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View Full Version : I am sick of looking for a "good" used car!!!!!



David Freed
02-27-2010, 6:55 AM
Does anyone else know that selling a used car changes something inside your brain and turns you into a lying con artist?

I have been looking on Craigslist and several other places for 2 months trying to find a car in the up to $4000 range to replace the 93 New Yorker with 253,000 miles my wife is driving now. It is still dependable, but has several things wrong that would cost way more than it is worth to fix.

I have driven from 100 to 200 miles, 6 different times to look at over a dozen cars that are in "great, excellent, perfect, etc" condition, only to find a stuck thermostat, a/c not working, stop leak in the radiator, big dents conveniently hidden in the pics, etc. :mad:

I looked at a car at one business in Indy (not a car lot) that was in "excellent" condition, and found the front bumper zip tied on, other outside trim missing, stopleak, and a few other problems. I told him there was stopleak in it, and his immediate response was "NO THERE ISN'T!" His response told me that he was the one that put it in.

A few days later I went to see another car in Indy only to find it was the same place selling a different car. I was a little mad at myself for not recognizing the directions, but more mad at them for trying to con people (including me). I told the guy that I was there to see the car. I also told him everything I had found on the other car and and asked him; "What are you trying to hide on this car". He went into another room, came out with someone else (bouncer?) and said " The car isn't for sale. You have a bad attitude. Leave now." They followed me to my car and stood there till I was on the road. He was right. I did have a bad attitude, but he gave it to me. :D

Another car I looked at was supposed to have a rebuilt transmission. I talked to him on the phone about it twice. After driving 120 miles to look at it, he tells me his nephew got the transmission from a junkyard, but he was sure it was rebuilt because he took the pan off and it was really clean. :rolleyes: All automatics "look" clean unless they have extremely severe problems. I smelled stopleak in it also. He said there wasn't and got a big straw to pull out a little water to prove it. When he pulled the straw out, an undisolved chunk came out with it. He then admitted that it was stopleak, but he didn't put it in. :rolleyes:

I finally bought a 98 Bonneville with 185,000 miles last night for $3100. That was more miles than I wanted but at this point I decided to lower the standards I had set in my mind rather than spend twice as much as I originally intended. It is fairly common for a vehicle to go to 300,000+ miles these days, so it should last us a while. I saw an add for one full sized, American sedan with 375,000 miles for $2500. Even after all I've been through, I think that is a bit much.

In the not so distant past, you could find decent cars everywhere. I know why they are so hard to find these days, but I won't say it because someone would start yelling "political".

Paul Ryan
02-27-2010, 8:52 AM
David,

Right now in much of the country good used cars are in short supply due to the cash for clunker program. Unless you are looking for something 6k or higher most of those were to valuable to junk out. Hopefully the bonneville works out for you.

Matt Meiser
02-27-2010, 8:59 AM
Probably a big reason is that a ton of bigger older cars went to the scrap yard under cash for clunkers which I assume is what you are alluding to. But also with auto sales down significantly the last 2 years, the age of the used car fleet out there has to have increased and demand for the better used cars driven up.

Belinda Williamson
02-27-2010, 9:27 AM
I agree with Paul and Matt, blame Cash for Clunkers. I believe you can blame that program also if you ever need replacement parts for an older car. Same with appliances in Georgia with our Cash for Clunkers program. Yesterday I was a behind a dump truck loaded down with washers and dryers. I remember that I paid 50 each for my first used washer and dryer, and kept them running for 15 years with just a few cheap replacement parts scavenged off other machines. Ahhh, the good old days.

Greg Peterson
02-27-2010, 10:51 AM
Belinda - $50 for your first washer/dryer? You do realize you are dating yourself, right?:D

After my pickup got totaled, the insurance company gave me a check for what my truck was worth before the instant when the kid slammed into to my rear end as I was stopped in traffic and taking a sip from my coffee cup. He was probably doing 30-35 MPH. My neighbor was a passenger and was hauled off in an ambulance with neck/back injuries that five years later impact his daily life. I only lost my truck.

