Used Cars

happylady1957May 11, 2011

Hello All,

I am interested in purchasing a certified pre-owned vehicle. My mechanic tells me Toyota is the way to go.

Has anyone used a reputable web-site to find one? I would rather avoid the car dealerships, and certainly want to avoid Craig's list.

We will be paying cash, if that makes any difference.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks!

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sushipup1

Why not go to a dealership? You'll usually get a warranty.

You want to watch out for a lot of internet sales, many cars are dumped on the market after flooding, and are sold all over the country, not just in flood areas. A local Toyota dealership will most likely have a good selection and offer more in the way of inspections, etc.

Check out Toy and Ray's CarTalk website. There is a section on buying used cars.

Here is a link that might be useful: Car Talk

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 2:07PM
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coolvt

You can only get a "Certified" car from a dealer. And it can only be the brand of car that the dealer sells new. Toyota sells certified Toyota and Ford sells certified Fords, etc. The certification is actually a factory warranty that the dealer buys from the factory. It helps them get good prices for their used cars.
Go to Auto Trader.com and follow the instructions. You can pick the brand name, color, year etc. Most will be 3 or 4 years or newer if you want a certified car. Used car dealers will have cars, but will only have factory warranty if there is any remaining on the vehicle. On auto trader.com you put in how far you want to search.
I bought one 2 yrs. ago that way (Volvo about 250 miles away) and one last year (Caddy). For the Caddy I traveled 600 miles to get it. A great deal and worth the travel. If anything goes wrong under the factory warranty just go to a dealer close to you and they will fix anything for free.
As far as which brand to buy....doesn't make too much difference because it will be under bumper to bumper factory warranty. Buy American:-) Just my preference:-)
The certified warranty is often better than the warranty of the same car new. Typically it's 6 yrs. (from the date the car was first purchased) and 100,000 miles. So, if you buy a 3 year old car there will be 3 yrs. left or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first.
If you are willing to travel a little to get a car you will find an amazing price difference from dealer to dealer on the same vehicle. Normally smaller town dealers have lower prices.
I would advise you to stay away from cars that were rental cars. They really get beaten sometimes and have had hundreds of different drivers. Most of the certified use car are vehicles that were leased for 3 years.
Have fun searching!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 6:15PM
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mike_kaiser_gw

You can only buy a certified used car from a dealer. If you want a certified Toyota you need to go to a Toyota dealer. Honda from a Honda dealer.

Certified used cars can make good sense because they typically offer a warranty that as good or even better than the same car new. Of course, you're going to pay a more for a certified used car. Especially for a clean, low-mileage, late model used car, prices can approach those of a new car.

The biggest challenge of buying a used car is that every one is unique. Differences in mileage and condition have an effect on the price so comparison shopping can be difficult. The biggest unknown with used cars is the maintenance record; in many cases you won't know how well the car was maintained. It's easy for a dealer to change the oil but you don't know if it was changed 5,000 miles before that or 50,000 miles.

I would suggest getting a copy of the April 2011 issue of Consumer Reports. Your local library should have a copy or have free access to their website. You'll find reviews of different models, recommended models and price ranges, cars to avoid, and suggestions on how to shop for a car.

As for method of payment, it should make no difference to a legitimate dealer because they are going to report the income to the IRS in any case. I would recommend not discussing how you are going to pay for the car until you've agreed upon the price for the car. Dealers make some money off of financing, so if you take that off the table early you may not get as good of a deal.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 12:21PM
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chisue

We've bought two certified cars from their brand dealers. One was untitled, 'last year's model'. One had 2,000 miles on it -- also a 'leftover' from the prior year. We don't drive much and keep cars up to ten years, so it's worth it to us to save by buying a 'newer' slightly-used car. We searched the country for the first car; bought it from a dealer in Troy, MI and sent someone by bus to pick it up and drive it to Chicago for us. If a relatively new car comes with a 6-year warranty, you can usually buy a 2-year extension on the warranty later -- if that interests you.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 12:53PM
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happylady1957

Thanks truly for all of this great information. Mike Kaiser, I wouldn't have realized not to mention we are paying cash - thanks! We are indeed willing to travel some for a better deal. We keep our cars a long, long time, thus this purchase is making me a bit nervous, don't want to make a mistake!

