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Old 01-17-2009, 07:59 AM   #1
Unabomber
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Car Buying FAQ

I am making this post in light of the constant and recent onslaught of people looking to buy, sell, trade-up, trade-in, and the 900 other things you can do to get or get rid of a car. So here are the common questions and the common answers so we can hopefully stop the same questions over and over....like anybody reads.

Is there a youtube I can watch on this subject? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNVfJXWqYeg#at=173

How much is my car worth? That's what Kelly Blue Book and the NADA guides are for. There are 900 calculators you can find on google that will tell you this. But remember that even if all 900 calculators tell you it's worth $7000, you may only get $5000 for it, that's the beauty of the market economy we live in. So the short answer is we have no idea. And before you ask, no....a ballpark estimate won't help you.

How much is my modded car worth? See above. Mods usually add $0 to the car's value and may negatively impact it as well. Some modded cars may fetch over quoted book prices, but usually those are cars that are famously known trophy winners or serious race cars. And no, your stage 2 or GT30R car are neither; we are talking cars with $XX,XXX+ in upgrades. The upgrade to over list price quotient is terribly low so don't think +$10,000 in mods = +10,000 in price. You would be lucky to see a 10% return on investment as modding cars is probably the worst money investment ever.

Where do I sell my car? This depends on your patience and trouble factor. Highlighted below are the popular options:

Dealer trade: You'll get the least amount of money and a moderate amount of hassle this way.
Car buying service: Places like Carmax, Driver's World, and others allow you to drive in, get a quote, and a 30 day buy offer. You should get better money than a dealer trade with little hassle.
Private sale: eBay, cragslist, want ads, and other sales outlets usually will net you the best price with maximum hassle.

Some dealers can offer you an excellent trade, but realize that the dealership will make their money back somehow. This usually comes on the other end of the deal by not coming much off the sticker price. Yes, deals have been made, but the cost of these deals is usually in the form of extra haggling.

Car buying services are great as the offer zero hassle. You can also use them in case your dealer trade offer isn't great. Get a quote from them and if after haggling with the dealer you find Carmax's offer is better, tell your dealer you'll just haggle on the new car price and sell your car to Carmax.

Private sales can be a mixed bag. You can end up getting haggled to death, deal with title/registration issues, people who assume a warranty or warranty period, payment nightmares, etc. You can often get the best price on your vehicle and many report smooth sales. But remember, dealing with tire kickers, late night calls, after the sale calls, and any number of other frustrations could occur.

Should I buy a XXXX, YYYY, or ZZZZ car? We don't know. The first determining factor to buying a car is the car's intended use. Then you narrow down further by other factors to include insurance, cost, manufacturer reliability, personal appeal, APR, and hundreds of other factors.

Yes, here on NASIOC we love Subarus. But if you are looking for information on Subaru model XXX vs. whatever other car, we cannot help you as we don't know the variables. First off we only know Subarus and finding someone who has owned the two or three different choices you are considering is a mathematical improbability. Heck, we can't even help you if you are considering a WRX vs STI vs Legacy GT. The variables between those models is even too great and they all have similarities.

Should I buy a Subaru XXXX or a Subaru YYYY? We don't know. Visit a dealer, sit in the cars, drive them, compare cost, insurance, and the 900 other variables and decide for yourself. You cannot diagnose cancer online and in the same line of reasoning we cannot decide which car is right for you without a horrendous amount of information.

What's the difference between model years or models of Subarus? This link does a dandy job of listing all the differences between the models and years.

Should I get XXX or YYY options on my car? We don't know. Think. Feel. Drive. I think that was some auto company's motto for awhile and it is the mantra of options. Dealers have tons of car with tons of options, go to the lot and play with the goodies. Yes, you are looking at the black STI, but the navigation works the same in the Tribeca, so play with it in the Tribeca or play with it in the "ugly white" STI to see if you like it. Same applies with all the other options.

