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Buying a used car- need advice


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#1 CENNY

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 04:12 AM

Need to buy a used car for mom, have about $12-13k max to spend, was just wondering if the CAGs had any advice. She's in her 60s, and needs something that's not too low (most sedan cars are out I think) because of her back issues. Obviously we would like something that's well made, reliable, and with as low mileage as possible on the clock. What kind of car would you guys suggest looking at? Realistically, what year and mileage would I be looking at for a US or Japanese SUV/crossover/whatever in that price range?

Another thing, I've bought a fair amount of cars in the past, and I really HATE using dealerships, and having to hear their BS. I've had a lot of shitty experiences with them which I won't go into here because it'll just raise my blood pressure. Anyway, would anyone recommend using Carmax? I know they're typically more expensive than dealers, and you can't negotiate on the price of a car, but is the experience really a whole lot more positive? Seems like they're getting more and more popular round here. Any input appreciated.

#2 2DMention

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 02:55 PM

You might want to look at a Ford Focus. I got a 2009 barely used (it was a rental) with 9000 miles for around 12K. Great gas mileage.

I hate dealerships too. Your experience is very YMMV with them. Most are smarmy crooks, others work with you and are decent.

I've never gone through anything other than a dealership, so I can't help you there.
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#3 JStryke

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 03:05 PM

Seeing how cars are prone to fall apart at any time, something I'd recommend, more so if you end up buying from the newspaper ads or craigslist. If you know a guy who's good with cars, see if he'll come with you. That way, you may be able to get an idea of the shape the car is in if you aren't car savvy yourself.

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#4 mtxbass1

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 03:17 PM

Given her age, I'd think a Buick would be ideal. They seem to be the choice of many people in their 60's.

I would really recommend having her go with you so she can sit in and drive what she likes. What you think is nice, she may not, and vice versa.



#5 2DMention

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 03:19 PM

Given her age, I'd think a Buick would be ideal. They seem to be the choice of many people in their 60's.

I would really recommend having her go with you so she can sit in and drive what she likes. What you think is nice, she may not, and vice versa.


I agree there. My parents are in their 70s and have a buick. It's comfortable, gets decent gas mileage, and even has a tape deck.
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#6 iKilledChewbacca

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 03:41 PM

2011 Ford Fiesta LOL. I like the green ones :D

#7 Retom7

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 03:45 PM

He said with back issues, sedans are out. Good gas mileage from an SUV or Truck is not going to happen, unless you can afford to get a Ford or Toyota Hybrid, but I believe they'll be out of your price range. Honestly, in that range you can look for a last gen Subaru Forrester or Outback Legacy (taller wagon/sedan). Subarus are decent cars (used to be a lot better, but not the same quality as before). For that kind of budget you can find something with ~40-60k on the ticker, and because of the nature of the vehicle, most would have been owned by adults.

#8 DV8

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 04:29 PM

The new Kia's and Hyundai's are really well made. They're the Japanese cars of yesteryear. You might even be able to get a brand new one with a warranty which could save you a lot of hassle in the long run. Plus the 2011 Optima looks sexy as hell.

#9 dohdough

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 04:30 PM

Used CRV, Rav4, or korean equivalents. I wouldn't worry too much about the dealer, just be prepared to walk if you don't feel like you're being treated right.

#10 CENNY

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 11:37 PM

Thanks for all the help, everyone. Lots of stuff for me to research tonight.

The new Kia's and Hyundai's are really well made. They're the Japanese cars of yesteryear.


I didn't know Kia's were well made. Do they last as long as Toyotas and Hondas? The ads seem good, I just wonder how come they're so cheap...

I was looking at PT Cruises, which are definitely in my price range, but then I asked a friend who I know has a family member with one, and it turns out they have had quite a few problems with theirs, they've had to take it in a lot (only 20 something miles on it). Plus I think they might be too low for her, anyway.

I dunno, guess I'm just wary about buying something that sounds too good to be true. I have this possibly BS theory that newer budget priced cars aren't as well constructed as older budget cars. I would rather buy something a little older from previous generations, with a few miles on the clock, but that was well taken care of and "made better". But I'm no car expert, so I could just be talking out my ass here. Any opinions?

Also, I've never taken her to test one of those "box" style cars, but they look like they have potential. Was thinking of looking at used Honda Fit/Nissan Cube style cars, anyone own one? Are they a little higher up seating wise than sedan cars, or do they just look that way because of their shape?

#11 lionheart4life

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 11:48 PM

Hyundai Santa Fe. Not an enormous SUV, the gas mileage is pretty decent and you could probably get a mid 2000's one for well under your budget. Look into whether she would still qualify for the 10 year/100k mile warranty as the second owner though.
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#12 Dead of Knight

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 12:54 AM

The new Kia's and Hyundai's are really well made. They're the Japanese cars of yesteryear. You might even be able to get a brand new one with a warranty which could save you a lot of hassle in the long run. Plus the 2011 Optima looks sexy as hell.


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#13 jaydepps

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 01:13 AM

The Ford Focus is cheap and reliable, but as others have said it may be too low. Buicks seem to be your best bet for easy access.

