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Off Topic - What was your used car buying experience like?


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I bought a used car four times. All four times I bought it from a private seller.

 

I never understood why you would buy a used car at a dealership. I guess it would make sense if you want to finance the car. I always found the best deals from a private seller. If a dealer is giving you a good deal, there is always something wrong with the car.

 

Every seller I dealt with was pretty honest (except maybe one guy). Typically, you'd be spending a couple of days with the seller (first checking out the car, going to a mechanic for inspection, transferring a vehicle, etc.) during which time you'd get a good sense if the seller is being truthful or is a snake. At any moment you sense deceit (and you haven't made a deal yet), you can walk away. Also, as you spend some time together, the seller will usually spill out all the issues he/she is aware of.

 

Just don't rush anything, even if it is a really good deal.

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A lot of times a dealer will offer some type of limited warranty on a used car.  They can also throw in little things that may be missing like spare keys, spare tire, etc.  If you're not tuned in what to look for in a car, you should probably take somebody with you.  You can spot little things that indicate that the car may have been in an accident, for example, like doors rubbing or lines not being even.

 

You can stack the odds in your favor of not getting a bad deal:

 

1.  Research the model(s) you're interested in and make sure they tend to be reliable, in general.  Consumer Reports is pretty decent.

2.  Buy a car that has been mostly adult driven (as opposed to a teenage kid).

3.  Ask about the nature of the miles on the car.  Typically highway miles put less stress on a car than start-stop driving around town.

 

My best advice is to take someone else with you to kick the tires even if you think you know what you're looking for.

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I've bought cars from dealers and private individuals.  Getting a carfax is a must on a used car, it will tell you if there have been any reported accidents, how many owners, and if it was ever a rental.  I usually sign up for the unlimited carfax plan when I start looking, so I can research the vehicle before even going to look at it in person.  Don't waste your time looking at vehicles with problems.

 

 

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I just recently bought a 2014 BMW 335i X-drive from a dealer. This was a car coming off a lease, which meant it has an impeccable maintenance record. Also with a leased car the drivers are expected to meet strict criteria throughout the duration of the lease and turn in the car in good condition. Otherwise they pay costly fines. With the internet you can figure out what price is a good deal.

 

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I just recently bought a 2014 BMW 335i X-drive from a dealer. This was a car coming off a lease, which meant it has an impeccable maintenance record. Also with a leased car the drivers are expected to meet strict criteria throughout the duration of the lease and turn in the car in good condition. Otherwise they pay costly fines. With the internet you can figure out what price is a good deal.

 

Good exterior / interior conditions, but could have driven that car like on a track every day...

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I have always bought new cars, but I decided to buy a used car this time. I was hoping to buy a Certified Preowned Car (CPO) this time. I was looking for a 2016 or 2017 with reasonably low mileage.  MUch to my surprise, the dealers were asking more for these cars than I thought was reasonable. I ended up buying a new car because the price difference between a 2017 CPO with 18,000 miles and a new 2018 was just $500.

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It is really interesting because Carmax might charge $1k to $2k MORE per car than other dealerships.

They are clearly above market and yet do really well.  There is some value there with:

 

1.  No haggle pricing (good and bad)

2.  More honest culture

3.  5 day money back guarantee

4.  Some type of limited warranty after sale included.

 

https://thegarage.jalopnik.com/dont-get-sucked-into-the-carmax-marketing-machine-1718230498

 

Why do you think Carmax does so well and what do want out of a used car dealer as a consumer?

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Last couple of cars I bought new because there was not enough price difference to justify buying used. In buying used cars or boats I have always found that in private sales, the quality of the individual is every bit as important as what you think of the vehicle.

 

Last year I bought upscale model of the Kia Sorento EX V6, all wheel drive, panoramic sunroof, leather and more standard features than I know how to use. Had to swallow a little pride, but Kia is making some of the best cars on the market today. They robbed Audi's chief designer and BMW's chief engineer and they apparently use a better grade of steel since Hyundai makes their own steel.

 

Watch out for KIa!  Rated #1 in initial quality by JD Power of all brands sold in North America in the last 2 years - and that includes all those fancy upscale brands. AND the 5 year warranty means a lot.

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Last couple of cars I bought new because there was not enough price difference to justify buying used. In buying used cars or boats I have always found that in private sales, the quality of the individual is every bit as important as what you think of the vehicle.

