Author Topic: How to buy a used car?  (Read 5927 times)

retiredmom

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How to buy a used car?
« on: February 23, 2015, 12:41:42 PM »
I have been car-free for 9 years now, so I'm out of practice on used-car-buying. But my daughter is turning 4 next week, so she is much less portable than she used to be, and there are many more activities we want to attend in far-flung corners of the Twin Cities. We will still bike a lot in the spring/summer/fall, but I'd like an alternative to public transportation/car2go/uber during below zero weather.

I've been looking on CL, and I found a 2003 Saab with under 90k miles. I like the wagon styling, the stability control, the reasonable gas mileage (25 city/30 hwy) and the low miles.  But the current owner has only had it for 1 year/8k miles, and he doesn't have any service records from the previous owners, so I want to be careful checking it out.

Current plan is that he will drive it down tomorrow so I can test drive the car, see that it is basically as advertised, check that my daughter's car seat will fit in it, etc. If everything looks fine, we'll bring it to a local mechanic who specializes in European brands for a pre-purchase inspection. ($128, I'll pay half as long as the car passes.)

What else should I do or ask? What if we come to an agreement? My bank is 2 blocks from there, so I can get the cash easily. But what about transferring the title, going to the DMV, getting insurance, etc.?

My last car was a 1994 Honda Civic hatchback, purchased for $2.5k in 2004, license plates and insurance included for the first 2 months, so I didn't have to do all of this stuff right away. Should I ask the guy for a similar deal?



dunhamjr

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Re: How to buy a used car?
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2015, 02:46:02 PM »
if i was the seller i wouldnt split the inspection costs even if the car failed.  IMO, you want an inspection, fine... but beyond being flexible to make it happen, i am not coming out of pocket.  there is no good incentive for me to do so, since that is money out of my pocket either way... and if the inspection finds something i was not aware of, now i am out of pocket and potentially out of a sale.

as for the license plate and insurance thing.  no idea how you got anyone to keep the car in their name and insure it for 2 months.
as the seller i login and register the sale/drop insurance from the car as soon as the money changes hands.  i would never leave the car in my name, or continue insurance coverage once sold, way too much liability.

beyond that your plan sounds fine.
i might suggest going to a shop that gets a fair amount of saab work.  a european shop is fine. but there are a number of saab oddities that a typical euro shop might not quite be aware of.

Jags4186

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Re: How to buy a used car?
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2015, 03:46:04 PM »
Might be hard to find Saab parts going forward...they did go out of business several years ago. I'd avoid that brand.

dunhamjr

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Re: How to buy a used car?
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2015, 03:58:37 PM »
Might be hard to find Saab parts going forward...they did go out of business several years ago. I'd avoid that brand.

maybe.  i see this as a minor risk, but yes more of a consideration versus getting another civic/corolla type car.

 have had my 04 saab for nearly 3 years and so far not a single issue getting parts.

the thing to remember is that these later model saabs are more GM then saab...  so MANY parts are available without any problems at all.

the parts that will eventually become a bit harder to come by would likely be interior trim bits or exterior panels.
but there is a large aftermarket for supplying these types of parts also.

Eric

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Re: How to buy a used car?
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2015, 04:04:28 PM »
But what about transferring the title, going to the DMV, getting insurance, etc.?

If you end up buying the car, the previous owner will sign the title over to you.  You need to contact your insurance company and take out a policy.  You take the title, proof of insurance, and the car to the DMV and register it and get plates.

If you're unclear, check out the applicable DMV site for your state.  This is pretty much why the DMV exists, so they should have everything spelled out very clearly.

retiredmom

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Re: How to buy a used car?
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2015, 04:12:25 PM »
Sure, I can see why someone wouldn't agree to split the cost of the inspection, especially if they had other offers. But he has agreed to it, so I'm good to go on this car.

If this particular purchase doesn't go through, how else would you suggest that I protect *myself* from buying a lemon? Obviously, it isn't my intention to get someone to shell out for an inspection and then walk away from the deal. My hope is that the car passes the inspection and then I can buy a reliable used car. But if he is hiding something, or if there is something he doesn't know about the car's history, shouldn't I be more worried about myself and less worried about the downside for him?

There are no Saab-only shops in Minneapolis, but I did find this one listed on a Saab-enthusiast website, and it has good reviews.

