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  • How to Buy A Used Car

    Hello Everyone,

    I was wondering if anyone has bought an used car recently (I am thinking Honda Accord vs Camry). I have tried the normal used car websites: carmax.com, autotrader, and was wondering what approaches everyone has tried. Craigslist is not working for my neck of the woods.

     

    Thanks,

     

    Squash

  • #2




    Hello Everyone,

    I was wondering if anyone has bought an used car recently (I am thinking Honda Accord vs Camry). I have tried the normal used car websites: carmax.com, autotrader, and was wondering what approaches everyone has tried. Craigslist is not working for my neck of the woods.

     

    Thanks,

     

    Squash
    Click to expand...


    I just bought a used Honda Odyssey on Vroom.com a couple months ago.  Painless buying experience, high quality vehicle that was equivalent to a Certified one from the dealer (2014, low mileage), and about $4-5k lower than any dealer.  Had a hiccup in the delivery process (it shipped from TX) because the transporter truck broke down twice so took several days longer to receive than it should have, but other then that it went well.  The customer service people were very responsive when I complained about the delays.

    I also sold them my old Honda Accord as a trade in -- they offered more than the local dealer based solely on running the VIN and sending them 5-6 pictures from my phone.  They picked that up as part of the process without any pain whatsover.

    All paperwork sent overnight each way via FedEx and dead simple to complete.  I paid cash but you can finance through them (or elsewhere presumably) if you want.

    After I got the car I actually took it to a local repair shop and had them inspect it under the assumption they would find a problem and I would have to get repairs done (they give a full warranty for several months) or return it (they give a full return within 1 week I think).  Turns out the only issue was the wipers needed to be replaced.  My wife and I have both driven it over the past 2 months and no mechanical problems or other issues have surfaced.

    If you do buy from them please mention my custom VIP ID #172855 to their account manager over email or on the phone and I can get a tiny referral bonus.  I have no business connection to them, just liked the company/service and would appreciate the tiny bonus if you do buy from them!
    An alt-brown look at medicine, money, faith, & family
    www.RogueDadMD.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for the website. I will definitely check it out!

      Comment


      • #4
        My bank has a car-buying service through zag.com which incorporates TrueCar estimates and (mostly) free Carfax.  It's all dealers, though.  They have supposedly pre-negotiated lower prices through the bank, but I'm not sure how they'd compare to private sellers (probably still higher).

        Comment


        • #5
          I bought a 2009 Subaru Outback about a year ago. First thing you obviously have to figure out what you want out of a car. You have picked a couple good ones Accord/Camry with regards to good gas mileage, can put a million miles on it, etc. I used TrueCar and Kelly Blue Book to get an idea of what prices were fair so I could negotiate once I found a vehicle. And then I just searched on multiple used car search engines until I found a few that popped up that met my criteria. I was willing to drive a couple hours to look at one if necessary. If craigslist in your neck of the woods isnt working then try AutoTempest - it is a search engine that includes multiple car shopping sites and will generate a wider area search on craigslist. If you're looking to finance a used car (i know that goes against what many on here would suggest), I used SunTrust and I couldn't be happier. I got an unsecured loan direct deposited in my checking account in about 1-2 days with 1.99% interest rate for using auto-debit from my account. Of course I've paid significantly more than the minimum payments at this point and well on my way to paying it off, but I just didn't have all the cash sitting around to buy even a good used car when I was a resident. One of the things a used car dealer will try to do is sell you their financing packages and honestly I thought it was just better to have the cash handy from a 3rd party and negotiate on their price rather than their financing options. Any dealer should allow you to take the car to get it inspected by a mechanic. They'll probably tell you they had a "blah blah blah-point inspection" on the vehicle when they took it in as a used vehicle, but you want someone from another shop looking it over and it is a good investment to get non-biased information. The dealer I bought mine from had no problem with this and they even dropped it off for me at the mechanic to have it looked at.

          Comment


          • #6




            My bank has a car-buying service through zag.com which incorporates TrueCar estimates and (mostly) free Carfax.  It’s all dealers, though.  They have supposedly pre-negotiated lower prices through the bank, but I’m not sure how they’d compare to private sellers (probably still higher).
            Click to expand...


            Let me know if you buy from them.

            In full disclosure I discovered yesterday the little cigarette lighter outlet isn't working (first time tried to plug a charger in to it), but should be covered under the Vroom warranty.

