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Good or bad deal on used car??

Posted by catherinet (My Page) on
Wed, May 17, 06 at 22:49

Hi all,
Neither my husband nor I am up on some things....one of which is how to wheel and deal for a car. We usually buy a new one, and keep it for at least 10 years. Our daughter needed a car (first one), and so we decided to go with Honda, since I'm very happy with my Odyssey and the service. We found a 2000 Civic, 4 doors, 80,000 miles. It had some recent hail dings, but they didn't bother us enough to not consider the car. The inside of the car looked completely new. We asked for a history of the car, and it was one owner, and it had never been in an accident.
They were asking 10,000, but we got them down to 7,900.
We also bought a 2 year/24,000 mile warranty on it for 1,200. We felt pretty good about the deal, but now that we're home, I'm thinking it went too easily....especially for a Honda dealer. Do you think we underestimated how low to offer, considering the dents from the hail? And now that I've read the info from my other post about the hail damage to my Odyssey (and how the paint damage might not show up at first), do you think we were really foolish? I didn't count the dings, but it just didn't bother us enough to not consider the car........but I might change my mind if all these little dings start peeling.....
I probably shouldn't even be asking this, since it's a done deal........just hoping you might tell me we did okay with this. (Of course, only time will really tell.) Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Good or bad deal on used car??

The Honda dealer would never have sold this car for the $10,000- this is a false price and is used often in the disreputable field of buying and selling.

With more time and effort you could have bought the same car, privately ,for a thousand dollars less..The $1,200 warranty price is also high, IMO,
When I buy used, which is all the time, I just set aside a thou or two for repairs.
I always come out far ahead...
But my method does involve more risk,I think, and takes more time..


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RE: Good or bad deal on used car??

I think you did OK. earthworm is right -- retail for this car, in this condition, is nowhere near $10,000 (not in U.S. dollars, anyway). According to the folks at Edmund's, however, $8,000 is toward the high end of what you could expect to pay for this car in a suburban Midwest location with an automatic transmission and an AM/FM/cassette stereo. Did the car come with any warranty besides the extended one? As for whether the extended warranty is worth it, it all depends on what it covers and whether luck and good driving habits are on your side. I would bet that I wouldn't need that much repair, but you never know.


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RE: Good or bad deal on used car??

Thanks earthworm and Steve,

I just wish we were more savvy with these things. They always make you say your ballpark figure first, and I guess it should be ridiculously low. We thought we were being low, but when he said okay, except for $500, that told me we should have started even lower. Then he came back and said "the boss" said he could only go 100 less....and we said give us 300 less and we'll do it. I've never bought a used car before, so maybe there is alot more room to deal in used cars than new ones. We've just gotten used to Honda dealers never dealing much....but that might just be new cars.
Since we're insecure, and it wasn't a "certified" used car, we felt comfortable going with the extended warranty, which seems pretty comprehensive....although there is a $100 deductible for each occurence. There is also free road assistance, fixing tires, etc.
It looks like this model is very reliable....but without precertification, we just felt better getting the extended thing. Maybe if we have a good experience with this car, we'll be less likely to get a warranty in the future. Does the fact that it's not precertified, mean that it's an inferior car? All of the precertified ones were at least $16,000.
My bet is, if we had to do it again, we could probably have paid about $500 less, if we'd really pushed. And we should have made a big deal about all the dents. Funny.....he started the interaction out with "and there really isn't much damage at all". I guess I try to psyche people out, and I'm wondering if I should have given more notice to that statement. Dang. I wish people could just be totally honest and we wouldn't have to play these games.
I know the insides don't really matter.......but this thing was like new inside. I hope the engine, etc. is the same way!
I have another question for you. I'm seeing some really low-priced cars that only have something like 25,000 miles on them. Can we read anything into that? Why so cheap??
Also, most of these cars had a big yellow sign on them that said "No hassle pricing". To me, that means they just don't want to deal. What does it usually mean?? I think that statement is just plain silly. Are we stupid or what?? Are we supposed to think "Oh, how nice! We can just pay the asking price and have no hassles!" hahaha
(We're stupid, but not that stupid)

