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Sun Oct 13, 2013, 12:50 PM

Suggestions wanted for purchasing a used car

Is there a particular website that DUers have found useful in finding cars?
Any suggestions on small vehicles with good gas mileage?

19 replies, 705 views

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Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply Suggestions wanted for purchasing a used car (Original post)
shcrane71 Oct 2013 OP
Sedona Oct 2013 #1
shcrane71 Oct 2013 #17
Smarmie Doofus Oct 2013 #2
GoCubsGo Oct 2013 #3
shcrane71 Oct 2013 #8
csziggy Oct 2013 #4
shcrane71 Oct 2013 #9
csziggy Oct 2013 #11
shcrane71 Oct 2013 #14
csziggy Oct 2013 #18
hunter Oct 2013 #5
cristianmarie533 Oct 2013 #6
LWolf Oct 2013 #7
mnhtnbb Oct 2013 #10
sharp_stick Oct 2013 #12
shcrane71 Oct 2013 #16
PassingFair Oct 2013 #13
shcrane71 Oct 2013 #15
nytemare Oct 2013 #19

Response to shcrane71 (Original post)

Sun Oct 13, 2013, 12:54 PM

1. Spend $20 to join Consumer Reports website

It has a ton of useful unbiased info.

I've used it to buy every car I've ever bought based on their recommendations and I've never been disappointed.

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/index.htm

Then you have it for a year for every other big purchase.

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Response to Sedona (Reply #1)

Mon Oct 14, 2013, 08:10 PM

17. I'm going to break down and spend the $20 on consumerreports. Thanks for your help!

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Response to shcrane71 (Original post)

Sun Oct 13, 2013, 12:57 PM

2. Craigslist worked for me last time. ( But that was 2006.)

Yahoo classifieds was also helpful.

I believe Japanese-made cars ( Toyota, Honda, Mazda, etc) are still outpacing all others in terms of durability and reliability.

You might also take into acct. political considerations (union-made? made in USA?, etc); though I'm not sure these issues are as relevant to the purchase of a used product as they are to a new one.

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Response to shcrane71 (Original post)

Sun Oct 13, 2013, 01:23 PM

3. Are you a AAA member?

They have a car buyer service--at least the section serving the Carolinas does. I suspect those in the rest of the country do, as well. You can get used and new cars for much better rates than the dealers give. They will also finance, and they will deliver your car to you. The used car selection tends to be decent for most makes.

Also, check out cars.com.

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Response to GoCubsGo (Reply #3)

Sun Oct 13, 2013, 08:07 PM

8. No AAA membership here. I've been carless for about a year.

It's time to break down and buy one. ugh. I've looked in local lots and it seems I might be better just buying a new car for the prices they're asking for used vehicles.

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Response to shcrane71 (Original post)

Sun Oct 13, 2013, 01:37 PM

4. I used Cars.com, Edmunds, and Kelly Blue Book to buy a car last month

I used Edmunds (http://www.edmunds.com/) to select the models and years I was interested in. The reviews, reliability rating, MPG, pricing, and specs let me narrow my selections down to the model and years to consider.

I also used Kelly Blue Book (http://www.kbb.com/) to check the prices on specific cars.

Once I decided what models I wanted to look for I used Cars.com (http://www.cars.com/) to locate used ones for sale in my area (and as much as 500 miles away - I could narrow it down as much as I wanted). Many of the sellers have CarFax reports as a link on the listings there so I could check the ownership and history of the vehicles. I could also check reviews of the dealers to evaluate other people's experiences with them.

I ended up finding a 2006 Toyota Prius in excellent condition for $1000-1500 under the Blue Book value at a small dealer three hours drive away. I'm very happy with the car and with my experience with the dealer. We just got back from a long trip in the Prius and it performed flawlessly.

Nearly ten years ago I bought my 1999 GMC Suburban 2500 using the same resources - but back then the CarFax reports we not as accessible - I paid for a limited number of reports to decide what truck I would buy. I still have that Surburban and am still very happy with it, too.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #4)

Sun Oct 13, 2013, 08:08 PM

9. I would *love* a Prius, but I think the Yaris is more in my price range.

I'll try those websites. Thank you so much!

