo S60 (which I thought was a completely random find), and several Nissan Versas that were less than 10 years old, had less than 100K miles on them, and cost less than 10K.

User avatar
MortgageOnBlack
Posts: 216
Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2012 8:50 pm

Re: Buying a car?

Post by MortgageOnBlack » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:22 am

If you're trying to find a loophole and don't care about looks, I had a friend who bought a newer Honda Civic with very bad hail damage for dirt cheap at an auction. The hail had no impact on the reliability and drive train.

You could also use this opportunity to spoil yourself a bit. Hondas/Toyotas hold their resale value quite well; you may only save 5-6k on a car that will have substantially more miles and a questionable service history than buying a single-owner vehicle that's only 1-3 years old.

If you look at this purchase as a long-term 15+ vehicle, I see no harm with buying newer. You're still buying a modest vehicle.

For the record, I drive a 91 Honda Civic Sedan so I understand the attachment to the older vehicles. My girlfriend jokes that that I take pride driving the oldest vehicle on the road. (Mostly true!) 8-)

LiterallyIronic
Posts: 1020
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2015 10:36 am

Re: Buying a car?

Post by LiterallyIronic » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:28 am

lazylarry wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:05 pm
Car is worth about $500 Kelly BB value (corolla 2001), but costing about $3000 to repair (grill, hood, radiator damage).

and I don't really care about looks,age, or features
So repair the Corolla. Take it around to a few mechanics. You'll get a "just get it running" bill of way less than $3,000. For that price, you can completely rebuild an engine. Sounds like your bumper got screwed up? Have the mechanic simply remove it. You don't need that plastic cover anyway, just the horizontal metal bar underneath it. Hood is damaged? Get one from a local pick-n-pull for cheap and have your mechanic put it on. Doesn't need to be the same color as the rest of the car. Radiator will have to be fixed. This should be far, far cheaper than $3,000.

User avatar
Alexa9
Posts: 1872
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:41 am

Re: Buying a car?

Post by Alexa9 » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:28 am

Since you're on a tight budget, I would consider a ~2010 Ford Fusion. It will have depreciated much more than a Honda/Toyota and it's rated highly by Consumer Reports.

User avatar
MortgageOnBlack
Posts: 216
Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2012 8:50 pm

Re: Buying a car?

Post by MortgageOnBlack » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:38 am

LiterallyIronic wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:28 am
lazylarry wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:05 pm
Car is worth about $500 Kelly BB value (corolla 2001), but costing about $3000 to repair (grill, hood, radiator damage).

and I don't really care about looks,age, or features
So repair the Corolla. Take it around to a few mechanics. You'll get a "just get it running" bill of way less than $3,000. For that price, you can completely rebuild an engine. Sounds like your bumper got screwed up? Have the mechanic simply remove it. You don't need that plastic cover anyway, just the horizontal metal bar underneath it. Hood is damaged? Get one from a local pick-n-pull for cheap and have your mechanic put it on. Doesn't need to be the same color as the rest of the car. Radiator will have to be fixed. This should be far, far cheaper than $3,000.
Great advice. LazyLarry, not only will this save you quite a bit of money, your car will have even more character. :beer

mega317
Posts: 2610
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:55 am

Re: Buying a car?

Post by mega317 » Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:38 pm

lthenderson wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:47 am
Once I win the bid, I hop the flight, take a test drive, hand over the check and drive it home.
What would you do if you won the bid and the test drive went poorly? Not exactly falsely advertised but you just really didn't like it for some reason.

User avatar
lthenderson
Posts: 3657
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: Buying a car?

Post by lthenderson » Fri Jan 05, 2018 4:18 pm

mega317 wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:38 pm
lthenderson wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:47 am
Once I win the bid, I hop the flight, take a test drive, hand over the check and drive it home.
What would you do if you won the bid and the test drive went poorly? Not exactly falsely advertised but you just really didn't like it for some reason.
Both times I called the dealerships before bidding to get any questions answered about how they ran and drove. But had they not been as advertised, I just would have kept the cashiers check I had brought and found a way home at the cost of another plane ticket. There is also eBay's policies about fraudulent advertising. It is a chance but was well worth the discount I received versus finding one on a used car lot. It also had the benefit of making a hard to find year, color and option combination easier with the use of eBays many filters.

sixty40
Posts: 232
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2014 11:53 am

Re: Buying a car?

