Buying a used car? Stealerships v. Individual owners

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TopHatFox
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Buying a used car? Stealerships v. Individual owners

Post by TopHatFox »

I've been trying to buy a used car for the parents and man is the used-car market absolutely teeming with landmines. I've binged on all of Scotty Kilmer's mechanic videos on Youtube, and read his how-to-buy-a-used car book. I've decided to get a Toyota Corolla from 2011-2016 that has a conventional automatic transmission rather than a CVT. A Honda Civic would also work.

Going to the dealerships has been a nightmare. These motherfuckers will lie to your face and stab you in the back. As-is cars, no returns, exchange at our lot, you can only bring-in a mechanic (can't take it to their shop), no test-driving on the highway, 99999 month auto loans, and on and on and on. It's not a controversial statement to say used car stealerships are the scum of the earth.

Unfortunately, probably because of Coronavirus, it's been very difficult to find individuals selling used cars from their property. That would be SO much easier: you get the lower individual seller price, you can probably convince them to drive it on the highway, they are unlikely to refuse a mechanic check (in fact they could even come with you), the negotiation is with a newbie not an expert, etc.

Got any ideas? Parents need to return their lease in a week or so, so we're down to the wire. ><

theanimal
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Re: Buying a used car? Stealerships v. Individual owners

Post by theanimal »

Have you looked on Craigslist?

ether
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Re: Buying a used car? Stealerships v. Individual owners

Post by ether »

I've found that buying new is worth it. Just get a subcompact car in the 15k-20k range and finance it at 0% for 5 years. Over a 5 year period gas and insurance will cost more than deprecation.
https://www.edmunds.com/honda/fit/2019/ ... =401755546

Also use this site and offer the price at dealer cost:
https://www.car-buying-strategies.com/n ... rices.html

I've helped a buddy last week negotiate a 26k car for 2k below dealer cost. Trust me dealerships are getting killed right now and desperate for sales. Now's the time to low ball new cars.

TopHatFox
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Re: Buying a used car? Stealerships v. Individual owners

Post by TopHatFox »

@theanimal, yeah, I've used Craigslist and OfferUp thus far. Kelly Blue Book and NADA for price baselines.

@ether, we may need to do that, trouble is, it seems like all new cars come with a CVT transmission, which tend to need to be replaced when broken (too complex to fix). They also are more expensive to insure, have more expensive parts, and take the spike in depreciation as soon as you drive it off the lot.

Loner
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Re: Buying a used car? Stealerships v. Individual owners

Post by Loner »

Not sure how it works in the US, but here in Canada, you can find used cars in new car dealerships. It's the cars they get in exchange when people buy a car from them and leave them their old car for a rebate on the new one. What the dealerships usually do is that they inspect the car, send away the shitty ones to used car dealerships, keep the solid(er) ones and then sell them themselves. It's usually a good bet (says a cousin who works in the industry).

CS
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Re: Buying a used car? Stealerships v. Individual owners

Post by CS »

If you go new,

Good value manuals: (good reliability, though not sure how your folks feel about manuals)

Toyota Yaris sedan (Madza 2, basically) - spring for the armrest.
Honda Civic and Accords (though the stick feels like shit compared to the old school 1990s hondas.)

The Honda Accord LX manual sedan is not listed on their site, but it is available (check cars.com). It has the non turbo engine (read, "non-oil burning engine") and smaller tires for a better ride. It also has a manual key. (Scotty will give you an earful about those electronic keys). Those features of that car make it the best choice of the accord lineup. If I was going to buy a car, this is the one.

I miss the 15" tires, but all those idiots are going for the 'cool look' of big wheels. I don't think losing a kidney (and a wheel) to potholes is cool, but maybe that's just me. (You can also dust people easier with a smaller wheel.)

TopHatFox
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Re: Buying a used car? Stealerships v. Individual owners

Post by TopHatFox »

@CS, how does tire size affect a car's handling, safety, efficiency, etc.?

Do hubcaps have any effect aside from keeping the dirt and grime out?

CS
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Re: Buying a used car? Stealerships v. Individual owners

Post by CS »

@THF

The bigger wheels are going to have a stiffer ride because the rubber part is actually thinner. A smaller tire is going ride softer, giving the wheels extra cushion when they run over bumps in the road, and also gives the steering a slightly softer feel. This shouldn't be an issue for your parents since they are probably not planning on squealing around corners. For safety, you want the wheel size the car was designed for and not get wildly different size. Making a big change can mess up your speedometer/odometer things. I have no idea about efficiency of the different sizes.

Big wheels are also a hella lot more expensive to get new tires for.

