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Ultimate New Car Buying Guide (Part 1 of 2)

Introduction: Ultimate New Vehicle Buying Guide

Personally, I love negotiating for a new car at a dealership - there's very few places where you still get to go head to head in negotiating. I've helped a ton of other people negotiate for new cars and I've read hundreds (more likely thousands) of posts about mistakes people realized they made. So I spent the last few days writing a comprehensive (6000 word!) new car buying guide. It's targeted at first time new car buyers but really should be useful to anyone. Hope you all find this useful!
First, I've got to get something out of the way - buying a brand new vehicle is not a good financial decision most of the time (less so for Toyota/Honda and more so for more expensive and less reliable brands) and trading in your old vehicle at the dealership is rarely good either. Ideally, if you want newish vehicle, you should:
Assuming you still want a new vehicle, this article is for you. I found a great short video by someone else which you should watch before reading my article; it's like a 6 minute summary of many things I write about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sH651baH7-c
Since there is a lot of content here, I am organizing this into two posts as follows:
Post #1: Prior to Purchase Day
Post #2: Day of Purchase and Beyond
Click here to go to Post #2.

Chapter I: Understand your Financial Health

When: ~1 month before vehicle purchase
A.Determine your monthly budget: The largest components of your monthly vehicle spending will be:
Your budget for payments and insurance should be no more than 10% of your monthly gross pay. For example, if you annual income is $60k, then 10% of your monthly gross ($5k) is $500. This is your max budget for both vehicle payments and insurance.
B.Determine monthly insurance and adjust budget: When you buy a new vehicle, the financing company will require you to add the following types of coverage on top of the liability coverage you already have:
Finally, the specific vehicle model/make/trim level you buy (which you don't know for the time being) also impacts your vehicle price. For now, a safe estimate is $200/month and your actual vehicle loan payments are the difference in your monthly budget from the previous step and $200. So in our example, the actual vehicle payments can afford is $500 - $200 = $300/month.
C.Determine value of your trade-in: There are a few few websites that can help with this. You will notice that the value of your trade-in when selling private party is higher than when selling to a dealership. The reason is the dealership needs to make money when they sell your vehicle on to the next buyer. This is why I usually suggest selling your vehicle yourself on Craigslist/Autotrader etc. to a private party. To determine your trade-in value, here are a few websites to help you out:
Alternatively, you can go to autotrader.com to see what people are listing their vehicles for. Based on your research, determine what your trade-in value will be. If there are other factors such as various add-ons, then adjust your trade-in value accordingly.
D.Determine your credit score: A key factor that impacts your vehicle payment will be your credit rating since vehicle payments almost always have interest which is partly based on your credit score. Here are a few options to get a credit score:
If you feel confident that your credit is good, then you can get a free credit check (no score) to verify there won't be surprises later when applying for a loan here: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action.
End of Chapter Goal: Understanding of you financial ability to purchase a vehicle.

Chapter II: Calculate your Vehicle Budget

When: ~1 month before vehicle purchase
Many people think they know how much vehicle they can afford. And many people go bankrupt. I purchased a $40k vehicle when I had a annual salary of $60k. It made me poor for many years. Don't be me!
A. Determine your vehicle budget ceiling: Based on your credit score from the last step, you can determine your credit score range (super prime, prime etc.). The range will determine your likely interest rate. Next we will use a vehicle payment calculator in reverse to determine your vehicle budget. Go to https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/loans/vehicle-loan-calculato and set values as follows:
The monthly payment will update based on your entries above.
B. Adjust 'Vehicle Price' field up/down iteratively: Take a look at the 'Monthly Payment' field and compare it to the payment we calculated in Chapter I Step B. Adjust the 'Vehicle Price' field up/down until it the monthly payment matches your budget from Chapter I Step B.
When it does, the number in the 'Vehicle Price' field is your vehicle budget (Inclusive of all taxes and fees - ignore anything that says otherwise)
So in my example, assuming a trade-in of $5k, interest rate of 5%, and 36 month loan, I had to adjust the vehicle price down to $15k to make my monthly payment $300. So my vehicle budget is $15k inclusive of all taxes and fees.
C: Vehicle budget too low?: The number from Step B above might end up being disappointing. Well, consider it is a reality check. If you want a higher budget you ought to:
Whatever you do, DO NOT select a longer term length than 36 months; if you have to select a longer term length to afford to a higher vehicle price, YOU CAN'T AFFORD THE vehicle. This reddit group is filled with people that ended getting into serious trouble by taking very long loans and are under water on their vehicle for years. If you can afford the car with 36 month term but want to do a longer term because you got a good interest rate, that's ok. However, do not extend the loan term just to be able to afford the monthly payment.
End of Chapter Goal: Once you've gotten to this stage, we will use the vehicle budget from Chapter II Step B and this will be your maximum Out the Door Price.

Chapter III: Research and Narrow Down Vehicle Options

When: ~1 month before vehicle purchase
A. Create a shortlist of vehicles to research: Now that you know what your ceiling out the door price is, you should create a short list of 7-10 vehicles to research further. There are a few ways to create an initial list:
B. Key evaluation criteria: Use some of the criteria below to narrow down your list of vehicles:
Edmunds: https://www.edmunds.com
KBB: https://www.kbb.com/new-vehicles/
C. Other evaluation criteria: These are less critical but still important to dig into.
End of Chapter Goal: At this point, narrow down your initial list to 3 vehicles to test drive. Max 5.

Chapter IV: Test Drive Target Vehicles

When: ~2 weeks before vehicle purchase
A) Head over to the dealership: Bring your drivers license (required) and insurance card (optional). When greeted, say "Hello, I'm not going to be buying a vehicle today, but I'd like more information about vehicle X." A vehicle salesman will seat you at his sales desk and take down some contact details, take a copy of your drivers license etc. and ask you what model/options etc. you are interested in and will present some vehicles for you to test drive.
B) Actually test drive the vehicle: Here are some things that you can only determine through driving the vehicle such as:
C) CAUTION: Do not get suckered into buying a vehicle now: At this point, you will be suffering a high from the new vehicle smell and the sales pitch but you are not ready to buy yet. The vehicle salesman will try their best to have you make a hasty decision. Tell them politely that you are not interested. Do not discuss any numbers, financing etc. under any circumstance.
D) Finalize your vehicle decision: After test driving all your candidate vehicles, you might have arrived at a vehicle you really love. Decide on make/model/and trim level. If you are not happy yet, go back to Chapter III Step B.
End of Chapter Goal: You've finalized a specific vehicle make, model, and trim level.

Chapter V: Finalize Financing

When: 1-2 weeks before vehicle purchase
While vehicle dealerships have their own financing departments, it's critical for you get a vehicle loan prior to buying your vehicle from elsewhere. If you don't, the dealership has tremendous leverage on you and you will end up with higher interest payments/longer terms than you would otherwise.
A. Shop for vehicle loans: The best place to get vehicle financing will be at a local credit unions. Credit unions are not-for-profit organizations that exist to serve their members. Like banks, credit unions accept deposits and make loans. But as they are member-owned, credit unions lend at more reasonable rates.
Other alternatives to credit unions are USAA, traditional big banks (Bank of America, Chase etc.) but a credit union will likely give you the lowest rates.
B. Apply for a vehicle loan: Pick a reputable lender with low rates. Apply for a loan amount that is bit more than that what you need (loan balance on current vehicle - trade-in value + vehicle price + sales tax + expected fees ($1000) + 20% buffer) . The buffer is to allow for some room if your trade-in value comes lower or you don't get as low a purchase price as you expected. Once approved, you will receive the documents (with a special auto loan blank check) in a few days.
C. Research any manufacturedealership specials: Research any incentives you might be eligible for (loyalty discounts, military discounts, student discounts etc.) on the manufacturer and dealership websites.
D. Get quotes on auto insurance and gap insurance: Now that you know exact make/model/trim level you are buying, you should be able to get accurate insurance quotes. Shop around for insurance rates at 5 vehicle insurance companies (Amica, USAA, Geico, Allstate, Statefarm, Progressive, esurance etc.) as rates can vary drastically. Remember you will need comprehensive and collision insurance as well. Get a quote for gap insurance as well. Here is an article comparing various vehicle insurance companies:
E. Find a good calendar window to buy a vehicle: Best time to get deals are end of the month/quarteyear (vehicle dealers get $$$ from the manufacturer if they meet monthly/quarterly/yearly targets). Also look whether there are any sales events (Labor Day, end of summer etc.) coming up from the manufacturer.
End of Chapter Goal: You have a auto loan approved and insurance quotes for the vehicle you are going to buy.