I guess I was naive in thinking that it was safer to buy a used car from a reputable dealer. Am I totally wrong on that? The dealer has been nothing but honest and above-board with me on a regular basis. I've even taken my Odyssey in for weird things I've noticed, and they've checked it, and said nothing was wrong, when they could have ripped me off (like the volvo dealer used to).
Maybe I should only feel good about buying their used cars, if they are precertified?
And the salesman said he couldn't do any dealing at all on the warranty....when we asked it to be included in our price. Of course, we just lowered what we wanted to give for the car, but have you heard of that before....that they don't include those in "the deal"?
I hate buying cars.......new or used. The reality of everything is just so variable! Thanks for your help with all my questions!


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RE: Good or bad deal on used car??

ditto earthworms post. I don't think there is such a thing as a good deal on a car at a dealership new or used. Sounds like you did ok to me all things considered. As earthworm says, expect to spend a few more bucks on repairs when you first get a used car. Just seems to be the way it is. Best of luck with it.


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RE: Good or bad deal on used car??

When a dealer has bunch of hail damaged cars to move, it should be easier to get a 'deal' from him. About 3 weeks ago, a major hail storm swept through our area swamping the local insurance offices. About one week later, a local Honda dealer ran a sale to clear his lot of hail damaged cars. The damage ran from very light to considerable. If you could accept some damage, one could get a Honda at a reasonable price. Why? The dealer was better off if he could move the damaged cars rather than fix them. It was going to cost him more in repairs than he could recoup on the price difference. Selling a hail damaged car without having to fix it was to his adantage, and if the damage was superficial, the customer got a 'deal' too provided he did not pay too much.

So. how would determine a fair price? I don't know any exact method. What I'd do is to determine the going rate for the undamaged vehicle by perusing local ads, getting an opinion from a cost list used by your Credit Union, or other publications like Edmunds, and then reduce the price by the wholesale amount of a paint job.


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RE: Good or bad deal on used car??

My bet is, if we had to do it again, we could probably have paid about $500 less, if we'd really pushed. [snip] I wish people could just be totally honest and we wouldn't have to play these games.

Good ol' hindsight -- always 20/20! :-) Seriously, yes, you probably could have done better. But that likely would have taken far more time and information than you could spend.

I know the insides don't really matter.......but this thing was like new inside. I hope the engine, etc. is the same way!

The insides do matter. First, it's most of what you see when you're in the car. Second, if the inside was well-cared-for, the rest of the car should have been, too. But, in the future, you really should have a prospective used car examined by a mechanic you trust to make sure you're getting the deal you think you are.

I have another question for you. I'm seeing some really low-priced cars that only have something like 25,000 miles on them. Can we read anything into that? Why so cheap??

The market for most used cars has softened considerably. Incentives on new cars (0% financing, rebates) and cheap leases made the price differences between used and new cars marginal and so people bought or leased new cars. With the continual incentives for new vehicls, used cars flooded the market.

Speaking of flooding, there undoubtedly will be a bunch of cars from Katrina-stricken areas which some unscrupulous people will attempt to fix and sell off with a -- er, washed -- title. Those cars will be cheap to keep them moving.

Also, most of these cars had a big yellow sign on them that said "No hassle pricing". To me, that means they just don't want to deal. What does it usually mean?? I think that statement is just plain silly. Are we stupid or what?? Are we supposed to think "Oh, how nice! We can just pay the asking price and have no hassles!" hahaha
(We're stupid, but not that stupid)

Lots of people enjoy haggling for a car as much as they enjoy getting root canal. Personally, I would venture that most of Saturn's success comes from their no-hassle, we're-all-friends-here demeanor, because it certainly isn't the cars or the great deals that keep people coming back. "No hassle" is an attempt to bring the price down some from full list to let buyers think they're getting a deal -- which they are, without the usual confrontational aspects of negotiationg; just not as much as possible. It should also be a little cheaper for the dealership because they don't have to burden their sales reps with so much dead time spent "speaking to the manager" -- they can be out selling cars. You'll notice that no one offers "no hassle" trade-ins (not even Saturn). Besides, how many things do you buy for which you actually negotiate? Groceries? Patio furniture? Insurance? Mortgages? In a way, "no-hassle" puts car-buying on the order of buying something in a department store. Don't like the price? Don't buy.

