Used car shopping...some things never change...

Boss

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Greetings,

As it turns out, I've been doing some tire-kicking lately.
We've certainly got our money's worth out of current utility/work/do-everything vehicle, but it's
getting a little long in the tooth, and I'm working to semi-retire it before it suffers a major failure that makes the repair option not a financially sound choice. I want to shop while I'm not in immediate need of something right now and stuck having to make a purchase ASAP for work, etc. Put another way, if I don't like the deal, I can walk off the lot as I have the luxury of time to shop.

As such, I've been interacting with car sales-people a bit lately. Sites like CarGuru's, Cars.com, etc. have helped a good bit. Numerous photos, search filters, etc. help dial in your efforts so you're not going from lot to lot to lot, especially if you're looking for specific vehicles. But ultimately, at some point, unless you just order a car sent to your home, you're probably going to be interacting with a car dealer, and in my case, a used car dealer.

Carfax and Autocheck have cut back a bit on the hyperbole/BS, but its still present in many forms.

Just a few...

If you're looking for something they don't have 'Oh, you don't want one of those...they have all kinds of problems...'

'Oh, we paid much more than you're offering (~80+% of their asking price) for this trade in...'

'Oh, we don't have much room to negotiate on this vehicle...'

'Oh that accident on the vehicle history, it was just a scratch'

No problem(s) that we're aware of

This price...today and tomorrow only...

I went to a much-hyped car sales event this weekend at a local fairgrounds. Probably 16-20 rows of cars from various local dealerships. At the central end of each row was about 2-6 sales people practically salivating with all the 'What are you looking for/what can I help you find/etc etc etc.?' There were probably as many, if not more sales people than prospective customers when I was there.

I got past one group of them and then just started cutting between rows half way down, staying away from their little packs at the end.

Truth be told, not really any great bargains...people thinking they were going to find significant discounts because they were at this event would have been mistaken. Perhaps if you engaged in the 1-2 hr. negotiation endurance-contest, you could have worked the price down, but it would have probably taken awhile with the same ol' 'Let me go talk to the manager and/or 'Since I like you, here's the special offer I can make to you today only' routine.

Not my first rodeo, I guess I'm getting old.
Getting to the point where the shine is starting to wear off, and I'll hopefully wind up with something decent in the relatively near future, so I don't have to keep playing these games.

*sigh*

Boss

 
OP
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Boss

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I just use a auto broker now. pay them (I think it was $250 last time I used one) to go out and find the car I want, they argue with the dealer, do all the paperwork and then deliver the car to my house. The cost is easily worth not having to deal with a dealer.
If I were buying new, and could spell out exactly what I wanted, that's probably a solid route...used, I'd want to see first hand before committing to a purchase.

Craigslist...I'm sure there's some deals, but not my bag...too many flakes. Plus, I'm kinda out a ways...don't have too many more hours running all over the place to find out their definition and my definition of 'excellent condition' are vastly different. Plus, private party, you've got little recourse should things go sideways.

As it turns out, one fellow today trying hard to sell me a car...we may be done soon.

BOSS
 
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I’m going to be looking for a decent used vehicle soon myself. My wife and I both drive vehicles over 20 years old. She bought hers new and mine was almost new, so it’s been a while.

I can’t fathom how people can afford new vehicles nowadays; they’re so far out of my price range, or at least comfort level for debt. I’m fine with saving up a few thousand and paying cash for used. I hope to never again have a car payment as long as I live.
 
OP
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Boss

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I’m going to be looking for a decent used vehicle soon myself. My wife and I both drive vehicles over 20 years old. She bought hers new and mine was almost new, so it’s been a while.

I can’t fathom how people can afford new vehicles nowadays; they’re so far out of my price range, or at least comfort level for debt. I’m fine with saving up a few thousand and paying cash for used. I hope to never again have a car payment as long as I live.
I'm right there with ya...I must not make enough money to drop five figures on a vehicle only to have it depreciate 30%+ right after you drive it off the lot. Also, good rule of thumb: Monthly payment is about $20 per $1000 price. So $50K car = $1000 month. That's well over half my mortgage. No thanks. I don't really want a car payment (we've been free for a couple years), but like I say, I want to shop while I have a running vehicle and can walk away.

Also, keep in mind, as cars have gotten better (at least the good brands), well-maintained cars usually have LOTS of life left in them, at a 1/3 the price or less. And in that range, there's a chance you might be able to pay it off early.

Update: Also...many might like all these new fangled beeping/chirping electronics/nav/lane departure/auto following distance, etc. Those gizmos might be fine for a brand new car with a great multi-year factory warranty that *might* fix a problem. But I kinda like older, simpler cars of only a few years back. About the only new thing I'd find really helpful would be Bluetooth connectivity for my phone.