Chapter VI: Negotiate Prices Over Email

When: 1-2 days before vehicle purchase
The smart buyer has negotiated prices before they step into the dealership to buy the vehicle. Be smart! This is one of the most important steps to get the best deal.
A. Email dealerships for quotes: Email the internet department of 5-10 dealerships in 50 mile radius. Tell them you will be buying a vehicle (specify in the next couple days and ask them for their lowest Out the Door Price. The out the door price is inclusive of all taxes, fees, incentives etc.
You’re going to have to pay title/licensing fees, sales tax, and a destination fee, which is set by the manufacturer. The dealer might include a number of other fees, such as documentation, marketing, or dealer fees. Make sure everything is included in the our the door price to allow for an apples to apples comparison.
B. Do not provide phone numbers: Dealerships might ask you for your phone number; don't give it to them and insist on communicating over email. This is for a few reasons:
C. Negotiate over email: Use prices from one dealer to drive the price lower with another dealer. Keep repeating this until you arrive at the rock bottom price. If you get a response that the dealership doesn't do competitive bidding, tell them that if they give you their best price, you'll buy today. They'll most definitely get back to you (as mentioned in the video in the intro). Pick a new email address to communicate because you will get a ton of email.
D. Confirm deal terms and actual availability: Once you get to the rock bottom price and there does not appear to be any more room for negotiation, you are done! Confirm the key details with the dealership:
E. Setup an appointment: Contact the best rated dealership to make an appointment for the next couple days
End of Chapter Goal: You have an agreement for an out the door price that is inclusive of all taxes and fees , verified the specific car is in the lot, and have an appointment set.

Chapter VII: Final Prep (New Vehicle Buying Guide)

When: 1 day before vehicle purchase
A: Recruit a friend to tag along: Ideally bring someone that is not vested in the purchase decision in anyway and will stop you from making a hasty decision.
B: Make arrangements: For anything that will force you to make a hasty decision. For example, don't bring kids in to the dealership and instead find a sitter for the entire day. Reschedule any appointments that you may have for later in the day to another day. Pending deadlines lead to hasty and bad decisions.
C: Clean your vehicle: To get the best value for your trade in, get your vehicle washed, cleaned, and vacuumed. Add vehicle air freshener if needed. You want to give the dealership the impression that you've taken good care of your vehicle.
D: Justify trade in price: Think of all the reasons your vehicle should get the upper end of the trade-in estimate. These might include:
Write these down so that you don't forget when negotiating with the vehicle salesman.
E. Get you 'go bag' ready: Bring drinks, snacks, Laptop + charger , phone charger etc. Since you already negotiated a vehicle price and got prior financing, your time at the dealership should be much less than the 4+ hours it would take otherwise but it is good to be prepared.
F: Prepare documents:
Throw all of these into your go bag and throw it into the trunk of your vehicle right away or else you are going to forget the next day.
G. Remove all personal items: such as child seats, maps, charging cables etc. that you won't need.
H. Rest Up: You could be in for a marathon day (4+ hours) in the worst case. Tired/emotional minds make bad decisions - get a good night's rest!
End of Chapter Goal: You are ready to go first thing next day!
Continue to Post #2: Day of Purchase and Beyond
submitted by syd999 to personalfinance [link] [comments]

Looking to buy a 2018 Chevy Tahoe Premier

My wife and I are looking to get a new (2017 or 2018) Tahoe Premier, though we're open to a CPO with low (under 15k) miles if we found the right one for the right price.
I've been doing a lot of tracking over the last month or two on AutoTrader & Cars.com just to see the cost variance, looking at dealerships within a 200ish mile radius (I'm willing to travel for the right deal). I'm in Vancouver, WA (Portland, OR metro area).
My must-haves:
-Adaptive cruise control w/ HUD
-The larger interactive in-dash instrument cluster (not sure what this is called?)
-Black or Tungsten Metallic in color
It'd be nice, but not a deal breaker:
-RST package
-Black stock wheels if non-RST
I've found that these things vary quite a bit on the 2018 Premiers. Some have it, some don't. I can't really figure out what package has it and which doesn't. Even many of the Premier RST's don't have this...
The MSRP of the Tahoe I want also varies. Out of the 15 or so I tracked, the average MSRP is around $73k. The average list price of those is $67k.
We will be trading in my wife's 2014 Equinox which has a KBB retail of around 17k. I'm thinking if we negotiate well enough, we could maybe get $15k for the trade in. We'd also be putting down $10-12k cash. My thought was to go into a dealership nearby, find the exact vehicle I'm looking for, and tell them what I'm willing to pay. I'd imagine that with the range of prices I've found, there's a dealership elsewhere that will beat their price - so if I had to, I'd bring that up. I can get financing through USAA or my local credit union likely at 2.5%... so I'm more concerned about the bottom line cost of the car.
With all of that said, what would be a fair price to offer for the Tahoe I'm looking for? I've found some with an MSRP of $73k or $74k listed for $65-66... so my initial thought is that isn't their bottom line price (why would they post that online if it was?).
Should I go less than the $65k that I've seen, or is that a pretty fair price for what I'm looking for?
submitted by internationalicon to askcarsales [link] [comments]

My guide on how not to get ripped off

Ok recently we had a thread and it appears that the purchser got a bad deal...sucks for him however its completely legal to do. And honestly we too get those kind of deals and it really helps us balance our checkbooks at the end of the month. However not getting ripped off is easy. A few rulse
  1. Research
  2. Print out your research
  3. Take your research to the dealership
First off figure out what car you want (get it down to one or two models) check your local dealers inventory (most will list online) print out their internet pricing on the models you like.
Now go to the following sources:
Find prices on ALL OF THOSE websites they have them, now average them out. Thats your target price, and you need to set a rule "If I get this price or lower I buy" thats it, no going home and thinking about it cause you should of already thought about it.
The reason why I say use multiple pricing sources is cause some will be too high, some will be too low, take them all combined and you got yourself a reasonable offer
Now before you go the dealer go to your bank, credit union and get a per-approval. Note the APR and the term (how long) and what you are approved for. Take this to the dealer.
Put it obvious you've done your research, hell show them your research and be like "Beat that" when I get customers like that we generally are able to do a little bit better and everyone is happy.
So here is an example on a 2014 Fusion SE (1.5L Ecoboost)
So fair price price on this car? $21,848 however I would say $21,500 would be a fair offer.
So if a dealer says $20,500 you know its an awesome deal, if a dealer says $23,500 you know somethings up.
So a quick guide on how not to get ripped off. By the way at my store we would actually price this vehicle at $23,236 but if you had your research with you and offered us $21,500 we'd take that deal.
Please note TTL would be extra.
All non CPO used vehicles I would always get independently inspected. If anything I'd skip carfax on this as well a mechanic can tell if a car was in an accident and carfax isn't always accurate.
submitted by proROKexpat to askcarsales [link] [comments]

Car buying FAQ's

Work in progress, please post your suggestions, additions and critique.
How to decide what car to buy
What to do before you head to the dealership
How to find out what I should pay for a new car?
How to shop for a good price on a new car?
Negotiation advice
A collection of blog articles by Mark McDonald at Motortrend.com
Buy new or used?
There are advantages and disadvantages to either option.
Buying new:
Buying used:
Lease or finance?
Buy from a dealer or private?
When you buy privately:
When you buy from a dealer:
Trade or sell privately?
If you sell privately - you are likely to get more for your car
If you trade your car at a dealer:
** What if you still want to sell your car privately - how to go about it?**
What happens if I owe on my loan more than the trade allowance?
If you owe more than your trade is worth - you are in a position of negative equity. You can pay that difference in addition to the down payment, or dealer can add it to your loan or lease, and spread it over your payments. The amount they can absorb will depend on the policy of the bank and your credit situation. If you are "upside down" too much - you might not be able to trade your car and get a new one without a significant amount of down payment.
How to get the best financing?
Before starting the buying process you should know what your credit history is - what is your score, and what negative items are listed on your credit report, such as bankruptcy, collections, late payments, etc.
Unless you have great credit, and the manufacturer is offering a very low rate for the model that you are buying (below 3%), it is always a good idea to get a quote from a bank or a Credit Union.
Get information about your credit here: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0155-free-credit-reports
How much my trade is worth?
Before having your trade appraised - take sober look at your car. You are in it every day, you are used to it, and you stop noticing certain things that other people will notice right away, such as bold tires, scratched bumpers, door dings, scratches, faded paint. Most of the time when people thing their car is in perfect condition - it is not.
Once you can realistically access your car's condition - check pricing guides:
Is this used car a good deal/How much should I pay for this used car?
To decide whether you are being offer a fair price for a certain used car, you need to do two things:
  1. Find out what pricing guides say
  1. Find out how similar cars for sale are priced in your area. For that you can check:
If the car you want to buy is at the low end of the price spectrum - it is a good deal. Some cars will bring higher prices - rare models and low mileage cars.
Is this a good deal for a new caHow much should I pay for this car?
Build the car you want to buy on one of the pricing guides, and you will know what would be a fair price to pay for it:
How much car can I afford?
It is a bad idea to go to a dealership knowing only the payment you can afford. First, you are likely to go over your budget, second you are likely to be taken advantage of on selling price, interest, term, trade, add-ons - any combination or all together. Once you know your budget - check out one of these auto loan calculators:
If you are considering leasing - check special offers on manufacturer website, but be sure to read the fine print. Often these low payments specials require a significant amount down, they never include fees and taxes, and sometimes they are calculated after rebates for which you might not qualify (for example loyalty rebate)
I am going to visit the dealer, what should I know, bring, do?
submitted by Micosilver to askcarsales [link] [comments]

