OT Buying a used vehicle

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Sorry for the OT post but I find posters here generally to be polite people with novel well-thought-out suggestions.
I really need to replace my dying '88 Mazda pickup. My mechanic is having problems finding parts for it and urges me to get something else.
The problem, as I see it, is that if I buy a used vehicle the owner is selling it for a reason, likely mechanical problems. Just selling to get something newer is possible, but not likely, especially in this economy. I stand a good chance of just exchanging one problem vehicle for another.
I've not checked but I'm pretty sure leasing would be too expensive, especially considering the little driving I need to do. But rural living and outrageous taxi fares require I have my own transportation as long as I can still legally drive. Moving to town is not an option in the current poor local real estate market.
A repo would be nice; that's what my current vehicle was. I stumbled on it while pricing new vehicles at dealers. It worked out very well at a very good price. I have no idea how to find repossessed vehicles - I've never seen them advertised. But I may not have looked well enough.
A new vehicle is VERY expensuve, even the cheapest model coupe or sedan. I'm living mostly on SS.
What to do? Suggestions gratefully appreciated. My mechanic says he will check out anything I bring in free but scheduling this with him and the seller would probably be difficult. I know I certainly wouldn't like to take all that trouble for an uncertain sale if it were me.
TIA
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On Monday, February 17, 2014 12:09:11 PM UTC-5, KenK wrote:

Maybe, but I wouldn't say likely. I've sold 7 - 10 cars that I owned and there wasn't anything wrong with any of them.
Just selling to get

I would agree the economy is a factor, but you still have people selling cars to buy something else. Also depends on are you buying a $1000 car or a $10,000 car.

What makes that so nice as opposed to someone doing a private sale? If I was buying a repo, I'd be worried that they didn't do regular maintenance and also may have sabotaged the car, since it was about to be taken.
I stumbled on

Find a decent car in the range you're looking for and then take it to your mechanic for an inspection before buying it. I'd say 90% of disasters can be spotted.
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3 of mine did have known problems. One was just a piece of crap. I sold it for $200. The other just needed something along the lines of maintenance but it was a rather expensive thing (can't remember now what it needed) and I did disclose this to the buyer. Third one needed a transmission. I gave it to my BIL (the mechanic) to sell for scrap or whatever. Instread, he held on to it until business was slow, put a new (used) transmission in it, sold it and mailed me a check for almost what I paid for it! I had bought it from him. He knows that I keep my vehicles up well.
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1. someone selling doesn't necessarily mean something is wrong
2. buy a used vehicle from a known source, that knows the cars history? your mechanic might know of something 3. financing, might be one way to ease into a newer vehicle
4. don't lease, especially if you don't drive much lease payments might as well go towards your Own car
5. your mechanic is doing it for free partly because your a good customer
I'm sure others have some good ideas
marc
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What's the price?
nb
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On 2/17/2014 2:50 PM, notbob wrote:

One report for forty, five reports for fifty, unlimited reports for fifty five bucks.
I used these when shopping for my last car. I was leery of ending up with a Canadian grey-market auction vehicle brought over the border, so I ran the VIN on every model I seriously considered. Ran so many, Carfax contacted me and asked if I was using it for commercial purposes (meaning, was I a dealer). Nope. I'm just OCD.
Some public libraries have subscriptions to Carfax, so I'd check with your local library first.
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Back in the early 70‘s, my buddy bought a '65 Camaro. You didn't need a CarFax to know it had been in a flood. You could see the water line on the backing of the gauges.
If that wasn't a dead giveaway, the chunks of mud that would fall out from under the dash when you hit a pothole could be considered a clue.
The price was right, considering how broke we were at the time. It was certainly better than the 66 Javelin his brother gave him. We flew from NYC to Cleveland to pick it up and almost had to leave it on the side of I-90 somewhere in PA. When the windshield wipers would only go up but not come down, we controlled them by sliding the lever on-off-on-off-on-off. That worked for a few hours until the switch came off in my hand. Luckily they failed "on" (up) so we found a piece of wire in the trunk, tied it to the top of the passenger wiper and pulled them down, let them go up, pulled them down, let them go up. The wire wasn't long enough to reach all the way into the window, so whoever's turn it was to control them had to wear their socks on their hands to keep them from freezing every time their hand went out the window. Besides the wipers, there was that whole issue with the headlights going off for a few minutes on a totally random basis. We were a couple of very tired, very dirty guys by the time we made it back to NYC.
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On Tue, 18 Feb 2014 01:14:07 +0000 (UTC), DerbyDad03

I'll call BS on you Derby. No such thing as a '65 Camaro OR a '66 Javelin.
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On 2/17/2014 11:57 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Camaro https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMC_Javelin Both debut in 1967.
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Ok...so the years are wrong. They were both late 60's cars. My apologies.
The stories, however, were not BS. Do you remember the vacuum operated windshield wipers the AMC's of that error used? My 66 Rambler Ambassador used the same design.
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On Tue, 18 Feb 2014 12:10:39 +0000 (UTC), DerbyDad03

