Author Topic: How do I buy a car?  (Read 3274 times)

Russ

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How do I buy a car?
« on: December 31, 2014, 12:30:43 PM »
Not owning a car is getting to be a huge PITA, plus I've been hemming and hawing for four years about moving into a van, so now I'm doing something about it. Already have the model picked out - 2012-13 Ford Transit Connect, a minivan-sized cargo van for easy build-out and good mileage, after original production issues were ironed out and before the redesign that lowered the cargo height.

How do I buy one?

Never bought a car before, so I'm not sure on the details of it. There's a thing called a title that goes with it, and I have to get it registered, and get insurance, and...? Order of operations? Used, obviously (or not?), but is there anything different I should be looking for from CL sellers as opposed to dealers? I really have no clue.

Pardon the naivety, I'm sure it's not difficult, but I want to do it right (obvs) and trust you all.

Thanks! :-)

DeltaBond

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Re: How do I buy a car?
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2014, 12:53:52 PM »
Forgive me on this question, but do drive now?  And what do you drive?  Do you have a license?

Gin1984

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Re: How do I buy a car?
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2014, 12:59:04 PM »
Do you belong to a credit union?  Some of them have a car person who will find the car you want and do the negotiations for you.  I would see if you have access to something like that which would give you an idea on price.  Next, you need to find a mechanic to check out every single car you think you might want.  Insurance, you should have contacted someone prior to purchase, but you can call up and get that done within minutes of buying.  Registration should be after insurance but within 10 days of purchase (in my state).

Future Lazy

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Re: How do I buy a car?
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2014, 01:01:24 PM »
Buying from a dealer:
Usually the issue here is that the loan math can be a little funny and vehicles are usually purchased underwater. I assume you're buying this van in cash? If not, read all the fine print. Pros of buying from a dealer: Nice clean interior, all repairs completed (probably), new tires (probably), but you still might want to drive it off the dealer's lot and straight to a favored mechanic*, just in case.

Buying from Craigslist:
Find a mechanic you like and trust, and tell the person you want to purchase the vehicle from that you want to take it to YOUR mechanic to have a diagnostic run, and you want THEM to pay for the diagnostic (reimburse them if you do purchase, imho). Diagnostic usually runs around $90 in my area, but should tell you all the current problems and about any upcoming problems. Use this info to negotiate the price. Once purchased, have the oil changed, air filters replaced, tires rotated and an alignment done, that way you reset the maintenance schedule at the time of purchase.

Or, that would be what I would do, having helped my DH with the purchase of a 10+ year old PT Cruiser, and having accidentally broken it three times so far. :') Car ownership has been more difficult than I anticipated.

Once the title is signed over, your next stop is the DMV to have it registered and get temporary tags. You'll need insurance to do this, but that can be done quickly online, or you can schedule an appointment with a preferred agent. Call the DMV for fee schedules and with any questions - you always hear that the DMV people are horrible, but honestly, most of them are just good Customer Service Reps and really want to help.



*Definitely get a well favored mechanic, or two. Talk to friends and family members, and use their names when you're referred. I've found that relatives that can easily be buffaloed/lied to tend to send me the way of mechanics that try to lie to/buffalo me. You get what you pay for, imo, and paying a little more for labor means better paid mechanics means better/more reliable services. This isn't really a place you want to scrimp and save, other than by doing the maintenance/repairs yourself. DH and I have had good and bad experiences, the worst being someone who ran a diagnostic, said the timing belt was due to go any second (based on the age of the car/total mileage), even though we knew it had been replaced recently by the previous owner. Turns out that mechanic knew it was going to go any second because he dropped some loose bolts down into the housing, where they could bounce up and get caught in the belt, breaking it. Hmm. Fortunately, our regular mechanic found them, removed them and informed us. Yay!


Best of luck! Would love to see your van house after it's built!

Russ

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Re: How do I buy a car?
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2014, 01:07:52 PM »
Forgive me on this question, but do drive now?  And what do you drive?  Do you have a license?

Nah, fair question. I don't currently own a car, but can drive and have a license. The benefits far outweigh any cyclist cred I would get by not having a license.

Do you belong to a credit union?  Some of them have a car person who will find the car you want and do the negotiations for you.  I would see if you have access to something like that which would give you an idea on price.  Next, you need to find a mechanic to check out every single car you think you might want.  Insurance, you should have contacted someone prior to purchase, but you can call up and get that done within minutes of buying.  Registration should be after insurance but within 10 days of purchase (in my state).

Thanks for the tip on the credit union Gin. I am a member of one but didn't know they did that. I'll check in with them later this week.

Russ

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Re: How do I buy a car?
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2014, 01:13:37 PM »
Best of luck! Would love to see your van house after it's built!

Thanks! and thanks for the info!

Thegoblinchief

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Re: How do I buy a car?
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2014, 06:22:02 PM »
The warehouse clubs also offer buying programs for new cars. Since the Transit is a fleet vehicle, I'd be pretty leery of a used one unless Ford sells them as CPO. As someone who used to drive a lot for a job, fleet vehicles get abused terribly.

At the same time, I'm not sure it's worth worrying about the warranty, since all your mods are probably voiding it anyways :P