Aren't aftermarket options cheaper? For the most part, yes. Most factory options have aftermarket clones that are better and/or cheaper. But factory options have a factory warranty, remember that. And many like the factory feel of say a built in nav unit vs. a suction cup GPS. Once again, the OEM vs. aftermarket argument is a personal issue that requires research on a personal level.

What's the first step in the car buying procedure? What is your car's use? Think this through very carefully. This is where compromises occur as there is no fast, easy riding, quiet vehicle that will haul plywood and business clients alike. Well maybe a Subaru Baja, but I digress....

You have goals for a vehicle, set them down on paper and review/rank them. Do the same if this is a shared vehicle with your significant other. If it's "your car", then buy what you like. If it's "our" car, you BEST get the goals of your co-driver.

What's choice number two? Cost. This is not simple as you have to factor in insurance as well. First you should set a ceiling and this ceiling should factor in local variables such as:
Taxes
License Fees
Dealer Fees (these can be high)

Now we can talk all day about premium fuel, MPG, etc., but this post isn't about microeconomics of cars and those three are the biggies. The only other variable which can be huge is insurance as this has to be factored in later.

Now I have a use and budget, what's next? Narrow down your choices. After using these two as your yardstick of vehicle choices, you should be able to whittle down some choices to a few manufacturers and models. Here is where your insurance agent or one of the many online insurance calculators. Insurance can be a price breaker, so check this out as early in the decision process as you can, even if it annoys the crap out of your local agent!

So where do I get the money? Popular options:
Dealership financing
Bank financing
Credit Union financing
Cash Money

Dealership financing comes in two flavors. Manufacturer backed financing like Subaru, GMAC, etc. and the dealer's local network of banks. If you get manufacturer backed financing, this can often times be the very best deal in terms of APR. You can usually check the terms and rates online before you even step foot in the dealership to run the numbers vs. your bank/credit union's numbers. If you go through the dealer's network of local banks you often times pay a higher APR than if you do it yourself, but sometimes the banks will kick an unseen to you .5% to the dealer as an incentive to use them.

Bank and Credit Union financing is very regional specific but in theory, Credit Unions have better rates and more liberal lending policies than banks, so visit some websites to compare terms and conditions.

Cash or check is always excepted at dealerships, but don't think that rolling in there to pay in full on the day you buy will save you any money. Asking for the dealer's "cash price" will get you one of these: Cash, check, charge, or finance...you will still have to haggle and it's all the same in the dealer's eyes. Remember this...credit unions and banks LOVE to give you a blank check to give you the impression that dealers will deal better with someone who has cash in hand. In reality, they are duping you into financing through them.

So when it comes to financing, finding the lowest rates is actually in your favor as you can do all the research online in most cases.

But my credit is not perfect or downright bad, what do I do? That usually eliminates or reduces your options at major banks and credit unions. Oddly enough, going to the dealer may be your best option as they usually have a few "high risk" lenders in their Rolodex that may finance you where others won't. You'll take it in the shorts in terms of APR unless you pay it off early or perhaps refinance after a year or two, but it will put you in that car you want.

How do I check my credit? https://www.annualcreditreport.com/ is the one approved website to get all your credit reports. Yes, the freecreditreport.com commercials kick ass, but they are trying to make money off of you and/or spam your email address. Go to the source, which is the first site listed as it is sponsored by the big three credit reporting agencies. This gives you the real report. With it you can see how your credit is and fix any errors. This gives you a relative idea of your credit.

What about my FICO score? That will cost you extra money either directly through the credit reporting agencies or one of the 9000 credit websites google will deliver to you. It is an indication of your credit worthiness from 300 to 850, with higher numbers being better. There is no magic figure to achieve as every lending institution has their own "best credit" mark, but if you are below 700 you need to take steps to improve upon your score.