Once the rental car went away and I had to start looking for a replacement vehicle, what an eye opener. I hadn't bought a used vehicle from a private party in twenty five years. I ended up buying a Camry that eight years old with 36k miles on it. I paid far more than blue book, but none of the Camrys listed were selling for blue book.

Looking for a fair deal in the used car market is like panning for gold in the Sahara. I'm convinced that used car salesmen are soulless creatures from a parallel universe. Is there a better explanation?

David G Baker
02-27-2010, 11:03 AM
Not sure if it is national but Michigan has a cash for clunker appliances program if you upgrade to an energy efficient appliance. Won't be long before couples starting out in life won't be able to afford appliances.

Greg Peterson
02-27-2010, 11:39 AM
Not sure if it is national but Michigan has a cash for clunker appliances program if you upgrade to an energy efficient appliance. Won't be long before couples starting out in life won't be able to afford appliances.

House prices pretty much took care of that a while back. I got mine, you get yours is the rule these days.

Paul Ryan
02-27-2010, 12:13 PM
I will never ever buy a car from a private party, you are protected from nothing. In MN if you buy a used car worth 8k or more I think, you have a short catastrophic warranty. If the any major part of the drive line goes in 3 months or 3k miles the selling dealer must take it back and repair or give you your money back. Now that isn't much time. But I have worked with many dealers over the years. And as such with power equipment it is better to buy from a place you know and trust, they will take care of you. If you buy from a private party you are stuck with what you bought. I am not saying all dealers are trustworth, but what I am saying is, it is worth paying a little more and doing some research and finding a nice trustworth dealer. They are out there and most understand they wont be in business with out treating their customers fairly.

Chuck Saunders
02-27-2010, 4:15 PM
I have a 92 Chevy S-10 for sale $100 +50 for shell. 387,000 original miles. No heat or AC, dashboard trim missing, hole in floorboard under drivers seat, drivers seat has holes, drivers window goes down at it's discretion not yours, body rusted, new brakes, clutch acting up. It was my daily driver untill the clutch acted up the day after I replaced all of the brakes. 27+ mpg and burns no oil.

I assure you that I have not sugar coated anything in my description and it is all true.

Note I never claimed "Good"

I hate buying cars more than most anything

David Freed
02-27-2010, 6:34 PM
I will never ever buy a car from a private party, you are protected from nothing. In MN if you buy a used car worth 8k or more I think, you have a short catastrophic warranty. If the any major part of the drive line goes in 3 months or 3k miles the selling dealer must take it back and repair or give you your money back. Now that isn't much time. But I have worked with many dealers over the years. And as such with power equipment it is better to buy from a place you know and trust, they will take care of you. If you buy from a private party you are stuck with what you bought. I am not saying all dealers are trustworth, but what I am saying is, it is worth paying a little more and doing some research and finding a nice trustworth dealer. They are out there and most understand they wont be in business with out treating their customers fairly.
After going to 3 dealerships to see a car and talking to 2 others on the phone, I decided that they thought they had better things to do than try to sell a 2 or 3 thousand dollar car. One salesman was helpful, but didn't have anything like I was looking for. The rest had an I don't care attitude. My guess is that there wasn't enough money involved for them to want to spend any time on the deal. Also, because the dealerships add on so many extra fees to any vehicle they sell, the low end cars end up costing more than they are worth.

Most of the individuals I was dealing with were trying to hide problems and lying about them, but fortunately I was able to catch it and walk away. After getting lied to a dozen times I was getting very cynical and distrustful of everyone. I am reasonably sure I finally found an honest person that I bought the Bonneville from.

Paul Ryan
02-27-2010, 7:34 PM
Yes, when it comes to low priced cars like you were looking for most dealerships wont have much. Most cars like that are wholesaled. Even if you did by one of those from a dealer it would have the good old "out of sight warranty". When you sign the "as is" paper that is what it means. In that case private party is the best bet. And most private party's know what cars are known for their longevity. So you will pay more for those.