Post by sixty40 » Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:16 pm

lazylarry,

Interesting since I am in the process of buying a used car for my son, but my price range is higher, in the $15k range. Looking for a 2015-2017 Honda Civic LX or Toyota Corolla LE, in northern CA. I have 3 Toyotas and they are extremely reliable as most would agree. The Civics seem to be more expensive than the Corollas, for the same yr and mileage. The best site I have found is cargurus.com. Private parties, dealerships, etc. post their vehicles on there and the site is easy to navigate. They may or may not have anything in the $5k range, but the range in price is wide.

So check out cargurus.com.

Topic Author
lazylarry
Posts: 438
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:35 pm
Contact:

Re: Buying a car?

Post by lazylarry » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:10 am

Thanks all, appreciate the advice. Super helpful, I took it to auto body shop and said just that. Would like not to buy a car - that's a big pain for me, but will resort to those websites and probably stick to Hyundai/Toyota like folks are saying. But did get a revised estimate, not sure if this seems reasonable (and I should just take it) or if I should auto body shop around?

Here's the estimate https://ibb.co/dGCXp6

I was hoping to take off the paint job but the auto body shop owner said he needed to "paint the hood to repair a spot on it" , which I don't really get. Is that painting necessary? The other thing is that the rad support is not included in that estimate (and I think I need to fix it , since both auto body shop guys I went to had that, including ironically the shop that gave me this quote without that info). I'm not sure how much that'll be (thinking like $500 for a 2001 Corolla). I'm guessing if the rad support needs fixing, then this will come out to 2k which is probably still above my price range. These folks got good ratings online but I definitely do not want to overpay.

Thoughts!
My profile: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=86026 | Virtua lBogleheads® Blog: https://virtualbogleheads.wordpress.com/

denovo
Posts: 4402
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:04 pm

Re: Buying a car?

Post by denovo » Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:26 am

lazylarry wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:10 am
Thanks all, appreciate the advice. Super helpful, I took it to auto body shop and said just that. Would like not to buy a car - that's a big pain for me, but will resort to those websites and probably stick to Hyundai/Toyota like folks are saying. But did get a revised estimate, not sure if this seems reasonable (and I should just take it) or if I should auto body shop around?

Here's the estimate https://ibb.co/dGCXp6

I was hoping to take off the paint job but the auto body shop owner said he needed to "paint the hood to repair a spot on it" , which I don't really get. Is that painting necessary? The other thing is that the rad support is not included in that estimate (and I think I need to fix it , since both auto body shop guys I went to had that, including ironically the shop that gave me this quote without that info). I'm not sure how much that'll be (thinking like $500 for a 2001 Corolla). I'm guessing if the rad support needs fixing, then this will come out to 2k which is probably still above my price range. These folks got good ratings online but I definitely do not want to overpay.

Thoughts!
$1500 is too much to spend on a car from 2001. It's time to get a new (to you) car.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

User avatar
F150HD
Posts: 1936
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:49 pm

Re: Buying a car?

Post by F150HD » Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:43 am

harrington wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:45 am
Buy a 2007-2010 Elantra. Extremely reliable and very low cost to maintain. We have one in the family and it's approaching 200,000 miles with no issues. Should be able to find one for around 5K
what did it cost for your 2 timing belt replacements?

Topic Author
lazylarry
Posts: 438
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:35 pm
Contact:

Re: Buying a car?

Post by lazylarry » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:51 pm

denovo wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:26 am
lazylarry wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:10 am
Thanks all, appreciate the advice. Super helpful, I took it to auto body shop and said just that. Would like not to buy a car - that's a big pain for me, but will resort to those websites and probably stick to Hyundai/Toyota like folks are saying. But did get a revised estimate, not sure if this seems reasonable (and I should just take it) or if I should auto body shop around?