Please help me check out this Mustang and figure out some other things

I had initially planned on buying a house in May, and getting my dream Coyote soon after that. I have been looking at car listings mostly for the hell of it, getting an idea of what things cost and what's out there. What makes my search the most difficult is that I really want a Grabber Blue Premium GT. There aren't tons of them out there.
When I was looking on Autotrader, this came up (that's the dealer's site with more pictures), and it blew me away. This car has everything I could possibly want and more. It's a stick, Premium, has MyColor, Security Package, Track Package, Comfort Package, my favorite 19s, and the best looking seats offered. Seriously everything I required and more, all with only 11k miles. It looks to have the MMD fake hood scoop, which I would remove and sell, and it also has the C/S spoiler which I would trade. I would also prefer to have the stock fog lights, but those are easy to replace. The front splitter is a bonus as well, but I don't really care about it. I'm not a huge fan of the nav screen but it's whatever. The car is almost exactly the way I would have ordered it if I had unlimited money and had custom built it myself from Ford.
I sent the dealer an email almost as a joke using AutoTrader's MakeMyDeal function saying that if he sent me more pictures and lowered the price $2k I would come buy it. He emailed me back quickly and said yes and to call him. AT seems to make this seem like a legit deal, but I know it's not binding. Really, if he could take $1k more off, that would be amazing. I would have to go get approved for a loan, which I have never had before, but I think I'm probably considered a good risk. My wife has some history with this credit union and both our scores are nearing 800. We make about $75k combined. I know we would pay a higher % for a car than is ideal, but I'm willing to sacrifice some in other areas because we are pretty wise with our money and don't spend money on unnecessary things.
I talked to my wife, and I think we could afford it, but I would be parking in an apartment lot until we could buy a house in May. I'm not sure if I'm really serious but this seems like a great deal to me and it has every single option I could want. Is this a good deal? The worst part is that I'm in KY and the car is in NJ, but I could get myself there somehow if I need to.
Upon looking closer, the tires are pretty worn, and according to the window sticker, summer tires. Could i point this out and say hey, this needs new tires, will you go a grand lower so I can buy new ones? That would put the car right under $25k. There are a few exterior mods that are mostly reversible, but look tacky. Could I get him to go lower? Did he just agree to that price to get me into the dealership? The make my deal function on auto trader seemed halfway legit.
Am I getting too far ahead of myself? This is really my dream car and I've never bought car like this before, I still drive my high school car I bought from my dad. Can someone look into this more and tell me if this is too much of an impulse buy? If it was June I am positive I would pull the trigger no question, but I don't know if a deal like this will pop up again for a long time. Please help!!
submitted by koopatroopa92 to cars [link] [comments]

Please help me check out this Mustang and talk me through some things

I had initially planned on buying a house in May, and getting my dream Coyote soon after that. I have been looking at car listings mostly for the hell of it, getting an idea of what things cost and what's out there. What makes my search the most difficult is that I really want a Grabber Blue Premium GT. There aren't tons of them out there.
When I was looking on Autotrader, this came up (that's the dealer's site with more pictures), and it blew me away. This car has everything I could possibly want and more. It's a stick, Premium, has MyColor, Security Package, Track Package, Comfort Package, my favorite 19s, and the best looking seats offered. Seriously everything I required and more, all with only 11k miles. It looks to have the MMD fake hood scoop, which I would remove and sell, and it also has the C/S spoiler which I would trade. I would also prefer to have the stock fog lights, but those are easy to replace. The front splitter is a bonus as well, but I don't really care about it. I'm not a huge fan of the nav screen but it's whatever. The car is almost exactly the way I would have ordered it if I had unlimited money and had custom built it myself from Ford.
I sent the dealer an email almost as a joke using AutoTrader's MakeMyDeal function saying that if he sent me more pictures and lowered the price $2k I would come buy it. He emailed me back quickly and said yes and to call him. AT seems to make this seem like a legit deal, but I know it's not binding. Really, if he could take $1k more off, that would be amazing. I would have to go get approved for a loan, which I have never had before, but I think I'm probably considered a good risk. My wife has some history with this credit union and both our scores are nearing 800. We make about $75k combined. I know we would pay a higher % for a car than is ideal, but I'm willing to sacrifice some in other areas because we are pretty wise with our money and don't spend money on unnecessary things.
I talked to my wife, and I think we could afford it, but I would be parking in an apartment lot until we could buy a house in May. I'm not sure if I'm really serious but this seems like a great deal to me and it has every single option I could want. Is this a good deal? The worst part is that I'm in KY and the car is in NJ, but I could get myself there somehow if I need to. Am I getting too far ahead of myself? This is really my dream car and I've never bought car like this before, I still drive my high school car I bought from my dad. Can someone look into this more and tell me if this is too much of an impulse buy? If it was June I am positive I would pull the trigger no question, but I don't know if a deal like this will pop again for a long time. Please help!!
submitted by koopatroopa92 to Mustang [link] [comments]

[Table] IamA Owner of a used car dealership. AMA!