How do I fix my FICO score? This isn't a detailed fix it guide as you can find 9453 via google, but the quickest and easiest thing to fix your credit will only cost you some stamps. When you get your free credit report from the agencies, file disputes. According to federal law, the bad credit marks have to be removed within 30 days if the original account creditor does not report back saying the dispute is valid or not. Meaning, fix your erroneous and your valid credit problems through the approved dispute process with the credit reporting agencies. Yes, you can get VALID credit dings removed. No response from the creditor = credit ding removed. Have you ever seen those companies that will fix your credit for $500? This is what they do, nothing more, nothing less. So remove credit dings that are indeed errors and attempt to remove valid credit dings as long as your karma allows.

I have the cars, insurance quotes, and money, where do I compare more? Visit the car magazine websites like Car and Driver, Road & Track, and Motor Trend. Look for individual comparisons and group comparisons like cars under $30,000. Visit edmunds.com or one of the 900 car comparison/review websites that google will happily find for you. Review Consumer's Digest and/or Consumer Reports for more research material. Visit manufacturer websites and do the virtual tours and get all the tech specs you'll ever need. The internet is a wonderful place and you can find out 95% of what you need to know before ever driving the car.

What about seeing the cars in person without being followed around by a guy in a plaid coat? This may or may not be your last step. If you want to get the exterior feel for a car, you can visit the location after business hours or holidays when that dealer is closed. If you want to get in and play with the buttons, etc. you can do so by pulling into the dealership service area. Walk in, use the bathroom, get some free coffee, ask the parts guy about the cost of a random item then start walking the lot. Sales people will see you and either leave you alone or leave you alone after you say your car is in the back getting a new alternator installed.

So which do I buy? At this point in the show, you should have it narrowed down to five cars or less. This is where you go in and play at the dealers. You should sit in it, open all the doors, open the trunk and get familiar with the car. Do you surf, snow ski, or haul something big a lot? Bring that with you! See if your golf clubs fit or if you'll need a roof rack for your 6ft ladder. Move all the knobs and switches and discover all the cubby holes. Then take a test drive. The test drive is primarily designed to test the suspension and brake feel, not to do a clutch dumping burnout! Motor Trend can tell you the 0-60, your primary concern should be 40-60, handling and suspension feel (will it rattle Aunt Betty's dentures), and braking. After this, you get into the incalculable "feel" of the car.

This should be repeated for each car you are interested in then a decision made based on goals, budget, and opinion. This is why the internet can never help you with a decision only give you tips on how to decide for yourself.

How do I get the best deal on a new car? Remember rule #1: The dealer always makes money. There is no way you can ever get over on the dealer as they have heard of every tip, trick, and scheme there is. Your only hope is to get as good a deal as you can and be happy with it. That being said here are the tips:

1. On a new Subaru, you really can't get a better/easier deal than 2% under dealer invoice. That's through the Subaru VIP Program. This requires thinking ahead though as you need to join a group 6 months ahead of purchase time. There are rules and regulations, but when it comes haggling time and you whip out that VIP paperwork, you will get a "good deal" with ZERO emotion.

2. Always have in your mind your final cost. NEVER negotiate payments! Ever. Negotiate final cost.

3. Many credit unions, fraternal associations, insurance agencies, and other organizations offer car buying services. This is where you tell your (say) credit union you want a Subaru WRX and they do all the legwork for you. All you have to do is go to the dealer and pick up your car with zero haggling after you've approved the offer(s) received through your organization.

4. Fax/email bidding. Fax and email several dealerships within your area soliciting their best offers the particular vehicle you want. This thread shows a great example of this.

5. Some dealers have a dedicated internet sales department that you can e-haggle with similar to the above, check your dealer's website to see if they offer this.

6. Research car pricing through edmunds.com or other internet site that offers detailed pricing information. Mind you, these sites cannot compute all the hold backs, incentives, and other odds and ends that pop up regionally, locally, or each month, so if edmunds tell you dealer invoice is 21,345 and your dealer looks at you like you have two heads...you might have two heads.

7. There are car buying services out there. Search the internet and you are bound to find companies that will do all the legwork for you similar to item 3 above.

Remember...time is on YOUR side. If you don't like the deal, walk away. You might get a call back, you might have to start the dance at a new dealership.

