Author Topic: Looking to buy a used car and looking for some advice  (Read 4077 times)

UltraRunning

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Looking to buy a used car and looking for some advice
« on: December 26, 2014, 01:14:55 AM »
        We are a single car household. I bike to work everyday and her job is about 15 miles away. We currently have a 2002 buick with 205k miles on it and are looking to save up and purchase a car in cash at around an 8k price point.  Just me and the wife. No kids and no plans to since we are both just 22 and I am just shy of 2 years into the military (enlisted) and she just graduated with her bachelors in s.w. and Spanish (no sl's yay :) )   and is starting out as a social worker/ license translator job for the state.
    Also, if anyone has any advice for a car maybe even at a lower price point then that I have my ears wide open. Just want a dependable sedan that  gets a minimum of 30mpg.  Smarter to pay more for a car with lower miles around 50k or better off to purchase one around 100k? Cars are definitely  not a strength of mind.  That is why I am here to ask yall who have a much greater knowledge on the subject.  I appreciate all the advice and knowledge in advance. 
     

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Looking to buy a used car and looking for some advice
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2014, 04:12:01 AM »
If I were you, I'd focus on Toyota Corollas and Honda Civics from the mid-2000s.  They're arguably the most reliable cars ever sold in the US, and they get great gas mileage.  If you can find one somewhere in the 50k - 100k mile range it should last you 10 years or so, assuming you're not driving more than 10k miles a year.  It could be tough to find one with mileage that low, but I find that they do turn up once in a while in my area.

When you look at a prospective purchase, pay attention to maintenance items that typically need to be done in this mileage range: tires, brakes, struts, timing belt, exhaust system (might be rusted if you're in a snowy area), etc.  You can search on line for average repair costs for these items.  Then use that knowledge to negotiate a lower price if the car needs any of this work done.  Run any prospective purchases through the Edmunds.com used car price estimator.  You may not be able to get the exact price that Edmunds says you should pay, but it'll give you something to shoot for.

If you need a little more room, you could look at Toyota Camrys and Honda Accords from the same time period.  Reliability is similar to the Corollas and Civics, but you'll pay more and you'll sacrifice about 5-10 mpg.  Just be sure to focus only on four cylinder models.  There is no reason anyone needs a V6 in a car this size; it's like throwing money to the wind.  Also, the V6 Accords are known to have transmission problems when they get past 100k miles.

Good luck!

UltraRunning

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Re: Looking to buy a used car and looking for some advice
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2014, 05:31:57 AM »
@cragilepaige First thanks for the response.  Second  what is the usual life on a  prius battery?  If a pruis already has 100k miles or such should I be weary of the battery going? I know that it is quite expensive to  replace the prius batterys.

@Monkey Uncle.  First thank you for the response as well it is much appreciated.  Definitly going to look at a four cylinder. We are all about the mpg could care less about the horse power torque etc.  We also reside in the southeast so don't have to worry about the rusting issues as much.  I appreciate the advice on the edumunds along with what specific issues to look for.

To either one of you or anyone else that looks at this topic.  If I look on cragilist and go private seller is there anything in particular that I need to make sure they have.  Other than a car title that is in their name is there anything else in particular that I need to be on the look out for or aware of. 

MayDay

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Re: Looking to buy a used car and looking for some advice
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2014, 06:09:20 AM »
We sold our ~115k mile 03 civic recently as we were gifted a different car. We sold it for 5k. It was a great car. We had to replace the timing belt at 100k (standard maintenance) and a few minor things like power windows needing a new motor.  It was plenty big enough for us, fine with one kid, and starting to get annoying with 2 kids. Only negative is no antilock breaks or side curtain airbags in '03's.  I don't know when those became standard.

We kept our second '03 civic and I have no doubt it will last another decade. The airbag/breaks situation may lead us to replace it if it becomes a car for my 7 year old when he is a teenager.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Looking to buy a used car and looking for some advice
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2014, 06:34:35 AM »
@cragilepaige First thanks for the response.  Second  what is the usual life on a  prius battery?  If a pruis already has 100k miles or such should I be weary of the battery going? I know that it is quite expensive to  replace the prius batterys.