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2014-01-16
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Questions Answers
What's the most expensive car you've had on the lot / sold? The most expensive car we have is a 2008 R8 that we just got in. It will be selling for $89,999.
What's your cost on something like that? I paid 80. Spent 3000$ of recondition already.
But this is my daily driver so I didn't buy it to sell it...if that makes sense, I would love to drive it for a year and sell it for what I paid. Drive and R8 for free :)
If you had to buy parts for a car like that, what would you do? Do you have any advantage over a regular guy? I happen to know someone who is an Audi service advisor and he showed me in their pricing system that R8 floor mats are $750. I do get dealer rate on parts (15% off retail)
How did Cash-4-Clunkers effect your business? Not that much, we don't sell many 2999 or less cars because they are too unpredictable and we don't want to sell anyone lemons. Not worth the headache and bad karma.
I bought a used car from a scumbag salesman two years ago. It was useless a year later. What's something I should ALWAYS look for in used cars? - 19 years old and I'm going on my 4th car :\ I'm not saying this is what you did...but generally a car thats 3gs or less is unpredictable.
Maybe for your first car you get something that might not be the prettiest but maybe reliable. Like an older pontiac vibe, they are great cars and won't break the bank...not the prettiest but will get you from point a - b.
There is no one thing to look at. sorry nothing sexy about that answer.
the Pontiac Vibe is Toyota where it counts, basically the Matrix I understand. Same thing with the Chevy Prizm/Toyota Corolla. Exactly...getting the Toyota without paying a premium for a badge.
I love my Vibe; I just wish it was called something else. When I was still shopping for it, I was pretty amazed that a Matrix would go for $1000 - $2000 more than Vibes of similar age and condition. It's the same damn car. EXACT same guts. You're just paying for the emblem.
Wow, it'd never clicked with me, despite lots of searching in that category, that a Vibe gets around the Toyota Tax. Matrix's are overpriced because Toyota. Vibes are the same damned car (more or less) but fewer people buy it cause toyota reliability. On the used market people know this and thats why they sell well.
People pay a premium for a Toyota badge? What I meant was even though matrix and vibe are basically the same car you can expect to pay 2gs more for the Toyota name.
Did the vibe have an awd option like the matrix did ? Yes it does. Both body styles do.
Have you ever found anything odd or weird in a car or about a car after you bought it from someone? Bought a cop car once and found a couple dime bags of week under the seat. I'm assuming the person who was arrested had some on them and hid it under their seat.
We found this super old log book it was from world war 1 and had a soldier's name and all these amazing stories of people he met and people who had died etc. We gave it to the police hoping they would find out who this man was (had his name DOB etc)...couple weeks later this old man comes in all teary eyed and told us it was his dad's book and he was so grateful we gave it to the police.
You told us what you did with the log book. What did you do with the weed? AHHAHAHAHAHAH.
I'm pretty sure the clean up shop "threw it out".
In your opinion, is it smarter to buy new or used vehicles? Why? Used,
If I win the lottery one day and want to buy a car, I would buy a newer car with the least amount of mileage. Someone else takes the hit of the new car and you can save 15-20% if its 6 months old and has a couple thousand kms on it.
But if it's newish and someone is selling it, wouldn't that indicate something might be wrong? No not at all, people change their minds or something comes up. I took a 2013 civic with 6000kms on trade for a minivan because the woman got pregnant unexpectedly with twins.
What if it's a car that people are known to drive hard and abuse? Unfortunately there is NO way of knowing, but sometimes you have to take a leap of faith.
Only car I wouldn't buy would be a mustang rental, that's a car you know who ever rented probably drove it hard.
I worked for a used car lot similar to yours, with only flat pay and very very small commission. we had a regional thing going, with about 15 lots over 3 states. We didnt sell for cash but owned a finance company as well. My question is How often do people try old sales tactics on you, or think they can just act tough to get a deal? and what is the 'toughest' customer you have had dealings with? But if we are selling a car for 5,999 you can't offer 3000 CASH out the door, there is no more margins like that, just doesn't exist! We explain why that's not possible and for the most part they get it...you still get the young kid with his grand-pa saying 3000 or we leave. To which we reply sorry we can't earn your business. Toughest customer was a 2006 Ram 2500 diesel we sold her. She drove it home, called us back saying she took it to her mechanic and it needs ball joints at a cost of 1200$ I asked her to bring the truck back so we can take a look at it and if it does need the work we will do it. She said she did not feel safe driving it back, and we offered to pick it up then she lost her mind and said we are crooks and assholes for selling a truck that would have never passed certification. I called her personally and told her if she felt she was taken advantage of I would come with a check in full and pay her back and take the truck home (she's had it for over a month now) Told me to F*ck off and she is going to sue us.
Wow that's pretty ridiculous of her. I respect your efforts I go to sleep at night knowing I've never screwed over a customer.
Word :) Btw do you consider yourself a car enthusiast? I read you have an R8 to putt around in, I myself drive a 91 Toyota MR2. I used to be a HUGE car enthusiast, then you realize that its a piece of metal with tires. That being said I do have some cars on my bucket list that I would love to own/drive...the usual lambo, ferrari etc.
Consider signing up for an HPDE in your area. That experience will change your mind. ;) What is that?
Oh word, cool. Thought I would ask, well, because R8 lol. R8 is one of my bucket list cars and It's been a dream to drive...only drove it 2 times...stupid snow.
High performance driving event. Think of it like a driving school but on a race track. You'll learn a lot about yourself and about driving at high (race) speed. They aren't racing schools. Those are separate. Ohhh yeah mosport has events like that.
I'm not sure how well Canada's track market is but you guys used to have the F1 grand prix so you might check out if they offer schools. I know Porsche and BMW race out of there.
All wheel drive + snow tires should fix that. I looked into it, just rather drive a car comfortably than be on pins and needles.
Have you ever lost a substantial amount of money on a car ? Of course! Its part of the game... worst one ever was a ford diesel. bought everything was normal, sold it, 2 weeks later customer complains about white smoke...long story short 6gs later.
We offered to give customers money back, he wanted the truck. Total deal ended up losing 4500$
But that customer has sent 3 customers into us, because the issue he had was not part of certification or anything, we could of said sorry not our problem it was ok when we sold. Rather we fixed it he was happy and in the grand scheme of things it was worth it.
The white smoke thing on a ford diesel happened to me too. It was basically part of the recirculation system (for emissions) melted and allowed water to enter the engine, hydrolocking the pistons. Had to have a ton of shit replaced. Ford Diesels after about 2003-4 have been garbage imo. I hate to say it but you're right. I won't buy a 2003 -2010 Ford Diesel. Supposedly the newer ones are better but I'm not sure.
7.3L powerstroke is bullet proof. The 6.0 is complete trash. For the most part yes.
I won't buy a 2003 -2010 Ford Diesel. Crazy part is I've had 2 traded in and both have problems..I think if they are running properly people just drive them into the ground.
How do you deal with those who try to trade one in? How do you explain it to them? I'd sure hate to disappoint them this way...\ NOT ALL have issues, I just try to shy away from them.
If you buy a 6.0, replace the head studs and gaskets, (honestly some people just replace the whole head), and delete the EGR. Those were the problems. I'm no mechanic but thank you for the heads up.
Would you ever or have you ever considered selling cars for bitcoins? I am dying to buy a car with bitcoin... I'd be to scared lol I run a very honest business and would never want to be red flagged.
Audi/BMW/Mercedes? All have good models and problematic models. ...but my dad who is a mechanic would say LEXUS!
I work for Lexus so obviously I like your dad. He's had an older LS for a while, over 400,000kms loves that thing more than me.
What's your view on a Lexus Isf 2011? Good all rounder? Great cars, nice sedan with a cool look.
How do you estimate the value of a car? and what if the car is a "classic? My valuation is simple... look at autotrader and try to be the bottom 10 cheapest. I work on volume not trying to "hit a homerun" on every car.
Classic cars are different complete different ball game, I will call some of the guys that deal with those types of cars and compare to autotrader. Overall I've only ever 3 classic cars traded in. 1973 Mustang, 1969 Mustang (they were pretty easy to get a valuation because a lot out there) and a 1952 MGB kit car. (much harder just took a gamble)
What is the average commission a salesman gets on a sale? Such as % 1) Our dealership has no comission, all flat with bonuses monthly/yearly so that there is NO pressure from my staff.
If something happens to someone's car past warranty (where it is not legally your problem), what do you do to help that person if anything? Of course! Its part of the game... worst one ever was a ford diesel. bought everything was normal, sold it, 2 weeks later customer complains about white smoke...long story short 6gs later. We offered to give customers money back, he wanted the truck. Total deal ended up losing 4500$ But that customer has sent 3 customers into us, because the issue he had was not part of certification or anything, we could of said sorry not our problem it was ok when we sold. Rather we fixed it he was happy and in the grand scheme of things it was worth it.
That sounds awesome. #2 is something so few dealerships understand (I used to work doing training for dealerships). They would much rather make $5000 off of one customer than make $1000 each off of 50 customers. So aggravating, everyone loses. Exactly man... Its easier to make 1$ off of a million people than $1,000,000 of one person.
I want to be here for the long haul.
All salespeople would say it's "no pressure". How are your online reviews? This is based on Google reviews.
Sam Besharati 4 months ago purchased a 2010 mazda 3 from tip top in april. I spent almost 4 months researching mazda 3's at different dealerships in the durham region and even a few in toronto. tip top was by far the easiest to deal with. they treated me like a friend and ...More Mark Morissette Mark Morissette 5 months ago My wife and I purchased a used Chrysler 300 from Tip Top auto several months back – the service we received was excellent, the sales people were very upfront and straightforward with the transaction from the moment we stepped on the property ...More Adam Hare Adam Hare 9 months ago Tip Top has the best prices by far! And even more importantly, the service is like no other. Zero pressure, no hassle, they truly give you first class care. My whole family have now bought vehicles from Tip Top and will continue to do so! A Google User A Google User 2 years ago Looked at over 30 cars of the same make and model elsewhere, and then decided to buy my car from here. Owned it for the better part of this year and couldn't be more satisfied with it. Will be looking here first when it's time to buy again. Would ...More.
Link to verify. OP probably didn't post it because it is their Google+ page and didn't want to self advertise. Thank you, thats a lot better to read lol.
Nice...you passed the test! There aren't many small dealers without bad reviews. Everyone gets bad reviews, its part of the business, but we just try our best to fix any problems before that.
Bought a 300 from a used car dealership, spent around 1500 in less than 6 months, suspension parts. Holy hell suspension parts, and we didn't put the car in a garage, did all the work ourselves. Except for a four way wheel alignment, that was done in the garage. 300s are known for front end work, but they have good transmissions and engines.
Your north carolina? Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.
$50k from dad? It takes money to make money! I guess that doesn't make you exactly a rags-to-riches tale, does it? My dad was retired at the time due to his cancer by trade he is a mechanic, thus I have been around cars alot.
What does/did your dad do? I am super lucky that my parents were supportive of me and wanted me to succeed. My father came to Canada with nothing and he has done well for himself.
I've been raised by mechanics and estimators and car sales men all of my life. I have always wanted to know, what is the rate of used cars you've had on sale that have to be repaired before they are sellable? Is there a limit to the damage of a car (like minor dents and scratches in the paint) where you cannot buy it or sell it? Totally,
Some dealers will buy the car even if EVERY panel needs paint and can still make a profit, for me I look at the headache vs payoff. I have no shortage of cars so I don't need to go that far. Rule of thumb is if you buy it cheap enough it can be worth it...I just don't waste my time with it.
