Thinking of buying a (nearly) new car?

joyfulguyJune 2, 2003

At an advantageous price?

I realized that sometimes cars bought privately turn out to be stolen - and a policeman appears on your doorstep to offer you quite a surprise - then leaves you with an empty driveway.

But sometimes vehicles bought from dealerships disappear in a puff of smoke, as well.

In some cases, buyers had to continue paying monthly - for a car that they no longer had.

As well as calculating how they might afford a replacement.

I learned some things while checking a sample website tonight that a local website builder offered me as a sample of his work. His offer came over a year ago - though I just looked at it, I'll pass it on to you right away.

Check .

Using the Christmas present that I offered to everyone here last Christmas might well enable you to evade most of the risks that they refer to on that site.

Good wishes to you all as you enjoy spring.

joyful guy

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Buy a 'Lease Vehicle' from a dealer. Got my '99 Tahoe with a year and 16K miles on the warranty for the Truck. Was perfect when I bought it, and had warranty to fall back on if it wasn't. Luv My Trukk!!!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2003 at 1:36AM
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Hi Gina,

I bought a 1990 Dodge "Colt" (built by Mitsubishi) with 1.5 litre engine, standard transmission, in summer 1997 with 138,000 km. (about 87,000 mi.) for about either Cdn$ 2,600. or $2,700.

It turned over 240,000 km. (150,000 mi.) during a trip to U.S. last summer - now close to 256,000 km (160,000 mi.).

I got about 44 - 47 m.p.g. on that trip, as well - got a tankful of gas southern KY, side trip to Indiana border, about 40 mi. s. of Detroit that little orange light on the dash said, "If you don't get some gas into this tank soon - you'll be out back, pushing".

Have had to make some repairs, but not an inordinate number. I kid my garage man that whenever I seem to get a bit of money saved - it seems as though I have to come visit him - with the Colt or my '81 Ford van (that has gone over 200,000 mi., it appears).

From what I see of cars of similar vintage advertised for sale in this area, I think that I could get a substantial amount for it now.

When I ask the auto salesmen if they can show me a way to get about 80,000 km. (50,000 mi.) for under $3,000., they tell me to get lost.

If it gets wrecked tomorrow - does it owe me anything? Not a cent!

Am I a happy camper, when it comes to auto ownership?

You bet!

joyful guy

    Bookmark   June 19, 2003 at 9:45PM
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That's great that you have had such good luck with your car. Obviously you you maintained it well, and that has been a big factor in how well it has served you.

I realize that buying a car from a private seller is in some ways risky, but I am trying to figure out how it would be possible to accidentally buy a stolen car. No money changes hands until you have the car's legal title, free of liens and encumberments. If you have any doubts, you could also check the car's VIN with the local police, who could surely look it up in a database of stolen vehicles. But I really can't think of why that would be necessary, for if the person selling the car possesses the legal title to it, how can it be a stolen vehicle?

Now, I know what can be done is titles can be transferred from state to state (in the U.S., don't know if this can be done between provinces in Canada), and sometimes this is used to falsify the mileage statements on the title. But the VIN remains the same, so the vehicle, while obviously not one you want to buy, is not stolen.


    Bookmark   June 24, 2003 at 12:52PM
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Titles are forged and many problems "can" arise in private sales. The most obvious is that, unlike dealerships, people can pack up and move pretty quickly. That isn't a reason not to buy a car that way, but it is a reason to be careful.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2003 at 2:14PM
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I've had good luck with cars too. I bought mine 13 years ago for $2700. It was 4 years old at the time. I think the tranny might be starting to slip, so I'll start thinking about a new used car, but not until I absolutely need to.

Concerning buying used cars from private individuals: my Mom's boyfriend was a mechanic. He helped me pick out my current car, and he advised me at the time that it's better to buy from individuals because they don't have mechanics working for them that can cover up major defects with minor fixes. And unless you buy a nearly new used car (i.e. just off a lease) it doesn't come with any warranty, and the dealership will not take it back once you pay for it.

