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Old 03-15-2007, 05:21 PM   #1
dibblejr
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Default Buying a Used Subaru or Any Vehicle Great Tips

The best advice you will ever get while purchasing a Subaru or any used vehicle, for that matter, from a dealer or individual:

Buying a used vehicle is a very serious matter. Think hard about what kind of vehicle you want (car, truck, SUV, ect.), what you want to do with the vehicle (race, show, work, school, ect.), how often you will drive it (daily or limited) and how much you can afford (do not forget to consider insurance).

Have a strategy: Now it’s time to make a list: Color, number of doors, body style (sedan, wagon, ect.)

Locate an independent vehicle “bumper to bumper” inspector or a “Subaru Dealership” and ask them for their price for an inspection and how long it will take. Tuck this info away in your brain. You will use this info later during your quest.

Search the internet for used/ new car dealers within your travel range that have vehicles that meet or come close to your wants and needs. Record the dealers’ info to your list.

Trade-in: do you have one? If so you have several options;

1) Trade it in to the dealer/ person you are buying your new car at
2) Sell it on your own
3) Sell it/ trade it in to one of the internet based car dealerships such as CARMAX, Drivers World, Cars.com and Carsdirect.com in order to name a few.

a. Companies such as them will buy your car from you, take your car in as a trade-in on a car that you want to purchase from the. They have tools that will help you determine how much your car will appraise for here; http://www.carmax.com/dyn/research/kbb/trade.aspx , http://www.driversworld.com/faq.aspx , http://www.cars.com/go/index.jsp , http://www.carsdirect.com/home?src=2...u_buy+used+car

b. Companies such as these can take some stress away from you trying to sell your car yourself however you probably will not receive top dollar that you may by selling it yourself. But selling a car on your own normally will take an average of six weeks and still does not gaurantee you top dollar. You will typically get somewhere in between "black book"-what a dealer will give you and "blue book"- what you may get in a private sale. Obviously they are a business and they need to be able to make money and offering top dollar on every car they take in will not keep their shareholders happy. However, that applies to every car dealer.

c. Doing busines with companies such as these let you look at vehicles from your home without spending money on gas and all of those little inconveniences. They allow you to compare more vehicles that fit your exact criteria than any other method.


Down Payment: Do you have one? If so, how much?

Of course the more you can put down, trade-in + down payment= lower financed amount and possibly lower interest rate.

By this time you should have a rough estimate on how much cash you will need to purchase your vehicle. This is the time to ask your Bank or Credit Union for a used auto loan. Normally Credit Unions will offer a lower interest rate than a Bank. Getting a pre approved loan gives you a lot of power when approaching a dealership, use this as leverage. Financial institutions will normally give you a pre approval $ amount then once you find the car you provide them with the VIN, price ect. And they will enter it in their database and if it meets their criteria cut you a check. You do not have to tell the dealer you are getting outside financing.

Now for the bread and butter of buying your used (new to you) Subaru:

1) Go scope out the dealers on your list and look at the Subaru you are interested in. I always recommend that you do this in the evening after the dealer closes. This will eliminate any hard sell sales pitches and give you piece and quiet without distractions. Just do a quick walk around looking for exterior problems; exhaust, tires, paint, and overall body condition and interior if you can see it. If the car appears to be satisfactory to you mark it on the list. Write the VIN down as well and if you can see the odometer record the mileage. Repeat this step for all dealers/ vehicles on your list.

2) Your second step is to view the vehicle in all of it’s glory in the daylight. Gather all of your information up and head back out during business hours. Be prepared for “salesman intervention”. On his approach do not act desperate. Act normal ask questions concerning the vehicle(s) on your list. Ask him if you can check the vehicle out alone (once again getting rid of the outside distraction), tell him you will come and get him if you have questions or need further assistance. Inspect under the hood (hoses, rust/ corrosion, wiring, mods, fluid leaks/ levels, signs of fresh fluid deposits ect.) Inspect tire ware, is it uneven, are they new, if directional are they mounted correctly.

3) The test drive:
If at all possible test drive the vehicle alone (without salesman) if at all possible, however some dealerships will not allow this. The first thing to do is turn off the radio (at this point you know it works). A good salesman will always speak of the radio, tires, wheels and interior while you are driving the car. In most cases dealers know when there is a problem with a vehicle and will do this trying to get your attention. Thus making you miss all of the problems there may be. Warm the vehicle up, note the idle speed, eng temp, gauge lights all the fun stuff. During the test drive listen for weird noises, engine clatter, squeaking, rattling ect. Ensure you use the brakes when you stop, do they squeak, feel soft ect. Notice does the steering wheel vibrate, does the car drift to one side or the other, is the steering wheel straight while going straight. Hit a few bumps along the drive and listen for excessive noise from the suspension. Trust me, it is more affordable to replace a bad head unit/ stereo than an engine or transmission.