Here's the estimate https://ibb.co/dGCXp6

I was hoping to take off the paint job but the auto body shop owner said he needed to "paint the hood to repair a spot on it" , which I don't really get. Is that painting necessary? The other thing is that the rad support is not included in that estimate (and I think I need to fix it , since both auto body shop guys I went to had that, including ironically the shop that gave me this quote without that info). I'm not sure how much that'll be (thinking like $500 for a 2001 Corolla). I'm guessing if the rad support needs fixing, then this will come out to 2k which is probably still above my price range. These folks got good ratings online but I definitely do not want to overpay.

Thoughts!
$1500 is too much to spend on a car from 2001. It's time to get a new (to you) car.
Ok I guess that's what I'll do. I really like my old car though, which I why I'm debating on seeing if I can lower the cost of some parts or even get a better deal at another body shop. Does that estimate seem reasonable though?
My profile: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=86026 | Virtua lBogleheads® Blog: https://virtualbogleheads.wordpress.com/

User avatar
eye.surgeon
Posts: 401
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2017 1:19 pm
Location: California

Re: Buying a car?

Post by eye.surgeon » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:06 pm

Used Toyotas aren't a great deal because their residuals are high. Used Kias or Hyundais are a much better deal because their residuals are poor but probably almost as reliable.

My opinion, buy a new corolla (you could even finance it close to 0%) and drive it 10-15 years.
"I would rather be certain of a good return than hopeful of a great one" | Warren Buffett

z91
Posts: 302
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 1:19 pm

Re: Buying a car?

Post by z91 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:28 pm

lazylarry wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:10 am

Here's the estimate https://ibb.co/dGCXp6

Thoughts!
Here's my advice. If you want to save money (and it sounds like you do), learn to wrench on your own car. The only thing I see on that estimate that I'm not certain about is straightening the unibody. Everything else is just to replace a part. Every part on the car has bolts and likely YouTube videos of people pulling off and replacing body parts. It's also not hard to learn. Buy the parts from eBay or Rockauto and a $50 tool set, and you will be able to do it all on your own.

If you are lazy, you can get the work done without the paint (paint labor @ 297, paint supplies @ 198) and you've got yourself a sub-$1000 estimate now (932.11 by my calculation). Remember you are at a body shop, not a mechanic shop, so the stuff they are doing is likely cosmetic. Paint is definitely cosmetic. If I were saving money I wouldn't mind driving around with bumpers that have no paint. If you do paint, you can buy some rattle cans of primer and do it yourself to protect the body, but it's likely not necessary.

denovo
Posts: 4402
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:04 pm

Re: Buying a car?

Post by denovo » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:00 pm

lazylarry wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:51 pm

Ok I guess that's what I'll do. I really like my old car though, which I why I'm debating on seeing if I can lower the cost of some parts or even get a better deal at another body shop. Does that estimate seem reasonable though?
The estimate is very reasonable. The parts are cheap and that's a low labor rate. And keep in mind radiators usually go bust, so $1,500 should be the bare minimum you expect.

Look on the upside. A newer car will be safer. I bet your car has no ESC and not very good collision ratings compared to new cars.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

Topic Author
lazylarry
Posts: 438
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:35 pm
Contact:

Re: Buying a car?

Post by lazylarry » Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:39 am

So I decided to buy a used car (Toyota Corolla 2016) and took the advice of others - email dealers and basically ask for the best offer, telling them the current best offer you have. I told them I'm ready to buy ASAP (maybe there are 4 dealers with cars in competitive price ranges near me). However, I unfortunately haven't had much luck in that respect - not sure if the market is already at pretty much the lowest offer possible.