I like CarGuru's...they put the main big ticket items right up at the top...cost, price changes, any collisions, days on the market, price appraisal (if its high, low, fair, etc) Easy to see, you generally don't have to go looking for it. You can also set up search parameters...make, model, search radius, as well as filters...price, mileage, engine, trim, etc. Very easy to use (if I can use it, anyone can).

Carfax is good, particularly if there's lots of service records to review. USAA (if you're a vet), and Cars are also good.

But get ready for the calls/spam.

I have 3 main dealers now. One (the best) appears to be fairly low pressure/patiently waiting. Another today came up with 'oh, this is going to go out to wholesale tomorrow, but I'd rather sell to you' routine, but fell mute when I asked for him to give me their very best offer to get me to drop everything and make the multi-hour trek to their dealership this afternoon. The other dealer keeps emailing me, tap dancing around the fact that the only solution is for them to reduce with their price. (yeah guys, I do want a GREAT deal). The vehicle I'm after is popular, but it's not like its hard to find.

We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Boss
 
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I just use a auto broker now. pay them (I think it was $250 last time I used one) to go out and find the car I want, they argue with the dealer, do all the paperwork and then deliver the car to my house. The cost is easily worth not having to deal with a dealer.
I had never heard of that but will remember to look next time. I HATE car shopping. Wife normally will spend untold hours and miles searching before she involves me. She knows my patience is very short with this crap. Did buy the first new car we have bought in decades last year. Moved and commute was suddenly 3 times what it was and my favorite car was at almost 200K. Looking for something that got real good mileage and one dealer had a couple new that were less than the same car a few years old. Figured it was a come on to get me in. E-mailed and they claimed true. So showed up, looked at car, said ok you're offering financing that is less than I can make on my money so let see. Filled out forms they in short order said yes. Then did try to pull the "well we don't have that one but...........I said ok sorry I'm gone. Sales guy did in seconds come up with original deal and car. I guess he could see I was not one to play with. Have walked on quite a few over the years with Wife. She would often get mad. It's why now when she is looking she knows better than to take me until she is sure what she wants. I would have been more than happy to pay someone $250 to just deal with the crap and then hand me the papers to sign.
 
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Boss

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And quite possibly the biggest benefit of the quality used vehicle...its usually already pre-scratched:), so you won't suffer a serious spontaneous Tourette Syndrome moment over the first door ding (especially as lack of door guard strips seems to be the rage these days in ever shrinking parking stalls:confused:).

Boss
 

gryghin

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Good luck on the hunt.

I love it. When I was a young 2nd Class Petty Officer in the World's Greatest Canoe Club, my friends would always take me along when they went car shopping. One salesman actually asked who I was, I told him you go back to talk with your manager... I'm here to make sure you do a good job for my Brother.

Stick to your guns, if it doesn't feel right... make them change to make it right. Remember, they'll take the loss on your sale because they know the majority of people are push overs.
 

bolus

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I had never heard of that but will remember to look next time. I HATE car shopping. Wife normally will spend untold hours and miles searching before she involves me. She knows my patience is very short with this crap. Did buy the first new car we have bought in decades last year. Moved and commute was suddenly 3 times what it was and my favorite car was at almost 200K. Looking for something that got real good mileage and one dealer had a couple new that were less than the same car a few years old. Figured it was a come on to get me in. E-mailed and they claimed true. So showed up, looked at car, said ok you're offering financing that is less than I can make on my money so let see. Filled out forms they in short order said yes. Then did try to pull the "well we don't have that one but...........I said ok sorry I'm gone. Sales guy did in seconds come up with original deal and car. I guess he could see I was not one to play with. Have walked on quite a few over the years with Wife. She would often get mad. It's why now when she is looking she knows better than to take me until she is sure what she wants. I would have been more than happy to pay someone $250 to just deal with the crap and then hand me the papers to sign.
General info on brokers:
Using a Car Broker to Buy Your Next Vehicle | Edmunds

I used the one my credit union recommended on 3 separate purchases. Last time was for a used F150. I wanted low millage, V8, extended cab and any color. They found one that day, they get fleet pricing so it was well within my budget. I met them at the credit union a couple days later to sign the paperwork and get the keys. They handled the trade in as well. Gave me keys to the truck, I gave them keys to the trade in. Did the paperwork at the credit union for the loan. All done in 30 minutes. Drove the truck home. Absolutely zero BS. Still have the truck 5 years later.
 