How do I get the best deal on a used car? This is way harder than a new car as with new cars you can find through the internet (to a fairly certain degree) what the dealer's cost is. With used cars you cannot. This is because dealers get them from two sources: auctions and dealer trades. Now some of you may be thinking, "well I just start bargaining from Black Book (AKA dealer auctioning average pricing) value and go from there". Black Book pricing is just an average and you have no idea of their real price.

For example, you see a used Forester that Black Book says will cost $8000 and you start bargaining from there. Little do you know that it was a dealer trade that they had to highball and they actually paid $10,000 for. Now you look like a tire kicker in the eyes of the sales associate.

What you should do is look at Blue Book or NADA used pricing guides and use that as a starting point yardstick. If it states the vehicle is worth $10,000, then you should start looking over the car's condition and mileage and base your starting figure from there. Remember you can very well pay OVER average value and still get a deal as that particular car may be of exceptional quality.

And also don't consider the used car buying guides as a Bible. Certain newer models will most certainly fetch over what the guides say as they generally don't account for unique cars or recent trends. For example, in recent years two cars that come to mind are the New Beetle and the Mini Cooper as they held their resale value like crazy due to low production and high demand. As well, this last year, ANY high MPG car in decent shape went over book value due to people wanting higher MPG vehicles. And on the flip-side and low MPG vehicle, especially the truck/SUV market, was worth much less than their stated values due to this turn of events.

So the two lines of reasons are to argue up from Black Book or argue down from Blue Book. Either avenue will work, but most would lean towards down from Blue as that's most reasonable in the eyes of both parties.
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Last edited by Unabomber; 07-03-2013 at 05:19 PM.
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Old 01-17-2009, 08:00 AM   #2
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What about buying used? This is a great way to save money as someone has nicely taken the huge initial depreciation hit for you. Many manufacturers offer "certified pre-owned" cars that come with new car or BETTER warranties. Certified cars always do cost more than their non-certified brethren, but the certified ones are returned to as new condition with 100% OEM parts. Many of these are off lease vehicles or vehicles from people who trade in every year or two so they are pretty well taken care of.

What if it's not "certified"? Here's where you have to put on your smart hat. ALWAYS get an independent inspection. If the dealer won't allow it, don't shop there under any circumstances. An independent inspection should be at a dealership of that manufacturer or a trusted mechanic. Most inspections will run around $100 and could save you a bundle in the long run. Remember though....car inspections are like house inspections for home buyers and they don't find everything. If your water heater blows up at your house in a month or your transmission grenades after a month, yes it stinks, but it's not the inspectors fault as no inspection has a warranty.

Shouldn't my car be inspected by a Subaru dealership? No. There is nothing specific and new about Subarus that any mechanic wouldn't find. The inspection is a general one that checks paint, body work, leaks, rattles, etc. and any experienced mechanic can perform this.

Can my Cousin Jimmy inpect it...he's good with cars? No. Cousin Jimmy who is "good with cars" is not good with cars. He's good with cars like my 5 year old neice is "good at singing" which is to say she only sounds like a shrieking cat 40% of the time. If Cousin Jimmy is an automotive technician at a dealership with years of experience, by all means. But if he's the local or family hillbilly that everyone knows that "fixes cars", you'd better pass and get a professional.

What about buying a car with a salvage title vehicle? You can do this and save a ton of money, but it is a nightmare. Most insurance companies will only allow you liability coverage or won't even insure one, so you have to research this FIRST. Then, these cars are a real "buyer beware" item as even an honest seller may have no idea of the full problems with the car. Generally speaking you know if you are a salvage title kind of person or not. If it's not bought for being a rolling parts car or you are experienced with this, stay far, far away.

What about buying a car with mechanical problems? If you are looking at a car with minor or major mechanical work need such as a blown motor, blown tranny, bad rear end, or perhaps just "it won't start" problems, you fall into one of two categories: Someone that can do this because they are already smart enough to know what they are getting themselves into and someone that needs to get their head out of the clouds and run away. Decide which you are and proceed.