The best deal I have gotten is $11k for a 2016 Toyota Corolla with about 40k miles (former rental car) w/o warranty (I went to the dealer in person for this before I read tips about this on the forum, there were about 4 cars like this). There are listed prices online for about $11.5k for Corolla 2016 with 40k miles with 1 yr dealership warranty, I've just been emailing them asking for a price and they are stalling.

Is there something else I should be doing differently? Or is it that the former rental cars are truly priced with marginal profit to start off with? I find that hard to believe but I haven't gotten any great offers!!

Obviously I will test the car in person but I'm not a very picky driver. And I am securing financing through credit union for rate of 2.5%, so will try to bargain that too.

Thanks!
My profile: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=86026 | Virtua lBogleheads® Blog: https://virtualbogleheads.wordpress.com/

Rupert
Posts: 4075
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:01 pm

Re: Buying a car?

Post by Rupert » Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:04 am

lazylarry wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:39 am
So I decided to buy a used car (Toyota Corolla 2016) and took the advice of others - email dealers and basically ask for the best offer, telling them the current best offer you have. I told them I'm ready to buy ASAP (maybe there are 4 dealers with cars in competitive price ranges near me). However, I unfortunately haven't had much luck in that respect - not sure if the market is already at pretty much the lowest offer possible.

The best deal I have gotten is $11k for a 2016 Toyota Corolla with about 40k miles (former rental car) w/o warranty (I went to the dealer in person for this before I read tips about this on the forum, there were about 4 cars like this). There are listed prices online for about $11.5k for Corolla 2016 with 40k miles with 1 yr dealership warranty, I've just been emailing them asking for a price and they are stalling.

Is there something else I should be doing differently? Or is it that the former rental cars are truly priced with marginal profit to start off with? I find that hard to believe but I haven't gotten any great offers!!

Obviously I will test the car in person but I'm not a very picky driver. And I am securing financing through credit union for rate of 2.5%, so will try to bargain that too.

Thanks!
I have found that email negotiation works great for new cars but not so great for used cars. YMMV.

User avatar
BogleFanGal
Posts: 236
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:59 pm

Re: Buying a car?

Post by BogleFanGal » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:30 am

I've been used car shopping for several months. As mentioned in another thread, mostly finding inventory that's pretty poor quality. Checked KBB, Edmunds and Cargurus to get competitive prices, but they base it on avg prices around here which yes - are low - but for inventory that all seem to have prior accidents. Some dealers don't reveal prior accidents in online ads and don't offer free carfax reports online. So you waste time emailing, calling or visiting, then discover it. The clean cars you do find all seem way overpriced.

Finally gave up and bought from carvana. Paid a few hundred more than what above three are quoting as "avg" price in my region, but at least it's a 1 owner, accident-free, flood-free car w/clean carfax.

bloom2708
Posts: 5496
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:08 pm
Location: Fargo, ND

Re: Buying a car?

Post by bloom2708 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:02 pm

Do you have to get the best, best, best price? A 2016 Corolla is kind of a "blender" of cars. Unless you buy private party, the dealers know what they are worth and what they will sell for.

I don't know if it is worth agonizing over $200 or $500. I still think this is a great opportunity to test drive some other vehicles. For that same $11,000 you could have some pretty interesting cars. Maybe a bit older, but a huge step up in ride, comfort, etc. Maybe not important, but it might be fun to drive something in a different category. My wife is currently driving a 2004 Lexus LS 430 (64k miles). I drive a 2001 LS 430 with 133k miles. Hers was $62k new. We bought it from a couple that babied it. Paid $11,500. Lexus is a Toyota. I'm not telling you go to buy a 10+ year old Mercedes or BMW or Audi. Cars.com, Cargurus.com, Carsforsale.com would give you options to look at in your area. Just one idea.

If the Corolla is the one, then look at them. Pick out your favorite color (light colors show dirt less, does that matter) and interior color (light tan seats get dirty faster). If they have it for $11k, then offer them $10,500. They might not have to or need to take it. If walking away scares you, then do it over the phone after seeing/driving the car. They might just say "no thanks" someone else will buy this blender for $11k.