@Monkey Uncle.  First thank you for the response as well it is much appreciated.  Definitly going to look at a four cylinder. We are all about the mpg could care less about the horse power torque etc.  We also reside in the southeast so don't have to worry about the rusting issues as much.  I appreciate the advice on the edumunds along with what specific issues to look for.

To either one of you or anyone else that looks at this topic.  If I look on cragilist and go private seller is there anything in particular that I need to make sure they have.  Other than a car title that is in their name is there anything else in particular that I need to be on the look out for or aware of.

I've never car-shopped on cragslist, so I can't give you any specific advice there.  For private sellers in general, try to find someone who has the records to show that all the standard maintenance was done.  Run the VIN through carfax or some similar service to make sure the vehicle hasn't been wrecked, flooded, etc.  You might consider taking it to a trusted mechanic for an inspection before you buy, if the seller will allow.  Pay attention to the general appearance of the car; if it looks like they beat the shit out of it, they probably didn't take good care of it.  And be aware that you should be able to get a lower price from a private seller vs. a dealer.

JLee

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Re: Looking to buy a used car and looking for some advice
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2014, 08:22:41 AM »
This may/will vary state to state, but in Arizona a private party sale is not taxed. A dealer sale is subject to sales tax, which will add 8-10% to the purchase price-- just something to keep in mind.

MotoMM

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Re: Looking to buy a used car and looking for some advice
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2014, 08:37:40 AM »
About 2 years ago we got a 2008 Honda Fit with about 40k miles on it for somewhere around 10 or 11k, so I think that would be in your price range.  Fantastic car, and about 33mpg highway I think.  And a surprising amount of storage space for a small car.  We plan on keeping it for a very long time.  And yes, if you can find an independent mechanic to do a buyer's inspection, I'd highly recommend doing it.

BMEPhDinCO

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Re: Looking to buy a used car and looking for some advice
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2014, 03:06:38 PM »
I am also on the Honda/Toyota wagon --- great cars, last forever, cheap, etc.

A few other tips:

1. I got my last Honda from a flight attendant - low miles even though it was older since she rarely drove it, look there!

2. Make sure seller has all paperwork, manuals, extra keys, fobs, etc - I always keep all maintenance records, these are important later!  My seller even had the original car buffing and washing extras she was given by the dealer!

3. Bring a copy of your DL and ask if you can go for a test drive - overnight and mechanic visit is even better but at least drive around the neighborhood with it.  Go during the day and at night - test everything.

4. CL or private usually avoids taxes, but make sure you have a notary sign the paperwork for registering the car and transferring the title - most banks do this for cheap.  And make sure to have cash or check - no CC taken usually by private people.

Finally, wear old clothes and be ready to look under the car, look for rust, ask about driving habits, gas, etc.  Do a tire test, check the oil, window fluids, etc.

Good luck getting yourself a "new" car!

UltraRunning

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Re: Looking to buy a used car and looking for some advice
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2014, 06:32:35 PM »
I am also on the Honda/Toyota wagon --- great cars, last forever, cheap, etc.

A few other tips:

1. I got my last Honda from a flight attendant - low miles even though it was older since she rarely drove it, look there!

2. Make sure seller has all paperwork, manuals, extra keys, fobs, etc - I always keep all maintenance records, these are important later!  My seller even had the original car buffing and washing extras she was given by the dealer!

3. Bring a copy of your DL and ask if you can go for a test drive - overnight and mechanic visit is even better but at least drive around the neighborhood with it.  Go during the day and at night - test everything.

4. CL or private usually avoids taxes, but make sure you have a notary sign the paperwork for registering the car and transferring the title - most banks do this for cheap.  And make sure to have cash or check - no CC taken usually by private people.

Finally, wear old clothes and be ready to look under the car, look for rust, ask about driving habits, gas, etc.  Do a tire test, check the oil, window fluids, etc.

Good luck getting yourself a "new" car!

Thank you for a break down of different aspects that i need to consider when buying from a private seller.  Much appreciated.  Thank you very much sir or mam.   

RapmasterD

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Re: Looking to buy a used car and looking for some advice
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2014, 07:00:17 PM »
You didn't mention how many miles/year you drive. Although I have Prius envy, if driving 12K or less miles per year, I'd go with a used Corolla. Super boring, and they last a very long time.