What about Carfax, AutoCheck, or other vehicle history search? They are nice, but in the case of damages, they only work if the prior owners reported damage to their insurance company. Think of it as a lock on your work locker...it's keeps honest people honest. You may be buying a Katrina flood car that wasn't reported through insurance. That's where the inspection comes into play.

What about finding out maintenance and recall information on a used car? Take the VIN and call or visit your local dealer. Most manufacturers, Subaru included, can call up any and all visits for maintenance, warranty, and recall work performed. For other maintenance information, you need to rely on the previous owner's word or receipt list if they have service performed elsewhere. The Subaru maintenance tracking website, my.subaru.com can track maintenance as well, but to be truthful, it can be edited by the account holder so it isn't 100% perfect.

Should I buy a car with XX,XXX miles or XXX,XXX miles on it? That depends on you, not us. Modern cars last well over 100,000 miles, so if you are over 30 or have listened to dad when you were younger, clean your ears out and listen: Modern vehicles from all manufacturers last well over 100,000 miles. For vehicles in the top 10 of consumer reliability lists, like Subaru, 100,000 miles is a YOUNG motor. Worry about the inspection, maintenance history, financing, and cost, not the odometer.

What about buying from the paper/craigslist/for sale ad? Another great way to buy, but the same rules apply with buying any used car. Plus financing can be trickier with this option as your credit union/bank may have specific rules you need to adhere to.

What about eBay or other long distance car buying? If you are buying a car from eBay or from a seller on NASIOC or other website that is like 900 miles from your home, you are looking for something particular and this article is probably beneath your level of comprehension. But, the same used car buying rules apply. One word of caution though, long distance sales breed scammers, so use your brain! If someone wants to send you a check or any other payment method for over your asking price they are a scammer no matter what their sob story. Do not buy or sell to overseas customers ever, this includes people who want to use an "agent" for them. And do not accept Western Union, MoneyGram, or other wire service as this is a breeding ground for scammers. escrow.com is the official eBay escrow partner, so you can trust it...other escrow services...not so much. This link from craigslist details many of the common payment traps to avoid.

What about buying a modded car? It can go either way really. People who modify their cars generally fall into two categories. People who care about their cars and complete morons. If this is a private sale, you can usually tell which owner you are buying from instantly. Buying a modded car can be a great time, trouble, and expense saver if purchasing from the right owner. No need to shy away as long as the usual used car precautions are taken.

Now if this is a dealer sale, for most people you'd want to shy away. Most dealers are worried about turn over vs. reliability on used cars. They will sell it "as is" or state "remaining manufacturer warranty" AKA "not my problem". Since you can't see the previous owner, you have no idea what was done to the car and you are buying a bag of trouble to say the least.

What are the big dealer myths and truths?

I got a killer deal! No you didn't. The dealer always makes money, but if you feel better about yourself, keep thinking that.
Pay in cash or show up with a blank check and they will low ball themselves. :yawn: The dealer could give a rip.

The dealer said cash incentives could end tomorrow, all he needs now is a plaid jacket to complete the scam he's pulling. Not really, incentives like cash back, 2.9% APR financing, etc. do go up and down and they have no clue of up or down with these, but they do know timelines for starting and stopping. If you think he's lying, visit the manufacturer website as it will tell you the same thing.

The one truth/myth seen over and over is that at certain times of the year, you can get a better deal. Meaning in late summer dealers are more likely to deal on current year models to reduce inventory for new models and that December is a slow month due to Christmas so they will deal better then. While one can't say if these rumors are true or not, when it comes to sales, sales people are hungry all day, every day so think of the time of the year discount rumor as just a repeated myth that may or may not be true.

What about buying a old rental car? That's an idea right up there with a helicopter ejection seat. DO NOT buy an old rental. The only thing worse than that would be buying an off lease cop car.

What about a dealer demo? Just say no. While many "exec cars" or demo models are driven nicely, you might end up with the one Car and Driver used to do 20 drag strip launches with.