I guess don't go to extreme to save a trivial amount of money. Maybe only getting a "good" deal is good enough.
"A Stoic believes they don’t control the world around them, only how they respond--and that they must always respond with courage, temperance, wisdom, and justice." --Daily Stoic

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 15209
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Buying a car?

Post by Watty » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:07 pm

lazylarry wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:39 am
The best deal I have gotten is $11k for a 2016 Toyota Corolla with about 40k miles (former rental car) w/o warranty
FYI, iIt should have a something like a 60K manufacturer powertrain warranty. If something happened that voided that warranty you really don't want that car.

Did you check your local car rental sales website to see what they have?

One thing that came up in another thread about cars was that there were a LOT of cars damaged in the major hurricanes and flooding this year so the used car market is tighter than normal with people needing replacements for those cars.

User avatar
monkey_business
Posts: 725
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 2:21 pm

Re: Buying a car?

Post by monkey_business » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:11 pm

If safety is one of the top concerns, I would recommend getting a 2017+ Corolla. Corollas prior to 2017 have not done well in the IIHS small overlap crash tests:

http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/vehicl ... sedan/2016

denovo
Posts: 4402
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:04 pm

Re: Buying a car?

Post by denovo » Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:19 am

lazylarry wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:39 am
So I decided to buy a used car (Toyota Corolla 2016) and took the advice of others - email dealers and basically ask for the best offer, telling them the current best offer you have. I told them I'm ready to buy ASAP (maybe there are 4 dealers with cars in competitive price ranges near me). However, I unfortunately haven't had much luck in that respect - not sure if the market is already at pretty much the lowest offer possible.


Obviously I will test the car in person but I'm not a very picky driver. And I am securing financing through credit union for rate of 2.5%, so will try to bargain that too.

Thanks!
Congrats on buying a new vehicle. Hold up though. The definitive advice on buying a new car comes from here.

viewtopic.php?t=124638 (please read)

The e-mail blast tactic is most commonly used on new cars.
Anyway, here's my suggestion. Buy a new Corolla.

Honda's and Toyota's have good resale values and there isn't much of a benefit going used.

Toyota has two very nice incentives on new cars that expire 1/31 (although it may be extended)

https://www.edmunds.com/toyota/corolla/2018/deals/

A $1000 rebate and a 5yr loan at 0.9 or 6 year at 1.9 assuming your credit is qualified.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

User avatar
wander
Posts: 2673
Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 9:10 am

Re: Buying a car?

Post by wander » Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:07 am

If you don't care about look, you can have the shop replaced the radiator, front bumper and lights. They can do that for less than $1000. Don't bring it to auto body shop, but to an auto repair shop instead and let them know your intention.

MOBugeater
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:21 am
Location: Missouri

Re: Buying a car?

Post by MOBugeater » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:36 am

First - post #1 (I'll need to more formally introduce myself - been lurking for a while and wanted to join but just hadn't done so yet). However, I just sent an email to future SIL on just this very subject so thought I'd copy/paste my thoughts on Craigslist car purchasing (he is replacing his old "beater"). I buy about all my cars, etc on CL but you do have to be careful. Here is what I sent him [please note these are just my general guidelines for CL car buying - not stating as hard set rules]:

