General chatter - Buying a used car... experiences?




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energie
01-06-2011, 08:50 PM
Hello everyone!
I'm thinking of purchasing a used car from a private seller. Its the best option for me right now because I do not have the resources yet to get a new one. I've been researching about this. I've read about questions to ask, getting a carfax, taking a test drive, getting a mechanic etc. But since its the first time I'm doing this, I'm a bit nervous. I thought I'd ask about others personal experiences with buying from a private seller? What was it like? What did you do? I would love to get PM's on this one if that is okay, so we can talk more in depth :)

Thanks again everyone !


shcirerf
01-06-2011, 10:10 PM
How much mechanical experience do you have? Is it a stick or an automatic? Do you really know how to test drive a vehicle to check for issues?

Does the engine knock? Does the tranny slip? Is the (if it's a stick) clutch sloppy? Do you know how to check the oil? After you test drive it, do you know how or where to check the tranny fluid(if it's and auto) and how it smells? An indication of a bad tranny.

Can you walk around a vehicle and recognize bad body repairs? Bad paint job, bad bondo fill job?

What kind of shape are the belt/belts in? Does it squeal? An indication of bad belts, or sloppy adjustments, or bad alternator/ac unit.

I can and have, changed tires, starters, radiators, and alternators.
As a woman, who has a husband mechanic/body repair guy, people who are selling vehicles, hate to see me coming, because I know too much! :carrot:

I don't deal on vehicles any more, I pick out 2 or 3, test drive and report back to the hub about what I want and what is the best deal and send him off to do it.

I've told the sales/ private folks, well this is right, but this is wrong, I like this, that needs fixed, etc. They look at me like I have 2 heads and a tail! :devil:

But if my hub shows up and says all the same things, it's great.

I'd find a guy who is at least half car savvy and take him along. I know it's a sexist thing, but if it saves a few bucks? Go for it. No point in getting the shaft.

energie
01-06-2011, 11:19 PM
Yeah, I'm definitely taking a friend along. It sounds like you know what your doing! I wish I had you come along with me lol :) I really want to get to the point where I know tons about cars, but right now that ain't so.

Its a automatic and I'm aiming for around 50,000 or less car miles. I was going to test drive it on back roads and the highway. I don't have much mechanical experience. Thats why I was going to take it to a trusted mechanic in my area.

This whole process is very daunting. Its just a lil fustrating but I don't have much of a choice given my financial situation right now.


ArcticFrogs
01-06-2011, 11:42 PM
Buying a used car is always nerve-wracking, whether it's a $1000 vehicle or $30,000. I found this site to be insanely helpful (check out the links at the top left):

http://www.samarins.com/

We learned a lot of things from this site...I was actually somewhat amazed at how obvious some things seemed (especially things that hadn't even crossed my mind)...and the photos help.

You're going to have to do a bit of reading, and you'll end up clicking on a lot of links (not spammy links or anything, just due to interest!)...but you'll learn a lot in a relatively short amount of time.

Also, here is a checklist from the same site. Feel free to print it out and take it along...don't let anyone intimidate you or make you feel rushed. If you're spending money on it, make sure it's worth it!

http://www.samarins.com/check/index.html (http://www.samarins.com/check/index.html)

Neither of us know much more than the basics about cars (we're computer nerds), and this helped us feel a lot more comfortable in picking out a vehicle.

Good luck to you! Let us know how it goes!

EDIT: Just had to add, these are my very first links on this site! And for a good cause...not even a RickRoll! *fistbump*

energie
01-06-2011, 11:54 PM
Buying a used car is always nerve-wracking, whether it's a $1000 vehicle or $30,000. I found this site to be insanely helpful (check out the links at the top left):

http://www.samarins.com/

We learned a lot of things from this site...I was actually somewhat amazed at how obvious some things seemed (especially things that hadn't even crossed my mind)...and the photos help.

You're going to have to do a bit of reading, and you'll end up clicking on a lot of links (not spammy links or anything, just due to interest!)...but you'll learn a lot in a relatively short amount of time.

Also, here is a checklist from the same site. Feel free to print it out and take it along...don't let anyone intimidate you or make you feel rushed. If you're spending money on it, make sure it's worth it!

http://www.samarins.com/check/index.html (http://www.samarins.com/check/index.html)

Neither of us know much more than the basics about cars (we're computer nerds), and this helped us feel a lot more comfortable in picking out a vehicle.

Good luck to you! Let us know how it goes!

EDIT: Just had to add, these are my very first links on this site! And for a good cause...not even a RickRoll! *fistbump*

Thank you thank you thank youuu! I can't say it enough. I'd give you a huge hug if I could hehe :) I bookmarked it and by just skimming over it, I can already tell this will be extremely helpful! I just showed my sister and she was like wow that will defnitely help.:carrot:

I will definitely let you know how it goes.
Thanks again :hug:

SouthLake
01-08-2011, 01:25 AM
Is there a reason you're choosing a private seller over dealership?

I've only purchased one car, used. I bought it from the dealership and walked out with my car for 30% under what the dealer was asking. Four years later, the blue book is now what I paid for it then.

My best advice for buying a car for anyone, regardless of where you get it, is this.

Know what you want. Determine a model, or a few models, in your price range that suit your needs. Research them thoroughly- what are the reviews like? From professionals, and consumers. Pay extra attention to reviews from people who have owned the car for a few years. Familiarize yourself with the standard repairs for your car and when they're done. If you're buying from a private seller, ask about these repairs. Ask which mechanic they've taken it to. When you've narrowed down your model choices based on features and specs, test drive the top two or three. Not to buy, just to test. Don't feel bad about test driving at a dealership, even if you don't intend on buying. Once you've made your final selections, find several models so that you know a range of prices. Knowing this gives you more room for negotiation, especially if the price is higher than another same year/model. Know exactly what you are willing to pay before you even see the car. DON'T GET ATTACHED. It's a car. It's not a house. Or a puppy. Or a one of a kind piece of art. There are more cars out there, concentrate on getting this car as cheaply as you can, not on falling in love with it.

And, bring a guy. It sucks, but it does help.

Keep the radio off when you test drive it. You want to be able to hear every single sound the car is making. If it sounds off, or feels off, trust your gut. (but still get a mechanic to give her a once over if you can) Beware of buying a dirty car, a lot of people will leave their cars slightly dirty on the outside (even dealerships) because the dirt helps hide surface imperfections.

Good luck!