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#14 mission42

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 01:55 AM

Go with a Grand Marquis or Crown Victoria. It's not to hard to find a late 90's of either of those cars, both are big and roomy, easy to get in and out of, and many are owned by older people who don't put a lot of miles on them. I just bought a 1999 Grand Marquis with about 36,000 miles for $5,000. I got it about 4 or 5 months ago and it's a dream. I sold my 01' Mustang with 99,000 miles on it for $5,000, basically it amounted to trade one for the other for me. I couldn't be happier.
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#15 2DMention

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 02:16 PM

Go with a Grand Marquis or Crown Victoria. It's not to hard to find a late 90's of either of those cars, both are big and roomy, easy to get in and out of, and many are owned by older people who don't put a lot of miles on them. I just bought a 1999 Grand Marquis with about 36,000 miles for $5,000. I got it about 4 or 5 months ago and it's a dream. I sold my 01' Mustang with 99,000 miles on it for $5,000, basically it amounted to trade one for the other for me. I couldn't be happier.


LoL you drive an old person car. :applause:
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#16 CENNY

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 08:05 PM

Thanks for the great advice, mission42. I'll check out those cars. And a bargain from older owners who took care of their car and didn't use it much, sound like more the kind of deal I'm looking for. For that kind of sale, I'm guessing I would have to look more at the auto trading papers or Craigslist or something like that.

How easy are private person-to-person car sales, by the way? How can you check that a previous owner doesn't have a load of oustanding parking tickets or whatever before you decide to buy a car?

#17 2DMention

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 08:17 PM

How can you check that a previous owner doesn't have a load of oustanding parking tickets or whatever before you decide to buy a car?


carfax.com
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#18 mission42

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 01:53 AM

LoL you drive an old person car. :applause:


Gotta have room to fit those car seats in. I had trouble getting a car seat to fit in the back of my 01' Mustang Convertible. :( Wasn't to practical anymore so I had to get rid of it. Plus the Grand Marquis has the 4.6L in it and my Mustang was only a 3.8L. More Power. :booty:

Nothing like just kicking back and cruising in such a smooth ride, plus I've yet to get pulled over in it (As opposed to the Mustang which apparently was a cop magnet) and people always slow down when I get behind them, must assume it's a cop car. I just need the spotlight on the side and a couple antennas on the back and no one would be the wiser.
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#19 mission42

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 01:55 AM

Thanks for the great advice, mission42. I'll check out those cars. And a bargain from older owners who took care of their car and didn't use it much, sound like more the kind of deal I'm looking for. For that kind of sale, I'm guessing I would have to look more at the auto trading papers or Craigslist or something like that.

How easy are private person-to-person car sales, by the way? How can you check that a previous owner doesn't have a load of oustanding parking tickets or whatever before you decide to buy a car?


I'm guessing older owners probably won't be using craigslist much, probably have to check the local papers or the local auto trader magazines, usually free at gas stations or rest stops in the area. Sometimes even at entrances to wal-marts, etc.
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#20 CENNY

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 02:23 AM

Thanks mission42, really appreciate it.

carfax.com


Thanks for the suggestion, but is there any other way to find out about liens or outstanding tickets etc on the previous owner, without paying the Carfax fee? I'm seriously thinking about a person-to-person car purchase, cutting out the middleman.

#21 freeorelse

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 02:57 AM

Ford freestyle 2007 or 2008. Sits a little higher than a normal sedan. Several in the Autotrader for around 10K to 12K.

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#22 Clak

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 03:35 AM

If you go to a dealer make sure to check their website, when I bought my car I got it for thousands less than the sticker price because I checked their website where they had it listed for less.
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#23 vrblknch

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 03:36 AM

Two words. BUICK and CARMAX. Make that 3 words. CHRYSLER.

#24 fatboyjam

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 03:49 AM

I'd recommend checking out auto brokers in your area. We have used one for our last three cars and wouldn't go any other way. They'll troll auctions, private and dealers to track something down and you'll take the guess work out of "is this a good car" or "is this a fair price". For example, our broker worked with a local auto dealer for our current car. When somebody defaulted on their lease, we picked it up with only 2,200 miles on it with full warranty. It never went on the market and we got it cheap.

I'll stay out of the make and model discussion other than to say, you probably love your mom - don't get her a Kia.

Edited by fatboyjam, 20 January 2011 - 04:02 AM.


#25 CENNY

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 01:10 PM

LOL thanks!

#26 Sk

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 06:59 PM

Given the current market condition you should be able to get just about any car you need.

Make sure you get something with as low of milage as possible. If you want an SUV buy American. The Japanese have a hard time contending on that front. I will say that the japanese make some excellent sedans. I'm totally happy with my toyota Camry.

For 12-13K you might be able to buy a 1 or 2 year old SVU pretty easily. The market is terrible.

#27 mission42

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 02:35 AM

Thanks mission42, really appreciate it.



Thanks for the suggestion, but is there any other way to find out about liens or outstanding tickets etc on the previous owner, without paying the Carfax fee? I'm seriously thinking about a person-to-person car purchase, cutting out the middleman.


For a lien against the car, just make sure the person has the title, if there is a lien against it, usually a bank or lender will keep the title, and either way it would say on the title if there is a lien against it. Outstanding tickets or anything like that would be on the individual person and not the car and shouldn't matter as long as the car wasn't involved in a crime. Carfax will more just tell you the history for repairs or accidents. Carfax also doesn't know everything, depends on rather the insurance company or repair shop reports it or what carfax can find.

Once in a great while Carfax runs a free promo where you can check VIN numbers for free for the first couple but either way, if you test drive a vehicle and you are serious about it, get one. Also you can ask most any dealership (assuming you are looking to buy from them and not an individual) and they can get one for you too.
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#28 CENNY

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 05:02 AM

Awesome, thanks for the info.

For 12-13K you might be able to buy a 1 or 2 year old SVU pretty easily. The market is terrible.


Do you mean I could get a deal like that from a car dealership, or a private sale, or both?