1. I filter CL on “Owner”
2. Set price range – both upper and lower. Say $5k to $9k (go a bit higher than you want to spend)
3. Model year – minimum only – say 2009 or something
4. Odometer – max of say 110,000 or similar – possibly a tad higher
5. Title status – I always search on clean title only- You can see what is out there on salvage title, as a car may have hail damage and be a salvage title, but I am always a bit leery of that kind of title because it can be a repaired wreck and you don’t know how good a job they did.
6. Transmission – filter on automatic
7. If too good to be true price, it likely is
8. If there is no local phone number, may be a scam – when viewing, click on “reply” and see if local area code
9. Pay attention to photos in background – if palm trees or vegetation that isn’t from the midwest– move on, scam. If looks like from a bad part of town, under a bridge, or something – trust your gut feeling and move on. If they show an interior picture of the steering wheel and it has the key in ignition and has a “auto lot” key tag skip (where they sharpie marker the year, miles, VIN, etc) – they are flipping the car.
10. Ideally, they’ve owned for at least 5 years. If they are selling after only owning for a year or so, there is a reason – move on. Original owners are best
11. Compare price with KBB.com private owner, average condition and miles. You’ll get a range of prices – I try to get on lower part of the private sale range. If selling way below that, there may be something amiss.
12. Many of the smaller cars have timing belts that need to be replaced about 120,000 miles. That and the water pump are usually done at the same time – about $1400 bill. Not the end of the world and can last another 1000000 miles, but you need to ask if that has been done and/or factor in price. Daughter’s has a timing chain so those generally don’t break - google make/model to see if it has chain or belt.
13. If they have maintenance records – gives you more trust that they took care of it
14. Stay away if they say just has new engine, transmission, etc.
15. Stay away from Brands XXXX [note - I deleted this because I didn't want to initiate any discussion on brand quality - we all have our own opines)
16. The GM 6 cylinders are pretty good too – and decent (24-26) mpg – Don’t just look at 4 cyl
17. Get non-smoking, you cant get smoke smell out
18. Look at tires – about $600 +/- if needed
19. Look underneath for drips – ideally if at their house you can look at driveway for stains, even if the car is not parked there.
20. No smoke – black (oil) or white (antifreeze/coolant)
21. No ticking sounds (valves or lifters) –
22. Take hands off wheel when driving – aligned?
23. You can do a VIN check for big ticket issues for free at: https://www.nicb.org/how-we-help/vincheck

Sandi_k
Posts: 923
Joined: Sat May 16, 2015 11:55 am
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Buying a car?

Post by Sandi_k » Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:43 pm

lazylarry wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:39 am

Obviously I will test the car in person but I'm not a very picky driver. And I am securing financing through credit union for rate of 2.5%, so will try to bargain that too.

Thanks!
Does your Credit Union have a car buying service for used cars? My co-worker did exactly that - the CU gave her a great rate for financing, and then scoured the state for a car that met her criteria. They shipped it to her, she came into the CU to inspect it, decide whether or not to accept it, and then sign the paperwork.

Easy-peasy.

ClaycordJCA
Posts: 237
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2015 11:19 pm
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Buying a car?

Post by ClaycordJCA » Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:57 pm

sixty40 wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:16 pm
lazylarry,

Interesting since I am in the process of buying a used car for my son, but my price range is higher, in the $15k range. Looking for a 2015-2017 Honda Civic LX or Toyota Corolla LE, in northern CA. I have 3 Toyotas and they are extremely reliable as most would agree. The Civics seem to be more expensive than the Corollas, for the same yr and mileage. The best site I have found is cargurus.com. Private parties, dealerships, etc. post their vehicles on there and the site is easy to navigate. They may or may not have anything in the $5k range, but the range in price is wide.

So check out cargurus.com.
We just did the same for our son. He test drove a bunch of cars and decided that he, like us, likes Toyota’s. We found a 2014 Certified Corolla S lease return with just 22.3k miles at Concord Toyota for under $15k. The LEs are cheaper than a comparable S by about $1500. He’s happy and we are happy. Toyota Walnut Creek now states their lowest price is displayed on the vehicle.

Topic Author
lazylarry
Posts: 438
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:35 pm
Contact:

Re: Buying a car?

Post by lazylarry » Sun Jan 21, 2018 1:05 pm

Thanks all for the info...super helpful... a few questions though:
denovo wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:19 am

Congrats on buying a new vehicle. Hold up though. The definitive advice on buying a new car comes from here.

viewtopic.php?t=124638 (please read)

The e-mail blast tactic is most commonly used on new cars.
Anyway, here's my suggestion. Buy a new Corolla.

Honda's and Toyota's have good resale values and there isn't much of a benefit going used.

