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Author Topic: Advice on buying a used car?  (Read 1229 times)
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« on: October 21, 2004, 11:30:05 PM »

Hello again, gentlemen!

I'm looking for a used car. I'm 41, with a wife and 10-year old son, and we need a second family car. Our other car is a 2000 Ford Taurus, which we're really happy with. I'm pretty conservative, so I really don't care what the style is, as long as it's Reliable and has fairly low (40k or so) mileage. I've been to some sites like and Kelly Blue Book, but I'd like to hear what you good people have to say.

I'm looking to spend anywhere from 6k to 10k, but 10k would be tippy-top. 8k would be much better.

I'd like it to be no older than a 2000 (a 2002 would be nice) with no more than 50,000 miles. Cars I'm considering are the Ford Taurus, Ford Focus, Dodge Intrepid, Dodge Stratus, Chevy Malibu, Chevy Impala, Saturn L1, Toyota Camry, Mazda 626, Buick Century, Buick LeSabre, Crysler Concorde, Oldsmobile Intrigue, Toyota Corolla, Nissan Altima, and Honda Accord, among others. The last two are probably too expensive, I don't know. I also joked to my wife about getting a VW New Beetle (Slug Bug!), but I think that's a bit too tiny.  

I'd love to get a mini-SUV like the Ford Escape or Chevy Tracker, but I think those are out of my $ range.

Do any of you have good/bad experiences with any of these cars, or any advice about them?

I'm also open to advice on how to deal with used car salesmen.  

Thanks for any help you can give me!
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« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2004, 11:40:43 PM »

Check out I used it as a guideline when I bought a car earlier this year.  Saved a TON of hassle and save several thousand dollars.  That site will educate you on scams, credit, dealer buyback, etc.  For example, the window etching scam.  I ran across this at several dealers.  They played dumb when I confronted them on it.  There are many scams out there, do your homework  slywink

Edit:  Some of the dealer emails on that site are hilarious.  What asses  :roll:

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« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2004, 12:29:16 AM »

If you are willing to consider smaller cars (you mention Ford Focus) you should consider the Honda Civic.  I'm an Accord driver myself but those civics are gonna be right in your range and almost as nice.  Hondas hold their value amazingly well.    

No I don't work for them.  No I don't sell cars.  :lol:
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« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2004, 02:08:34 AM »

Everyone has their favorite cars etc.  I'm not wanting to start a war of words about what is better.  I will offer my opinion though.

I currently drive a 2003 Honda Civic.  I can't say enough about Honda's.  To me between them and Toyota's it doesn't get any better for not breaking down.

I have owned two Ford's in my life and both lasted.  One made it to around 125k miles then I sold it and the other crapped out at 149k miles.  The second endured 5 years of pizza delivery and held up great.

Now to my wifes cars.  She has owned two Dodge's.  The first was a Shadow.  Complete piece of shit and was constantly having to be worked on.  We then bought a 97 Intrepid because we liked the bigger car for the family.  This car was great until about 75k miles.  Right now it is at about 130k miles.  The car is a piece of shit.  I have to constantly have it in the shop and if I could afford another car payment it would have been gone a long time ago. I will never ever buy another Dodge car of any kind.

In the future I will also stay away from Chevy and Buick.  My dad swears by Buick but guess where his car is every other month.  It's in the shop.

Chevy I don't care for because of similar stories like our Dodge I have heard from friends.

Again this is all just my opinion but I don't ever see me buying anything but a Toyota or Honda for the rest of my life.

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« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2004, 02:31:53 AM »

I would reccomend looking at a Japanese car as well.  There is probably a reason people always say they are more reliable...

My mom has driven a Honda as long as I can remember.  Accord, Accord, Prelude, Civic.

I have owned an Accord, a Mercedes, a Toyota pickup, and now a Toyota Tacoma.

Of these cars we have owned, the one with the most problems was the Mercedes.  Maybe it's because we get regular oil changes and maintenence, but I can't argue with the results with the Japanese vehicles.

Like Pig I am going to stick with a Honda or a Toyota.

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« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2004, 04:02:17 AM »

Honestly, I've had three cars. All of them were domestic, all have been good vehicles. On caveat.. I haven't owned a single one of them for more than a a year and a half, meaning I didn't have all that much time to see if they developed any big problems.

My advice? The Honda/Toyota lines are far more dependable overall, and you have a lot better odds with them. Despite my success with domestic makes up until now, I still plan for my next car to be a Toyota.

If you want a little history:
Started with a 1990 Ford Taurus with 60k miles on it. Drove it till it hit 75k. Didn't have to do anything but change the oil every 3,000. Good winter car. It plowed through snow like no other vehicle I've driven. I never once so much as slid one way or the other, or even remotely lost control in that car even on badly iced roads. Granted, I was going slow, but the same cannot be said for my next car:

Then I had a 99 Pontiac Grand Am GT. Bought it with 24k miles. Fun car, but not great. I liked the interior. I also liked having a reasonable amount of torque. Had one issue with a seal somewhere in the engine developing a very tiny oil leak. Cost me $60 to fix. Only had that car for a year, drove it for 11k miles. Again, had no other issues besides that one little seal. Gas mileage of  17-22 mpg started to piss me off, and I traded it in for:

2003 Ford Focus SVT (3-door)
Favorite car by far so far. I love the little thing. I've had it since like april. Haven't had to do anything so far besides change the oil. One issue I have with it is that they sell it with summer-only sport tires on it, meaning I have to hunt down either some winter tires, or just put on all-seasons and drive them. Gas mileage varies wildly depending on how lead-weighted my foot is in a given week. I've gotten as high as 30mpg, and as low as 21. All "city" mileage with stoplights and all. Interstate is a solid 35mpg guarantee, as long as you stick close to the speed limit. There's a lot more interior space in this than I expected there to be. I'm 6"4, and have room to spare.

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