Any point in buying a "certified" pre owned vehicle as opposed to a normal used car? Yes, We have to compete with the all the time. However for the most part it's not worth the added cost and they are not doing much more than a used car dealership will do...Only benefit is some manufactures will extend the factory warranty. BMW certified pre-owned will cost you 2-3gs more than buying from a used car lot, personally not worth it...However if you can get the price close to what a used car dealership is selling it for...go certified pre owned.
Are you saying that you'd feel ok owning a BMW out of warranty? Doesn't scare me!
I am looking for a new midsize sedan (torn between altima, sonata, or camry at the moment) any suggestions on the three? I am thinking ill go new though since ill drive it at least the next 7ish years. All three are great cars, I can't knock any of them.
Your best bet is go and test drive all three... you might hate the way one drives or be bothered by blind spots.
My CPO cost me 16 total, (granted, 2012 focus SEL hatch), but I have a 125k mile warranty w/ 100 dollar deductible, loaner cars, roadside, etc. Do i truly need it? Who knows, but it's my 6th car because I've never spent more than 1200 on a car before. Why not? If you paid close to what the car is worth in the retail market then you didn't go wrong. Remember cars are not investments and you want to be able to enjoy your car and if you have any issues you're covered so there is NO harm in getting a warranty.
Is there a strategy one can use to help them get a better deal on a vehicle without being a jerk? I'm not really all that great at negotiating prices in this regard. Some used car dealers had NO haggle pricing, we are pretty close to that too. We put our best price forward and go with volume.
If you come in and offer us 1000 below asking we just say we can't do that and explain why. If the total after taxes is like $10142.23 and you say I had a budget of 10gs all in. We will most probably do it.
The most important thing is treat your salesperson nicely and don't think they are out to get you. It will help you in the long run.
I heard a This American Life about a used car dealership. Is the reason you'd most likely do it because you are aiming for a quarterly/yearly/etc. volume target? So you eat the cost, effectively paying to sell the car, to get closer to that goal? We don't have any goals that MUST be reached. We have targets and expectations, but nothing set in stone.
What do you drive? Just picked up an Audi r8 for the spring but this is my first time buying a car for my self as a daily driver...right now I drove home a 2009 Civic.
I'll drive anything off the lot.
Talk about an upgrade! The 2009 Civic was just something I took off the lot, today I drove home a 2006 Golf Diesel.
What are the tell-tale signs that negotiations have reached their end, and that it's time for me to make a decision either way? Are we talking new or used vehicle?
What would the differences be? Used cars have less room to play, if the salesmen is letting you walk then you have truly reach the end point.
New cars are different, end of the month is the best time if they need to hit their quota (not the salesmen but dealership) they will sell it below cost in order to hit their goals (some manufactures will give the dealership a kickback based on number sold. So if X company reaches their goal of 50, the manufacture will kickback $1500 per unit (x50) so if you happen to buy the 50th car on the last day of their accounting month they will lose 3gs on that car in order to hit the big target of 50x1500= 75gs.
This American Life did a recent episode on car dealerships and went over this point. However, I would assume this strategy only works if they're below their goals. Thats the BEST way to get a great deal..but not all manufacturers do that and I personally think it lowers your brand value, because all you care about is putting cars over the curb.
What could i get from your shop for $ 3000? I probably would tell you nicely that I don't want to sell you car for $3000.
I'm worried about the long term reliability and don't want you to hate me if something happens.
Why would a business refuse cash? I've paid cash for my university tuition around 15K usd but I'm not in the states. I get charged to deposit cash...sounds crazy eh? With my bank plan I can deposit up to 20gs a month no charge after that it's something like 1.30$ /1000$ cash deposited.
Get a different account? A credit union, maybe? That's a ridiculously low amount... We don't do much cash, so not an issue yet.
What's the best make and model as far as used cars go? I currently have a 97 Nissan Altima that has treated me well. What other cars can last almost 20 years? Most cars will last that long if you do regular maintenance on them.
I've seen cobalts with 500,000Kms NO joke and civics with 200,000kms that have blown engines due to improper maintenance.
I'd recommend getting a car YOU like not what someone else thinks is best for you.
How does one acquire so many used cars? I'm lucky that I've made lots of connections with new car dealerships, so I get to buy off makes (i.e Gm will wholesale me a Ford on their lot). Local Auctions too (about 5000 cars for sale a week), but I don't frequent them as much any more.
Is this to suggest that if I were to look for a new car, I should sell my old one to a user car dealership instead of trading it in? In Ontario you get the tax savings. So if you trade in a car for 10,000 plus 13% tax you net 11,300. So basically you can to look at the market and see can you get more than 11,300 for your car to make it worth it.
Vice-versa, what are your thoughts on buying a used car from a used car dealership versus pre-owned certified at a (new car) dealership? Certified pre-owned (CPO) is 30% legit 70% rubbish. Before all the new car guys get mad at me, let me explain.
If it matters, and since you mentioned the R8, I have a 2007 A3 and I am eye-ing a pre-owned / used newer model Q5. So I'm looking at entry-level luxury cars (assuming that's not an oxymoron). When I bought my R8 I took it to the audi dealer paid 295$ and got a certified pre owned check list done, the car needed a couple things that they fixed. Therefore now I have a r8 that is CPO, now when I sell that car I can try and say its CPO but customers will tell me ONLY Audi can sell it as CPO and they will for a premium at that. Where the CPO does help some manufactures offer an extended warranty (2 years) for their CPO...basically compare the price of a regular certified one with extended warranty vs a CPO...if the prices are the same then go CPO if you can save a couple thousand then don't pay for CPO.
Does your dealership service the vehicles it sells? If not, where do you get it done prior to sale? We do not, that is something we are looking to add when the right opportunity comes up. because we are steady we work with 3 mechanics in our area and who ever can fit us in on that particular day gets the business.
Does a car dealership have any operating expenses outside of the norm that other business wouldn't have? ("normal" overhead I can think of include wages, rent, insurance, utilities) Advertising is my biggest expense. We sponsor local soccer and hockey teams. We have a pool for issues that arise after sale out of our control
I'm starting to personally buy and sell cars. Can you give me any advice in what to look for in a potential car to sell? I don't know where you're from, but if you are in Ontario you would be considered a Curbsider that could result in jail time and becareful for tax reasons.
Lastly I will buy ANY car on the money which means if you can buy it right, you can sell it.
But the generic answer would be honda/toyota.
How much capital was the initial investment for the dealership? Could you elaborate on its beginnings? Interested about entrepreneurship. 50gs Got a loan from my dad.
I used to work as a car salesman, learned the GOOD and BAD and decided I would use that to build my own company. Also used school smart and street smarts (selling in the past) to grow the business.
Wow, that's actually not a lot of capital! I thought starting a used car dealership would be at least a quarter mill. It was a very small operation, and it grew. Currently we have 600k in inventory
Convince me...what's the benefit of buying from a dealer vs. private party? Private party can tell you a history of the vehicle and at a cheaper price. What makes dealers so special? Dealer: (In Ontario) Has strict laws on what has to be disclosed, any accidents over 3gs, any 2 body panels replaced or repainted, any rental history, and frame damage etc... where private doesn't have to say anything! Private party can tell you anything unless they have receipts for any work done you'll never know. FOR the most part no different...let the best price win and in our area dealers generally have better price
Do you ever consider investing in some wacky inflatable flailing arm tube man to promote business? All my friends want me to, but I will stick to inflatable gorillas for now :) Kidding I don't have either.
But for a Promotion we did crush a couple cars with a hummer. Link to www.youtube.com
Haha, awesome. But now you have to crush the hummer with a bigger car... Might I suggest one of these: Link to youtu.be. I saw that video couple months ago.
I would love to drive The Marauder for a day, anything more than that would probably get annoying fast.
What's your best "used car salesman" joke? I'm going to be super boring and honestly say I don't have any.
Wait I just thought one Only person that call sell Snow to an Eskimo is a used car salesman.
How many prior owners did the dealership have before you bought it? Was it in good condition? I started it from scratch.
What's your best selling car? how are gas prices in Ontario? Because I am in GM town, we sell a lot of GM trucks and cobalts I can never keep enough Pontiac Vibes on the lot.
Gas is $1.20/liter.
Thanks for the input. Any reason why some dealers might prefer cash? My dad used to be one, but I can't remember his explanation. Before when there was a lot more margins you would take some cash to keep it off the books and not pay taxes.
Now the gov't can see I bought the car for 10, sold it for 12 If I took 3gs cash and sold it for 9 on paper. When/if I get audited how can I explain to the gov't that I'm in the business of selling cars cheaper than I buy them.
I see. His tactic was to offer full cash though. I guess if a dealer wants to risk getting audited it isn't really the buyers problem if the dealer avoids tax if they were just offering cash. Yeah I guess not... and bank financing has really been into play on the past 5 years with kick backs etc.
Do you have a 1990 honda crx? Its my favorite car and I cant find it under 3k. We don't but check Kijiji and craigslist.
What makes hold their value the best in the used markets? Honda/Toyota always seem to hold the best value.
I think wranglers also hold their values well. I bought my Unlimited in '06 for $28g. Unfortunately, it was totaled last month. It was valued at just shy of $19g. Edit: of course, their gas mileage is for shit. Lol. You are right Jeep wranglers hold their value pretty well and are in demand in the used market too.
My boyfriend also sells cars...mostly new cars but used ones too. December and so far January have been ridiculously slow not only for him but everyone at the dealership he works for - only one car out this month when he was averaging ten per month prior to this. I'm pretty worried about him. Is it normal to have such dry spells? And if so, how do you handle them? Very normal, Dec/Jan are typically the slowest months.
Where does he sell cars?
At Ford, in Montana. I would blame the weather but we're having an unusually warm month. Yeah,
Also all incentive programs start in Feb which gives a kick start to car sales.
How many cars do you sell a month? is your inventory financed or owned outright? how many cars on your lot? why tie up so much money in the R8? We do about 40~45 a month. Owned outright. We have about 60 retail pieces. Cause I've always wanted to own an R8. Lifes not all about money gotta enjoy some of your hard earned money sometimes.
Do you sell cars that have been in accidents? If so, how much can it affect the value of the car even though it's been completely repaired? Are there cartain cars or certain type of accidents making you decide to not touch a car under any circumstance? By law we have to disclose any damage over 3000$, however we disclose even a 1000$ accident customers are pretty understanding.
We don't buy and sell wrecked cars but we sold a lotus else with a 10g accident and repair at the time market price for the lotus was 50, and he bought it for 44...so he saved a little bit of money. On the flip side if it was a sunfire with a 10g carproof you can assume the car was pretty close to a write off.
I look at each car differently where on the vehicle was the accident was (a rear hit scares me less than a front hit)? When the accident was, if the car was 6 months old when the accident happened the insurance companies have to put new parts on it and if the car is now 5 years old, I would be content with that.
Overall we don't deal with alot of that market, but if a customer has a trade we will have to take it in.
How much concern do you have with Tesla trying to sell cars directly to the consumer? Doesn't bother me at all, I'm happy they are doing well and turning a profit.
But you sell used cars. Why would we believe anything you say? I'm trying to break the mould...but do your own research :)
How did watching Snake Plissken's "Used Cars" 1980 film make you feel? 1) Haven't seen it, will add to my list.
Last updated: 2014-01-20 15:17 UTC
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Advice for buying a used car (first time trying to do this without my dad)