But, with individuals, you want to be sure they they were the actual owners of the car. I have heard recently that some people act as dealers, buying cars and then flipping them, by putting them on the side of the road with a "for sale" sign. They look like average people trying to sell their cars, but they're actually dealers. Not the same type of dealer that would have a mechanic hide a defect. But, the problem with these dealers is that you'll have a hard time determining if they cared for the car since they didn't actually drive it. And, you know the old stereotype about used car dealers. I'm sorry to say that I believe it, but I do. You'll probably get more honesty out of an individual owner than you will out of a dealer. The dealer who deceives you into believing that he was the owner of the car will probably not hesitate to tell you that he had the oil changed every 3000 miles.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2003 at 3:51PM
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Hi all,

The website that I quoted referred to people having got into trouble as well after having bought used from a regular dealer.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   July 8, 2003 at 6:12PM
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Usually you can spot a "flipper" who repeatedly buys and resells cars by checking the title to make sure the seller is the one whose name is printed on the title. Often what these people do is buy the car from someone, and that person signs the title over to them. If it's an official dealer, they can then re-assign the title to a new person by filling out a special place on the title for that purpose. However, if you are dealing with a "flipper," they cannot fill out that section because they aren't a legally registered dealer. What it will look like on the title is that you bought the car directly from the person printed on the title. That's definitely a situation to avoid for a number of fairly obvious reasons.

I have always only bought used cars from private individuals. I think it's very valuable to talk to the prior owner. However, it's definitely true that once you buy it, it's your baby. Courts almost always hold that a private individual is not considered a car "expert," and therefore even if they said (or advertised) that the car was in "excellent condition," or "runs perfectly," you can't hold them to those claims because the law does not consider them to be knowledgeable enough about cars to be able to accurately characterize a car's condition.

But I will say again, if you have a legal title to the car, signed over to you by the person whose name is printed on it, you are the legal owner of that car, for better or for worst.


    Bookmark   July 9, 2003 at 8:23AM
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Hi cowboyind/Ken,

I don't want to rain on your parade - but try telling that to a cop who shows up in your driveway, or pulls you over while you're driving, claiming that the vehicle in question was stolen.

And the signature on the transfer of title forged.

A good reason not to follow the general practice of leaving your certificate of title in your vehicle (if it's one, unlike mine, that thieves may want to steal). Hard for thief or receiver of stolen vehicle to get replacement certificate on vehicle registered as stolen.

I think you'll find that the car disappears in a puff of smoke - but you'll be left paying it off, more than likely.

As well as finding money to buy a replacement.

Always nice to have some emergency money on hand.

I buy privately - but I know two or three mechanics who'll check over vehicles that I'm considering. If I pay them about $200. in fees to check over several - if that enables me to avoid about one trip to the garage, I'm ahead.

Even if I'm unlucky enough to get stuck with one lemon in four trades, I'm still ahead, rather than buying from a dealer.

Good idea to know some senior(s) who trades up to new every three or four years: s/he can get a better deal if goes to dealer to buy new without a trade-in.

Hope you all enjoy your holiday.

joyful guy/Ed

    Bookmark   July 10, 2003 at 9:27PM
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Speaking of used cars. About 5 years ago we sold our old used car privately. Signed over the pink slip, made photocopies of everything, took the cashier's check to the bank, they drove away. About a year later we received a notice in the mail about parking tickets - LOTS of parking tickets. Apparently they never registered the car under their name, it was still showing as our car. We cleared it up with our photocopies but it was a pain in the butt.

So. We are almost ready to sell another old used car privately. Is there a better procedure to follow to make sure the car is no longer showing as under our names?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2003 at 4:08PM
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In Ontario, before one can sell a vehicle one must purchase from The Department of Motor Vehicles a packet of materials that must be filled out giving a good deal of the pedigree of the vehicle. I think that s/he can not transfer the registration of the vehicle without parts of it.

Anyone who buys a vehicle here without that packet of information has rocks in his/her head.

In some provinces, I believe that the registration plates go with the vehicle, so if the new owner neglects to register the transfer, the problem that you refer to could develop. But they, too usually carry a date, which enables law enforcement people to ascertain easily whether required renewals are current.

The annual notice about your requirement to renew your vehicle registration would be sent to your address.

Here, however, a renewal sticker carrying a month must be bought annually to affix to the licence plate - in my case, as I was born in January, my current stickers read "Jan '04".

