Skip to comments.Used car buying tips
Posted on 07/10/2011 10:03:54 AM PDT by CGASMIA68
Never purchased a used car. Looking at an 07 accord exl, 57000 for 12000 private owner at a garage Price looks in line with vehicle. I know about car fax and will pay to have a Honda dealer look at it but before I get that far; How can a novice tell if the engine is the original and what else should I keep an eye out for? Thanks in advance
Pay a mechanic you trust to evaluate it! Best money you’ll ever spend.
Also, vehicles have records of reliability. Look up the year and specific model on the ‘net.
At 57K miles the engine is almost certainly original. Check to see if the owner has done regular oil changes. If there is an oil change sticker on the windshield compare the information on it to the current date and mileage.
Look under the hood and check for paint overspray. Also look to see if all the original stickers are in place under the hood - if you don’t see the stickers it is a good indication that the vehicle has been wrecked and repainted. Look to see if the paint on the hood and fenders matches the rest of the body - slight variations can mean a paint job and that usually means the car has been wrecked
Make sure the title is good - a reconditioned or salvage title indicates the vehicle has been totaled in a wreck and rebuilt. It is always best to stay away from those cars.
If all that looks good and your mechanic checks it out it should be OK - good luck
Car Fax is next to useless. If you don’t believe me check their own warranty. A trusted mechanic is the gold standard for used car buying.
That's a great start.
Look for fluids that are "too clean". Not always a bad thing, but sometimes you may want to look a bit more at the vehicle. Look at the oil dipstick. See if it has a varnishing down at the end. This can indicate that the vehicle ran very hot at some point. When test driving, don't simply go around the block. May sure that the temperature gauge rises to operating temperature.
I was looking at a car with my brother, and after letting it cool off, removed the cap, and the anti-freeze was white. Indicative of cylinder head gasket failure or cracked engine block. Oil and water mixed, creating an emulsion. Check the tailpipe as it is running. Say goodbye if you see thick white smoke. Same with thick, bluish smoke. That's oil. A little blackish, gray smoke can simply mean that it needs a tune up.
Have a friend watch your tailpipe as you drive by. If he/ she observes a surge of bluish, black smoke, valve guides are probably worn.$$$$
Just because a fender has a slight variation in color doesn’t mean the car has been in a major accident.
I would guess probably 80% of cars have had some sort of body repair in their lifetime.
Why do you want to pay that much for a 4 year old with 57k
A quick search of all sedans on auto trader and I found 2010s with 25 to 35 on them for that much.
I can get you a Friends and Neighbors discount for a Ford product. All I need is name, address and the last four digits of your social. Get you a pin number you take to your dealer. Might be as good a price as buying a used car.
(1) Why is the owner selling it? Listen for the story, half the read is in the telling, half in what the story is.
(2) Was the owner a smoker? Bad if so. Smokers tend to abuse cars.
(3) As everyone else said, have a trusted mechanic check it out.
(4) If you don’t have a trusted mechanic use a reliable chain shop, e.g. Pep Boys.
(5) You want a mechanic who knows that model and year, and who is able to identify body work.
You found Hondas or Toyotas, or what?
whats your zip....I plug in zips around the country and they all vary the $$$$$$
If you have time and know a mechanic you trust, just tell them what you are looking for. They often have people bring in their cars for a check-over just before they sell it. If they know what you are interested in, they can act as a buying service.
When you find the right vehicle, religiously change the oil. Many people put this off, don’t. I own a Grand Am with 150,000 miles, and it doesn’t use a drop of oil. They are known for being unreliable. Runs like a top. I would trust it going cross country.
“Car Fax is next to useless.”
Something tells me to avoid this guy...
What? You don’t want to drive down the street sideways?
Smokers tend to abuse cars ??????????? WTF
We have 4 vehicles with over 100K and one that probably has around 300K but the od hasn’t worked for many years. We put Slick 50 in everything when it gets past 50K.
My husband is bad, we change the oil every year or if we are going on a long trip. We’ve never had to replace an engine.
I’ve never seen completely white AF before. Looking for a 2nd-hand car is a full-time job, and most people are too busy to rid their weekends just to talk to the previous owners selling the cars, and I’ve had my take on owners go on and on why they have to sell the car.
Most BS you. You have to possess common sense if the owner lies to you. I found that 40-ish older women drivers take better care of their cars (even if the color of their cars annoys me).
A smoker smoked out, I gather.
Buy a Certified Pre-Owned vehicle from the dealer. Comes with a warranty. Never been disappointed with the two BMWs I’ve bought via CPO.
Be sure to find out if the timing belt has been replaced — Accords need to have this done around 60,000 miles.
If you have a mechanic you can trust have them give it the once over. This will usually cost you a little bit (good mechanics don’t work for free) but if they warn you even one stinker that pays for a lifetime of these checkups. If the seller is at all honest they’ll be more than happy to give the car to your mechanic, if they are at all reluctant move on to the next car.