            Another thing our kids will never know -- that those little plugs used to be cigarette lighters...
            An alt-brown look at medicine, money, faith, & family
            www.RogueDadMD.com

            Comment


            • #7




              I bought a 2009 Subaru Outback about a year ago. First thing you obviously have to figure out what you want out of a car. You have picked a couple good ones Accord/Camry with regards to good gas mileage, can put a million miles on it, etc. I used TrueCar and Kelly Blue Book to get an idea of what prices were fair so I could negotiate once I found a vehicle. And then I just searched on multiple used car search engines until I found a few that popped up that met my criteria. I was willing to drive a couple hours to look at one if necessary. If craigslist in your neck of the woods isnt working then try AutoTempest – it is a search engine that includes multiple car shopping sites and will generate a wider area search on craigslist. If you’re looking to finance a used car (i know that goes against what many on here would suggest), I used SunTrust and I couldn’t be happier. I got an unsecured loan direct deposited in my checking account in about 1-2 days with 1.99% interest rate for using auto-debit from my account. Of course I’ve paid significantly more than the minimum payments at this point and well on my way to paying it off, but I just didn’t have all the cash sitting around to buy even a good used car when I was a resident. One of the things a used car dealer will try to do is sell you their financing packages and honestly I thought it was just better to have the cash handy from a 3rd party and negotiate on their price rather than their financing options. Any dealer should allow you to take the car to get it inspected by a mechanic. They’ll probably tell you they had a “blah blah blah-point inspection” on the vehicle when they took it in as a used vehicle, but you want someone from another shop looking it over and it is a good investment to get non-biased information. The dealer I bought mine from had no problem with this and they even dropped it off for me at the mechanic to have it looked at.
              Click to expand...


              Thank you for this information. This is exactly what we needed to hear. I just wanted a reasonable starting point.

              Do you guys know what the best time to buy is? I am assuming end of the year.

              Comment


              • #8




                Do you guys know what the best time to buy is? I am assuming end of the year.
                Click to expand...


                For new cars, end of month/quarter/year- they have quotas to fill. So maybe works for used cars, too.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Biggest concern on a used vehicle is by-far the inspection.  Even for certified pre-owned and whatnot.  Unless you feel very comfortable going over a car with a fine-tooth comb, you should be getting your own mechanic to inspect a car before you buy it.  Used vehicles are typically sold as-is, where-is, and there is rarely any return policy that can protect you unless explicitly granted in writing by the dealer.

                  Price wise, it's negotiable like anything else.  Even carmax lowers their price if you wait for them to do it.  Dealers typically have a lot of room in their pre-owned price to make money.  To get an idea of what the dealer paid you can look at KBB and NADA trade-in value, and what they paid should be somewhere under that, i.e., wholesale price.  If you have access to manheim auction values that is even better.  They might claim to have reconditioned the car or put a lot of money into it, but in all likelihood they took the car on trade, bought it at an auction, gave it a wash and put it on the lot.

                  That said, no matter what kind of money they have in a car, if it's been on their lot for a long time they will be willing to sell it at a loss.  A car that's been on the lot for six months or better should sell at a deep discount.

                  Buying at the end of the month definitely helps out but is not a necessity.  Like Dr. Dahle posted in his new-car buying post, getting up and walking out is what will give you the leverage in negotiating a better price.

                  Keep in mind that websites like truecar, cars.com, edmunds, KBB, etc. make their money from dealers, and are more interested in giving you information so that you'll buy a car, and not so much get you the absolute best price. But the effort you spend trying to get the absolute best price might not really be feasible.

                  Squash, assuming you haven't bought a car yet, how much are you looking to spend?  On a Camry or Accord, if you're looking at something just a couple years old, you might as well buy brand new since the depreciation is very low.  With typical discounts, either one can be had for about $20k.  Check car forums and places like edmunds forums for examples of what deals people are getting.  If you're looking to spend $5k-$10k though, try to negotiate the best deal on the cleanest, best maintained car you can find.

                  Comment


                  • #10




                    (I am thinking Honda Accord vs Camry).
                    Click to expand...


