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Old 02-11-2009, 01:54 AM
 
206 posts, read 449,114 times
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What's the most you would spend on a used car? How many miles is too many on a used car (Suburban or Trailblazer)? What are some of your experiences with buying used cars. Would you purchase a used vehichle with more than a 100,000 miles on it ever? How much would you be willing to pay for a vehicle with over a 100,000 miles on it.
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Old 02-11-2009, 06:33 AM
 
2,065 posts, read 3,978,862 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phoebecressy1 View Post
What's the most you would spend on a used car? How many miles is too many on a used car (Suburban or Trailblazer)? What are some of your experiences with buying used cars. Would you purchase a used vehichle with more than a 100,000 miles on it ever? How much would you be willing to pay for a vehicle with over a 100,000 miles on it.
Used cars are worth what others are willing to pay. When buying a used car... establish a budget that reflects total cost at time of purchase... which MAY include taxes, dealer fees, insurance deposit, initial maintenance (might need tires or brakes) and inspections. Most buyers spend way more than they first commit to. If you have time.... then use the various used car sites for searches, and decide how far you are willing to travel to inspect a vehicle. Locally is usually better... but good deals can be found if you are willing to travel. However if you do travel do all the pre-work you can... car fax, get pictures, ask about service records, etc. Don't drive 100 miles and find out the interior color is something you are unwilling to live with.

Try to find one-owner cars that have been dealer maintained... and that's not an absolute, but having all the service records electronically entered, and all recalls updated will provide a level of confidence beyond some one saying it was "well maintained". Buy a "type" vehicle that meets your needs.... of course you MUST know your needs prior to buying... so write them down.

Mileage is a a consideration beyond the actual number. for instance... used for towing? used for local comutes? long comutes? daily driver? adult driven?
4x4? garaged? I can tell you some vehicles will handle miles better than others, but these days 200,000 miles SHOULD be expected on a vehicle that is properly maintained. Consider newer high mileage and older low milage vehicles in your search. Newer high milage are "usually" long comutes miles and older low milage is usually "adult" driven. Look at the steering wheel for wear, interior brake and gas pedals, headliners, driver and passenger seat where someones butt drags (for excessive wear) look at buttons and switches, all these are signs of use or abuse. Keep an open mind but invest your brain cells before the sale, not after to find a good repair shop.

As for a Suburban or a Trailblazer... both vehicles will easily get 200,000 miles, if maintained. Be prepared for reviews to read... "worst vehicel I ever owned" and the next review to read "best vehicle I ever owned". Both vehicles are common through out the market so good values are available. Educate yourself about each vehicle, check KBB, Edmonds (sp?)... etc., to get a feel for prices. Go drive a newer late-model of the same vehicle on a dealer lot... then drive a vehicle in your price range... and notice/feel the difference. NEVER buy the first vehicle you see... however good value doesn't last long... so in the same breath, be prepared to give a deposit.
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Old 02-11-2009, 08:32 AM
 
Location: Southwest Nebraska
1,297 posts, read 3,830,299 times
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I bought a 1994 Crown Vic and I was the third owner. When it was new the owners manual shows everything was maintained as required by book untill 60,000 miles when it was sold. After that who knows what was done. It has 125,000 on it and drivers seat is not torn and it is cloth.

I paid 2500.00 and only drive in town about 8,000 miles a year cause we don't trust it. Put new tires on and front brakes but front ball joint busted and luckly we were going less than 5mph. Cost 150.00 now other side acting up. Windows all quit working, signal/wiper lever bad, seat broke, uses 1qt. oil every 400 miles, steering has become real loose to just name a few. We don't have money to repair with only less than 1000.00/month income.

I will NEVER buy a vehicle again with even close to 100,000 miles on it. I would rather make 300/mo payments for 5 yrs. than spend 300/mo on repairs and car rentals to go anywhere farther than 20 miles.
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Old 02-11-2009, 08:41 AM
 
9,225 posts, read 18,058,689 times
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When I buy my next car it will be used.

However what I have done is narrowed down the car I want and found an online community who specializes in those cars. There are often "buyers guides" listed in there for what to look out for.

Also if you are looking over the cars (I would recommend that, the last time I paid highly recommended mechanic to do a pre-purchase on a car he overlooked a bad head) I would buy two things. A compression tester and a block tester, both available from Car Quest or Napa. These two things will tell you the health of the engine. If both are good, and the transmission is good, there isn't much left unless there are obvious signs of failures (leaks, squeaks, etc.). To answer your question I wouldn't have a problem buying a car with 100k+ on it depending on the manufactuer. GM's hell no, Volvo/Lexus etc. absolutely.

In addition I try to do a lot of work myself, which offsets the buying of a used car. I would expect to spend around $1k more than purchase price to get it in good condition, so that's also a consideration.
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Old 02-11-2009, 11:37 AM
 
Location: Earth
4,220 posts, read 19,089,109 times
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Every car I've ever purchased was used.

Depends on how well the vehicle was taken care of to buy one with over 100k.

wheelsup, I have a GM model with almost 200k on it....and it still runs really good. It fires right up the first try every day when I leave for work. And I've not had to do a whole lot to it to keep it going either. Not all GM cars are junk like you're thinking.