And electric conversions were available - and well worth installing. The vac wipers were actually not too bad if the vac pump on the fuel pump was working - otherwize the wipers stopped when you went up hill. (early Chevies had them too!!!
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I remember riding in a chevy of around 1955 or so that had the vacuum wipers. When the driver would give it gas or let off the wipers would stop and then go back to normal speed.
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Actually, when the vac pump on my fuel pump failed, the wipers stopped working completely. I pulled the 2 hoses from the pump and connected them with a straight-through. _That's_ when they stopped whenever I went up a hill. ;-)
I also had to fabricate a bracket to hold a 'normal' brake light switch near the brake pedal after the pressure switch on the master cylinder went bad.
Do you recall what was special/different about the radio in some Ramblers from that era...that special feature that prevented you from replacing it with a newer radio?
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On Tue, 18 Feb 2014 23:59:58 +0000 (UTC), DerbyDad03

Slightly later vintage - like around 1968 - they were installed upright.
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You mean like this? ;-)
http://thumbs1.ebaystatic.com/d/l225/m/mm_CkP2wd8IdKxD7jlGNriQ.jpg
My '66 Ambassador 990 had one. The air conditioning ducts ran up right behind the radio. There was no way to install a "modern" FM radio in the dash. For a while I had an FM converter, then I upgraded to an under dash cassette-FM stereo.
ebay sure can bring back the memories...
http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MTIwMFgxNjAw/z/f-cAAOxy3NBSpz7V /$_35.JPG
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wrote:

A WHOLE LOT more go the other direction, and unless it came through Quebec you generally have nothing to worry about.
Easy to tell a Canadian car anyway - it has metric speedo AND daytime running lights.

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On 2/17/2014 10:46 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

The issue at that time (early 2000s) had to do with warranties. Most people don't know that Canadian prices for new cars are substantially cheaper than US prices. Yes, for the exact same make/model. Most people won't travel to Canada just to save a few thousand on a new car. However, back about that time, US car dealerships figured out that they could travel to Canada and purchase brand new vehicles to sell on their lots back in the US for thousands of dollars less than the models they bought direct from the manufacturer at US prices. For many dealerships located in border states, this became a no-brainer. Sell Canadian market vehicles and dramatically undercut the competition!
There I was, shopping for a new car, and trying to figure out how Suburban Chrysler could have the exact same model, same accessories and trim line, same year, for three or four thousand cheaper than their competition a few miles away. I quickly learned that these were Canadian vehicles bought new at auction over the border from cooperating Canadian dealerships that were buying more than they needed to re-sell to their US counterparts.
So, what was the catch? There _had_ to be a catch, right? Right. As the number of new Canadian vehicles on US car lots increased dramatically, and competing dealerships complained to the manufacturers, the manufacturers took notice. And they eventually announced that these grey-market vehicles would have to be sold at US prices *or* the buyer would waive the manufacturer's warranty.
So that was the catch: save thousands, but no warranty. Once that went in effect, the practice of running new Canadian vehicles over the border for resale diminished considerably.

At that time, no daytime running lights. As for the speedometer, at that time, the models I looked at had electronic displays that the owner selected for English or metric display. So no big deal there, either.
Anyhow, that was why I was using Carfax: to spot the Canadian imports that were otherwise indistinguishable - well, except by price.
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wrote:

Only for a very short time did it make sense to buy a car in Canada and sell it in the USA. Usually a LOT cheaper in the USA..(like virtually everything else) Doesn't matter whether US built or Canadian built they sell for less in the states. Jap built too. Or Mexican.
Currently a base 2014 Fors Focus lists at $14000 in Michigan and $15999 in Ontario. A base F150 is $24334 in Canada and $25640 in the USA
A fusion Energy in Canada is $38899, in the US it is $34700 The Focus Electric is virtually the same - $35170 in the US and $35199 in Canada.
A base Fusion in Canada is $22499 and $21970 in the USA A transit connect Base in Canada starts at $26699, and in the US $22000.
That's just FORD.
Chrysler 300, built in Canada - $34595 in Canada, $30,765 in the US Town & Country Canadian list $31993, US $30765 - and again, built in Canada Chrysler 200, base list in Canada $27950, in the US $21700
For the Toyota it is closer - a Corolla S is $19000 in US and $19215 in Canada. They are made in Canada. The Yaris SE 5 door (the only Yaris with the same equipment Canada and US) is only $16540 in the US, vs $19255 in Canada.
Toyota Sienna SE FWD $33860 in US, $37205 in Canada The FWD XLE is #33,645 in the US, and $39740 in Canada.

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wrote:

Another thing that I just thought of. With all of the hurricanes and flooding we've had in various places, you'd also want to make sure that the car didn't come from there!
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It's pssible for a totalclunker to have a clean carfax. If nothing was ever serviced or properly repaired, there would be no record of problems. A bad carfax is generally a good reason to think twice, but a clean carfax doen't necessarilly mean ANYTHING.
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