Hey askcarsales! I'm in the market for a new (used) car, but I'm lost and I don't really know enough about cars to make this easy, therefore, I'm going to turn to a bunch of strangers for advice!
Here's my background: I am a commuter living in Fairfield county CT, and driving to Westchester county NY (40mi/day). Gas is expensive here. I do a lot of adventure driving. I ski, so I drive to VT/NH frequently in the winter (and summer). I have a car that I would like to trade in. It's a 2002 white nissan maxima SE, automatic, it's got 188k mi, sunroof, spoiler, multi cd, cruise control, Boise speakers, I think premium wheels (my dad also has this car- and says he wants my wheels before I trade in, so...that), very minor scratches/dents anywhere on the body, no major accidents that I was aware of before I bought it, not actually sure though my dad picked it out for me and I paid for it. KBB from $2k-1700 (nor really sure if its very good-good, my dad says good)? However, it's starting to give up on me. Having a father who loves cars has taught me how to listen to it, and listening to it is starting to be sad, not just for the car, but my wallet. Currently it is making this noise mainly when I start it, and drive for a few miles, it stops. It's getting colder and that seems to make the sound worse, but I'm not really sure. It is also getting a bit shaky on the highway, especially when I'm going closer to 80, but doesn't always do it. It is also not idling as well as it used to. I have had breaks done within the last 2 years, new ball bearings, and a new battery this summer, and as much as I like my car, I don't want to have another $500 repair a few months after my last repair. When auto guys have seen it, I have had multiple different people tell me it's a great car, in great condition, and should go to 250K no problem. But I'm not sure it's worth dumping more money into it. I'd rather trade it in while it's still worth something than have to start from scratch when it dies. So that's that. I probably can't answer anymore questions about the car other than that.
For financing: I talked to a CFP on how much I should be spending (no more than 10% of my monthly budget on car payments). I am planning on going to talk to the credit union at my work and see what I can do for a loan (my dad said-oh don't bother just go test drive- and I'm all but I thought I could potentially get a better rate- I was thinking 2-3%?). I was thinking I could do a trade in, and do the rest on loan. I have good credit (I paid off the Maxima almost a year early). Basically summed up I figure I am willing to spend up to $17k on a car. I would prefer to spend $15 or less.
As for what I'm looking for- an automatic sedan (no haters- can't drive stick, not willing to learn again, especially since I in a heavy traffic area). Something that has good gas mileage, can handle the snow, reliable, and won't be super expensive to fix in a few years down the road. My dad tried to convince me to look at a 2006 audi a6 quattro, because he thinks I should have a car that I enjoy to drive since I drive so much. I'm sure it's an awesome car to drive, but I figure I'll be looking at $70/week for gas like my current car. He has also suggested accord (not crazy about it), volvo S60, subaru legacy, and outback, and accura tsx (I think). I want a car that has space. I have mad shit- and like having a big trunk, plus I need room for multiple skis/snowboards, and the occasional bike or two.
That was a lot, but I'm hoping that you guys can give me some good suggestions outside of what I may have normally thought of, my dads suggestions, or what I can find based on an open ended autotrader search. Thank you in advance!!
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First time car buyer. Want to be well informed before purchase.