Toyota has two very nice incentives on new cars that expire 1/31 (although it may be extended)

https://www.edmunds.com/toyota/corolla/2018/deals/

A $1000 rebate and a 5yr loan at 0.9 or 6 year at 1.9 assuming your credit is qualified.
I guess I just don't see the value of a new car (MSRP is ~18.5k, maybe I can get down to 15-16k?). But the 2016 Corolla is 11k. That's just such a huge difference that I can't see the new car being that much better (the main thing would be the 3 year warranty, which has run out for the 2016 corolla given it's above 36k miles). Is there some other reason a new car would be better?
wander wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:07 am
If you don't care about look, you can have the shop replaced the radiator, front bumper and lights. They can do that for less than $1000. Don't bring it to auto body shop, but to an auto repair shop instead and let them know your intention.
Oh is this actually possible? The reason why is that I asked my mechanic and he said that given the damage (e.g. hood warped, and the front frame of the car requires "extending" since the metal is warped inwards), that he could not repair this.
Sandi_k wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:43 pm

Does your Credit Union have a car buying service for used cars? My co-worker did exactly that - the CU gave her a great rate for financing, and then scoured the state for a car that met her criteria. They shipped it to her, she came into the CU to inspect it, decide whether or not to accept it, and then sign the paperwork.

Easy-peasy.
Ok, good to know - I did check with CU but unfortunately they don't have that. I'll definitely have to keep an eye out for that in the future though.
Watty wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:07 pm
lazylarry wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:39 am
The best deal I have gotten is $11k for a 2016 Toyota Corolla with about 40k miles (former rental car) w/o warranty
FYI, iIt should have a something like a 60K manufacturer powertrain warranty. If something happened that voided that warranty you really don't want that car.

Did you check your local car rental sales website to see what they have?

One thing that came up in another thread about cars was that there were a LOT of cars damaged in the major hurricanes and flooding this year so the used car market is tighter than normal with people needing replacements for those cars.
It does have 60K powertrain warranty. Used car sales websites show prices way higher (~12.5k) than the $11k. Seems like maybe the best thing is just to bite the bullet and go with the $11k for the 2016 corolla. One thing I did note was that there was a stain on the back side of the back seats that are foldable. I was gonna see if I could get any perks (all weather floor mats or something) for it. Of course, hopefully the dealer will honor his prior verbal offer...I'm not sure but will try.

The only thing I was wondering about was a warranty - there is a similarly priced car (about 11.5k though) but that one comes with a 1 yr warranty. That actually seems reasonable, is it worth getting?

And anything else I should be wary of (other than the usual dealer gimmicks)?

And for the auto loan: I'm applying for loan through credit union though they haven't gotten back to me yet (they didn't give me a rate on the paperwork, I just filled out the amount of loan I want). I have good credit so hopefully it gets a decent rate - I was gonna take it to dealer and see if they could offer better rate.

Thanks all! This is a more stressful process than I like!
My profile: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=86026 | Virtua lBogleheads® Blog: https://virtualbogleheads.wordpress.com/

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 15209
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Buying a car? [Need help with strategy for purchasing a used car]

Post by Watty » Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:59 pm

lazylarry wrote:
Sun Jan 21, 2018 1:05 pm
The only thing I was wondering about was a warranty - there is a similarly priced car (about 11.5k though) but that one comes with a 1 yr warranty. That actually seems reasonable, is it worth getting?

And anything else I should be wary of (other than the usual dealer gimmicks)?
Any dealer or third party warranty is likely next to worthless because there are so many exclusions or loopholes.

Be sure to check the tires. A car with 40K miles will likely be due for new tires soon.