I guess I was naive in thinking that it was safer to buy a used car from a reputable dealer. Am I totally wrong on that? The dealer has been nothing but honest and above-board with me on a regular basis. I've even taken my Odyssey in for weird things I've noticed, and they've checked it, and said nothing was wrong, when they could have ripped me off (like the volvo dealer used to).
Maybe I should only feel good about buying their used cars, if they are precertified?

Some manufacturers put limits on the cars they will sell "precertified" -- like how old the car is, how many miles it has,.... Just because a car is not certified does not mean it's bad -- though I would think less of a two- or three-year-old Civic sold by a Honda dealer that wasn't certified because that certification is worth more to the dealer.

And the salesman said he couldn't do any dealing at all on the warranty....when we asked it to be included in our price. Of course, we just lowered what we wanted to give for the car, but have you heard of that before....that they don't include those in "the deal"?

Well, maybe he couldn't deal on the warranty. But I'll bet someone at the dealership could. I've done it (and still refused the warranty). And I could see why the dealer would not be tripping over himself to swallow the cost of a "$1200" warranty in the price of an $8,000 car.

I hate buying cars.......new or used. The reality of everything is just so variable!

You've just provided Reason #16 why people like "no-hassle" pricing. :-) Buying a car anymore is a considerable investment. We all want to make sure we get it right. Having to haggle over the price when you don't know the real cost makes it that much more difficult.


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RE: Good or bad deal on used car??

Thanks everyone!
Steve.....that was really nice of you to answer all my questions! I appreciate that.
I like the idea of "no-hassle" pricing.....but if I know a little hassle will bring the price down, I just can't not do it! When we bought our Honda Odyseey in 2001, the salesman just wouldn't budge. I think we got $500 off, but he just wasn't going to budge. Even though I hated the cost, it WAS nice to just quit haggling!

I picked the 2000 Civic up this morning. One question........I am compulsive about filling out the maintenance schedule, each time I get it serviced. This had nothing in it. I guess it's possible that it's a new book, or the previous owner just never wrote anything down. Is it common to put new owner's manuals in used cars? Also......it doesn't have a rear window wiper! No wonder I couldn't figure out how to turn it on. Is this common in smaller cars?
I forgot about the Katrina concerns.......but I'm sure this one wasn't there, since the insides were immaculate.

Time will tell what kind of a deal we really got.
Thanks so much for your help!


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RE: Good or bad deal on used car??

i think honda's are gold plated. they are very reliable and have great resale value. I seem to recall they need new timing belts/waterpumps at about 100k miles. you might want to check into that in a yr or so. thats the 1 part you hope never breaks since it can cause major engine damage. of course your warranty will probably run out by the time you hit 100k. isn't that great?


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RE: Good or bad deal on used car??

Hi Joe,
Yes, I had to have my timing belt replaced at something like 104,000 in my Odyssey. Hmmmm.....this maintenance agreement will cover us until 108,000 on the Civic (or 2 years), but I'm not sure it would do preventative stuff. I guess we can hope it breaks before then, and maybe they'll replace the engine??? just kidding.
I've been very good about my scheduled maintenances on my Odyssey. There are so many visits that have been very reasonable......unlike my l989 Volvo. They would find things wrong at every oil change....to the tune of $400-600. They were the only Volvo Dealer service in a large midwestern town. One time they kept my car for a total of about 3 weeks, trying to figure out why it was vibrating, and it was costing me lots. They just couldn't figure it out. I shop in my little town, and the guy fixed it first try!!
Anyhow....the Honda place is totally reliable and honest.
Service is such an important part of buying a certain brand of car.


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RE: Good or bad deal on used car??

I picked the 2000 Civic up this morning. One question........I am compulsive about filling out the maintenance schedule, each time I get it serviced. This had nothing in it. I guess it's possible that it's a new book, or the previous owner just never wrote anything down. Is it common to put new owner's manuals in used cars?