 

Last year I bought upscale model of the Kia Sorento EX V6, all wheel drive, panoramic sunroof, leather and more standard features than I know how to use. Had to swallow a little pride, but Kia is making some of the best cars on the market today. They robbed Audi's chief designer and BMW's chief engineer and they apparently use a better grade of steel since Hyundai makes their own steel.

 

Watch out for KIa!  Rated #1 in initial quality by JD Power of all brands sold in North America in the last 2 years - and that includes all those fancy upscale brands. AND the 5 year warranty means a lot.

 

Hyundai and Kia are great cars.  My 2007 Hyundai Elantra has over 200K miles on it and still going strong.  Bought it new for $15k in 2007 and still drive it to work 5 days per week.  The paint/body looks almost like new even after 10 New England winters and no visible rust underneath either.

 

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With low interest rates and rising home equity, North American's have been buying alot of new cars, and I've found that alot of really, good used cars are available...both at dealerships and private sellers.

 

I've almost always bought from the dealer, but other than my Mini when I bought it, I have never bought new.  My latest replacement is a 2012 BMW X1 that had only 47,000km on it and was less than half the price of a new X1.  It was in really fantastic shape, mint interior, all the features I wanted, looks and runs terrific!  It also had 1.5 years left on an extended bumper to bumper warranty, so if I find anything wrong I can get them to fix it.

 

I've always followed the manufacturers recommendations for service, and have never had a problem with any of my vehicles by doing so.  Yes, I may have paid an extra $300-500 a year more in maintenance, but I've never been stuck on the side of the road and my car has always run incredibly well.  I also buy only used cars that have been serviced according to the maintenance schedule.

 

In terms of pricing, you have to do your research and know what you are looking for and what is a reasonable price for the year, make, model, condition, packages, etc.  You might save a couple of thousand buying from a private seller, but at least with a dealer you do have some recourse and rules on canceling a sale and returning the vehicle.  You also can get accurate service records and many dealers provide free Carfax on the vehicles they are selling.  In Canada, you are also required to disclose any accidents or repairs over $2,000 or $2,500...can't remember exactly which...but reputable dealers won't risk their reputation or business by not disclosing, whereas a private seller has every incentive to do so, as they are disposing of a single vehicle.

 

I think the best way to view your car purchase is if you are driving your vehicle 3 hours a day, 5-6 days a week, thorough rural roads, mountain highways, and lousy weather conditions, etc, how important is it that you save that $2-3K when you weigh it against 5-6 years of ownership?!  Most people spend more on Starbucks coffee annually!  I'm ok paying that much more by buying a great used car from a dealership rather than a private seller.  Cheers!

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I've only bought used in the past (not as good as some pros on this board), but with the great new safety, automatic/self driving features coming up, the target now is to wait as long as possible and to buy as new as possible. The features are just exploding.

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I've almost always bought from the dealer, but other than my Mini when I bought it, I have never bought new.  My latest replacement is a 2012 BMW X1 that had only 47,000km on it and was less than half the price of a new X1.  It was in really fantastic shape, mint interior, all the features I wanted, looks and runs terrific!  It also had 1.5 years left on an extended bumper to bumper warranty, so if I find anything wrong I can get them to fix it.

 

 

The BMW I mentioned above buying used from a dealer had 1 year left on its bumper-to-bumper warranty. I figured if the car had any major issues because of how it was driven I could get them taken care of. I felt I got such a good price from the dealer, about 55% of the cost of a new one for a 3 year old car, it wasn't going to cost much to drive it for a year. It is basically to get me by till I get my Tesla model 3.

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Just a suggestion - for investors that like to think outside the 'box'

 

There are some cars that tend to keep there value more than others.  As an example, the Lexus GS 300 my parents own since 2006 (built in 2004) which cost about $45,000 used, is now worth about 2 -3 K.  OTH, a 2010 Toyota FJ cruiser  (discontinued in 2014), has kept 'most' of its original value if in very good condition and may actually appreciate over time.  Some sports cars follow the same traits - many Porsche 911 that have undergone initial depreciation, will plateau at about 50K (assuming excellent condition).  Some very expensive brands like MB, BMW and Jaguar have had the worst depreciation over time. 

 

Not that cars need to be investments as there is value for reliability, pleasure, functionality etc. However, it never hurts to be out ahead.  Especially if you go through multiple expensive cars every few years.  Also 'used' sports cars may not be the worst investment ever either (not that I have one).

 

 

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