Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Buying a used car is tough!

Buying a half decent used car is really tough. I've seen many vehicles online advertised as "Reconditioned" or "rebuilt" which means: The car has been written off due to a MAJOR accident and the new owner has rebuilt the car - to their own safety standard. Run away if you see a car that has been rebuilt from a salvage title. Unless you plan on running the car only on country roads with no other vehicles, I would avoid them.

Just the other day I test drove a 2002 VW Jetta. It was loaded and the price was right: 4800 bucks and the owner was willing to negotiate. Great. Or so I thought. 

It seems the blue jetta had seen better days. Although everything appeared to work OK, the engine bay was full of oil, dirty, and not a nice place to be. Inside the car was dirty. Driving the car, I found the steering wheel had a huge dead spot. A dead spot is when you move the wheel left or right, not much happens. This indicates a problem with the suspension - an expensive repair is imminent.

I asked the owner how long he had the car. He said the car was only in his possession for little over a month. Another red flag here. After we get back from the test drive, I take one close look at the car from behind. Sure enough, I see the body 3/4 rear panels are misaligned. This car had been in a major rear end accident. I ended up walking away from the deal.

I did find a half decent used car. It's a 2005 Nissan Altima (not the color of above) which the owner decided to let go for $5200 plus tax. He wanted 5995 but honestly, that's a stretch, even for a car that only has 131,000 kilometers. The car has AC, power windows, brakes, door locks, keyless entry, power seats, automatic, and big ass 4-wheel brakes.

It's got a CD player and all that other stuff. I figure I could pay this car off in 21 months or less and then likely sell it after two years. By then the car would be 8 years old and needing some major maintenance. I'll post pictures of the car once I get it. My old Subaru is going back to the dealership on Friday, if I can swing this deal.

Believe it or not, I used my personal GPS system as a down-payment. The seller accepted that until I give him the bank draft. Then I'll get my GPS back.


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