4) Professional Independent Inspection:
Once your test drive(s) are completed its time to go check out the remaining vehicles on your list (unless you are completely satisfied with this vehicle).
If you are satisfied with this vehicle ask the dealer/ individual if you can take the vehicle to an independent inspector for a complete inspection. If the dealer/ individual says “no” to this request simply walk away, they will either change their mind or let you go. If they say “yes” take $100-200 of your own money and take it to an independent inspector.

** NOTE**
A lot of dealer’s offer or quote a 1000 point inspection as a selling tool. This inspection is no good and usually bogus. Do not rely on this inspection unless you are buying your new Suby from a Suby dealer. The small things that they claim to inspect is only done to try and convince you to take the car "as is" or with a very limited warranty.

You also want to get a compression test done, this may be done at the same place you get it inspected.

5) CARFAX:
Though CARFAX is a good source of information, do not base your decision to purchase your Suby based on CARFAX alone. CARFAX is only as honest as the previous owner, of they had an accident or the car was flooded ect. And they or the insurance company did not report it to CARFAX your search for information will not turn up anything. If repairs were paid out in cash the damage probably wont be reported.

** Do not compromise all of your hard work. If a dealer tries to put you in a car that was not on your list and/ or not what you are looking for, do not buy it or look/ test drive it. If you do, you are letting the salesman take control of the situation, once he does this he has got you. If you are not completely satisfied with your car it will come back and kick you later after the transaction is complete.

Good luck
Jay-R
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Last edited by dibblejr; 03-16-2007 at 09:40 PM.
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Old 03-15-2007, 06:26 PM   #2
CF-Ninja
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I just lie when I go to buy a car. I got my 2007 2.5i for 17.5 out the door. w00t
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Old 03-16-2007, 08:32 PM   #3
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For the trade in part, how about mentioning private sale and places like CarMax and Driver's World where you generally get inbetween black book (what a dealer gives) and blue book (what you get on private sale).
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Old 03-16-2007, 11:05 PM   #4
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Just some other hints to look for...

I was formerly a car salesman, and also have gone hunting for used cars to buy from individuals etc.

If you're interested in checking for accident damage:

Check the alignment of all the body panels by looking at the GAP between the panels. E.g. when the trunk is closed, the gap should be relatively the same from front to back (along the length of it opening). However, you may notice the driver and psgr side gaps to be different in width...this can be normal, even in new cars.

Also, be sure to check how the front/back bumpers meet up with the main body panels. Most new(er) cars have these bumpers painted same color and mounted flush against the main panels. These are really hard to line up correctly, especially if it was fixed with secondary market pieces.

Checking for Paint damage/repainted:

Be sure to rub your fingertips along the "edges" of panels, like door edges, panel edges, trunk or hood edges. Pretty much NO aftermarket shop can do the paint job like the factory. Factory paint will be smooth from side-to-edge-to-side. If it's Aftermarket paint, you will feel a inconsistency or other roughness at the edges (in the clearcoat)

Hmmm, that's all I can think of right now...I'll post more if I remember.
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Old 03-17-2007, 10:14 AM   #5
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Well, you got to watch out for the "Texas Blend" which takes up the whole side. Something you learn about in Wyotech. Also do a "knock" check for body filler on any area that seems "uneven" or the paint doesn't look as perfect as other areas.

Also, be sure to look for body damage, even if the car "looks" okay. Look at the suspension, look at bolts on exhaust or a cut heat shield and things of the sort.Also, if bolts in the same area to the same thing (like header bolts or exhaust bolts). There shouldn't be a stainless steel bolt any where on anything like that, nor 2 different "colors".

If the engine bay looks all gussied up from the bottom and the top, get a flashlight and look closer to the block and look for any new leaks. If there's a smell, make a note of it. Check the harnesses if you can, some modders remove and replace things that will "bypass" things such as an EGT sensor that will more than likely be unplugged and have a resistor plugged into the harness end. Things like this are dead giveaways to walk away from the deal.

These are all things I look for now when checking cars out since they are things I ran into after buying my bugeye or after test driving and doing a walk around w/ a very close eye. NEVER BUY A CAR AT NIGHT!

There are plenty of other things to look for, sometimes, if your intuition tells you there's something wrong, there is.
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Old 03-18-2007, 05:41 PM   #6
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finally got it stickied
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Old 03-18-2007, 05:54 PM   #7
dibblejr
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Yeah, now it's easy to copy the link for those that don't read stickies first.