Hello reddit! This is my first time posting and everything I have read on this subreddit has given me so much information.
I'm looking to buy myself a used 2010 or newer Volkswagen GTI for no more than $15k. My goal is to have roughly $4500 saved in cash to use as down payment and finance the rest. I will either choose to finance a loan with my local credit union or to finance with the dealer depending on APR rates at the time. I don't have amazing credit, mid 600's is what I've seen last time. A good friend of mine says its pointless to check my credit score in advance because it takes my score down a notch but I am unsure on the accuracy of this. I am also told by others that the VW is a bad decision on my part because it isn't very reliable and the upkeep does get expensive. I'm 22 years old and make $13hr and $20hr on Sunday's. The way I see it is that I'd rather buy a car I have pride in and I'll want to keep up with maintenance on it compared to a Honda or Toyota which will no doubt be cheaper to buy and fix, but I'll have less joy driving in.
What I am most confused about is how to I go about negation for the price of the car? Do I need to have that much saved for down payment ($4500) or is a little bit less just as adequate. I am really wanting this car sooner than later but giving myself the goal of $4500 down is what is slowing me down. Am I wise to have that much saved or is more a much safer bet.
I've been on AutoTrader very actively these past 2 months and have even gone to local dealers to check their listed inventory for GTI's. I plan to have my goal in cash saved by the end of August and will at that point start looking at local VW dealers and used VW GTI inventory in my area to start getting really serious. I don't plan any trade in, just a down payment is all I plan to have as well as a pre-approved loan when I step in the lot to get a good idea for rates and what I should be looking at for price.
I have also seen GTI's out of state that I have really liked. I live in NC, is it a horrible idea to buy out of state (within a reasonable driving distance)
*Is $4500 enough saved for a down payment or is more/less necessary or adequate
*Is a Volkswagen a bad buy at my age, is something like toyota more sensible?
*What steps must I take and do to negotiate the best possible price with the lowest terms
*What other leg work must I do to make this as painless as possible
*Is buying out of state a bad idea? (Even within a reasonable driving distance/neighboring states)
*Any other tips or insight is greatly appreciated!
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[Table] IAmA: I'm a Car Buying Expert and author of "Honest Guide to Buying a Car" - I can help you save money and avoid scams - AMA

