Forum OpenACS Q&A: How to buy a used car
First thing, a friend loaned me a great book. Wish I remembered the
title.... I just tried searching for "How to buy a used car" at
Amazon, and I didn't see the book there, but it's been ten years or
so, so I no longer remember the advice. But in those ten years I've
bought two really wonderful used cars, relatively cheaply. In 93 I
picked up an 89 Saab Turbo Convertible with 45K miles for $17K. The
LOW Blue book was 21K. In 97, I picked up a 94 Honda Accord Wagon
also with 45K miles for $14K, which was Low Blue book plus or minus a
few bucks. So this strategy was last tested in '97.
So, definitely peruse your favorite book store looking for books and
tips. The book I got was written by a former car salesman.
Here's the basic strategy: buy your used car from a new car dealer.
1. It will be in pretty good shape. New car dealers have the budget and
to fix up the problems. They have mechanics on salary, so the car
be in good mechanical shape, and almost certainly safe.
2. New car know that every day a used car sits on their lot, they
have to pay
theft/damage insurance on that car. Also, it takes up parking space
that another car could be using, so they also pay rent for the parking
space. So they are very motivated to sell that car as soon as
even if that means selling it cheaply.
3. They are new car salesman. They hate used cars. In reality this can
4. They royally screwed the last owner, and this means there is lots
for you to screw these guys over, AND they will still make a profit.
They screwed over the original owner that traded the car in: they
him his new car at an exorbitant markup, and then they took from him
his used car at a very low price. You know, they told him his
was in terrible shape, ugly, and was in low demand. Their profit
due just to screwing over the last owner of your new used car was
$6K to $9K dollars, or more. Your goal is to take that $6-$9K
salesman. See how noble this endeavor is? You get to be Robin Hood!
5. Due to the above, no one knows how much that used car cost them.
New cars have an
and the car salesman knows how much it cost. Few people could
what their used car costs them. Maybe Dave in Finance. But that's a
6. Most new cars are the same. They are easy to price. Each used
car is unique. No one knows what that used car can go for, or when it
will be sold, so by refusing your offer, they are taking on a great
deal of risk.
So these are the reasons that new car salesman can make an attractive
mark to target during your used car purchase. It's up to you to find the
right used car. The recommendation there was to get a bunch of
Consumer Reports and Kelley
Blue Books, and for each car you're interested in, check out the
safety, reliability, and maintenance costs with the Consumers Reports.
Then use the blue books to plot the car price
over time. You should see a curve where the car price plummets in the
first several years, and then begins to flatten out. That it was
claimed, is often around year 3 to 5. You want to look for cars when
the curve starts to flatten. You also want to note the price.
Start searching for your car. When you find one... because you have a
how to buy a used car book, you can recognize and counter all the
standard tricks the wiley car salesman will use against you.
So approach the saleman, offer your price, which may be something like
a few K under the wholesale bluebook, and start negotiating. When I
bought my Saab, the asking price was $24.5. I paid $17K, it took me 6
hours to do so, so I made $6500 that day. Similar story with the
Honda. Both cars have been very reliable and lots of fun to drive.
Where I failed, was a failure to optimize the money on the resell.
The book I picked up suggested the following: drive your used car for
2-3 years. Then sell it to a private party. Since you bought the car
so low, and at the flat part of the curve, it's very likely you can
sell it for more than you asked for it, or pretty much the price you
paid for it, plus or minus a few hundred. If you can do that, then
you just drove that car for 2-3 years for free. I should have done
that, but the Saab was too much fun, and I was too lazy to want to go
through the process again.
Let me know if this works for you!
0ttfs$I no longer remember the advice$I no longer remember the title$$
I know one or two people who have bought cars that way. Seems to work pretty well. While one might think that rental cars get abused and all, the idea seems to be that by taking their top cars the ones sold to end-users are the ones that were not abused that way (I assume those go to auction or whatever).
Oh, and since these companies have large fleets, it might be possible to get the specific car (color, etc.) that you want and not have to settle for what you see at the sales lot you happened to drop in at.
P.S. If you are buying a used car, check out www.edmunds.com for info on what the car's value is (with different numbers based on whether you would be buying from a private party or a dealer, etc.)
FWIW it's worth, I got my last used car from a private seller - a clean 96 Acura Integra with about 59K on it for about $8000. Worked out allright but I don't find buying used cars particularly fun.
(btw...if you want to see what kind of vehicles I'm buying at that variety of prices, AND if you want to see a fairly large OACS site check out http://www.sv2s.com. I've also tweaked bboard so users CAN edit their own posts!
I've been having a reaction to all the $60K lexi, porsches, SUVs etc. passing me and have a fantasy of differentiating myself with a 60s era convertible be it cad, rambler, t-bird, vette, fairlane, dart, olds, mustang, galaxy, valiant, or ...? Not just a clean one, it could be fun to tool around in one that looked like a beater, okay, call it a work in progress.
Something makes we want to say "Yo Adrian". I don't know why.
If you know a trustworthy mechanic or body shop, you might consider getting a car from them, esp. if they give you a decent warranty.
The process I used was I found a 'dealer' who specializes in buying cars for private parties at dealer-only auctions. Sounds fishy but they are former sales people of regular dealers so they know the business. They helped me identify the vehicle I wanted and my spending limits. The day before the auction we went down to the lot and found about 5 vehicles I would have been happy with. The next day they bid on a couple but hung in there until I got the one that was really my favorite. I paid the sales price plus $500 to the dealer.
In my case I think the final price was average. I didn't get ripped off nor did I make a killing. The vehicle I bought was one which just came off of lease, which explains the extremely clean condition and low miles. There were also many bank repos and other vehicles their too.
The biggest advantages I see are a) ability to review many, many cars side by side, something not possible buying private party or at dealer lots; b) the chance to get a real bargain, and a cap on the final price.
Unfortunately I picked the Chili Pepper Red one with the factory suspension/tire upgrades and nice interior. Therefore there was one other person who bid it up $2000. If he hadn't been there I could say I made a killing.
Apparently there are many of these auctions going on all over the country and all the time.