Jay-R

Quote:
Originally Posted by jumpman1887 View Post
finally got it stickied
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Old 03-19-2007, 06:46 PM   #8
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this is a great thread, i'm currently looking at buying a used subbie and there were a couple things i forgot about that were on that list. One thing that i found when going to dealerships during the day is to simply say "I'm just looking and I'll find a salesman if I need one" that always drives them crazy plus you can feel free to leave whenever you want, the first time i went in without saying that i was there for 2 hours just waisting time
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Old 03-19-2007, 10:20 PM   #9
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Thanks that's some good advise right there.
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Old 03-20-2007, 01:04 AM   #10
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A few more things...

Make sure to open the trunk and look at the spare tire wheel well area.

Things to look for:

(1) the spare tire (duh!)
(2) any excessive moisture
(3) funky, earthy smell
(4) stains or other non automotive accountable stains

sometimes you will get a post flood recovery car, even if you are nowhere close to the south (think Hurricane Katrina, etc.). These vehicles are very prone to electrical damage, rust, and mold contamination.
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Old 03-22-2007, 01:37 PM   #11
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Nice write up, I'm glad this got stickied! It's a shame that some will still fail to read this and post a new thread about it, but really nicely done.
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Old 04-01-2007, 03:17 PM   #12
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Default used cars

I'm also a former salesman (hate to admit it).
Bottom line, chech out NADA, Blue Book, but the best (IMHO) Edmunds.
You should be able to settle on a price between trade-in and dealer.
Don't be afraid to walk out if you're not comfortable or happy.
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Old 04-04-2007, 03:21 PM   #13
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im about to buy a car ... thanks for the tips
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Old 04-04-2007, 06:00 PM   #14
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For car loans, you might also mention some of the internet sites where you fill out an online application, and then get a loan "blank check" (good up to a pre-approved amount) that you can use to pay for the car. Since it's not for a fixed amount or for a specific car, you still have the flexibility to negotiate price with the dealer, but you know the interest rate and payment terms in advance. If your dealer (or bank/credit union) can provide better financing, you have no obligation to use the check and can go with the other financing.
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Old 04-04-2007, 06:07 PM   #15
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^^ Guess you didnt read the entire post. And there are thousands of sugguestions that could have been in the post, but then it would be too long and noone would stay awake long enough to read it.

From above

Financial institutions will normally give you a pre approval $ amount then once you find the car you provide them with the VIN, price ect. And they will enter it in their database and if it meets their criteria cut you a check. You do not have to tell the dealer you are getting outside financing.

I give enough sugguestions to give anyone reading it an excellant chance not to get robbed.

Jay-R
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Old 04-05-2007, 09:50 PM   #16
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great post
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Old 04-13-2007, 10:06 AM   #17
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good deal
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Old 04-14-2007, 05:31 PM   #18
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For what it's worth, don't be afraid to pay extra to have the car you want shipped to you. I know $500-$1000 sounds like a lot, but when you're dropping 5 digits for a car, what's another grand.
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Old 04-17-2007, 08:43 PM   #19
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if u are buying a used car try to get it as stock as possible you never know who hacked what
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Old 04-18-2007, 12:37 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dibblejr View Post
The best advice you will ever get while purchasing a Subaru or any used vehicle, for that matter, from a dealer or individual:


5) CARFAX:
Though CARFAX is a good source of information, do not base your decision to purchase your Suby based on CARFAX alone. CARFAX is only as honest as the previous owner, of they had an accident or the car was flooded ect. And they or the insurance company did not report it to CARFAX your search for information will not turn up anything. If repairs were paid out in cash the damage probably wont be reported.

** Do not compromise all of your hard work. If a dealer tries to put you in a car that was not on your list and/ or not what you are looking for, do not buy it or look/ test drive it. If you do, you are letting the salesman take control of the situation, once he does this he has got you. If you are not completely satisfied with your car it will come back and kick you later after the transaction is complete.

Good luck
Jay-R
I totally agree with No.5, sometimes carfax even record the second owner as the first. So just use its records only for reference.
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Old 04-19-2007, 12:50 AM   #21
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Good info
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Old 04-20-2007, 03:16 PM   #22
elnino334
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use carfax
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Old 04-20-2007, 04:46 PM   #23
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Someone's always got to post a useless reply. Read the thread.

Jay-R


Quote:
Originally Posted by elnino334 View Post
use carfax
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Old 04-22-2007, 05:34 PM   #24
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+1 for buyin a subie with no mods, get em before they get hammered on
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Old 04-22-2007, 05:37 PM   #25
dibblejr
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^^ You would never know if a car was ever modded or not, thats why you need to do your homework.

I was at a shop about 6 months ago and another member came up and told me "he never seen an older gentleman modding a car before". Made me laugh.

Jay-R
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