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Date: 2012-11-12
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Questions Answers
What would you say are your top 3 tips for buying a used car? Always, ALWAYS get a used car thoroughly inspected by an independent mechanic as a final step before purchasing. The mobile inspections are generally not good enough, you want to take it to a mechanic that can put the vehicle on a lift.
To maximize savings, look at buying a 3 to 5 year old used vehicle. Much of the depreciation will have already taken place, but it's still new enough to be reliable for many more years.
Best time to buy a used car is usually around January or February. Worst time is usually around the summer months, particularly August.
Don't rely on pricing guides to determine used car values. They should only be used as ball-park figures.
Use CarGurus.com to browse used car listings from dealers. They aggregate car listings and show you the average listing prices for the car you're looking at, and show you how much below or above it's listed compared to the average.
Don't forget about Link to www.Craigslist.org Yes, they have a terrible interface, but it is the largest private party listing of used vehicles in the country. If you don't use craigslist, you're missing out on nearly half of the used car listings.
Am I just wasting my time if I only have 5k and want to buy a car without financing? No, not at all. Edmunds actually had a great series where they documented their process of buying and maintaining a car for under $3,500.
Here's the article: Debt free car project
They ended up buying a 1996 Lexus ES and for the most part, they've been able to drive it without too many problems. The only thing is, when you're buying a car at this price, you have to set aside some money for maintenance and unforeseen repairs. Make sure to get it checked out by an independent mechanic before buying - that's the most important tip I can give you, and it will be the best $100-$150 you will spend.
Let's say, hypothetically of course, that a person died in the car that I'm trying to sell. Legally, must I disclose this information to a potential buyer (the car is in great shape BTW)? Sorry, that's getting into legal matters which I can't really comment on. I do know that each State handles things differently, so unfortunately, all I can tell you is to contact a lawyer about that. You may want to ask this question on LawPivot.com
I want to buy a Scion frs, they say they don't budge on price for a Scion...any tips? If they won't budge I probably can't afford a $25,000 car so any tips on getting another car down...like which comes down the most in your opinion? Thanks! Yeah, I like the Scion FR-S. The Subaru BRZ is basically the same car. And you're mostly right, Scion dealers don't budge on price much, although there are always exceptions. Your best bet is to try to buy near the end of the month, when dealers are trying to meet their monthly sales goals. Sometimes they will drop the price by $500 or even $1,000.
What are a few things a novice should look foat when buying a used car? This question is too vague. What is your major concern when it comes to buying a used car?
What should I look for that might tip me off whether the car is a lemon, or if it will be dependable. After you figure out which car you're interested in, you want to first find out if that particular model has a history of problems.
Visit a discussion forum (there are lots of car discussion forums, it's easy to find them using Google - for example search for: Honda Accord forum). Search through the forum to find recurring problems regarding that vehicle, or ask the forum members what problems they've experienced. You can also check out CarComplaints.com to see what problems you're likely to encounter.
Next, call up a mechanic that specializes in that model. Ask them what problems they see often in that vehicle, ask them if they would recommend you buying that vehicle. This is a great tip, and something most used car buyers never do.
After all that, if you feel good about the reliability of that model, you will need to get the individual vehicle you're looking to purchase inspected by an independent mechanic. That is the best way to protect yourself against a lemon, but it's not completely fool-proof. Expect to pay between $100 and $150 for a thorough inspection.
Why should I trust you? You shouldn't really trust ANYONE or ANY SOURCE when purchasing such a big ticket item. This not only includes dealers, but also advice-givers (like me), car reviewers, magazines, etc. Even Consumer Reports has been caught up in scandals.
See this: Taking Readers for a Ride
That being said, you need to do your own research instead of trusting someone blindly. I have over 1,000 articles and tips on the site, it's all free advice, go through the guide and the step-by-step templates and see for yourself.
I know that my advice is good, but there's no way for you to really know that unless you actually test it out yourself. So I urge you to do that, the results will speak for themselves.
Why are you so flipping angry? Most likely he's a dealer or car salesman.
How many cars have you actually bought(personally)? Ive negotiated a few dozen new car purchases and leases on behalf of others. Personally, I've purchased 5 vehicles.
When buying a new car whats the most you can expect to negotiate down? It really depends on the vehicle, and the supply/demand dynamics for that specific model. Many car shoppers don't realize how much this affects the price.
Generally speaking, you can expect to negotiate between 6% and 15% off a new vehicle, but I've seen some cars that sell at or above MSRP, and some that sell at 30% discounts.
TrueCar.com is a good place to see what the average car buyer is paying for just about any new vehicle.
I am a student so i would probably get a co-signor(my father) to finance my car . Would the APR be higher because i really dont have that much of credit history ? But my father has a 740+ score ? Getting a co-signer is a great option for a first time car buyer such as yourself. You will get the rate that your father qualifies for, but he will be on the hook for your loan if you can't pay it.
Be sure to arrange a car loan BEFORE going to the dealer. Shop around at credit unions and banks. Then, after you settle with the best rate, that's when you want to get the dealer involved. See if they can beat your best rate (dealers have access to indirect lenders and can sometimes beat your best rates). It's as simple as that.
Here's are a couple of articles you may find useful: Best Type of Loan for First Time Car Buyer
Step by Step Car Financing Guide
You mentioned that you lease a Nissan. Why lease versus purchase? Which would you say is generally better for a daily commute vehicle with a 30min commute one way to work? You should only consider leasing if you know for sure that you'll be wanting to replace it in 3 years or less. That's the primary factor, but you should also have excellent credit and drive less than 15k miles per year.
I leased because I want to personally go through the car buying process frequently.
Where is the best place to buy a classic car? For example let's say i want to buy a 1968 Mustang. EBay motors is a good source for classic cars. Also try autotrader.com and cars.com.
Are CPO (certified pre-owned) cars from a new car dealership better than a used car from a regular used car dealer down the block or private party? It's true that a lot of CPOs are lease-returns, but the warranty is provided by the manufacturer, not the dealer. I wouldn't necessarily say that CPOs are better than used cars from private parties or even independent dealers. It really depends on the individual vehicle.
Am i correct? Here's an article I wrote on this subject: Are Certified Used Cars Worth the Extra Cost?
Is there really any truth when a dealer tells you that the advertised price is a "low, no haggle price"? They claim that all of their prices are the best price they can do on their cars. Are they just trying to avoid haggling all together? You have to keep in mind that car dealers are not all the same. Most are independently owned, and their business models vary greatly. Some have a high volume, low margin model, some do the opposite, and some really do have a no-haggle model (although they're in the small minority). Some claim to have a no-haggle policy, but they will cave in and negotiate under certain circumstances.
Really, it doesn't matter what the dealer tells you. All that matters is whether they can beat the best offer you got from other dealers.
Can I get Honda dealerships to compete with each other to 'bid' on my purchase? I've heard that from another salesman, just email local dealerships to see what they can quote me, and take the best offer. Or is there a limit to what they can quote over the phone/email? Yes, this is basically the best way to negotiate the purchase of a commodity, which is what a new car is. I provide phone and email templates you can use here
HI ! I am in market for used 2012 c300 4matic benz. possibly CPO. What do you think i should pay for it ? and can i offer the dealer a lower price for what he advertised the car for ? for instance its advertised for $ 31991, how low can i go ? Thanks ! To get an idea of what others are paying for the same vehicle in your area, I suggest you use TrueCar.com. They actually show you real data - but keep in mind that the "average" price is not a good deal. The average car buyer is a terrible negotiator, so you want to do better than average. If you click through to see the prices being offered by local dealers, those are generally pretty decent prices, and those are the prices you should comparison shop to.
And yes, of course you can ask for a lower price than what's advertised. Follow my step by step negotiation guide and you'll do great.
I just moved to Colorado from anchorage and am making like half of what I made there. I am behind on my truck payments and can't really afford to pay them here on my new salary. I owe a lot on it and know I got really ripped off. I want to get rid of the damn thing but I owe more than its worth. I need a good vehicle to get to work and back. How can I get rid of it and finance a cheaper car? Is that possible? Unfortunately, there's no way to magically get rid of negative equity. You're going to have to pay that off one way or another. You're especially vulnerable to shady dealers who will promise to pay off your trade-in, "no matter how much you owe", so don't be fooled by that. All they will be doing is rolling that negative equity into a new loan while putting you into a junker car that they've had trouble getting rid of. You'll just be digging yourself into a deeper hole.
Your best bet is to try to continue making payments on truck or try to sell it to a private party as close to loan value as possible, then pay off the rest of the loan.
If you had $12,500 to spend on a used car, which 3 cars would be at the top of your list? (make/model/year) I try to stay away from recommending specific vehicles. That's not my area of expertise. However, Consumer Reports released a list of the best used cars to buy for under $20,000 - many of them are under $12,500. You can start with this list, then I would suggest you test-drive some of these vehicles to see which ones you personally like best. If there's a CarMax near you, that's a good place to test drive multiple used vehicles in one day.
Link to www.realcartips.com
Do modifications really detract from a car's value? If so, could an argument be made based on specific modifications and which car they are done to? Yes, most modifications tend to have a negative effect on the value of a vehicle, or they depreciate at a faster rate.
What car do you have? Most recently, I leased a 2012 Nissan Altima.
There are no two used cars the same, unlike a brand new car from the dealership. I've written extensively about this here: Negotiating Used Cars
How do I get the best used car I can possibly get? Basically, it's a matter of contacting several dealers and private party sellers and getting a feel for your local market.
I just bought a 2002 STI for $5700 knowing that I had to get the timing belt replaced pretty much immediately. Having done that, in total I have this car for about $6800. Using what you know, was this a good deal? Interior is immaculate. Car has about 180k on it. There's really too many factors involved for me to give you a fair judgement. I would need to look into your local market and get a sense of what the prices are - and actually call around to different dealers and private party sellers. Then there are other factors, such as the financing or trade-in. Perhaps you got a great price on the vehicle, but got ripped off on the financing or trade-in. Dealers play shell-games like this all the time. So unfortunately, I can't provide a simple yes or no on this question.
Wat are your thoughts on carmax? I think it's a great place to test-drive used vehicles to see which ones suit you best. As far as price, from what I've personally seen, they tend to be pricey, but there are always exceptions so I wouldn't count them out. You should always cast your net far and wide when shopping for a vehicle. You never know who's going to offer you the best price.
I want to buy a new Honda Fit Sport. The MSRP is $18,700. How much negotiating room is there for Hondas and small economy cars? Generally, these less expensive vehicles have much less profit margin and thus less negotiating room. Most buyers average about $500 off MSRP. (but keep in mind, average buyers are not very good negotiators) Use TrueCar.com to see what prices local dealers are offering (and what the average transaction price is)
Hey thanks for doing this AMA! Any advice for a 16 year old looking for a cheap, reliable, first car? Thanks! Best Used Cars Under $20,000
Best Used Cars Under $10,000
Best Used Cars You Should Buy
Best Used Car Bargains
My car currently has a Kelly Blue Book value of about $3,500 less than the loan I have remaining on it. Any advice? Your best bet is to keep making payments until it's paid off. Read this article for more info.
Any tips for finding out when a new model year is likely to hit the dealership? I'm going to buy a new Nissan 370Z early next year and I actually want the present year model, but I'd love to hit the dealership right when next year's model gets announced to save some bucks. Manufacturers tend to keep the release dates confidential. That being said, Edmunds.com provides estimated release dates
How do you feel about Kelley Blue Book? It's a good source for ballpark values, but dealers rely on BlackBook more
Are you shitting me? You are an "expert" using blackbook? Tell me one bank who uses blackbook values and I'll buy you REDDIT GOLD! One just one... Where did I say that banks use black book?
You said dealers rely on it. Why would a dealer rely on "values" that they couldn't possibly get a bank to lend on? Makes no sense. I said dealers rely on bb more than kbb. You're grasping at straws.
I have ordered a new car. It is not in yet. Would my pricing now be set in stone? Everything is generally negotiable, but the rebates/incentives are applied when the vehicle is delivered, so that could change.
If I was to layout the car, trim, options, and down payment amount, would you be willing to give me your opinion on what you believe would be a reasonable price/monthly payment? You also need to include your location and credit rating.
Now my question - are the finance guys really the ones to look out and prepare for? Especially if your leasing? Let me just say that all finance guys are not bad - I've dealt with some very nice and honest ones, but the bad ones are pure evil.
I am a University student who is on a tight budget and doesn't have much cash on hand. A few years ago I bought a car for 1800USD it got me where I needed to go (barely). and now it falling apart. My parents suggest I buy another cheap car with cash, so I am not more in debt. However I feel like a slightly nicer car with a payments would be better. I really don't want another lemon, but don't want to break myself financially. Do you have any advice for someone in my situation? Where to look for reliable/cheap cars, or things to watch out for? Monthly payment should be no more than 15% of your take home pay (after taxes)
Car loan should be a maximum of 48 months.
Down payment should be at least 20% of the purchase price.
You should have enough money left over for 2 months of living expenses.
Given these stats, what kind of monthly payment can you currently afford, if any?
How do you feel about using autotrader.com for used cars? That's been my primary source in looking for a replacement for my old car. That, cars.com and craigslist.org are the 3 biggest sources. I also like Cargurus.com, which aggregates most of the dealer listings.
Any tips on wording a classified ad to sell a car? I tend to personalize my ads by starting with a line about the model's history, a bit about the provenance of the particular car I'm selling and then on to the maintenance history, upgrades and current condition. Does writing an ad that contains more than "just the facts, ma'am" turn people off or get them interested? How to Place an Effective Classified Ad
The costco auto program, are their prices lower than what's displayed on truecar and other similar sites? Back when I tested the Costco program which was a couple of years ago, most of the deals I saw were set around $500 above invoice. I wouldn't say the deals were great, but they were a little better than what the average person might negotiate. You can certainly do better negotiating yourself.
As for TrueCar, I feel like the deals are usually better. But my recommendation is to try them both out, you never know where the best deal will come from.
The reputation for reliability of some types of Japanese cars seems to boost the prices of even older models quite a bit. If one wants to save money in buying a used car by not following the crowd, do you have any suggestions of where else to look and still make a wise choice? Good question. Autosavant.com has a list of the best price/value ratio used vehicles. the last update was May 2012 and includes a lot of discontinued brands that most people overlook.
I need a 500$ car to race during the "24 hours of lemons." where would you suggest to look. Craigslist is the obvious choice.
Not sure if this will work, but Ridesafely.com allows you to bid on salvage cars.
And lastly, post a message on Facebook asking your friends and family if they know anyone with a beater car they need to get rid of. sometimes good ole word of mouth works best.
Spot deals. Don't know if many people know about them, but they can be a hassle. Yes, one of the worst car buying scams. Spot Delivery Scam
I have read before that in certain states you must disclose if a person died in a house before selling it, or if it is said to be "haunted." Yeah, that's true with houses, but I'm just not sure about vehicles.
This AMA and its included links are awesome. Thanks! Glad you find it useful - I love talking about this stuff.
Never buy a car on its first model release year. Also, the demand for that car, at least as of a few months ago, was extraordinarily high, if you can take waiting it would be very much worth it. I agree.
What is your opinion about Korean cars. Hyundai is basically the new Honda. As Peter De Lorenzo from AutoExtremist.com puts it: "Honda has lost their mojo".
Hyundai and Kia generally have cars that come with more standard equipment at a lower price than the competition. However, due to their popularity and limited supplies, it's hard to negotiate the price lower. So for their more popular models, you end up paying about the same price as the competition when it's all said and done.
Hyundai had a serious setback recently when they admitted their 40 mpg claims were not accurate. Seems like they'll recover from that and keep growing. But in conclusion, I think they make great cars and would certainly consider buying one.
Last updated: 2012-11-17 11:15 UTC
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