What about leasing a car? That's a difficult choice for sure. There are many pros and cons of leasing and it's really up to you to decide if leasing is right for your lifestyle, driving habits, and financial situation. Some generalizations:

1. Remember, in essence you have a long term rental car. Treat the body, maintenance, and engine as such, as you are liable for them all at lease end.
2. Get a pre-lease turn in inspection 6 months to a year ahead of time to repair any damages over that time vs. the day of lease turn-in.
3. If you drive a lot, forget a lease as all of them have strict and militant mileage rules and going over the mileage will cost you BIG.
4. Negotiate the vehicle price just like you were buying it as when it comes to vehicle price, there is no difference in lease vs. buy.
5. Car insurance is slightly different with a lease as the lease terms CHANGE the amount of coverage you need. Your dealer will have this info, but as a ballpark, here are the 2010 lease coverages: Bodily Injury Liability (BI): $100,000pp/300,000pa, Property Damage Liability (PD): 50,000pa, Comprehensive and Collision Coverage required with deductible $500 or less.

Many websites offer car leasing pros and cons, but it's easy to say that for most people leasing is a lose/lose proposition once you wrap your head around the subject.

Which Subaru should I buy? Once again, we don't know. This link shows all the different comparison articles I could find on Subarus, but in the end it's your decision and we can't help you with it as it's too personal.

When does Subaru release information/pictures on new year models? The most correct answer to this is "tomorrow". SOA releases details when they feel like it and no sooner. If you want to know, keep an eye on the News & Rumors Forum.

So how reliable is Subaru? Subarus are reliable cars. You can visit most consumer buying websites and see that Subaru is consistantly in the top tier in terms of reliability. Reliability is not a given though as each company takes data from different sources, but Subaru regularly ranks among the top 5.

Are there any significant problems with XXXX Subaru? Every car has it's nitpicks and we cannot possibly go through them all as this is what the inspection and maintenace record checks through Subaru are for. The only Subaru-centric common problems are the fuel rail leaks on the 02 WRX and head gasket issue on 1999-2002 2.5L naturally aspired engines. Now if you want to research the every living heck out of your Subaru for every nit-noy and dip-dunk problem, then do a search in this forum to your heart's content. We love questions here, but the only real two main issues are detailed above and there are no more common Subaru problems on any model. All other issues fall into the rogue issue catagory of either it's a cheap or easy fix or it has a TSB that may cover it.

What is a TSB and why won't my dealer perform it? A TSB is a Technical Service Bulletin. It basically is a written down common problem with Subarus and the written down common solution. It is NOT a recall and is NOT required by your dealer to be performed. If your car is displaying symptoms on a TSB, go to the dealer and see if they will perform it. If they say no, try a different dealer and worst case, you'll have to get it done at your own expense. To find any TSBs that apply to your car, visit this link.

So I agreed on the price, now what? Now you should be sitting with the finance person AKA the devil. This is where the dealer will up sell the hell out of you based on monthly pricing. Their job is to cram as many add-ons to your car as possible and these include, but are not limited to: extended warranties, maintenance packages, paint protection, sealants, etc. They usually sell these by stating the benefits, then letting you know that it will only be $XX per month. This glazes over the issue that $XX times 60 months of the car loan term is a ton of money.

Do I need these extras? That depends on your mentality more than anything else. Some people like the premise of an extended warranty or other add-ons, that's a personal call. Consumer Reports and other consumer sources routinely recommend against them if you want to research further. If you feel the convenience and one stop shopping is worth it to you, get what interests you. Extra features run the gamut for overpriced though legitimate offerings like warranties to nefarious like paint protection and window VIN etching. Always remember though, that if you dismiss these offerings it costs you nothing and you can always get equal or better items through the aftermarket. But, should you choose to purchase some of these offerings, their quoted price can always be negotiated down and/or have other items added in for free.