Anything can be made to last *if you take care of it*.

"Too many miles" are the opinion of one person over another. Some people think 85k is too many miles.
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Old 02-11-2009, 02:59 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
12,101 posts, read 39,439,116 times
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It does not make any sense to me to say I would not spend more than "$X" on a used car. Totally depends on the car, it's condition, and the market for it. With gas prices rising, the logic of searching out an SUV escapes me, particularly the big Suburban. It's true that GM, Ford, and Chrysler are buildng much better cars now than they did a few years ago, but I still would not buy a guzzler. To me $2 gas is not exactly cheap, and there is no reason to think it won't go a lot higher whenever the economy turns around (whenever that turns out to be...) If for whatever reason you want to buy a GM, how about the Malibu?

Most of my car purchases have been for less than $4000, if you get a good specimen of a well-built, well-designed vehicle, it should have plenty of life left in it. Here in non-rusting country, you can find some really old cars with mega miles on them still in service.

100K miles is just a number, like 100 MPH. 100 MPH is not really that fast anymore, neither is 100K miles an excessive number of miles. Of course this depends on who is putting on the miles, and where, and what kind of maintenance the vehicle gets.

Consider a guy like me who drives 40 miles each way to/from work, takes good care of the car, drives in a way to make progress but not ham-handed or rough on the car. Hell, I sometimes get 100K out of a set of brake pads! Consider if the car is in a non-rusting, desert location, and if it is garaged, if most of the driving is rural and/or on Interstates.

Consider a guy who is not at all like me, who drives the exact same car in NYC, typical type A sort, constantly stomping on the gas and then the brake, driving on pothole infested, salt-covered roads, the car sits on the street when not in use, it never leaves NYC.

While the NYC car may have fewer miles, if you can't clearly see it would be in much worse shape, you probably should not buy a car at all.

So, think like an engineer, not like an accountant.
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Old 02-12-2009, 12:13 AM
 
206 posts, read 449,114 times
Reputation: 135
Default Thanks

So far i have gotten some really good replies. Keep them coming
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:23 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
12,101 posts, read 39,439,116 times
Reputation: 9302
OK, I'll add this - you need to have good technical expertise on your side. If you don't know how to identify a car that has been wrecked and repaired (badly), and how a good specimen of the car you are looking at should run and drive, either find out or bring an expert with you.

Depending on where you live (rust belt or no) and how long you want to be able to keep the car, don't base your buying decision on the condition of wear items like brake pads, tires, even mufflers. You don't want to pay "full price" for such a car, but a car that needs some deferred maintenance taken care of is not necessarily a turkey. If you are buying a cheap, old car, a lot of the value may be in fresh wear parts.

Look in Consumer Reports, their recommended and not-recommended used car lists, while not Gospel, are a good guide.

Don't buy a big car just to accomodate an annual visit by relatives. Buy a smaller, more nimble, more economical car that really meets *your* normal needs, and rent a van when parents or in-laws visit.

Consider something like a Miata, if that will work for you. I don't know statistics for it, but a lot of American Road miles are people driving to work alone, many in a big boring boat, which is costing them for gas, and doing nothing worthwhile for them in return.

A lot of women won't look at a car that does not have "4 doors and automatic transmission" - break out of the herd, look at sporty cars with stickshift. When you want to sell on, you will have a car that young dudes actually want. I'm assuming you don't have a hilly urban commute, in which case you really should go with the slushbox.

Don't obsess on miles. We have a Subie with 246K, runs like a champ, I expect to get 100K more, at least. At the same time with bad maintenance this many miles may mean a badly worn car, it depends on the car, how it's driven, and how it's maintained.

It's a buyer's market out there. Go out there and look, look, shop, shop. You should be able to get a good deal.
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Old 02-13-2009, 12:50 AM
 
Location: Beautiful place in Virginia
2,658 posts, read 9,853,384 times
Reputation: 1262
Quote:
Originally Posted by phoebecressy1 View Post
What's the most you would spend on a used car? How many miles is too many on a used car (Suburban or Trailblazer)? What are some of your experiences with buying used cars. Would you purchase a used vehichle with more than a 100,000 miles on it ever? How much would you be willing to pay for a vehicle with over a 100,000 miles on it.
There is so much variability in the 'price' of a used car. In addition, you need to be more specific regarding, make, model, year, mileage, features, trim level. Carfax can give insight into maintenance of the vehicle, accidents and flooding. Since you're from LA state, flood damaged vehicles are a problem.

Check reliability data for the model year of interest in Consumer Reports.

Also look here:

Consumer Guide® Automotive: Search New & Used Car, SUV, Truck & Minivan Prices & Reviews

Buy Cars Online, New & Used Car Search, Auto Classifieds has information on vehicles, as well.

Mileage without further detail is useless.

New Car Prices, Used Car Prices, Blue Book Value, Car Reviews - Official Kelley Blue Book Site
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Old 02-13-2009, 02:00 AM
 
Location: North Carolina
795 posts, read 1,147,327 times
Reputation: 226
Don't trust everything on carfax. I wrecked a car once and got a buddy to tow it back. Police never found out about it and neither did carfax.

If you care about bondo you might want to walk around it with a magnet.

Drive it like you stole it. Don't baby a car if you are test driving it.
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