                    The depreciation rate for these vehicles in the first few years is quite slow and you are better off buying a new one when the dealers want to get rid of them to maximize their bonuses - mainly end of month or end of year. Look for all incentives offered by manufacturer. You can get them well below MSRP and either at invoice or below it, and not much more than a 2 year dealer preowned or private used car sale.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      We used KBB to gauge whether or not the price the dealer was offering was fair.  The price the dealer had was actually under KBB.  We also went to CarMax, but their cars seemed to be priced high unlike when we made a purchase their a few years back.

                      Just on principle we asked the dealer to come down and they did a little bit.  The car had been on their lot since June.  It was a 2014 Honda Civic.  They also gave us a full tank of gas and floor mats, but not new ones.

                      Know what you want, use various sites to find what the reasonable price is, and go in armed with that info.  Be willing to walk.  We actually initially left for lunch and came back.  As WCI mentioned, don't buy on an empty stomach.

                      cd :O)
                      Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. -- Isaiah 40:31

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                      • #12
                        Did you dislike anything about Carmax? I bought a vehicle there awhile back and was impressed with the inspection process and inventory. They'll bring a vehicle from anywhere in the country to your local dealership. Autotrader and Craigslist are individuals selling their own vehicles; Carmax is a nationwide user car dealership. You might save 5-10% buying one-on-one, but risk having to handle repairs the previous owner didn't feel were worthwhile.

                        Comment


                        • #13




                          Did you dislike anything about Carmax? I bought a vehicle there awhile back and was impressed with the inspection process and inventory. They’ll bring a vehicle from anywhere in the country to your local dealership. Autotrader and Craigslist are individuals selling their own vehicles; Carmax is a nationwide user car dealership. You might save 5-10% buying one-on-one, but risk having to handle repairs the previous owner didn’t feel were worthwhile.
                          Click to expand...


                          Carmax's inspection process is completely valueless.  You are responsible for your own inspection.  A seller cannot hide known defects from you, but a seller has no legal duty to point out every flaw.  As a matter of course, the seller is always going to say "yes it passed our seven-thousand-and-twelve-point inspection, it's a great car, you want this car, this is a good price, it is a wonderful car with many friends."

                          If you buy the Carmax warranty that helps out with your repairs, but items not covered under the warranty that you miss on inspection will not be somehow magically repaired or replaced for free.  The same goes for Certified Pre-Owned cars from the various manufacturers.  Just because it passed their inspection and comes with a warranty, doesn't mean that it will be a perfect car.

                          All of that said, Carmax is a good enterprise and is very successful.  You can probably save more money haggling elsewhere, but the Carmax experience is typically a very convenient one, and to thousands of customers, worth any added cost.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The Carmax inspection process has value unless you feel they actually aren't (a) doing the inspections and/or (b) repairing problems that are found. Neither of those seems likely for a well-established business with a pretty vocal online crowd. They covered several repairs under the extended warrantee without a problem. I rarely buy extended warrantees on anything, but it seemed a good idea at the time for a used vehicle.

                            You could make the same claim about any dealership selling pre-owned / used vehicles. It's certainly better than anything an individual seller is going to offer.

                            Comment


                            • #15




                              The Carmax inspection process has value unless you feel they actually aren’t (a) doing the inspections and/or (b) repairing problems that are found. Neither of those seems likely for a well-established business with a pretty vocal online crowd. They covered several repairs under the extended warrantee without a problem. I rarely buy extended warrantees on anything, but it seemed a good idea at the time for a used vehicle.

                              You could make the same claim about any dealership selling pre-owned / used vehicles. It’s certainly better than anything an individual seller is going to offer.
                              Click to expand...


                              Yes, the inspection that any dealer does is completely valueless to you as the purchaser.  A dealer will only make any repairs or do any maintenance as necessary to make the car marketable (and sometimes not even that).  The fact that they inspected an item gives you the buyer no guarantee, no warrantee, no legal solace whatsoever.  It's all puffery to sell you a car.  In virtually every state, a used car is sold as-is, where-is with no stated or implied warranties despite any number of inspections performed or checklists checked off.

                              If you purchase their extended warranty then you will be covered to the extent of that warranty.  But the fact that they inspected the car gives you no further help as a buyer.

                              The whole concept of a car passing a dealer's or manufacturer's 4,321 point inspection is a marketing gimmick to make the buyer feel good, but the legal duty to inspect is solely upon the shoulders of the purchaser, and the fact that a car passed someone else's test gives you no rights as a consumer.

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