What the heck is gap insurance? A legitimate insurance actually. It may or may not be offered during the time when the finance person mentions all the extra stuff. Imagine driving off in your $30,000 car and getting T-boned by a semi one day later. When the vehicle is totaled by your insurance, you get a check for $24,000 or the retail value of your car at the time. Have fun making $6000 in payments with no car. Gap insurance covers this shortfall. If you make a significant down payment, gap insurance is not needed. But if not, you are about dumb as a box of rocks not to have this for the first two years of the loan until you have paid down the depreciation. Many dealerships offer it though it may be gotten as an extra on your auto insurance policy. Rates for this are seriously cheap, so there's no reason to not go for it unless you have a huge down payment.

After purchasing, my car it broke down, what about Lemon Law? We cannot discuss Lemon Law, 3 day courtesty return, or any other way of returning a new or used car as each STATE has different laws. Search for your state and lemon law on google for advice. Laws concerning returns are terribly specific, so be prepared to be disappointed as few cars are actually returned via a Lemon Law.

Are there any other car buying tips? Sure. This thread isn't meant to cover all of them. This thread contains many other tips. The biggest thing you need to remember is the need for a professional inspection. With a professional inspection you don't need many tips. Finding insurance rates takes phone calls or a few online insurance calculators. Finding financing is just as easy. The tips for getting a good deal are listing above. The HARD PART and the thing 90% of car buying assistance websites are dedicated to are all the "tips and tricks" to finding lemons. You don't need to know all of this and are better off by having someone who knows cars for a living to look the car over first. They know bondo, they know repaired bodywork, and they can spot repair work from 10 feet away. If you want to learn more, google will lead you to 87,234 websites that discuss all car buying aspects to the point of annoyance.

Last edited by Unabomber; 11-09-2010 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 01-17-2009, 08:00 AM   #3
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wouldn't this be better served to be located in the classifieds?
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Old 01-17-2009, 08:01 AM   #4
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Still working on this, please stand by.
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Old 01-17-2009, 08:04 AM   #5
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It might, but this and the general forum is where all the car buying questions pop up. I don't go in the Classifieds...do questions pop up there? This will be in the Manifesto of course, so I don't mind moving it wherever.
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Old 01-17-2009, 09:25 AM   #6
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In my experience, NADA Guides seems closer to the mark than KBB, KBB is usually a little high; look up a car's price, and it can be hard to find a car for that MUCH on Autotrader or the like. Also, I've dealt with an insurer who only used NADA as a basis for their car valuation.

I read a while back that Carfax can only get insurance info for something like half of the states. They were being sued for this because a car could be totaled by an insurance company in one of the states they don't have info for, and they would report it as clean. I don't know if this has changed in the year since I read this, but look into it if you are using Carfax. Also, good luck with their buyback guarantee (another reason for that lawsuit).
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Old 01-18-2009, 02:10 AM   #7
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impresive.

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Old 01-22-2009, 08:40 PM   #8
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very nice work Unabomber. Thats very complete.
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Old 01-22-2009, 10:26 PM   #9
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Awesome write up, as usual... Just hoping to add one thing to your lease section. I've only done one lease but it allowed me to get into a car I normally would not have been able to afford. Leasing is like a "Payment deferment program". People need to remember that when your lease is up, the majority of leases have many options. You can buy it out right, give it back, trade it in using the equity if any available. Leasing cars like Kias, and Suzukis are silly because they dont hold their resale value well. But leasing cars like Subarus, BMWs, Acuras etc is not all that terrible of an idea. I know plenty of guys that lease there wifes cars, one reason is your most likely not going to mod it, and for alot of people owning a car out of warranty is not worth the risk. Not trying to be a salesman or steal the thread, but I think that leases alot of time get a bad rap and really they can work out really well if it fits people situations.
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Old 01-23-2009, 12:18 AM   #10
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quite informative...i must say
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:28 AM   #11
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Outstanding! Sorry I didn't read before post. classic newbie move....
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Old 03-18-2009, 08:38 PM   #12
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Just wanted to say thanks for the guide. Looking for a car right now and hoping my credit isn't dinged too much
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Old 04-09-2009, 02:50 PM   #13
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dood, that was insane... took care of my first, mile long querry with that...

