Author Topic: Buying a Used Car  (Read 1620 times)

WindWater

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Buying a Used Car
« on: July 17, 2017, 06:08:47 PM »
Hi Everyone,

I am thinking of buying a used car. I haven't had a car in several years and have had some bad experiences with used cars in the past, mainly though due to buying things that were too junky, not checking them out well enough and not trusting my intuition, so now I am trying to be smarter.

I did read MMM's article, 10 Cars for Smart People, but the article is 5 years old.  I did watch some Dave Ramsey videos on YouTube and have read a few posts here.

The car will mainly be for weekend recreational use, grocery shopping, visiting friends, going places not accessible by mass transit, etc.  I will not be driving the car to work or using it on a daily basis.  I spend quite a bit of money on ZipCar so the monthly expenses won't really be costing me anything additional as the ZipCar expense will go away. 

I just really want something simple, very small, reliable, automatic transmission, the less electrical stuff the better, and I don't really care what it looks like.  I am thinking a Honda or Toyota, maybe something like a Fit, Civic, Yaris or Corolla.  I would like to spend around $3K, cash.  Do you think I can get something decent and reliable for this amount or am I being too unrealistic and fooling myself?  If so, what is the minimum I should plan on spending?  I am in San Francisco.  I am in an area where there are some streets with abundant, easy parking so paying for parking won't be an issue.  Are there any other cars you would suggest I consider?  Thanks.

bender

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Re: Buying a Used Car
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2017, 09:19:56 PM »
I think you'll want to spend more if you're financially secure enough to pay cash for this.

Check out this one (7k)
https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/cto/d/mazda-for-sale/6224237721.html

WindWater

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Re: Buying a Used Car
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2017, 09:25:36 PM »
Yeah, you are probably right.  I just don't want problems and trouble so maybe I should pay more.  Maybe I should just continue using ZipCar for a few months while I save up more money.  A lot of cars on Craigslist say salvage title.  Do you know what that means?  It sounds really bad.

bender

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Re: Buying a Used Car
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2017, 09:47:05 PM »
A salvage title is applied when an insurance company takes ownership of a car through a total loss payout. This means the car was totaled.  It could be due to hail damage (no big deal), a collision (probably bad), or flood damage (run far far away).  Other reasons could apply, but you get the idea.

The insurance company sells the wreck and someone repairs the vehicle and gets a new "salvage" title.  It's really a way for the buyer to know this car has been totaled in the past.  It could be a great bargain or it could be a nightmare.  It all depends on what the damage was and how it was repaired.  If you don't know what you're doing it's best to avoid salvaged vehicles.

WindWater

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Re: Buying a Used Car
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2017, 10:42:05 PM »
Thanks.  I had a really bad feeling about it.  Sounds like something I should not get involved in.

Dave1442397

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Re: Buying a Used Car
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2017, 05:39:28 AM »
Thanks.  I had a really bad feeling about it.  Sounds like something I should not get involved in.

Some insurance companies won't insure a salvage title car at all. Sometimes the car is fine. The amount of damage required to consider a vehicle a total loss varies from state to state, so some cars are totaled due to age and fairly minor accidents. If you get a good inspection done, you can get a good deal on a salvage title.


facepalm

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Re: Buying a Used Car
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2017, 07:41:35 AM »
I live in the SF Bay area. Your best bet will be a Corolla. Tons of them around here and you can usually find a decent one on CraigList. Cheap to insure. Another car to look at would be an older Prius. A Fit is more than likely out of your price range.

One example here:

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/cto/d/toyota-corolla/6198277540.html
« Last Edit: July 18, 2017, 07:43:55 AM by facepalm »

TheJamesGang

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Re: Buying a Used Car
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2017, 09:09:41 AM »
Definitely wouldn't buy a salvage title car. Basically means the car was totaled. If you know what you're doing you might can find a car that's perfectly fine but technically was totaled but I would advise against it unless you are very familiar with that type of thing.

My vote would be a Corolla, Civic, or Prius for around 5-7K. These are the type of vehicles I look for. Buy them around 90-120K miles and drive them until the wheels fall off

mm1970

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Re: Buying a Used Car
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2017, 10:36:13 AM »
Definitely wouldn't buy a salvage title car. Basically means the car was totaled. If you know what you're doing you might can find a car that's perfectly fine but technically was totaled but I would advise against it unless you are very familiar with that type of thing.

My vote would be a Corolla, Civic, or Prius for around 5-7K. These are the type of vehicles I look for. Buy them around 90-120K miles and drive them until the wheels fall off
This

One of my oldest friends is still driving her 1994 Civic.

WindWater

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Re: Buying a Used Car
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2017, 06:14:05 PM »
Thanks for all of the advice.  I am thinking of going to look at this one, https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/cto/d/toyota-yaris/6185592391.html.  It is a cheap Toyota Yaris which MMM in his article said all years are great, and it looks like it is in excellent condition.

bender

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Re: Buying a Used Car
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2017, 08:26:44 PM »
Watch out for this guy - he listed condition as 'like new' on a 10 year old car with 175k miles on it!

If you decide to buy, have it checked thoroughly by a mechanic beforehand.

WindWater

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Re: Buying a Used Car
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2017, 12:10:32 AM »
I am hoping it is just really, really well taken care of and that is why he said that.  I definitely will get it checked out and get the car fax.

omega13

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Re: Buying a Used Car
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2017, 02:43:27 AM »
I would also highly recommend staying away from salvage titles. Especially because resale value on those is about 30-35% less than clean titles.


That car seems decent but getting up there on the mileage. The fact that they didn't bother washing it for an ad makes me wonder how well they took care of it though. Personally I would pay a little more and get one with about 100-120k miles as TheJamesGang recommended.


The difference between one with 120k and 175 miles is getting an extra 5 years (assuming the national driving average of about 11k miles/year) out of it.


A quick KBB valuation of this one puts it in the $3,300 (good) to $3,545 (very good) range. It also seems to have a timing chain instead of a belt which is good because usually belts need to be replaced at 100k miles.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2017, 02:49:27 AM by omega13 »

ltt

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Re: Buying a Used Car
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2017, 03:47:41 AM »
Absolutely a Corolla.  As guys I used to work with would tell me, "They just start getting warmed up around 250,000 miles." 

We've owned two Corollas, plus we've owned two other Toyotas. 

If you are looking for a good, used one about 5 years old, please save up some additional money.  The last Corolla we bought was a 2010 with 27,000 miles.  We paid around $13k.  I think it was 3 or 4 years old when we bought it.  It now has around 45,000 miles.  Our children have been driving it.  We haven't had any issues with it, but it still has relatively low mileage.

I have been looking for another used car and checking out Corolla prices.  A 5-year old Corolla in good condition in our area will sell somewhere in the neighborhood of $10k, depending on mileage.

For $3k, you will find something, but it will be much older than 5 years and, more than likely, not in very good shape.  Plan to replace the battery on any vehicle you buy.

 

Livingthedream55

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Re: Buying a Used Car
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2017, 06:38:59 AM »
Definitely wouldn't buy a salvage title car. Basically means the car was totaled. If you know what you're doing you might can find a car that's perfectly fine but technically was totaled but I would advise against it unless you are very familiar with that type of thing.

My vote would be a Corolla, Civic, or Prius for around 5-7K. These are the type of vehicles I look for. Buy them around 90-120K miles and drive them until the wheels fall off
+1  Also get it checked by a mechanic before you buy. You may need to drive to your mechanic with the seller to do this.