Secondhand cars (for people on a tight budget)

Same advice in some cases, especially wrt salesdroids apply here. See this thread : Buying a new car?

Set your budget. It helps to visit your bank/credit union and see what you qualify for. Don’t borrow too much, or more that you can afford, a budget’s there for a reason. Play around with amounts and repayment periods to suit you.

We found that after 4 years the interest will just push the repayments up and up…

Keep in mind that you will have to add a little bit extra for new tyres, windscreens and other small repairs should it come to that.

Take the car for a test drive. If unsure, have a trusted mechanic present, or take the car (with the owner’s permission) to a test centre and get the low-down on the car.

Too many faults? Back out.
Major engine problems? Back out.
Little things? (Blown headlight or kaputtes wiper blade) - DIY

Keep in mind that usually the aircon’s not up to standard, and will cost a literal arm, leg and two kidneys to replace/fix. Usually not worth it, but if you can live without an aircon, then this should be no biggie.

Also, keep in mind that is most cases the vehicle is sold “as is”. If you’ve got a lemon, tough. No warranties at all.

(Yes, I know, but I had to say it :smile:)

If there’s funny stuff with the car’s registration papers, walk away, it is NOT worth the hassle. (Oh, the papers are with $person in $state and other funny stuff like that)(Ages ago we were looking at an extra small car, we had this exact same situation, car’s registration papers was in another city. I just walked away).

Check the VIN and engine number. Funny stuff? Walk away.

Oh, check the central locking, and airbags (if any) If the airbags have been deployed, it will cost more to replace than what it’s worth. Usually best to walk away. Central locking can be sorted out in some cases.

Just as an aside - is this article representative of the 2nd hand car market in the US of A?

Shady s#!t going down in the Bronx? I’m shocked!

The used car market in the US is a mess IMHO. Unless you go really used (5+ years old), private sale (but even then you may not do well), or to a shady operator, you’re almost better off buying new in many cases. Used car values went sky-high after Cash for Clunkers a decade ago and they haven’t come back down.

My credit union is offering 4.54% interest on a loan for a 4 year old car; if I go to a dealer to buy new and go for the same model but one trim line lower (which has all the bells and whistles of the 4 year old “better” model because things move down the line over time), I can pay 0.9% or even 0% on the same sticker price and have a fresh warranty to boot.

I’ve bought a few used cars. My credit union’s broker does used cars as well as new, so I contacted them the last time I bought a used car, but ended up buying from a private party from craigslist. In my area there are some great deals on those, since it’s an affluent area. People want to get rid of their old car so they can buy their new one, so they sell it for less than bluebook.

Where the hell do you go for Freon? The moon? I’m getting my car her 50k service (80,000km) this week and the order of expensive things on the bill has thus been 4x brakes (£180 apiece), new clutch (£500), bodywork repairs (£280), and then right at the end, fix and refil aircon for £100 (US$135).

I also hastily point out that the clutch needs replacing for reasons entirely other than bad driving… no, really… sometimes going into reverse would stall the engine, which sounds to me like a fault not a break, but hey-o money down the drain it is :stuck_out_tongue:

Good question - think that stuff’s outlawed by now.

If you don’t tell Suzuki, I won’t tell Suzuki.

Can’t even buy it here at most places. Air conditioning units for housing are going to have issues soon. Or so I’ve been told.