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CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????
Old 08-18-2004, 06:02 PM   #1
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CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????

Other...I will have to bite the bullet...soon...1992 Honda Accord has 199,500 miles on it....I'm hoping to get 2-3 more years out of her....I live about 0.3 miles from work! : )

Anyway...I'm looking @ Accords, BMW's, and Maximas...I will pay cash...used...no more than $16 K, 45 K miles...

Am I on the right track?

TD

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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????
Old 08-18-2004, 06:18 PM   #2
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????

I was looking at used cars not long ago, and helped a friend buy a used car last year. Observations:

- Autotrader was mainly dealer ads.

- Used car dealers are scum. I was so turned off by the experience that it is very unlikely that I'd ever go back to one. Of the dealers we visited:
  • the first tried to bait-and-switch us by telling us "oops, we showed you the wrong car!" after the credit check was run.
  • one couldn't even the car we came to look at started.
  • one (a new car dealer) tried to sell my friend a new car; when we reminded him that we wanted to look at a particular used car, he feigned ignorance.
  • one damn near came close to getting my friend to sign a bill of sale after passing it off as a form so they could test drive it.

And ALL wanted us to put gas in the car for them!

Finally we tried a local personal/classified ads site and got a great car at a great deal from a private buyer.

Make sure you get it inspected by a reputable mechanic, of course.
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????
Old 08-18-2004, 06:41 PM   #3
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????

My best deals have always come from family...at least you know the history of the car. My previous car--a '98 truck--I bought from a new car dealer in '99. I paid too much but wasn't ripped off. That was my first--and possibly my last--financed vehicle.

I may be forgetting something, but 3 of my last 5 vehicles were bought from family as opportunity buys. 1 was the dealer truck and 1 was on the bulletin board at my Mom's work.

I always check ads, Autotrader and online for comparison prices.

I've heard good things about eBay Motors. I'd be deathly afraid to buy a car through eBay, but many people have told me it's great. I guess if I had Whakamole's experiences shopping used I might give eBay a try. (I've never been ripped off through eBay, but so far I haven't bought anything expensive enough that would hurt financially if I did get ripped off.)

My best (as far as both value AND reliability) cars were the opportunity buys. My worst cars (either value or reliability) were when I was particular about what I wanted (aside from "good value" and "economical").

So my ride isn't very cool, but it has ameneties, gets me there and cost me 1/4 to 1/2 (not counting interest, insurance and gas differences) of what my peers paid.
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????
Old 08-18-2004, 06:49 PM   #4
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????

Gosh I do enjoy going into car dealers. But its a rare mean streak.

I told the last one I bought a truck from to stop trying his 5th grade sales techniques on me and go get his dad out of the back room so we adults could make a deal

That having been said, I'd buy from a dealer only if I was buying new, and then only as a fleet/wholesale purchase over the phone.

I am unimpressed with carmax. My dad was looking at a car there a while back. Seems they take in what they can get for below wholesale, buff it up a little and then try to get top dollar for it.

For used, go with private sale. You'll probably learn at least part of the cars history, you're dealing with amateur hoodwinkers, and you'll get a more reasonable price.

A good technique is to get the sunday classified section and tuck it away for a couple of weeks to a month. Then call on all the cars that look interesting to see if they didnt happen to sell from the ad and are still sitting clogging up the driveway. You can get some mighty quick and easy markdowns from the original asking price..."Gee, I wrote down your name and number on the car and just came across the note...is it still for sale? How much are you asking for it again?"...
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????
Old 08-19-2004, 09:10 AM   #5
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????

If you live less than a mile from work, I'd strongly suggest looking into walking or riding a bike to work! (You'll have to check to see if there is a safe route, of course, and the best route may end up being a little longer, but still - that's really close!) That way you can use your car a whole lot less - you could probably run your current car quite a bit longer, or you could just get a really inexpensive car.