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Response to shcrane71 (Reply #9)

Sun Oct 13, 2013, 09:16 PM

11. I found a number of older Prius with low mileage for good prices

Remember, even now new Prius are under $30,000. Used ones can be pretty low.

Depending on the year, the batteries are the main concern and reports are that you can get 200,000 miles on the first battery. Replacing one at the dealer is $2500 or so but you can find salvaged batteries for a few hundred and pay a shop a few hundred to install one.

I was surprised to find how low older Prius are. I didn't expect to find one in my price range.

A 2007 Yaris hatchback is about the same as I paid for the 2006 Prius - but I got an exceptional deal with the Prius.

One of the deciding factors for us was that the Prius has enough leg room for my husband while most of the small, gas efficient cars did not. The fantastic gas mileage we're getting with the Prius is a bonus. Around town we're averaging over 40 mpg; on our trip to Louisville, through the mountains, we did even better, even though highway speeds are not the most efficient for a Prius. We practiced coasting every chance we got, which made a big difference.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #11)

Mon Oct 14, 2013, 08:06 PM

14. Oh wow... I'm going to expand my search.

I had no idea that their batteries lasted for up to 200,000 miles. Thanks so much!

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Response to shcrane71 (Reply #14)

Mon Oct 14, 2013, 08:48 PM

18. Some do, some need replacing at 100,000

One article on Prius mentioned a taxi driver that got 360,000+ on his first battery and was approaching 300,000 on the second one in the same Prius!

This isn't that article but it does talk about the reliability: http://autos.aol.com/article/toyota-prius-reliability/

Another: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2011/02/the-200-000-mile-question-how-does-the-toyota-prius-hold-up/index.htm

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Response to shcrane71 (Original post)

Sun Oct 13, 2013, 02:10 PM

5. Whatever method Hunter uses, don't do that. Unless you like working on cars.

No, I don't like working on cars, but with $800 cars that's just the way it is.



My only suggestion is to look for a car that was boring when it was new and had an owner who drove it in a boring way.

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Response to shcrane71 (Original post)

Sun Oct 13, 2013, 03:24 PM

6. I like cars.com and autotrader.com

 

You can get pretty good deals on a used car in good condition from those two sites. Also, be sure to insist on a pre purchase inspection, along with the car's service history.

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Response to shcrane71 (Original post)

Sun Oct 13, 2013, 03:47 PM

7. Try

your local sales lot for car rental businesses.

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Response to shcrane71 (Original post)

Sun Oct 13, 2013, 08:27 PM

10. I've bought at Carmax--about 10 years ago--and located my current car

through edmunds. Flew to Cincinnati and drove it (2007 model) home in 2009.
Still very happy with the current car and was also happy with the previous one.

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Response to shcrane71 (Original post)

Sun Oct 13, 2013, 09:25 PM

12. Some that I've used

edmunds.com, cars.com, kbb.com, carmax.com.

Small cars with good mileage: Honda Fit, Chevrolet Cruze, Nissan Versa. Audi R8 (just kidding but it's still my dream car, and that's all it will ever be), Volkswagen Jetta (especially the TDI diesel).

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Response to sharp_stick (Reply #12)

Mon Oct 14, 2013, 08:09 PM

16. I was with ya til the Audi R8 ;) I've been looking at the Versas. They seem reasonably priced. nt

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Response to shcrane71 (Original post)

Sun Oct 13, 2013, 11:36 PM

13. First of all: Tell EVERYONE you know and everyone that you talk to that you are looking.

Like someone in this thread said, your best buy is a boring car that has been driven in a boring way. Low milesis what you should focus on. What I like to call a "Gramma car". The more people you ask, the likelier you are to find one.

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Response to PassingFair (Reply #13)

Mon Oct 14, 2013, 08:08 PM

15. Will do! Started telling my work mates today. Thanks! nt

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Response to shcrane71 (Original post)

Mon Oct 14, 2013, 08:52 PM

19. This site has all kinds of great information.

From scams, to negotiating tips, etc. Basically, be equipped with as much knowledge as possible. Know what your car is worth, and what the car you are buying is worth. Bring in a folder at the negotiating table. I would look up the ratings of the dealership before you go. Good luck!

http://www.carbuyingtips.com/

http://www.carbuyingtips.com/used.htm

http://www.carbuyingtips.com/scams.htm

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