No idea about the hubcaps. Everyone wants those fancy wheels but to me all I see are dollar going down the drain when I see them. :)

I feel sort of bad now pushing the Accord. It is a pricy car and I was def being silly for lusting over it. My current ride is a 21 year old honda civic that I can't stand the thought of getting rid of, though I drove it less than 5k miles last year, and this year is going to be much less than that, lol! It only has 230k miles on it - could have easily done five times that in 21 years. Rust will kill it, much to my sadness. If it was a Cali car, it would still be going strong.

I have test driven the Yaris. Nice and responsive. Bit loud in the cabin, but it is an inexpensive car.

When you said, Scotty, I was surprised you weren't planning on getting a '94 Celica or whatever it is he is always raving about. :lol: :lol: :lol:

My parents need a car. I tried to talk them into a used Scion (the boxy ones). Perfect older person car - no climbing up or having to squat near the ground to get into it, and it is solid Toyota reliability.

Scotty on Scions -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAsk2kx0Onc

Cars.com is a great resource for finding specific cars nationwide, new and used. Those dealerships might be a bit nicer this week with all the lockdowns going on.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: Buying a used car? Stealerships v. Individual owners

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Every car/motorcycle I've owned in the past 17 years has been purchased and resold on Craigslist.

TopHatFox
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Re: Buying a used car? Stealerships v. Individual owners

Post by TopHatFox »

@CS, Scion was a great suggestion! I think the Camry or Accord are out since they're unnecessarily big and generally more expensive than their smaller Corolla or Civic versions, respectively. The Yaris is essentially a Mazda, so I think it's out unfortunately. I looked at the years that have conventional automatic transmissions and here are the brands, models, and years that would work to look for thus far:

1. Toyota Corolla: 2011-2013, any model; 2014-2016, only model L
2. Toyota Matrix: 2011-2013, any model
3. Scion iA, xB, or xD (Toyota re-brand for Millenials): I think 2011-2015, any models have a conventional automatic
4. Honda Civic: 2011-2013, any model; everything after 2013 has a CVT

As far as color, I'm thinking of looking out for white cars, since there are many studies that correlate white with a reduced chance of an accident (and dark colors such as black or dark blue with an increased chance).

I believe my conclusion from this PITA process is that most cars are mechanically suspect, fit lifestyle poorly (i.e. an SUV or truck being used to commute 10 miles to an office in FL), and the chances of getting screwed by a dealer are extremely high. It's no wonder most people fail at this crucial choice. I can only imagine the housing market is even more fraught with landmines...perhaps as much as the higher education or insurance market.

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On that note, when I tell people that I'm buying a used car, they tend to freak out and start sharing their poor experiences. In all of these instances, it's usually been for a poor brand and model choice, and--surprise, surprise--they never took it to a highly-rated mechanic to do a pre-purchase inspection.

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@everyone, thus far, I have:

1. Craiglist
2. OfferUp
3. Cars.com (if I want to fly to see a car! haha)
4. New car dealerships that have some quality trade-ins

Any other good ones to find private owners?

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C40
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Re: Buying a used car? Stealerships v. Individual owners

Post by C40 »

Facebook marketplace is used a lot in some areas.

Between that and Craigslist, there are normally plenty of options for private sales

A good strategy is to be watching regularly to find the type of seller you want. That is, someone selling a decent car, who puts it at a low price to make the sale quickly and simply. You need to be ready to act quickly. I guess the hard part of this is you need to know how to spot a deal,... which is difficult when you're not that familiar with cars and pricing.

Buying at a dealership can work. But you need to know that you can't believe much of anything a salesman tells you.. and you need to be good at negotiating. Again, knowing what's a good car and what's a good price goes a long way. Then you can say, "alright, I can give you $3,200 for it.. right now.. that's total price out the door.. you figure out your fees and whatever." and be clear (you can just be in the way you say it) that this is the only offer you'll make.

One thing to note about dealers, and used car lots - they sell a lot of cars that are offloaded by rental companies (Avis, Hertz, etc.). Personally, I wouldn't buy one of those unless I was buying it at a big discount. I think with some VIN checks it is possible to recognize this, but I'm not certain.

TopHatFox
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Re: Buying a used car? Stealerships v. Individual owners

Post by TopHatFox »

So I’ve been trying to find a white Corolla since they’re statistically most visible on the road and get in the least # of accidents, but it’s been hard to do so with all the other requirements. Maybe if I just put some visibility strips on whatever-colored car I get?

Or buy a Corolla that fits the list of requirements in whatever color, and then trade it for the same one, but in white? Annoying to have to meet a lease end-date deadline.

Fuck dealerships, honestly. Tired of dealing with their “we’ll give you an extended warranty” or “it has a lifetime drivetrain guarantee” or “our mechanic are excellent, there’s no need to take it to yours” or “here, let me charge you twice what this car is worth as an individual sale.” Individual sale is amazing by comparison.

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