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Buying a Used Car

R4V4G3D_SKU11S

TRIBE Member
I'm buying a used car in the next few weeks.

I have zero experience going this route and am worried about getting hosed.

I'm looking at 4-5 year old cars. I may only need the car for one year.

What do I need to know? I'm looking for strategies, tips, etc.
 

xtcfreak

TRIBE Member
You could check the obvious things like condition underneath, under the oil cap for "mayonaise" looking sludge, take it for a test drive and listen for sounds etc, but the best thing you can do is get it checked over by a good mechanic.

Also, ask the seller to provide a car proof report.

Are you going to buy from a dealer or private sale (ie Kijiji / CL)?

Jay
 

kyfe

TRIBE Member
Most vehicles these days are well made but certain models have issues, which car you are looking at as that would really determine what you need to look for.
 
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praktik

TRIBE Member
WE got a used car recently and it was my first rodeo - looking for VW's so basically we just went to a whole wack of used dealers on the west end and extending into southern ontario.

If you're new to this too I think maybe getting from a dealer would be good to help the peace of mind angle (moreso than buying online privately w/ an individual anyway).

Even if you dont go w/ a dealer picking a day or two and hitting up a circuit of dealers can help you get a feel for the cars in your price range and be a good bit of research on what you end up getting finally...
 

glych t.anomaly

TRIBE Member
i would say buy my 6 speed Passat !

but i you are looking at 4-5 years old that wont work as mines like 6 years old now.

the awesome thing about a used VW, if you buy it used from the dealership, and its got under 100k, it comes with a 2year/40k warranty for some good piece of mind, but the cost is definitely reflected w/ a warranty included.
 

kuba

TRIBE Member
I found out you can also buy an extended warranty - I will find out from where. I second the passat, kevin. Unless you're thinking of a TDI wagon, which is a fantastic choice.
 
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kyfe

TRIBE Member
With VW's the biggest problems have been and still continue to be with their electrical components, this tends to be an issue exclusive to their cars built in Mexico. Not sure if they still build anything out of Wolfsburg Germany.

I've owned a few (nothing recent) but I found lots of stupid little things will go wrong like a wiper blade stops working or a door handle craps out but engine and tranny wise (at least with the standard's) they hold up well. Having said that I have blown a VW tranny without any explanation as to why it blew and I spoke with someone recently who blew a tranny on their 04 Jetta again with no clue how or why.

VW's are great cars just expect to put up with some frustration when stuff stops working and they can be a money pit if you don't regularly maintain it
 

glych t.anomaly

TRIBE Member
I didn't think your Passat would still be available...that's an option. :)

Is Certified Pre Owned a good idea, or a waste of money?
It is ! if you end up wanting to see it, take it out for a drive let me know :)

With VW's the biggest problems have been and still continue to be with their electrical components, this tends to be an issue exclusive to their cars built in Mexico. Not sure if they still build anything out of Wolfsburg Germany.

I've owned a few (nothing recent) but I found lots of stupid little things will go wrong like a wiper blade stops working or a door handle craps out but engine and tranny wise (at least with the standard's) they hold up well. Having said that I have blown a VW tranny without any explanation as to why it blew and I spoke with someone recently who blew a tranny on their 04 Jetta again with no clue how or why.

VW's are great cars just expect to put up with some frustration when stuff stops working and they can be a money pit if you don't regularly maintain it
agreed i found that was not only VW's but Saabs and Audi's of the same years as well. lucky for me mine was built in GERMANY !~!
 

the_fornicator

TRIBE Member
Cars sort of tell a story. If you're lucky, you can find one tell-tale sign to walk away from a car. If not, put all the other things that you find together to connect the dots.

Don't use carfax, use Carproof -carfax is fucking useless and provides half the information that carproof does.

Research the most common problems with the vehicle for that specific year/make/model. Check for any recalls and to see if they've been addressed with that specific vehicle. e.g. I think on the 4th gen Toyota 4Runners, they have front brake issues that constantly cause their front rotors to warp. No TSB and no recalls. The only way to avoid getting warped rotors was to do a full front brake swap with a Toyota Tacoma (about a $1100-$1300 job). So, yeah, research common problems.

