Buying a used car? Stealerships v. Individual owners

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Jason

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

Post by Jason »

https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/24/business ... index.html

Hertz filed for bankruptcy. Doesn't mean they are going out of business but does mean they are restructuring. Plus, Uber, Lyft. Rental car agencies selling off their inventories.

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

Post by jacob »

CO2 emissions from driving were down 40-60% yoy in April in the lock-down areas. When we tried to start our car yesterday, the battery was dead. It has been driven twice since the beginning of march. Cars are currently oversupplied.

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

Post by SavingWithBabies »

@jacob You might consider keeping the battery topped up with a trickle charger or manually charging it a scheduled basis (maybe once a month and adjusting if top off time seems lengthy). I have this problem with our sedan that we only use non-winter. My choice for now is to use an RC hobby charger as they are very flexible and charge all types of batteries. Kind of a jack of all trades for charging (and can even do foam cutting if you rig up a wire cutter with some nichrome wire and test motors).

I neglected the 12 volt battery in our hybrid sedan by leaving it sitting while RVing and not being careful two winters in a row while it also sat. And it uses an more expensive AGM battery as they put it in the trunk. I think it's still working but it might be toast (going to take it to the auto parts store and have them do the free test on it). So I think this next winter I'll be using calendar reminders and make it simple as possible. The only problem I found with trickle chargers is there is a wide variety and finding one that doesn't kill the battery or fail in some other spectacular manner was difficult (so I didn't buy one).

Jason

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

Post by Jason »

We started our cars for the first time in two months, both demonstrated brake rusting. One needs to be serviced. I hate cars. In the podcast I referenced in 7W5 Innovation thread, Matt Ridley was discussing that the "future" was always envisioned with new modes of transportation. Yet here we are. No space packs, no high rise tubular vacuums, no beam me up Scotty. Same old planes, trains and automobiles. And the planes are on the hangars and the cars are sitting in parking lots. The "future" innovation is essentially how we buy and sell and how we communicate. No one's going to the moon to get away during the lockdown. Just padding Jeff Bezos' coffers.

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

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

I use a calendar reminder to start and drive my car every three days. This method works for me though you might choose a longer interval. In my opinion, driving the car is better than just keeping the battery charged or letting it idle in the driveway. Jason's comment about brakes rusting is a good example of why this is.

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

Post by Sclass »

Trickle charger from Harbor Freight goes on sale for $3.99 sometimes. Wait for the sale.

I listened to all my neighbors try to start their cars this weekend. AAA trucks everywhere. Many dead batteries. I heard the serviceman say “drive it around for a few minutes and avoid an $80 replacement.” It was pretty sad. Really nice cars all dead. Totally helpless neighbors who could barely open their hoods by themselves. I had no idea. Covid has really revealed a lot about society.

Here’s a tip if you’re really frugal, save your 12v-14v Wall adapters from electronic stuff you throw out. Combine that with a cheap lamp timer to turn it on an hour a day and you have a trickle charger. I think my ikea ones were $2 each. Makes a great motorcycle charger with mating RC car battery plugs. Charge your car like a toy. I like to permanently wire a quick connect to the vehicle. One hour a day is like using the car for an hourly commute.

A surplus 12v solar panel, a diode and some clips works well if you don’t want to run an extension cord.

Jason

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

Post by Jason »

Sclass wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 2:36 pm
Covid has really revealed a lot about society.
lol@that the majority of us are hopeless when it comes to auto repair? Or just repair? What society were you living in before Covid?

My brake rust issue resolved itself by the time I got to the mechanic so I had him change the oil. Nice guy. He's a keeper.

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

Post by Sclass »

@jason Hey, at least you know how to resurface your rotors.

Jason

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

Post by Jason »

When I said the issue was resolved before I got to the mechanic, what I meant was that driving the vehicle from my home to the shop proved to be curative. Apparently, for any issue that requires knowledge of turning a key and hitting the gas, I am a master mechanic.

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

Post by Peanut »

Just have to share my own story: several weeks ago I realized my remote VW car key was fading. I 'figured out' that the key battery must be dead. I leave it for a couple weeks, then watch the youtube videos and go get a new big button battery and manage to pry the thing open and change it. I feel victorious. All this time DH is asking me, are you sure it's not the car battery that's dead, i.e, did you leave the lights on again? I say no, I checked. In my mind I meant to. When I go to open the car of course the key still doesn't work bc it is indeed the car battery that is dead. Luckily my neighbor comes to help me out with his ancient van. Great guy, after multiple tries to jump the car it still doesn't start but he says just keep trying. Other neighbor comes out and provides better cables and after a few more minutes the Rabbit comes to life! Obvious lessons for me: the longer the car sits with a dead battery the harder it is to jump, and we need to replace our crappy cables with lower gauge ones.

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

Post by Alphaville »

all other things being equal, preferably try to restart when the weather is hot (eg early afternoon rather than early morning)

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

Post by J_ »

A modern car has a lot of "stealth" current users. I drive mine only ten times a year. Therefore every time I have used my car I disconnect the mass cable from the battery, is only one minute work. Then the battery remains its power for a long time. Last time this worked over 4 or 5 months without use!

After disconnecting the battery you have to use the "mechanical" key to open the drivers door, then you can lift the bonnet and connect the mass cable again.

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

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

If you find yourself disconnecting the battery a lot there is a switch you can buy and install between the terminal and the battery post.

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

Post by flying_pan »

I just drive my cars once a month these days, it should be enough. If it does not hold up that long, it is either a battery should be replaced or something drains the power. Our neighbours were driving basically every other day all this time, so nobody got stuck here at all :) Fearless coastal community.

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

Post by SavingWithBabies »

What's the worry with having the rotors get surface rust? It's just superficial -- drive around for a couple of stops and it's gone.