cheers!
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Old 05-21-2009, 12:21 AM   #14
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nice job again unabomber.
i was hoping you'd touch upon what kind of tests to have done to the car before buying it?
does anyone know where i can find out info about that?
what kind of diagnostic tests? compression tests?
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Old 05-21-2009, 07:10 AM   #15
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You are out-thinking this. You get the car and take it to a shop and ask for a pre-purchase inspection. They do it and tell you what they think. End of story. That's it. Done. There are 9445 tests you can have done and they are all extra, so if you want a OMG nuts and bolts inspection, fire up google and search for days as this FAQ is "inch deep/mile wide" of information and not meant to go to the ends of the earth.
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Old 06-06-2009, 08:47 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unabomber View Post
What about buying a old rental car? That's an idea right up there with a helicopter ejection seat. DO NOT buy an old rental. The only thing worse than that would be buying an off lease cop car.

What about a dealer demo? Just say no. While many "exec cars" or demo models are driven nicely, you might end up with the one Car and Driver used to do 20 drag strip launches with.
i have a few buddies that work at rental car places and dealerships. they all tell me to NEVER buy old rental cars, or dealer demo cars. because neither the people that rent/borrow them, or the people that work there, actually give a damn about the cars. you might get that odd guy who takes care of the car but other than that everyone else pretty much beats them
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Old 06-27-2009, 07:54 PM   #17
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amazing stuff here.
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Old 06-27-2009, 09:24 PM   #18
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Very good work!!!

I will say the best route to buy new is the Vip or Internet sell's. I got a great deal on my 07 STI through the Internet sell's rep .
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Old 06-27-2009, 09:40 PM   #19
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Great FAQ as always, Ron!

Quote:
there is no fast, easy riding, quiet vehicle that will haul plywood and business clients alike.


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Old 07-29-2009, 08:17 PM   #20
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very helpfullvery helpfullvery helpfull
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Old 07-29-2009, 08:17 PM   #21
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all i can say is very GOOD
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Old 07-29-2009, 08:18 PM   #22
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and again very very gooooooooood
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Old 08-05-2009, 11:08 AM   #23
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Great info!
Carbuyingtips.com also has a great deal of information on making a deal, as well as a spreadsheet to help determine how much you should offer (and how to use the spreadsheet).

One other source of information as to what a car is worth (both trade and purchase car) is auction websites. Dealer blackbooks are periodically updated (monthly?) but they only give averages. If you have any friends that are dealers they will likely have accounts set up with companies like Manheim and/or Adesa where you can see #1) what any year/make/model/trim has gone for at auction recently, including what condition and mlieage each car had and #2) if interested, what is coming through nearby auctions in the next week or so. Auctions will typically bring in slightly more than what a dealer will give for a trade (since if they can't sell if on their lot they will run it through the auction themselves). We just got $2,000 more on our Odyssey trade-in after I showed them the auction print-outs. Of course they made their money on the new car price and financing, but I digress...

During my previous round of new car buying, I put together a spreadsheet to help decide which cars really fit all of my personal criteria (reliable, able to fit two carseats in the back, fast, track-worthy, etc.). I don't think that I can attach it to this forum, but if anyone would like a copy I'll be happy to e-mail it to them. It's pretty simple to use - just list and weight your criteria (i.e., reliability is a 10 and 0-60 time is a 4 or whatever) and give each car you're considering a score. Whichever falls out on top is probably the best suited choice.

Last edited by ChemicalLew; 08-05-2009 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 08-22-2009, 07:03 PM   #24
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Outstanding post(s). Tons of great info... Thanks!!

(...I s'pose I will refrain from posting "Is there anything specific I should look for on a....." thread... lol)
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Old 09-11-2009, 01:30 AM   #25
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Massive props. Thank youQ
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