Important thing that I learned recently: check to see if there are TSB (Service Bulletins) out on the specific vehicle (by year/make/model and possibly VIN). TSBs are sorta big ones as the onus to repair them is on the owner and not manufacturer.

e.g. I purchased a used 2006 Honda Accord EX-L (v6, 6 spd, manual, etc.). I loved it because it's so rare to find a manual Accord so I had to have it since it also had fairly low mileage. When I first started driving it around, the car popped out of 3rd gear every now and then and it almost didn't like 3rd gear whenever I drove it hard. I found out that there's a TSB on the third gear synchro. A shit part had been installed in the manufacturing process so the 3rd gear synchro wore down prematurely in 2006 Honda Accords 6sp manual that were between a certain range of VIN numbers.

TSBs have to be researched and will not show up on a carproof as carproofs only tell you recalls (Carfax tells you neither).

Also, never view a car in the dark or in the rain/when it's wet. Rain/water hides a lot of imperfections.

Look at the screws under the hood where that bolt the front fenders in -they're usually painted over from the factory so if you see the bolts marred or the paint seal broken, there's a good chance that the car was in a vehicle.

Always check the oil on the vehicle if you're interested in it -drive it around for a bit, wait 10-15 min for the engine to cool a bit and then check the oil. If it's low, the engine is burning oil for whatever reason and it could also mean that the owner neglects his vehicles.

Find out the major maintenance schedule of the vehicle and see if the major services were done -ask for receipts, etc., etc.
 
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R4V4G3D_SKU11S

TRIBE Member
VW's are great cars just expect to put up with some frustration when stuff stops working and they can be a money pit if you don't regularly maintain it
I've had three Volkswagens in the past 10+ years (Golf and Golf Wagonx2) so I am good with them! This is a second car for commuting.
 
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the_fornicator

TRIBE Member
NP :) Something important to mention is that TSBs are usually an American thing -I don't know what they're called in Canada, but TSBs aren't acknowledged by Canadian dealerships for whatever reason. It seems like a way for dealerships to squid out of possible "good will" requests from the consumer.

Not sure how Canadian dealerships do not recognize American TSBs given that the car is Canadian, was sold in Canada, and the VIN is in the range of affected vehicles. So weird.

Also, if you're interested in a vehicle, get a pre-purchase inspection. I've been let down by dealerships before, but have found that AMA-certified mechanics are pretty top notch. Also, ensure that a Go Auto place does not touch your vehicle -I've found them to be absolute scammers -told me my front ball joints were worn, especially the left one. I took it home, put it on a jack and couldn't find anything wrong with it. I took my car into my own mechanic and he even said there's nothing wrong with my ball joints. This was at a Honda dealership owned by Go Auto.

At a different Honda dealership, they told me I needed to replace my exhaust manifold as it was cracked. I put the car on jacks, removed the header, washed it, and couldn't find any cracks of any sort. Dealership was also owned by Go Auto. Now, I only bring my car to private shops. Not saying you should always go to private shops (cause I'm sure there are shady ones as well), but always get a second opinion at a trusted place.

there's a good chance that the car was in a vehicle.
And that should have read, there's a good chance the car was in an accident.
 
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I_bRAD

TRIBE Member
I'm buying a used car in the next few weeks.

I have zero experience going this route and am worried about getting hosed.

I'm looking at 4-5 year old cars. I may only need the car for one year.

What do I need to know? I'm looking for strategies, tips, etc.
If you're only going to keep it for a year, you could buy something older and get less of a depreciation hit. What about a 10 year old low mileage car? Toyotas hold up really well. I've only owned one VW, but I wouldn't buy another. You seem to like them though so don't rule it out! 4-5 years old takes you to a generation change on the Golf. Mid generation is typically the most reliable- they've worked out the bugs (no pun intended) but haven't worn out the tooling yet.
 
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R4V4G3D_SKU11S

TRIBE Member
I may only keep it for a year, but also may need it for 4-5. I have to choose with the expectation I'll need it for 4-5.

Would 4-5 years old be 07/08 or 08/09?
 
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the_fornicator

TRIBE Member
If you're going with VW, if it's applicable, you can determine where it was assembled and manufactured by the VIN. I'll try and find a mapping.
 

Fillmore

TRIBE Member
We were broke when we bought our first car so we financed. The interest rate was horrendous but it got us into a much required vehicle. I believe we were paying 6.9%. This would have been winter of 2009.
 
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