The standard features and safety features on a 2016 and 2018 will likely be different so be sure to look into those details. As I recall Toyota now had the auto braking crash prevention(or whatever you call it) in all current models which the 2016 likely does not have.
lazylarry wrote:
Sun Jan 21, 2018 1:05 pm
I guess I just don't see the value of a new car (MSRP is ~18.5k, maybe I can get down to 15-16k?). But the 2016 Corolla is 11k. That's just such a huge difference that I can't see the new car being that much better (the main thing would be the 3 year warranty, which has run out for the 2016 corolla given it's above 36k miles). Is there some other reason a new car would be better?
You can tweak the numbers with what you think is right for you but the way I would look at it is as if you will keep either car until they have 120k miles and then sell it for $2,000 then;

If you drive 12,000 miles a year the new Corolla would last ten years or 120 months.

The used Corolla would last another 80,000 miles 80,000/12,000= 6.66 years or 80 months

If you can get a new Corolla for $16,000 less the $2,000 resale that would be $14,000 over ten years. That is 120 months $14,000/120 = 117 per month in depreciation.

The used Corolla for $11,000 less the $2,000 resale would be $9,000 over 6.66 years or 80 months. $9,000/80=$112.5 per month in depreciation.

The maintenance costs between 40k and 120K miles would be roughly the same. You could also try to factor in things like which car gets better gas mileage and insurance and license costs but some of these would also be the same after you get 40k miles on the new car.

To me the used Corolla is not priced low enough to make it a good deal since there are some risks with buying a used car.

If you can't afford a new Corolla(been there done that :D ) then I would look at something other than a used Corolla or Honda which depreciates faster. At some price your second choice car brand is a good value. You could also look for a lower priced used Corolla from an individual since buying a car from a dealer will usually be much more expensive.

blackcat allie
Posts: 115
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:54 pm

Re: Buying a car? [Need help with strategy for purchasing a used car]

Post by blackcat allie » Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:32 pm

lazylarry wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:05 pm
3 - On a side note, what's the best way to get trade-in or salvage value for my current Corolla? Everything is in quite good condition except for the grill, hood, radiator and front sidelights.
Wondering what your outcome was @lazylarry & whether perhaps anyone else has experience with salvage cars & special registration/title price?

I am in a somewhat similar situation, though I am offered some money from insurance, I am tempted to salvage my old Toyota - mostly since it is a rough time for me to be looking for a new/used car.
“Nothing in life is as important as you think it is while you are thinking about it.” - Daniel Kahneman

PGR
Posts: 247
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 6:25 pm

Re: Buying a car? [Need help with strategy for purchasing a used car]

Post by PGR » Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:35 am

This may come late for you but if you need some options, a quick and reasonable deal - just go to Carmax.

I tinkered on, refurbished and flipped a lot of cars in high school and college and still work on an old 71 Chevy and 69 Deere as a hobby. Buying directly from an owner on CL or whatever will get you the best price. But it's work and time and most people don't want to worry about checking a car for flood or bondo or low compression or whatever. If you do find something you like from an individual it's perfectly legit to take it into a private shop for a pre-purchase inspection if that helps. Just stop by a local Carmax.

Good luck!

Topic Author
lazylarry
Posts: 438
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:35 pm
Contact:

Re: Buying a car? [Need help with strategy for purchasing a used car]

Post by lazylarry » Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:22 pm

blackcat allie wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:32 pm
lazylarry wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:05 pm
3 - On a side note, what's the best way to get trade-in or salvage value for my current Corolla? Everything is in quite good condition except for the grill, hood, radiator and front sidelights.
Wondering what your outcome was @lazylarry & whether perhaps anyone else has experience with salvage cars & special registration/title price?

I am in a somewhat similar situation, though I am offered some money from insurance, I am tempted to salvage my old Toyota - mostly since it is a rough time for me to be looking for a new/used car.
I ended up just fixing my old Toyota...it was easier and I found that it definitely takes time to buy a used car and really quite costly for an unknown quantity. I looked at dealers but they were decently pricey. I think if my car was unusable, that's probably the way I would go, just for the knowledge that there is more reliability with the car. If you had time to deal with car issues, then I think going to carmax or something like that may make sense.
My profile: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=86026 | Virtua lBogleheads® Blog: https://virtualbogleheads.wordpress.com/

Post Reply