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Old 01-16-2010, 04:07 PM
 
Location: St. Joseph Area
6,233 posts, read 9,478,875 times
Reputation: 3133

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Hi Auto forum!

For the first time I'm buying my own used car. I'm sure I want a toyota, nissan or honda. But because I'm completely new to this, I'm asking for advice on what to know and what to watch out for when shopping for a car.

Should I shop at a dealership or go more toward the "for sale by owner" types? what are the advantages/disadvantages of going with either one?
Also, how much would be "too much" to pay for a used car? I don't want to pay more than 10k for one if I can help it. How can I find good deals? Are there any reliable websites to check out? Any websites to avoid?

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks!

mackinac

 
Old 01-16-2010, 05:11 PM
 
199 posts, read 591,604 times
Reputation: 103
1. Get Consumer Reports annual auto issue. Lots of helpful tips on how to shop for a used car.

2. If possible, ask a mechanic you know well, who can refer you to a quality dealership which has a rep for standing behind their vehicles, preferably with a limited warranty, at the very least on the engine and transmission.

3. It looks like certified used car programs are out of your price range, but I know that in the past Toyota and a number of luxury makes offered these programs which supposedly involve a detailed inspection of the vehicle along with quite impressive limited warranties.

It should be a buyer's market at this point, so take your time.
 
Old 01-16-2010, 06:12 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
13,714 posts, read 31,162,494 times
Reputation: 9270
Quote:
Originally Posted by evesadam View Post
1. Get Consumer Reports annual auto issue. Lots of helpful tips on how to shop for a used car.

2. If possible, ask a mechanic you know well, who can refer you to a quality dealership which has a rep for standing behind their vehicles, preferably with a limited warranty, at the very least on the engine and transmission.

3. It looks like certified used car programs are out of your price range, but I know that in the past Toyota and a number of luxury makes offered these programs which supposedly involve a detailed inspection of the vehicle along with quite impressive limited warranties.

It should be a buyer's market at this point, so take your time.
I'm not so sure it is a buyer's market now. New car sales are down of course, but the market for used cars is very strong in most parts of the country.

I agree with the rec to get the CR annual issue (April). It has a comprehensive list of recommended cars by price range.

I would also use websites like Edmunds for research to determine market prices.
 
Old 01-16-2010, 06:28 PM
 
28,114 posts, read 63,647,953 times
Reputation: 23263
I've only bought one new car in my life and that was a special opportunity since I was working overseas at the time and was able to get a substantial discount...

Every other vehicle has been used and so far, not a single bad one in the ground... My first used car I bought back in High School and still have it... cost $800 for a Plymouth Valiant...

Most of my cars are from word of mouth... someone has a family member that is not longer driving or they need to sell because the family is bigger, divorce etc...

Almost all have been private party where I knew the history... a co-worker just bought a sweet Civic from another co-worker because she needed a bigger car... the Dealer offered her very little for the car and she sold it for cash for $4,800 and that was $300 more than the Dealer offered.

Check around with family and friends... let people know you are looking...

The Sales Tax and License in my State for a new 30k car is close to 4k... and 4k can buy a very good car... even if you only keep it a few years and sell it for $2,500

It is true the supply of good used cars is short... less new car trade-ins and a lot went to cash for clunkers...
 
Old 01-16-2010, 07:21 PM
 
Location: Southern Arizona
9,600 posts, read 31,688,287 times
Reputation: 11741
I agree with Ultrarunner, Mackinac.

Some knowledge of the original owner is very important as well as possibly knowing why the vehicle is being sold.

Generally speaking, the vehicle's maintenance history is more important than the make or model and there's nothing worse than buying someone else's headaches and/or problems.

Good Luck
 
Old 01-16-2010, 09:02 PM
 
16,393 posts, read 30,264,727 times
Reputation: 25501
Quote:
Originally Posted by evesadam View Post
It should be a buyer's market at this point, so take your time.
It is a seller's market. Based on reports that I have seen from Manheim and GE Fleet Services, used car prices are currently higher than they have been for 2-3 years. The reasons cited include:

1) Cash for Clunkers removed a lot of vehicles from the market, especially at the low end of the market.

2) The major car rental companies are running their cars to 35-40k as opposed to replacing them every 15k as they had in the past.

3) Most corporate fleets are holding cars for a lot longer or are eliminating company cars entirely.


In other words, if you go into a dealership or to a private party and offer a ridiculously LOW offer, don't be surprised if you don't get the vehicle.
 
Old 01-16-2010, 09:18 PM
 
1,742 posts, read 6,137,280 times
Reputation: 737
For 10k you should have quite a lot to pick from for Japanese cars
 
Old 01-16-2010, 09:42 PM
 
3,071 posts, read 9,136,328 times
Reputation: 1660
A late model taurus 2001 and up with less than 100 k on it is alot of car for the buck. For a price of 3000 or a little more you can expect at lease 40k to 60k more without any major big cost items. With most japanese cars you can expect about 180 to 200 or more but the japanese cars with only about 100k and no more than 4 to 5 years old will often cost much more than 3 k. Like I said the ford is the better bang for the buck.
 
Old 01-17-2010, 02:52 PM
 
Location: Woodbridge, VA
10 posts, read 22,486 times
Reputation: 18
Default Great Used Car Site -- MilitaryCarLot.com

There's a great website for the military to buy and sell their used cars. Looks like it's open to the public. See it at MilitaryCarLot.com. Looks like some awesome cars and pretty good deals ... and free ads!

Hope this helps!
Reach
 
Old 01-17-2010, 03:17 PM
 
Location: Planet Eaarth
8,954 posts, read 20,674,468 times
Reputation: 7193
The choice of Toyota or Honda is a good one. BUT DROP THE NISSAN! The whole Nissan product line has a terrible repair history overall.

Oh yes, whatever car you find.....DO NOT FALL IN LOVE WITH IT OR THE SELLER WILL SKIN YOU IN THE DEAL. ( Dealers can smell car love a mile away and will be like a shark that smells blood in the water. ) ALWAYS BE READY TO WALK AWAY IF YOU DON'T GET A GOOD OR FAIR PRICE TO FIND ANOTHER CAR!
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