@Sclass I have one of those trickle chargers but there are some horror stories. Thinking about it, maybe it's a given for any trickle charger there will be always horror stories (I wouldn't be surprised if some let the water level get low and it goes up in flames but also some are supposedly too strong so if you leave it for months, the water evaporates faster assuming a regular lead acid battery and same problem again potentiallyy). I didn't have problems with the one I used on a motorcycle. I'll give it another shot although I don't trust using it in the vehicle. At least not until I've run it for a while. The horror stories are overcharging/fires.

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

Post by Sclass »

The early Harbor Freight one’s were junk. There were multiple teardown videos of the changes in circuitry over the years. Yes, they were full of problems and went through a lot of revisions. I have validated mine with a multimeter. It’s about a year old.

This is why I prefer the 1 hr a day lamp timer coupled with a 12v 500mA power supply. Never had a problem boiling water out with this setup. It’s too stupid to fail.

I just went up to LA yesterday and started my truck that has been sitting three months. 12”x12” solar panel sitting in the bed works great.

My civic battery was the factory battery from 2007. It has recently died after being on a solar charger continuously for five years. I’ve had it parked since 2015. It started every time I tried it after being lefts months but one day it went boom! Caps blew off the battery and it was completely dead. The car only had 20k on it and the battery was the oem but I guess nothing is forever. Thirteen years isn’t bad. I never got a new battery as the car is a lawn ornament now.

I started the civic last night with a handy lithium ion jump starter pack from Harbor Freight. I bought mine to use as a backup battery for my phone and iPad but it is intended to be used as a car jump-starter. It works great. Has a nice flashlight in it too. I think I paid $65 for it. It holds a charge for years too just like a phone battery backup. Handy to have when somebody asks for a jump and I don’t want them stressing out my car battery.

The brake resurfacing comment was my attempt at @jason’esque humor. We all kind of turn our rotors everyday we drive. The good news is Jason’s new mechanic didn’t offer to resurface his rotors indicating he’s honest. I always laughed about the necessity of resurfacing. I want my rotors to last as long as possible because I’m frugal. I don’t want to pay money to have somebody put them on a lathe and make them thinner. I’ve done hundreds of brake jobs and I’ve never resurfaced. Maybe twice I bought new rotors.

This service is done professionally for a couple of reasons. 1) it makes the tech extra money. 90% of the time you don’t need it and if you do (there’s significant runout) you should buy a new rotor. Any “pattern” they put on will be rubbed off by your brake pads in a few miles and whatever made your old rotor warp will do so again. 2) if the pro doesn’t resurface your rotors, they will often make noises for the first few miles which brings an irate customer back. The last thing he wants. So he makes you pay for the insurance that you won’t hear funny noises. Drive your car after your DIY pad swap and you get a free resurface. Add that to your free Autozone brake pads and you have a free brake job.

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

Post by Alphaville »

After getting rid of my unwieldy truck last winter (lots of wasted space and dead weight in a pickup for urban use) I’ve been thinking about buying a motor vehicle again. Fear of contagion has cooled me to public transportation and even rideshares. Car rentals... who cleaned them last?

Thing is I don’t know what I should buy. Car wouldn’t be for commuting, or even shopping. It would just be for the occasional out of the way appointment, trips out of town, or gtfo emergencies. So gas mileage isn’t crucial. Yearly mileage would be cery low, I assume under 3K.

Do I need one? I don’t really know. Just running some scenarios in the back of my head...

Been thinking about a used Honda Fit or some other econo-hatchback for city convenience (Kia... something?). Been thinking about a used Jeep Wrangler or an old Subaru Outback since I’d be able to drive those to the cabin. Been thinking about buying new and keeping forever. Been thinking about the future of fuel in those forever window, and high repairability scores. Been thinking I really don’t want an automatic transmission ever again.

Nothing seems to check all boxes and don’t really want 2 cars to cover all bases.

Throw me some wild ideas? It’s brainstorming time and nothing is off-limits (except for insults...)

I’m liking the new Jeep with manual gears idea... but where is gasoline going to be 20 years from now? (FYI my old truck was 20 years old.)

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

Post by Sclass »

I’d really research a Jeep carefully. I’ve heard horror stories. My home was occupied by tenants with a Jeep. Our mail always comes with their recall notices and class action lawsuits for their Jeep. Get other owners’ long term opinions.

I like the Fit. There are a lot of the older ones around with the 5speed transmissions. If you can live with a manual this is the way to go for cheap and low maintenance. In GLA you’ll need a knee transplant if you drive one in traffic.

I’m not sure if the Fit has the Takata airbag. My 2008 civic does. Even with the recall, the new bag is Ammonium Nitrate. The only improvement is it’s new and it contains a bag of desiccant. Eventually it’ll become a killer airbag again. Luckily I don’t need my civic and I just use it to make my vacant home look occupied. I’ve been asked to sell it cheap to relatives and friends but I am afraid to sell it to anyone I actually care about.

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

Post by Alphaville »

Not only can I live with manual—I think there’s just no better way to drive.

Since I don’t commute or live in a heavy traffic zone, start/stop is not a problem, but honestly even in start/stop conditions I prefer manual gears for the precision.

I know little to nothing about airbags so I’ll read up on your references, thanks.

Fits would be my ideal for the city, but how do they perform in rural roads, snow/ice, etc?

Thanks for the heads up on Jeep reliability. I’ll look deeper into reliability/safety issues.

Maybe some Subaru model could best cover the city/country spectrum I inhabit...

eta: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4PRQyNjLaXY

not bad....

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

Post by SavingWithBabies »

@Sclass That's good to know the newer trickle chargers from HF are good. I missed that. I'll get one next time I go.

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