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 2:23PM
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pamghatten

I just bought a certified used SUV from my Dodge Dealership. I bought a 2007 with 20,000 miles on it for less than blue book value. I am very happy with my vehicle and my dealership.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 1:34PM
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joyfulguy

Nissan or Mazda (I drive a 23-year-old one) build quality cars, but lack some of the high profile of the Toyotas and Hondas, so often one pays less for the same quality of car.

Mine has a standard transmission, and usually one can get them for a lower price than automatics of the same vintage, as there is a limited market, but you can save some money if you don't mind being "shifty" (and no one has referred to you as "shiftless", I hope: I haven't been so accused, thus far). There's ongoing savings, as well: they get better gas mileage than do automatics, often something like about 10%.

Do you have a potential connection with many of your relatives, friends, acquaintances, etc., e.g. by email?

How about getting out a general letter telling them of your desire and asking whether they have some suggestions?

Do you know of any estate cars? Sometimes executors of estates want to finish off the business of a deceased person and one can get a quality car, driven only by an old lady on Sunday afternoon, for a reasonable price: very reasonable.

Good wishes for being long-term happy with the results of your search.

ole joyfuelled ... who buys cars about seven years old and keeps them for another seven

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 3:09PM
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colorcrazy

Happylady, if you go to a dealer, do NOT mention that you are paying cash. Let them go through the whole process, get the contract and then say "Oh, I decided to pay cash." Dealers get some of their profits from financing, so you have to let them think you will finance it through them. You will get a better price on the car that way.

There are books on buying used cars and how to negotiate the price of a car. DH is too softhearted to play "bad guy" so I get to do it, LOL!

Have fun!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 10:43PM
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dreamgarden

"There are books on buying used cars and how to negotiate the price of a car. DH is too softhearted to play "bad guy" so I get to do it, LOL!"

Edmunds paid a guy to go undercover and write a story about how car salesmen work.

We copied notes from the article and used them the past couple of times we purchased cars.

Its amusing how irritated dealers/salespeople get when they realize you are on to their tactics and won't be able to milk more money out of you.

A link that might be useful:

"Confessions of a Car Salesman"
www.edmunds.com/car-buying/confessions-of-a-car-salesman-updated-for-2009.html

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 10:06AM
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joyfulguy

Hi lady who's reported to have been happy since 1957,

Do you know some mechanics?

Ask around among them as to whether they'd be willing to check over some used cars for you.

If you bring one to them and they tell you to get out of there with that piece of junk ... pay the person $10.00.

If they check one out some ... pay them $20.00.

If they like the look of one and give it a thorough going-over ... pay them $50.00.

If you pay a total of a couple of hundred bucks ... and save one trip to the garage ... you're money ahead.

Ask around among friends, relatives, co-workers, etc. if they know of someone wanting to dispose of a good used car ... especially a senior about to give up driving ... or an estate sale, following a death.

Quite often such a car would give you quite a few years of quality service.

And the cost would be a great deal less than if purchased through a dealership.

Use your friends ... that's one of the things that they're good for!

I hope that you are pleased with whatever you choose - long-term pleased, that is.

Also, with the extra money that continues to reside in your pocket.

Invest some of the savings skilfully ... it may pay half of the cost of the next car that you buy!

ole joyful

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 7:28PM
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colorcrazy

I agree with Ole Joyful. That was how I used to buy my cars. First you need to find a mechanic who you can trust, but then you really save a lot on the price of the car. I also agree with the others that most Toyotas and Hondas have a good track record and last a long time. Check consumers report, and be sure to research average gas mileage.

Networking is useful for buying cars; it's not just for job searches.

If you are not comfortable with that, CarMax is an option.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 10:54PM
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