Montgomery Scott
02-27-2010, 8:41 PM
Out here there's more decent cars for sale that you have time to see. I've been looking for a used car for my boy in high school. Lots of cars under $10k with less than 100K. Right now I'm taking a 2003 Celica GTS in to the shop to have it checked out. 58K miles for $8k. I've seen numerous Hondas, Toyotas, Mazda, etc between $6k-10k with 40k to 90k miles.

Myk Rian
02-27-2010, 9:06 PM
You can find some good deals at autotradersclassics.com
Many have been completely rebuilt, and there is nothing like cruising in a classic car. They can also be easy to repair yourself. I'm looking for a Ford pickup.

Dave Lehnert
02-27-2010, 9:11 PM
Cash for clunkers is not the only reason for a shortage. When scrap metal was high, people were driving cars in and selling them for scrap. Worth more as scrap than on the used market.
People are also holding on to cars longer. Last winter I put a new engine in my F150. $4,000. I would have never done that, but at that time, is when all the car makers were in trouble and I did not feel comfortable buying.
Now I am stuck with my truck for a few years more and it's a 1997 model.

David Freed
02-27-2010, 10:20 PM
Out here there's more decent cars for sale that you have time to see. I've been looking for a used car for my boy in high school. Lots of cars under $10k with less than 100K. Right now I'm taking a 2003 Celica GTS in to the shop to have it checked out. 58K miles for $8k. I've seen numerous Hondas, Toyotas, Mazda, etc between $6k-10k with 40k to 90k miles.
I agree. There are lots of cars in that price range. You also did not mention one American car. I still buy American, and that wasn't my price range.

Roger Pozzi
02-28-2010, 7:23 AM
I remember that I paid 50 each for my first used washer and dryer, and kept them running for 15 years with just a few cheap replacement parts scavenged off other machines. Ahhh, the good old days.

Did the washer have a manual or electric wringer??:p:p

Belinda Williamson
02-28-2010, 7:58 AM
Belinda - $50 for your first washer/dryer? You do realize you are dating yourself, right?:D


Just for clarification, Greg, the washer and dryer were used, and it was 1985. :D

Matt Meiser
02-28-2010, 10:20 AM
Just for clarification, Greg, the washer and dryer were used, and it was 1985. :D

Still... :D

Kent A Bathurst
02-28-2010, 11:03 AM
..........93 New Yorker ........98 Bonneville........

David - I have no help to offer you. I just wanted to say, though, that I admire your style. BIG ARN - yeah, buddy.

James Rambo
02-28-2010, 11:33 AM
I have a 1965 chevy with under 105,000 miles on it.

Pat Germain
02-28-2010, 12:30 PM
My coworkers and I were having this discussion at lunch a few days ago. A daughter's boyfriend needed a car and he didn't have any credit. The guy sitting next to me suggested just finding a clunker for $800. I almost spit out my soda water. What? $800 won't buy you a decent bicycle these days.

I do feel for young people trying to find a decent used car. When I was a lad, you could always find something and easily fix it up. Alas, this is no longer the case. Typically, if you find something reasonably priced, it's going to need a new timing belt, new water pump and new CV axles. Paying a shop to replace those things is crazy expensive. Doing it yourself takes some serious tools as well as skills and experience, which most folks don't have.

Another problem is cars are now loaded with electronic sensors. When they go bad, the car won't run properly. And each one of those sensors can cost just under or well over $100. In the old days, almost anyone could rebuild a carburetor. Sorry, you can't rebuild failing fuel injection. And replacing just one injector is expensive.

I gave up on "Blue Book" years ago. Those things are just dealer propaganda. If you're trading-in, Blue Book says your car is all but worthless. If your buying, Blue Book says the car is worth a fortune. Cars are worth what people will actually pay for them. A quick search on the 'net will reveal a consistent trend for almost any car.

Pat Germain
02-28-2010, 12:32 PM
I have a 1965 chevy with under 105,000 miles on it.

That's a tough situation you got there, James. Tell you what, I will gladly have that old car towed out of your driveway so you can get to your garage.

Myk Rian
02-28-2010, 12:39 PM
I have a 1965 chevy with under 105,000 miles on it.
Do you always park it like that? :D

Matt Meiser
02-28-2010, 1:00 PM
Do you always park it like that? :D

He must have cleaned the skid marks off the driveway.

