Buying a used vehicle

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by old_rookie, Jul 11, 2018.

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  1. old_rookie

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    I need to get a new van - the one I used to take my kayak to the beach to fish was totaled.

    So, looking for input/advice on things to check. I have a good checklist and have gone out to see a few vehicles at used dealer lots this past weekend. Also did some research at carfax.com ( and cargurus.com) - you can search for used vehicles there and get full reports on them (but only dealers) which is really interesting. If the reports are accurate regarding maintenance, almost all only get oil/filter changed and tires rotated or replaced. Very few get more than that - and this is for 100k+ miles. I did see one or two get struts replaced which was done at low miles and I suspect a scam there. Interesting to see where the vehicle started, where it was serviced and the number that end up at auction.

    Anyway, I look at each wheel well to see if there is anything indicating work being done, I look along the sides of the vehicle from the front to see if there are ripples, and along the roof line. Open the radiator cap to see what's inside (one car it was completely brown), check the oil and trans dip sticks - try to look at the frame under the hood for any indication of repair work. I'll check all windows, seats and other inside stuff. I have a book about buying a used car and they suggest using a jack and getting each wheel off the ground and pushing/pulling on it to check the bearings - I didn't do that - but it seems to be a good idea. Tonight I plan to check out a van - I'm going to bring a folded down flat box and slide it under the engine and check for leaks after 10-15 minutes. Since we are meeting at a public place, the engine will be hot and I can't check the radiator.

    So - anything else important to look at?
     
  2. Larry M

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    If you have a place where you always go for maintaining your vehicles they can check it out for you.
    Or find a mechanic that will put it on a rack and also do an electronic diagnostic with a read out from the onboard computer.
     
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  3. weldon

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    I just a bought a new 2018 Tacoma via the Costco buying service and was very pleased with the cost,service, etc. They also have used vehicles I believe. I highly recommend it if you are a Costco member. Years ago when looking for a used vehicle I took them to my fav mechanic and for $80 got saved from being burned after a complete inspection by them. Both had been wrecked and repaired in TJ and weren't worth the cheap price being offered. Also watch out for previously flooded "hurricane vehicles."
     
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  4. Larry M

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    I think that AAA has the same service as Costco. You don't need to have insurance with them just the membership.
     
  5. old_rookie

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    I have a low budget, so the Costco option probably won't work. Someone suggested Enterprise used, but same thing, they only have higher priced vehicles. Yeah, a mechanic is a good idea, but I know someone who has bought all his vehicles used and never used a mechanic to inspect. When I sold my car a few weeks back, the guy barely did any inspection himself and bought it - even knowing it was in a front end accident.
     
  6. Larry M

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    If you're going there on your own maybe take a small magnet if you suspect body work, it could just be bondo fill.
     
  7. old_rookie

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    Yup - I have a flash-light with a magnet on one end, rags for dipsticks, CD to test.
     
  8. Werfless

    Werfless The Coach
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    I just buy old municipal vehicles from the largest such house in so cal.. ken porter auctions.. filled my driveway with three rides for less than 5k$.. have gotten my money back many times over.. they come smogged and I paid everything they could rip me off for in addition.. an expedition, gmc jimmy 4x4, and a crown Vic.. yes, I have had a shadetree mechanic change some parts on each for less than 1k a year, small price to pay, as far as I am concerned.. might be worth looking into
     
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  9. Vito1023

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    I bought a Sears service truck once and it was a super bargain never had any problems, I think these days I might try Hertz or Dhl maybe the Post Office they usually maintain them well.
     
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  10. Larry M

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    Big companies have there own mechanics to maintain their vehicles.
    SDG&E used to sell their cars and trucks but no longer do that to the general public.
    In the South Bay pass Brown Field impounded vehicles and boats are auctioned off, as is thought.
    I knew someone who got into a bidding war with a car dealer and won. He got a Ferrari at a good price. I believe that since the federal government is selling the vehicles, no tax.
    Worth looking into.
     
  11. fisheromen

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    The last time a guy wanted to meet me at a "neutral" place, I was scammed! What is he hiding?
     
  12. old_rookie

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    Turns out I haven't been to that area and a huge new condo complex is there. So it was at his complex. I've read that it is better to meet at a public place so that the buyer doesn't know where you live. But once the purchase is made the title will have their address.
     
  13. fisheromen

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    Just beware of the Seller trying to hide his whereabouts. In my situation the title had the previous owner's address. That gave me a route to the seller. He thought I had no way of getting back to him. BTW, he had turned back the odometer. DMV nailed him!
     
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  14. RolloTomasi

    RolloTomasi Well-Known Member

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    Smart. Serviced regularly, and if drivers abuse them, people call the how-am-I-driving number.
     
  15. RolloTomasi

    RolloTomasi Well-Known Member

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    Beware of fly-by-night auctions.
     
    #15 RolloTomasi, Jul 17, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2018
  16. fisheromen

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    Only if they cut you off!
     
  17. RolloTomasi

    RolloTomasi Well-Known Member

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    Or gross polluters, speeding like maniacs, etc.
     
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  18. old_rookie

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    Thanks RolloTomasi I'm leaning towards a private seller. Also discovered ChrisFix on youtube. Goes into details for checking the engine, interior, and test drive.
     
  19. RolloTomasi

    RolloTomasi Well-Known Member

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    Great way to go.
     
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