The last time I bought a car, I was living in NJ, but moving to MN within the month, driving across country. There was really no other way to do it, since it wouldn't have made sense to transfer the title twice in two months. Now I don't have that particular issue, so I can do it a different way, I just literally don't know what the steps involved are. Do I call my home insurance agent and tell them I bought a car? Then what? Do they just give me a quote? Then do I send them a check? How would I get the proof of insurance to take to the DMV? Would I have to just let the car sit on the street without licence plates until I can get the proof of insurance and take the bus to the DMV? Is that even legal? Wouldn't it get towed?

As far as availability of parts, that is a good point. I will do some Googling now to see if that is something that will be a problem.

retiredmom

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Re: How to buy a used car?
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2015, 04:23:56 PM »
I'm pretty sure the DMV actually exists to create day jobs for people so that they keep working and spending. ;)

Unfortunately, the MN DMV website is totally confusing and basically just lets me know where the DMV is located and when they are open.

I guess I'm just going to hope this guy wants to sell badly enough to let me keep the plates/insurance for a week or so. It seems silly to buy a cat one day and then just have to let it sit for a week while I run around getting this stuff done by bus.



[qwuote author=Eric link=topic=32316.msg566700#msg566700 date=1424732668]
But what about transferring the title, going to the DMV, getting insurance, etc.?

If you end up buying the car, the previous owner will sign the title over to you.  You need to contact your insurance company and take out a policy.  You take the title, proof of insurance, and the car to the DMV and register it and get plates.

If you're unclear, check out the applicable DMV site for your state.  This is pretty much why the DMV exists, so they should have everything spelled out very clearly.
[/quote]

retiredmom

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Re: How to buy a used car?
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2015, 04:27:09 PM »
This is good to know! If I can keep this car running with basic GM parts, I'll be happy. Stuff like interior trim is definitely not important to me, and if I crash it bad enough to need a whole new exterior panel, I'll probably want to scrap it for safety reasons.

Might be hard to find Saab parts going forward...they did go out of business several years ago. I'd avoid that brand.

maybe.  i see this as a minor risk, but yes more of a consideration versus getting another civic/corolla type car.

 have had my 04 saab for nearly 3 years and so far not a single issue getting parts.

the thing to remember is that these later model saabs are more GM then saab...  so MANY parts are available without any problems at all.

the parts that will eventually become a bit harder to come by would likely be interior trim bits or exterior panels.
but there is a large aftermarket for supplying these types of parts also.

Eric

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Re: How to buy a used car?
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2015, 04:32:43 PM »
I guess I'm just going to hope this guy wants to sell badly enough to let me keep the plates/insurance for a week or so. It seems silly to buy a cat one day and then just have to let it sit for a week while I run around getting this stuff done by bus.

A week?  The whole process should take 15 minutes (excluding travel time and DMV wait time).  5 minutes to buy insurance on the internet and print out the insurance card.  10 minutes to fill out DMV paperwork and get your plates and stickers.

It's pretty simple.  Buy the car.  Buy the insurance.  Drive your car to DMV.  Drive away with plates and a fully registered car.  (bring a screw driver to install new plates!)  Then ride your bike most places anyway.  Done and done.

dunhamjr

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Re: How to buy a used car?
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2015, 04:38:48 PM »
Sure, I can see why someone wouldn't agree to split the cost of the inspection, especially if they had other offers. But he has agreed to it, so I'm good to go on this car.

If this particular purchase doesn't go through, how else would you suggest that I protect *myself* from buying a lemon? Obviously, it isn't my intention to get someone to shell out for an inspection and then walk away from the deal. My hope is that the car passes the inspection and then I can buy a reliable used car. But if he is hiding something, or if there is something he doesn't know about the car's history, shouldn't I be more worried about myself and less worried about the downside for him?

There are no Saab-only shops in Minneapolis, but I did find this one listed on a Saab-enthusiast website, and it has good reviews.

The last time I bought a car, I was living in NJ, but moving to MN within the month, driving across country. There was really no other way to do it, since it wouldn't have made sense to transfer the title twice in two months. Now I don't have that particular issue, so I can do it a different way, I just literally don't know what the steps involved are. Do I call my home insurance agent and tell them I bought a car? Then what? Do they just give me a quote? Then do I send them a check? How would I get the proof of insurance to take to the DMV? Would I have to just let the car sit on the street without licence plates until I can get the proof of insurance and take the bus to the DMV? Is that even legal? Wouldn't it get towed?