We bought a new car a couple of years ago (the previous car was about 7 years old and had just sustained enough damage in an accident to not be worth repairing). Cars are such a money-sucking device that I wanted to get the absolute least expensive option that was functional. Carmax was no help, as pretty much everything there was more expensive, fancier cars (in my book, anything $20k or more is fancy), and the few subcompacts available were only a few hundred dollars less than the new price - not worth the hassle IMO. So I got a Hyundai Accent new for $10k, paid cash, and have been very happy with it.

I'd never buy anything other than a hatchback - they're just so much more useful and practical than a sedan (and smaller and more economical than a guzzling SUV... and I am quite willing to bet that I can fit as much stuff, or MORE, in my car with the rear seats down, as in many of those smaller SUVs, which look "big" but have surprisingly little interior space!) People are always amazed at how much I can comfortably fit into the car (and even more amazed at how much I can fit if I get creative), probably because they're brainwashed to think "subcompact" = "tiny worthless tin can."
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????
Old 08-19-2004, 09:32 AM   #6
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????

Quote:
People are always amazed at how much I can comfortably fit into the car (and even more amazed at how much I can fit if I get creative), probably because they're brainwashed to think "subcompact" = "tiny worthless tin can."
That's the same reason I have always bought station wagons. They hold an amazing amount of stuff when needed.

However, I will not be buying any more subcompacts or cars that weigh less than 3000 pounds. Why? How much chance do you think I have in my 2400 pound Escort if I get nailed by an Explorer (4500 pounds) or worse, a Hummer (6700 pounds)? At least in the Subaru we bought last year I'd have a chance. When I replace the Escort the newer car will be a lot bigger and heavier.
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????
Old 08-19-2004, 09:44 AM   #7
 
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????

Quote:
Anyway...I'm looking @ Accords, BMW's, and Maximas...
If your looking for inexpensive reliable transportation. Stick with Hondas - Maximas are fine also. (I've owned both)

But stay away from BMW! - It will go to the shop alot, and repair costs are expensive.
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????
Old 08-19-2004, 10:55 AM   #8
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????

Quote:
If you live less than a mile from work, I'd strongly suggest looking into walking or riding a bike to work!
Oh, I'll second that. I used to bike to work for quite a number of years and it was ~5 miles. It didn't take long (maybe 20 minutes), it was a nice way to "wake up" in the morning, and the exercise every day sure didn't hurt.

Now that I'm about 10 miles from work I don't bike but I do ride the bus 3 or 4 days out of 5. It's a pretty straight run with a small walk on each end, the company pays for the monthly bus pass, and I can read each way. This saves a bundle of cash and it lets my wife and I get along fine with just 1 car.

Some places will let you take the bike on the bus (often a front mounted rack) so that you could ride the bus into work and then ride home. Haven't done this yet but I am contemplating it.
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????
Old 08-19-2004, 11:07 AM   #9
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????

I'll second the 'no' on bmw's. Most expensive car insurance and complicated expensive maintenance of any car I've owned.

Checking the cost of insurance is highly recommended; you could be looking at a couple of hundred dollars a year difference between two nearly identical cars from two manufacturers.
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????
Old 08-19-2004, 12:20 PM   #10
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????

I will only drive a Subaru, having grown up driving them and living in winter-hell-land with a 23 miles commute each way. Yes, they're expensive, but well worth it to me. Also, I drive a Forester because of the room. I can fit a ton of crap in it.

My husband bought his Subaru on ebay and had a great experience. My sister just bought a used one through a local used car dealer that my family knows well. It's tough to buy Subarus used though...they last forever. The one my sister was replacing was a hand me down and had over 144k on it. They also hold their value more so than some other cars.
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????
Old 08-19-2004, 01:21 PM   #11
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????

Yelnad,
Does the Forester have more inside room than the Outback? I'm considering getting one of them when my van starts driving me crazy. I'm getting to where I hate driving someting so big, but I sure like the cargo space.
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????
Old 08-19-2004, 01:26 PM   #12
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????

