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Thread: Buying a Used Car

  1. #21
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    We've had our Focus 2007- I've been happy with it. It has 150,000 on it. the Escorts before that were retired with 140,000 and 180,000 respectively. We are now looking for a smaller SUV- maybe Escape or a hybrid or Forester....it's a very slow process for us as it is not urgent. We've been pleased with the Fords. the Toyotas and Hondas do not have comfortable seats for us. We've tested them each time we look for a new car.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveinMN View Post
    happystuff, if you can spend no more than $10,000 on a used car, of the ones you listed, choose the best Fiesta or Focus you can find locally and move on with life. They're not bad cars. Ford's reputation (along with that of other American manufacturers) for building bad cars has lingered far longer than reality confirms. All cars have gotten better in the last decade or two. The Fords will be priced below similarly-sized and -equipped Civics and Corollas. I just looked at Ford's site, at which you can search for CPOs near you. They listed several 2014s for my ZIP code, with about 40-50,000 mies on them, for well less than $10,000.
    Thanks, SteveinMN. When I said my budget was half that, I meant that we have about $5,000. available for a new used car. Need to start the hunt. Thanks for the info.
    To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world. - Anon.

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  3. #23
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by happystuff View Post
    Thanks, SteveinMN. When I said my budget was half that, I meant that we have about $5,000. available for a new used car. Need to start the hunt. Thanks for the info.
    Ooh. That's going to be tough. Then I have two suggestions.

    First, if DH needs a car only for a few years until he retires or starts working from home or you both can drop down to one car) you might want to consider leasing. It's true that you never own the car but it would be a way to get into a new car for a low monthly cost. The payments end when the need for the car ends. You can even lease used cars, like the CPOs we've been discussing here. But this situation may not apply to you.

    The other suggestion I would make is to talk to my trusted car tech (mechanic) (or techs your family or friends trust). IME they typically know of older cars (or perhaps higher-mileage vehicles) which they've taken care of for years which the owner might want to sell. My tech usually has a one or two cars around the shop which were too expensive for the owner to pay to have fixed but which the tech could repair (at his leisure) and then sell to make a little money (kind of like flipping houses but with less leverage and better parts). While buying used is always a bit of a gamble, a tech you trust would not put much energy into repairing a vehicle that had (other) serious issues waiting in the wings.

    One approach I do not recommend is buying a car with a "salvage" or "rebuilt" title. These are vehicles which have been fixed up for resale after being totalled. It does not take a big hit to cause enough damage to total an older vehicle. But I often see (craigslist and elsewhere) newer cars branded with salvage titles after "a light hit requiring replacement of a fender and a headlight" or some other seemingly minor repair. "Just a few" parts are not so expensive or labor-intensive that they'd constitute 70-80% of the vehicle's value. Components which look okay (and, so, were not replaced) could have been seriously stressed and could lead to problems down the road, including rust, driving poorly, or even failure of the part. IMHO not worth the money you save in either probability or ultimate safety of the vehicle.

    Good luck!
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

  4. #24
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    Thanks again, Steve. Dh has the bigger commute and work-from-home is not possible for any of us. We have a great mechanic who have been an continue to be fabulous with our cars. They are keeping their eyes and ears open for us, but nothing so far - lol. It will all work out somehow. Thanks again for the great ideas and suggestions.
    To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world. - Anon.

    Be nice whenever possible. It's always possible. - Dalai Lama

  5. #25
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    you should be able to find a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla with low mileage for less than $15,000.

  6. #26
    Senior Member Geila's Avatar
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    Thanks for the responses, everyone. I've been reading them, just haven't had much time to respond. Today I test drove two cars that look like good candidates:

    1. 2015 Honda Civic EX - 40k miles - $14,600 - comes with a 1yr/12k mile limited Powertrain warranty, 160 pt inspection
    I really like this car, the only drawback is that it has not been all that well-maintained. It was a personal lease and the maintenance was not done on a regular basis per the Carfax report. It was also reported as having damage to the body on several sides and I can faintly see where some of the panels were replaced (bumper and fender). It looks really good though, both inside and out and has several cool features like keyless remote entry and keyless start. White car with beige interior which I like. Battery, blades and filters were replaced.

    2. 2014 VW Jetta SE - 61k miles - $10,300 - comes with a 2yr/24k mile limited Powertrain warranty, 160 pt inspection
    This car was very well-maintained and all services done at dealership. No damage or accidents on Carfax. Keyless remote entry and keyless start. Handles very well and is smooth and quiet. Drawback = black exterior and interior which I don't like at all, also has a weird build where I find it hard to get in and out of the car (I'm 5' tall). It has all new tires and some minor other services performed: cabin and engine filters, wiper blades, and battery were all replaced.

    Anyone care to weigh in on either of these two vehicles?

    Tomorrow and Thursday I will be test driving some Toyota Camrys. I test drove one but didn't care for it so we'll see if I can find something better.

  7. #27
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geila View Post
    Today I test drove two cars that look like good candidates
    I'd skip 'em both, personally.

    It would appear whoever leased the Honda didn't take good care of it at all (including either getting into accidents or "parking by ear"), so I can only imagine how they drove it. I also find it interesting that it's the newer car but has the shorter warranty (though usually third-party powertrain warranties don't cover much so it's not much of a demerit).

    The Jetta sounds good but you listed several non-niggling aspects of the car that you don't like. Why be reminded of them every single time you use the car?

    Try the Camrys or keep looking if you can.
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

  8. #28
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    I agree with Steve. Of the two the jetta sounds like the better choice except that 1) there are things about it that you don't like and will never like. And 2) it's a vw, so maintenance will most likely be more costly/frequent. (SO leased a 2003 jetta shortly after we started dating. It was a super fun car but had some quirks.) Sounds like a decent start to your search but if you can I'd keep looking.

  9. #29
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    Yes I also agree with Steve. Keep looking.

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