As far as availability of parts, that is a good point. I will do some Googling now to see if that is something that will be a problem.

since the seller agreed to pay half, good for you.

you can still get cars inspected, do your research etc.  but as a seller i wouldnt be willing to help you pay for an inspection.  as the buyer that is something you take on yourself.
and yes you worry about your side.

are you SURE there are no saab shops in MSP?  cause i found these in a couple minutes on google.  http://www.uptownimports.com/volvosaab.html  http://fasmn.com/ 

and here is a list of options from saabnet.com
http://www.saabnet.com/tsn/faq/service/mn.html

parts, i have bought from all these places.
http://www.eeuroparts.com/
http://www.jimellissaabparts.com/
http://www.thesaabsite.com/95/
http://www.genuinesaab.com/
http://www.rockauto.com/

retiredmom

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Re: How to buy a used car?
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2015, 08:20:37 PM »
I guess I'm just going to hope this guy wants to sell badly enough to let me keep the plates/insurance for a week or so. It seems silly to buy a cat one day and then just have to let it sit for a week while I run around getting this stuff done by bus.

A week?  The whole process should take 15 minutes (excluding travel time and DMV wait time).  5 minutes to buy insurance on the internet and print out the insurance card.  10 minutes to fill out DMV paperwork and get your plates and stickers.

It's pretty simple.  Buy the car.  Buy the insurance.  Drive your car to DMV.  Drive away with plates and a fully registered car.  (bring a screw driver to install new plates!)  Then ride your bike most places anyway.  Done and done.

Eh, we all have our abilities and disabilities. To me, that's like saying you can build a house in fifteen minutes (excluding buying the materials and assembling them). You watch my three year old for "fifteen minutes" while I get all that done,  lol.

And how would I drive the car to the DMV if it is neither registered to me nor to the seller, and I let the seller take the plates with him?

retiredmom

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Re: How to buy a used car?
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2015, 08:25:37 PM »
Neither of those are Saab-only shops. The first services all imports, European and Asian. The second specializes in Mercedes, Saab, Volvo, BMW, etc. The shop that is close to me is basically in the middle, specialization-wise. They do all European imports.


are you SURE there are no saab shops in MSP?  cause i found these in a couple minutes on google.  http://www.uptownimports.com/volvosaab.html  http://fasmn.com/ 

and here is a list of options from saabnet.com
http://www.saabnet.com/tsn/faq/service/mn.html

parts, i have bought from all these places.
http://www.eeuroparts.com/
http://www.jimellissaabparts.com/
http://www.thesaabsite.com/95/
http://www.genuinesaab.com/
http://www.rockauto.com/
« Last Edit: February 23, 2015, 08:34:54 PM by retiredmom »

Eric

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Re: How to buy a used car?
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2015, 11:12:10 PM »
And how would I drive the car to the DMV if it is neither registered to me nor to the seller, and I let the seller take the plates with him?

It will drive the same with our without plates.  If it doesn't drive without plates, reconsider the purchase, as that would be one strange car.  Maybe even haunted.

wtjbatman

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Re: How to buy a used car?
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2015, 09:15:05 AM »
I guess I'm just going to hope this guy wants to sell badly enough to let me keep the plates/insurance for a week or so. It seems silly to buy a cat one day and then just have to let it sit for a week while I run around getting this stuff done by bus.

A week?  The whole process should take 15 minutes (excluding travel time and DMV wait time).  5 minutes to buy insurance on the internet and print out the insurance card.  10 minutes to fill out DMV paperwork and get your plates and stickers.

It's pretty simple.  Buy the car.  Buy the insurance.  Drive your car to DMV.  Drive away with plates and a fully registered car.  (bring a screw driver to install new plates!)  Then ride your bike most places anyway.  Done and done.

Eh, we all have our abilities and disabilities. To me, that's like saying you can build a house in fifteen minutes (excluding buying the materials and assembling them). You watch my three year old for "fifteen minutes" while I get all that done,  lol.

And how would I drive the car to the DMV if it is neither registered to me nor to the seller, and I let the seller take the plates with him?

I live in Minnesota as well. Been enjoying the cold weather? Anyway, as long as you have the newly transferred title and bill of sale, you should be fine. If you're stopped by police just show them the documents. Drive to the DMV, and register the vehicle. New plates will come in the mail. In the meantime, they should have a temporary sticker you can put in your rear window to show the car is legal.

You seem to be getting worried about the little things. Eric's advice is solid. It seems like a complicated process when you haven't done it in a long time, but really it's not. And lots of mothers purchase used cars on their own... you won't be the first one to do it :)