It does prevent door dings though.

Paul Ryan
02-28-2010, 2:25 PM
I bought a 94 chrysler lebaron for $100 8 years ago. It had a little body damage on the right rear of the roof, and was missing the right mirror. It had 94k on it when I bought it. I drove it for 6 years and put 150k on it. I did absolutly nothing to it except to but brakes in it once, and change the oil. At about 230k the tranny broke. I pulled it out put a $30 gear in the tranny and away I went. It ended up getting retired after 244k due to an unexpected run in with a deer.

Deals are out there for young adults, you just have to know what to look for. I wouldn't waste my money on a asian car with 250k on it. Those will still fetch more money than a domestic with 150k on it. You can grab a decent domestic car with 150k on it for under $1000 in a lot of cases and put 100k on it for little or no money. You just have know what to look for. Just because a 10 year old car only has 50k miles on it doesn't mean it is in good shape. I would rather have a 5 year old car with 150k on it, than a grandma's car that it 10 years old and has 50 on it. Going to church and the grocery store once a week is very hard on engines.

James Rambo
02-28-2010, 6:41 PM
Don't usually get it out of the garage for much more than to take it to a local show. My son wanted to get a few pictures of it so I had to get it so the picture would not have the sun reflection.
here is a pictur of the present project. A long way to go but it keeps me off the steets.

Dave Lehnert
02-28-2010, 6:56 PM
I had a friend who had an 82 Toyota truck. He rebuilds cars so he was able to keep it going with much less $$$ than you and I could.
Well the day came when he felt it was done. If he is done with a truck IT IS DONE. The frame had big rust holes in them.
He is a big E-bay person so he post it on the bay starting at $1. He wanted nothing for it just take what he can get and hope it was enough to buy a tank of gas for his new truck. The winning bid was $2,000:eek:


I was looking at new cars today. I have a 97 F150 with 80K miles and a 2000 Mustang with 40K miles.Each could pass for brand new. Dealers were not too interested in them for a trade. Said no bank would give a loan on cars that old.

David Freed
02-28-2010, 7:00 PM
David - I have no help to offer you. I just wanted to say, though, that I admire your style. BIG ARN - yeah, buddy.
My daughter has an 04 Chrysler Sebring. I have to turn my back to the car and sit down in the seat, then pull my head in slowly as it rakes across the roof because I can't duck low enough. A Sebring isn't even considered a "small" car. When I get into a vehicle I don't want to have to wad myself up in a ball. If I could choose any vehicle I wanted to make a 1000 mile drive and not be concerned with the expense, I would choose the semi truck that I drive. It is much more comfortable for a long trip than any car or pickup I have had.




I bought a 94 chrysler lebaron for $100 8 years ago. It had a little body damage on the right rear of the roof, and was missing the right mirror. It had 94k on it when I bought it. I drove it for 6 years and put 150k on it. I did absolutly nothing to it except to but brakes in it once, and change the oil. At about 230k the tranny broke. I pulled it out put a $30 gear in the tranny and away I went. It ended up getting retired after 244k due to an unexpected run in with a deer.

Deals are out there for young adults, you just have to know what to look for. I wouldn't waste my money on a asian car with 250k on it. Those will still fetch more money than a domestic with 150k on it. You can grab a decent domestic car with 150k on it for under $1000 in a lot of cases and put 100k on it for little or no money. You just have know what to look for. Just because a 10 year old car only has 50k miles on it doesn't mean it is in good shape. I would rather have a 5 year old car with 150k on it, than a grandma's car that it 10 years old and has 50 on it. Going to church and the grocery store once a week is very hard on engines.
I do believe there are several "mechanically good" cars out there for a low price. That is what my wife has been driving. It will get you there and back without fail, but it has all kinds of annoying little problems. It took a lot of looking to find a car that looked nice, was mechanically good, and has no annoying problems (that I could find). I will take our old car as my "drive to work beater" because it is in much better shape than my pickup. My wife had not complained about our old car at all, but I wanted her to have something a little better.
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