Look at the seller. Is he the original owner or is this a used car lot? If he is the original owner and a “FR” type (i.e. conscientious & honest) that counts as much as the CarFax or mechanics eval.
A good mechanic can tell if the car has been neglected, in an accident or seriously abused. A good owner makes a difference in how the car was treated.
Honda Accord is a good car. We bought our first Honda, a used 2004 CR-V with 53K in 2007. We now have 161K. A/C compressor died and we changed the rear diff fluids, but other than that, nothing but oil changes, plugs at 100K and put gas in it. BTW, we checked out the original (only) owner.
Carfax only has dealer maintenance information. Any work the owner had done at non-dealer garages doesn’t show up.
Always, always, always leave dealership after you view.
Leave premises, get cup of coffee. Something. Anything. Leave the dealership and think.
Even if it is for 10 minutes. leave the proximity of the vehicle, salesman, etc.
IF the deal is perfect, leave for awhile. If it is the last one, leave for sure. Then...
If you buy it and are happy, shut up. Everyone will pick the deal apart. Just buy it and be happy. It is nobody’s business what you paid and how deal structured.
(did I mention the fact that you must leave the dealership?)
I let the guys at Jiffy Lube take care of the oil, just not worth the time, and they put in the 'older vehicle' oil. I asked them what the difference was and was told that it was the equivalent of putting a quart of slick 50 in it.
You sound lucky.Owners manuals suggest 7,500 miles, and while the oils today are far superior, I change it around every 4,000 miles, to remove particles and dirt, that sort of thing. I guess that you are not putting too many miles on them (between changes).
Looked like milk. Oil and water do mix under some conditions. I looked at my brother and told him to say goodbye. I have to say I have never seen that again.
Usually the high mileage oil has additives to keep the engine seals flexible or even swell them a little. Nothing to do with Teflon crap or whatever dubious ingredient Slick 50 has.
Yeah, I could see that. I probably don't need it, but if no harm no foul,(high mileage oil).
Toyota and Honda paid off CR a long time ago. It is BS.
Toyota and Honda don't have to pay anyone off. Their reputation for quality and reliability is set in stone.
Funny how the Toyota "recalls" were at the height of UAW "stimulus" theft and "Cash for Clunkers."
I wouldn't buy a Big 3 (an outdated term these days) product for anything.
What toyota and honda do is sell cars with top of the line struts and brakes, which are normal wear items. On those cars they last about 100K. The other manufactures sell cars with OEM struts and brakes that only last 50K. So the others buyers get pissed that they have to spend money on their cars at 50K. But the Toyota and Hondas don’t, the perception is that they are better when in reality you paid heavily for those little upgrades.
That's an interesting observation. I'd love to see the data behind the study that lead you to that conclusion. I'm sure you're not just making it up, or going by anecdotal evidence. I'm also sure you'll be kind enough to post a link to that study?
From a former car salesman. The best advice I can give everyone is:
1. Buy a NEW car. (Don’t worry about trade in value (depreciation), drive it until someone wants to pay you cash for it).
2. If you must buy a used car, only buy one you can pay cash for. Car payments AND repair bills are a killer.
I’d be foolish to answer your query, because you preloaded it with anti-wisdom.
After some of the horror stories I’ve heard, I wouldn’t let my car get anywhere near a Jiffy Lube.
IOW, you have no proof. You have a bias... OK fine, just so we know. Speaking of “smoked out...”
The Al Gore of used cars, if you will. I’m fine with that if you are. When presenting a query becomes “anti-wisdom,” you’ve arrived.
Car payments ?
I have three Toyotas, one over 200K miles, one over 170K, one over 90K. Original engine and transmission on all of them. I’ve owned Hondas and Acuras with 200K+ lifes.
I’ve also owned cars and trucks from Ford, Old, Chevy, GM, Subaru, VW. Not to mention a number of other brands which were more hobby than transportation.
There is simply no comparison between the longevity and low-maintenance cost of Hondas and Toyotas in engine, drive train, wheels and suspension and any other model, imo. Those two brands are at another level.
Why, ah nevah heerd nuthin’ so perposteruss. We ‘uns heah at Jiffy Lube is ex-spurts! Ah demands a apollygee! Twinkie
You can run the vehicles VIN and get it’s service and accident history. Actually I would have the dealer do it so as not to waste your time. If the car is a good buy the dealer will be happy to show you the report.
Having a qualified mechanic check it out is also a good idea.
One thing to look out for is where the car came from and/or was driven. If it came from a state or area that’s had a lot flooding I would be wary of the car.
Paid heavily? Let's see...
A new Camry with moonroof, XM radio, hands free phone, and alloy wheels for $24,975.
A new Impala WITHOUT any of those options for $25,230.
A new Taurus WITHOUT any of those options for $26,640.
That's a no-brainer. Better car, lower price, and not a dime of my money to Obama's UAW thugs.
Like I said you were already waiting behind the door with a spiked bat ready to swing. Swing it madly all you want slugger!
Smokers abuse cars.
The poster of that idiotic remark got outed down-thread as not being able to prove that claim. Ha!