In order to obtain that renewal, the new owner must sign an application certifying insurance coverage, etc. - which would mean that s/he would have to forge your name.

Which, in the case that you describe, would get him/her into deep doo-doo when the authorities caught up to her/him. Not a wise course of action. But it could cause you trouble until your birth month rolled around.

Also, when you go to renew your vehicle registration next year, all of your unresolved traffic, parking tickets, etc. have been sorted by the computer to be added to your account, so you must pay the annual registration fee - plus the price of all those misdemeanors. No pay - no play.

Or - you don't get your licence renewal.

In Ontario I own the plates, so when I sell the car I take them off. If the new owner wants to keep them on until s/he can drive it somewhere, I go along to remove them when s/he arrives at the vehicle's new home. None of this, "I'll just return them to you tomorrow, to save you the trouble", kind of stuff.

My ownership of the plates has one drawback - if I'm not to get a replacement vehicle, to which I could transfer them on the vehicle registry, (paying a fee, of course), the plates sit on a shelf bringing me no benefit for the balance of the year whose renewal I'd paid for.

If the new owner hasn't taken a set of plates from a vehicle that's been disposed of, s/he must go to buy a new set.

A situation that does not entirely displease the Department of Motor Vehicles. Interested as they are, in common with all wage earners, in increasing their income.

joyful guy

    Bookmark   July 27, 2003 at 11:00PM
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Titles are transferred in different ways in different places, and I can't speak to what's done in different U.S. states or in Canadian provinces, but when you go to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles here to transfer the title and purchase plates, they have access to all of the transfers that have been associated with that vehicle's VIN, and they know if it's stolen.

The scenario of someone stealing a car, finding the title in the glove compartment, and then forging a signature on the title to sell it to someone else, is very unlikely for a couple of different reasons. First, the vehicle would have been reported stolen and would show up on the BMV's computer as such. No license plate would be issued in such a case. As I said above, a telephone call to the local police or the BMV could yield this information before giving a single dollar to the seller of the car.

Second, in many places the seller must deliver to the buyer not just a signed title but a notarized and signed title. The notary would require identification to prove that the signer is indeed the person who is named on the title. In a place where a notary is not used, the buyer can and should ask the seller to see appropriate pieces of identification.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2003 at 4:02AM
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Just an update on my old car: it needed two quarts of transmission fluid. That, and and oil change for $27.00 total, and it's running great now, much to the dismay of my family members.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2003 at 5:18PM
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Sometimes when you use your dipstick to check the level of your engine oil (engine stopped), every week or two, depending on distance travelled, it's a good idea to use the other dipstick to check level of oil in your automatic transmission, as well (engine idling) - perhaps once or twice a month.

When it gets too low, it changes colour from red to gray or brown and characteristics, as well - will need to be completely changed and the system cleaned. Same if you abuse it by asking it to do too heavy work (ramming around too hard when stuck in snow or mud). A pain in the butt.

Checking fluid levels is easy, not time-consuming, and free - and often forestalls expensive remedial measures being required.

joyful guy (whose car engine oil level needs checking: standard transmission, no dipstick)

    Bookmark   August 16, 2003 at 4:14AM
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Just thought that I should tell you all ...

Bought my 1990 Dodge Colt, 1.5 litre engine, standard 5 speed tranny, that sips gas, in 1997 with about 85,000 mi. on it, for something like $2,600 - 2,700.

I've put close to another 85,000 mi. on it, since, with little trouble.

I've had to put a number of repairs on it in those six years, but not an inordinate amount, I think.

I had several things done to it prior to my recent 3,700 mi. trip to help my brother celebrate his 40th wedding anniversary - and retirement from farming.

I felt that I should be there - I married them.

The cost of that repair to the car was $800.

Which, being a (more or less) retired personal financial advisor, I paid in cash.

This summer and fall, I've been running son around to various festivals where he, as a clown, blows up long balloons and shapes them like animals, hats, etc. for kids.

He's been complaining recently, as the garage took a while fixing my car - so we had to run around in the van that uses gas nearly twice as fast.

He's going some distance in the morning - wants to leave here at 5:30 - so I'd better get to bed.

Enjoy this beautiful fall season, all,

ole joyful

    Bookmark   November 22, 2003 at 1:00AM
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