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Old 04-07-2012, 11:14 AM
 
7,950 posts, read 8,358,428 times
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I'm not familiar with this kind of issue....What's recommended for how/where to find good inexpensive used vehicles? Craigslist, Internet, Carfax/Autotrader online sites, private seller?....

My brother needs a new (for him) mini-van, and is tight on money with no cash, and not the best credit. Not the worst, but closer to bad than the best. Let's call it 'recovering' and 'improved' credit scores So he'd have to finance it.

As long as he can make the payments, he doesn't mind paying higher interest. He's had to do that for years.

BUT he does want a GOOD car, for the best price he can get.

He's leaning toward trying to get a certified used mini van from a dealer. The plus might be more dependable and in better shape -- down side: not the best price. The van he he now he bought at one year old, and he's had it for 9 years. So ideally he'd like to try to get a one year old van. I'm trying to get him to go older -- up to five years old. ((Actually I'd like him to try to get a the cheapest NEW van (the Mazda 5. It's only a 6 seater, but I' don't know enough about used cars to be comfortable with them. So I guess that's MY issue))

Would you trust a private seller, as for a used mini van ?

I understand that between the cash for clunkers program -- and people hanging onto their cars longer because of the economy the market for used cars is tight and people know their used vehicle is in demand, so that's pushing prices up.

He's in Philly. Would it help if he went out of state, or drove to some small town to get a better price? Also if you buy a cert used car from a dealer, is the warranty only with that dealer, or just like a new car you can by from one dealer and get it serviced elsewhere.

Your recommendations? Thanks
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Old 04-07-2012, 11:32 AM
 
Location: NJ
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I would certainly check the prices between a low mileage certified van vs. a new one. You may be surprised how close in price they are.
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Old 04-07-2012, 11:35 AM
 
Location: Eastern NC
20,871 posts, read 19,382,411 times
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Is his van worn out so much that he needs a new one? If its not causing any probems he is better off just keeping this one until repair costs are more than payments.
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Old 04-07-2012, 11:43 AM
 
370 posts, read 1,421,212 times
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Also cars.com and edmunds.com List price for new and nearly new cars do seem to be pretty close however; no one really thinks a new van and a a year old van are actually about the same price. First year depreciation is probably at least 4 thousand dollars. While Chrysler doesn't seem to have the best reputation; they do seem to have a relatively lower selling price and are, I think, generally well appointed. The problem with people who are recovering is they sometimes do not make repairs (or do maintenance) which then turn into more expensive repairs. While a van is an excellent option if the family size requires it, they do get poorer mileage (but cheaper than driving two cars!!). I think that most people avoid extended warranties however, for someone who (1) doesn't know the condition of the car- and is not covered by an existing manufacturer's warranty or (2) can't set aside money for car care; they are a viable risk avoidance option. Look up Warranty Direct.com before you sign up at the dealer to compare pricing.
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Old 04-07-2012, 12:18 PM
 
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His van is 10 years old and needs at least 1,500 worth of work. A few hundred MIGHT get it on the road, but then the other stuff would still need to be done.

One thing is that the hand break has actually pulled up OUT of the floor. (I haven't personally seen it, that's what he tells me) Could be the 'harness' or the chamber he's talking about that connects the break to the median between the seats. But he's said what ever has disconnected has come loose from the FLOOR, and needs welding.

Personally I think the van has served its purpose it's time to move on. Plus buying new just seems to be a 'cleaner' more straightforward transaction with fewer "what-ifs and worries." But that's why I'm here to get advice from those of you who have experience and know more about this than I do...thanks
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Old 04-07-2012, 12:33 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
10,913 posts, read 27,610,691 times
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For a smaller van-like vehicle that's the size of the station wagon, the Mazda 5 is a very good choice. I know people with one, and they like it very much, though the third row impacts the amount of cargo with the seats up, and they are not comfortable for adults on longer trips as compared to a regular mini van, like the Mazda MPV, Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, Chrysler Town & Country, etc.

Regarding the certified vehicle, it depends upon whom is the certifier of said vehicle. If it is purchased through the manufacturer's certification program, such as Honda, Mazda, etc. at their franchised new car dealer, the warranty is nationwide, just as you would have with a new car. Any other certification is worth only the reputation of the dealer and convenience of getting there for any covered work, but the term is subject to misuse by some dealers who imply value that is really no different than purchasing a used vehicle. Basically, the only certification worth paying for, is that which is part of the manufacturer's program.
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Old 04-07-2012, 12:42 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
28,401 posts, read 67,486,704 times
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A new van may actually be cheaper because he will get better finance terms on a new van. Thus, he may well pay less than buying an almost new van.

Dodge has a terrible reputation because their mini vans were terrible during the 1990s and early 2000s. The new ones are supposedly better, but looking at one, it looked like they still use chinstzy parts. However they all probably do. If he is only going to keep it for ten years, it probably will not make any difference.

The dodge vans have the best ideas. They are better designed and thuoght out. The design is just usually not well executed.

You will pay a LOT more for the asian vans. Again, if only keeping it for ten eyars, it is likely not worth the premium. Any new van should easily last ten years.

Frankly, if your brother is not well off. I do nto understand replacing a ten year old van. Even moderately well off people may be likely to buy your brothers van when he sells it.
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Old 04-07-2012, 05:48 PM
 
8,778 posts, read 17,508,722 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
A new van may actually be cheaper because he will get better finance terms on a new van. Thus, he may well pay less than buying an almost new van.

Frankly, if your brother is not well off. I do nto understand replacing a ten year old van. Even moderately well off people may be likely to buy your brothers van when he sells it.
Doesn't really have the money to fix it, apparently:

Quote:
Originally Posted by selhars View Post
My brother needs a new (for him) mini-van, and is tight on money with no cash, and not the best credit. Not the worst, but closer to bad than the best. Let's call it 'recovering' and 'improved' credit scores So he'd have to finance it.
Sounds like a crappy "buy here, pay here" deal is what he's looking at.
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Old 04-07-2012, 06:34 PM
 
1,425 posts, read 4,997,754 times
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$1500 doesn't get you more than 4 months of payments on a new van, but fixes the old one. We need to know what exactly is wrong with the old van or he is just tired of it. What van is it, how many miles on it and what is breaking down?
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Old 04-07-2012, 09:01 PM
 
Location: Chandler, AZ
5,801 posts, read 5,756,813 times
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Without any specifics as to what's really wrong with this van, we can't pass along any advice or tips.

One long-running problem with Dodge/Chrysler minivans were the original CAFE standards; like their American counterparts, Chrysler minivans were very handicapped by those ludicrous MPG requirements, to the point that trying to make a minivan compatible with a 4-cylinder engine to meet those standards was an exercise in futility.

Can you say 'blown head gasket?'

Toss in tons of problems with their transmissions, and that's another reason to avoid them in most instances; you'll definitely pay top $$$ for an Odyssey, Sienna or Quest, but that's the market for you.

Someone earlier mentioned 'execution' as a major problem with domestic minivans, which just about nails it; something always went haywire between the drawing board and the assembly line, and the execution needed to compete with foreign minivans from the Far East rarely materialized.
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