I think it depends on the used car. I certainly would expect to see a manual -- even a new one, if necessary -- in a dealer-certified used car. I would simply hope to find a manual (any manual) in a car sold by a private party. As for entries in the manual, I know that when I've taken my Volkswagens in for dealer/warranty service, they stamp the manual in the appropriate place. Maybe that's a VW thing; maybe Honda doesn't do it; maybe the original owner never took the car back to the dealer for maintenance.

Also......it doesn't have a rear window wiper! No wonder I couldn't figure out how to turn it on. Is this common in smaller cars?

It's common on less-expensive models and sedans. It certainly is nice to have one.

I forgot about the Katrina concerns.......but I'm sure this one wasn't there, since the insides were immaculate.

I have to ask: are there any signs of wear on the interior? Sun fading, worn upholstery and pedals, dust in the hard-to-reach places? You're talking about a six-year-old car with 80,000 miles. It should show some signs of that life inside. I know you trust the dealer, but an interior that appears to be brand new in a six-year-old car would get my antennas waving big-time. Cars do get flooded elsewhere, of course. Might want to peel back some carpet and check out the door sills and trunk see if there's anything that indicates water damage.


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RE: Good or bad deal on used car??

Hi steve,

On the inside, the only thing I found was a little stain on the carpet under the driver's feet, and a golf tee under the carpet in the trunk! I'm thinking a retired single man? Too bad they don't put chips (computer-type.....not Lay's) in the cars so you can see it's history. But.......that would probably mean no one would want alot of the cars. The exterior definitely shows some signs of use.......besides the hail dents, some scratches, and a few spots that look like someone used steel wool on them.
The spare tire area has a donut, but is big enough for a real tire.
I've been having some angst. This is my 19 year old daughter's first car, and we've always been big on safety. We used to laugh saying her first car would be a hummer. But when it came down to buying one for her, we only had so much money. This car is pretty small, and gives me worries. I'm trying to remind myself that a bigger car isn't necessarily a safer car (if it's not made well). And like the salesman said, the biggest safety factor is the driver. It's the other drivers I'm worried about. But I hated compromising a bit on the safety issue, because of money. It does give me angst.

If I did find signs of water damage, it would be my tough luck, right? (since I bought it "as is"). This is a very reputable Honda dealer, so hopefully, they wouldn't sell those cars........but you never know.
Thanks Steve!


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RE: Good or bad deal on used car??

Take a hand mirror and look around under the dash.They can not clean every nook and cranny under there.Dust Bunnies collect to the hardware up under the dash.Does it have dust bunnies and not mud looking crud?Where was the car titled from day one and how many reports if any did it have?That information is on the car fax report.If it saids Florida New Orleans Mississipi then look real good with that mirror.

Did you pay to much?Yes but the guy who traded it in took a real beating also.


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RE: Good or bad deal on used car??

Thanks John,
We did get a Carfax report, and it was a one owner, no accidents, and it was originally bought 6 years ago from the Honda dealer that we bought it from.

I also would like to ask another question: I would have had a mechanic check it out, but would it have been approrpiate to have a Honda mechanic there check it out? I figured they'd probably "recuse" themselves, since they work at the place that's selling the car.


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RE: Good or bad deal on used car??

I worked at a couple of gm dealerships back in the 70's. Anything they kept on the lot to sell got a pretty good once over (safety inspection) from the shop. Whatever it needed, brakes, exhaust, tune up, whatever, they got. Then they were sent to the detail guy for a good cleaning. He'd completely remove the carpet to clean if it needed it. If there was a rip in the seat, it'd get fixed. If something serious came up during inspection, they whole saled it without doing anything. If your dealership does something similar, than taking it to another mechanic wouldn't help you. Even though the cars they kept to sell at the places I worked were late model low milers, it still didn't mean they weren't about shot. Seen lots of lease return vehicles that never had the oil changed and never appeared to even been washed or vacuumed. It would be a pretty good guess that some of those cars had the crap ran out of them. With new brakes, exhaust, oil change, detailed, ect, you'd never know the difference to look at them. There's always some risk to purhasing a used car unless you know the previous owner. jmo


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RE: Good or bad deal on used car??

Thanks gary.


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