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General info on brokers:
Using a Car Broker to Buy Your Next Vehicle | Edmunds

I used the one my credit union recommended on 3 separate purchases. Last time was for a used F150. I wanted low millage, V8, extended cab and any color. They found one that day, they get fleet pricing so it was well within my budget. I met them at the credit union a couple days later to sign the paperwork and get the keys. They handled the trade in as well. Gave me keys to the truck, I gave them keys to the trade in. Did the paperwork at the credit union for the loan. All done in 30 minutes. Drove the truck home. Absolutely zero BS. Still have the truck 5 years later.
Thanks, some great info. I will be looking for one of these guys next car buy. Love the idea.
 
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Last time was for a used F150. I wanted low millage, V8, extended cab and any color. They found one that day, they get fleet pricing so it was well within my budget.
How do you get "fleet pricing" on a used vehicle? :s0153:

As an employee of my company, which buys lots of new vehicles from the local Ford dealer, I get "fleet pricing" on new Ford vehicles. In other words, I can buy a brand new Ford vehicle at a much reduced price.

Really no such thing as fleet pricing for used vehicles.
 
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SUPER X

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If you are looking for used vehicles, some only a year old, try Eldon Robbins Auto Sales in Longview Wa. Great people to deal with. Same family owns the business for about 45 years now.
I've got some good deals out of longview over the years . I went to a couple lots in Vancouver and it was redicules.
 

The Heretic

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Bought an Audi Q5 for my daughter last year.

Big mistakes:

1) Got in a hurry because SIL had borrowed my pickup, the clutch was now slipping so bad that it could hardly make it over the zoo hill. So instead of repairing the pickup (because I want to put a diesel in it) we hurried to find an AWD for my daughter.

2) Didn't research the make/model very well - turns out the 2 liter turbos of certain years of Audi/VW have serious problems, and we ran into the major ones. First one was repaired under warranty, second one I just paid $3K for last night.

3) Bought a higher mileage (80K) car because my daughter really like it. It seemed ok, no obvious flaws, but a few weeks after driving it we found that it was gulping down oil- as in a quart or two a week, and she only drives 5 miles each way to work. Turns out this is a design problem with the pistons/rings of these engines of those years. No way the dealer didn't know that; when we complained, they said "oh yeah, that year is known to have that problem - but we didn't know this particular car had this issue".
 
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Bought an Audi Q5 for my daughter last year.

Big mistakes:

1) Got in a hurry because SIL had borrowed my pickup, the clutch was now slipping so bad that it could hardly make it over the zoo hill. So instead of repairing the pickup (because I want to put a diesel in it) we hurried to find an AWD for my daughter.

2) Didn't research the make/model very well - turns out the 2 liter turbos of certain years of Audi/VW have serious problems, and we ran into the major ones. First one was repaired under warranty, second one I just paid $3K for last night.

3) Bought a higher mileage (80K) car because my daughter really like it. It seemed ok, no obvious flaws, but a few weeks after driving it we found that it was gulping down oil- as in a quart or two a week, and she only drives 5 miles each way to work. Turns out this is a design problem with the pistons/rings of these engines of those years. No way the dealer didn't know that; when we complained, they said "oh yeah, that year is known to have that problem - but we didn't know this particular car had this issue".
Every used Audi I've seen has had a lot of expensive issues; usually electrical. I stay away from Audi, VW, Land Rover, etc. My buddy had a beautiful early 2000's Land Rover with relatively low miles that was his wife's daily driver. He does most of his own mechanical work and after the third or fourth major repair that was over $1000 in parts, he gave up. The last repair it needed was an electrical component that was $500 and required the removal of the intake manifold to get to it. Some fuel management component.

He tried giving it to me and I politely declined. He ended up donating it for the tax write-off. Now he drives a new Infiniti.
 
OP
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Boss

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Bought an Audi Q5 for my daughter last year.

Big mistakes:

1) Got in a hurry

2) Didn't research the make/model very well

3) Bought a higher mileage (80K) car because my daughter really like it. It seemed ok, no obvious flaws, but a few weeks after driving it we found that it was gulping down oil- as in a quart or two a week, and she only drives 5 miles each way to work.
1&2: Yep...what I'm trying to avoid, especially #1. I've covered #2 fairly well, I *hope.*

3. Depending on age, 80K on a new(er), well-designed, and well-maintained vehicle isn't that high. Lots of cars out there with 2X+ that amount still running well with no/minimal issues.

And yes, Euro cars can be problematic. There's a reason why there's ALOT of used Audi/Mercedes/BMW on lots for a fraction of new (often around the same price as used Honda/Toyota/etc)...the maintenance costs can be staggering.

There was an private party sale Audi Quattro sedan locally a little while back dirt cheap. In speaking with the owner, he admitted there were transmission issues. Called a transmission shop to see what it might cost to get repaired...about $5K, about 3X the asking price of the car. I obviously passed.

Boss
 

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