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#31943 - 11/24/04 12:28 PM Re: buying a car
CheshireCat
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/17/02
Posts: 158
Loc: Ponte Vedra Beach, FL USA

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Ah! I figured there must be a thread already, couldn't find one but here it is.

Well, basically, I just turned down buying a car from a private seller because he refused to let me get it inspected. I think he was a shady guy looking for a sucker. But who is going to buy a car from some guy without getting it inspected first?

I haven't read through what has all been said here but I will just as soon as I get a chance. Thanks sunflow for directing me here.

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#31944 - 11/24/04 04:40 PM Re: buying a car
shrew
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/09/00
Posts: 207

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ChesireCat, you've already taken heed of my best bit of advice in car buying: ALWAYS be willing to walk away from the deal. It's amazing how often tunes will change in price negotiations when you get up and start to walk away. I once pit two car dealers against each other simply by calling one from the office of the other while the salesperson was talking to his "manager" about my price negotiations. The price I finally got was lower than the "lowest" price that either of the dealerships had initially offered me.

Also, I learned this from MrShrew in terms of used car purchases: It's good to do a bit of research and find out what typically goes wrong with a particular make/model of car. Then you can ask about that specific thing, which can tell you how much the seller knows about the car and how well it's been cared for.

Here's the example: MrShrew was shopping for an MG (tiny little vintage British car) on eBay. He's owned them before and knows that the electrical systems are a bit shaky. So, when he saw a listing in our area for a car that looked great, he e-mailed to ask a few specific questions about the electrical system: whether this or that thingy (he didn't use the term "thingy," of course) had been replaced, etc. The seller replied that "the pictures tell you everything you need to know." Not so much. Mr. Shrew walked away from that deal then and there, knowing that the guy was likely hiding some costly wiring problems under the pretty pictures.

A decent mechanic can tell you what typically goes wrong with specific cars -- they know what problems they see repeatedly. My old Ford Escort needed to have the front end re-aligned a few times, and I finally heard that this was a common problem for the Escort. So if I were buying a used one, I'd be sure that the front-end had been aligned recently, and that the tires and brake pads were new, since a bad front end messes up the tires.

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#31945 - 11/26/04 03:11 AM Re: buying a car
polly#2
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 135
Loc: Ireland

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Honest John is a superb site with, amongst other resources like recommendations of specialist garages, a very comprehensive listing of car makes sold in the UK and Europe giving their known typical weak points, normal life span, good points.

Of limited use for readers outside Europe, but fantabuously comprehensive and accurate for anyone in Europe.

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#31946 - 11/26/04 10:56 AM Re: buying a car
bonster
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/04/01
Posts: 443
Loc: Texas

Online
I think Edmunds.com provides a similar service in the U.S., and in addition to the Kelley Blue Book there are the NADA Guides .

I heartily agree with all who have said be willing to walk away. I can't believe the variety of crap and outright lies I've heard from car salespeople. While shopping for my very first new car a sales guy told me he couldn't go to his manager to get the price without a downpayment or "earnest money" of some kind, I guess thinking I'd write him a big check. After assuring him that I was not about to put down money on an item without knowing how much it cost, I offered him a penny, looked in my wallet and said "no, here's a dollar. Now go get the price." When he returned I got my dollar back.

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#31947 - 11/30/04 08:57 AM Re: buying a car
CheshireCat
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/17/02
Posts: 158
Loc: Ponte Vedra Beach, FL USA

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That's awesome, bonster. I'll have to remember that one.
What happens when you find the perfect car in every regard except the color is god-awful?! Is that a legitimate reason not to get the car? Well, no, I didn't think it was!

And I speak a little soon about the car being "perfect." I haven't gone to see it yet. Maybe in person (in car?) it won't be so bad. The worst kind of sparkly red. Like a raspberry. But ugly. Butt ugly. Okay, too much fun with sentence fragments! It's too damn early!

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#31948 - 11/30/04 10:43 AM Re: buying a car
Lizzie
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/07/03
Posts: 194
Loc: Washington DC

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I have found that the very ugly cars, while hideous to look at, are often easy to find in large parking lots. This may not be an issue for you, but it is for me, as I can never remember where I've parked.
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#31949 - 11/30/04 02:13 PM Re: buying a car
CheshireCat
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/17/02
Posts: 158
Loc: Ponte Vedra Beach, FL USA

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Way to look on the bright side, Lizzie. I have the same problem.
And besides, I'm mostly going to be looking at the inside of the car, it's everyone else who has to look at the outside.

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#87082 - 11/24/08 10:21 AM Re: buying a car [Re: CheshireCat]
LaSalleUGirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/25/01
Posts: 1893
Loc: Philadelphia, PA, USA

Online
Do any of you happen to own a Nissan Versa? We've see a bunch of TV ads lately that are pushing the Versa for under US$10,000. My car is 11 years old and on its last legs. LaSalleUBoy and I had been planning to wait until his car is paid off next August, and then buy a decent used one (we were primarily thinking of a Toyota or a Honda).

But my parents just offered to help us buy a Versa if our research shows that it would be safe and reliable. So, we're doing the Consumer Reports thing and all, but I'd love to hear from people who actually own and drive a Versa about what they like and what they don't. Any input? Thanks!

(You know that phenomenon where somebody brings something to your attention, and then you notice that something everywhere? When we were out running errands yesterday, I noticed about 10 Versas. They are quite cute! And several of them contained child seats that looked like they fit reasonably well -- which is a concern to me, because I'm hoping to have/adopt multiple children during the lifespan of this car, so car seat functionality is a must.)

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