I'm not positive that it has more room, but it seems to. It sure as heck is cheaper!
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????
Old 08-19-2004, 01:44 PM   #13
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????

Quote:

If your looking for inexpensive reliable transportation. Stick with Hondas - Maximas are fine also. (I've owned both)
I'll second this. The two best cars I ever owned were the Accord I'm driving now and a Nissan Sentra.

And Tommy_Dolitte, if I were looking to spend around $16,000 on a car, I'd spend an extra $2000-$3000 and buy a new Accord.
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????
Old 08-19-2004, 02:23 PM   #14
 
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????

For what it's worth, we bought a 2000 Saab on Ebay last year, got a good deal (did our homework) and was a seamless transaction. It did help that the seller who was 3 hrs away happened to be in same town as our daughter, so son-in-law test drove it, and daughter went over it for 'dings' -- both pronounced it A-OK. We wired the $$ and picked it up.

Worth pursuing. You can narrow your search down by make, model, and distance. Piece o cake!

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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????
Old 08-19-2004, 03:14 PM   #15
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????

Go for a year old Impala. Mrs.Zipper and I are more than pleased with our choice. Lots of room and the 3400 gives outstanding mileage. If you want a screamer get the 3800. Along with Regals and Centuries, they're built in Oshawa. GM has a couple of top-rated assembly plants in North America located there.
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????
Old 08-19-2004, 03:37 PM   #16
 
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????

Quote:
And Tommy_Dolitte, if I were looking to spend around $16,000 on a car, I'd spend an extra $2000-$3000 and buy a new Accord.
I'll second what Bob Smith has said here.

I was also once looking for a used Honda Accord. The resale prices were so high that it made sense to just buy a Brand New One and then Drive it to the ground.

I bought a new one in 1987, put 105,000 miles on it and gave it to my daughter. She is using it as a second car and it has 240,000 miles on it!
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????
Old 08-19-2004, 04:40 PM   #17
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????

Thanks GUYS!

TD
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????
Old 08-19-2004, 05:10 PM   #18
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????

A friend of mine put 640,000 on a 88 Volvo 740 and I put 300,000 on a Chrysler but when Its time came I bought a GM V6 so the Impala or Buick gets my vote at this time. Those 3.1, 3.4 and 3800's seem to be really durable..

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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????
Old 08-19-2004, 06:50 PM   #19
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????

Also, take a good look at the gas mileage. I don't think it will be getting any cheaper, what with China and India wanting all that oil too.

For $16K you can get a new Matrix/Vibe, pretty nice cars with plenty of cargo room, and great mileage.
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????
Old 08-19-2004, 07:41 PM   #20
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Re: CARMAX, AUTOTRADER, or????

I have been my own mechanic for over 30 years. My viewpoint on cars and trucks is different from many today. Buying used, I would rather have a higher mileage car that was run hot and long each time it was used, than a low mileage car that had short runs. Need to get the oil temperature up, and hot for a while to evaporate all the condensates and dilutes of combustion. And get them picked up by the PCV system. Also, the short run effects are worse the colder the climate is.

Gas mileage vs. whackability - High gas mileage wouldn't do me any good if I ended up pushing keyboard keys with a popsicle stick in my mouth. A friend of mine in college was a gas mileage hound. It all ended some years later when he was going through a green light and was broadsided by a red light runner. His driving skills never came into it. Bam, that was it. The NHTSA and IIHS crash tests are nice for relative data, but they are for that car against a barrier. Not real applicable against a domestic body on frame full size car, or a domestic full size truck. I prefer serious metal.

I did buy a car recently for a relative using Autotrader. At first, it looked like a waste of time, as each dealer I called had sold the car. They just weren't updating Autotrader. But found one an hour away that had a very good price on the car, a 3800 Regal, no supercharger. They told me on the phone that it had a cracked windshield. That didn't bother me, as long as I could see why it cracked (stone impact). Checked it over well, its been doing good. The 3800 is now Gen II, which has a camshaft driven balance shaft above the cam in the block. Seems to be a durable design.
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