Purchasing a Used Car Should not be Painful

used car salespersonThis is off my usual topics of makeup or wine, but I felt it necessary to share my recent experience of trying to purchase a use (new to me) car.

First I have to say, money is not readily available in my house.  Spending any money, but more than $500, is a lot for  us.  This said, spending $18,000.00 is A LOT OF MONEY!  So, I think it would be nice if the people at the lot of moneycar dealers would respect anyone coming in to purchase a car.  I have to say, I get better service at the local convenience shops than I did at the first Car Dealer that we went to.  Basically everyone should be given a fair amount of respect if they are clean and neat in appearance, courteous and have a modicum of social skills.

model tWe did all of the research to find the car(s) which we felt would fit our needs.  I found several car dealerships that had the cars we were considering.  My husband is a certified journeyman mechanic which helps when buying a used car.  I found a car we were interested in and made an appointment to come down (1 hour drive away from our house) to drive the car.  The price of the car seemed too good to be true.  I had e-mailed the saleswoman and requested any information about the car, such as “what is wrong with it?”  I get a response “nothing is wrong with the car, we have too many on the lot and need to move the cars”.  We get to the dealership and find the person we made the appointment with was not in and the car was not ready.  Sedrivingems someone left a light on in the car and they had to charge it.  Now, I’m thinking;  just put a new battery in it.  But no.  Okay, this particular dealership had two other cars we were interested in, so we test drove those cars while the one I had an appointment to drive was made ready.  Long story short, we tested the two other cars, did not like them and finally tested the car I had an appointment to drive.  We finally find out what is wrong with the car.  It has an odd rumble in the middle of the undercarriage when the heater/air conditioner is turned on (which is not correct), and it has a lot of odd wind noise when it is going more than 5 miles per hour down the road.  I put the window down and it was quieter with the window down than with the window up.

used car saleswomanSo, we go back inside to the woman that has spent about 15 minutes with us and tell her we did not like any of the cars, and we are going to leave.  She jumps up from behind her desk and tells us we have to meet the manager before we can leave.  I said “no, we don’t”, and start to leave.  I get a snippy remark from the sales woman that she has “spent all day with us”.  El Hub thinks we need to be more courteous than anyone at the Dealership has been so we wait for the manager.  And we wait.  And we wait.  Finally, Mr. Smarmy Manager appears and asked us what was wrong with the car.  El Hub tells him there is too much wind noise, there’s an odd rumble in the middle of the undercarriage, especially when the heater/air conditioner is on and there appears to be an exhaust leak, but he could not be sure because we were told to NOT turn off the car because of the battery.  Mr. Smarmy Manager tells us there is no extra charge for that.  What?   Because we could not turn this car off, El Hub could not crawl under it and find out what the problem is – Oh, wait!  Perhaps that is why no new battery!  That would allow El Hub to crawl under the car and he may get too much information.  Very smart of the Dealership to not put in a new battery.  Now I get it.  Silly me, I tused car salesmanold the Dealership El Hub would find out what is wrong with the car, but they figured out a way to keep him from getting under the car.  Not really a problem, there were too many issues with the car, Hubby did not want to crawl under it, no need to do this.  Well, Mr. Manager wants to know what is wrong with the car.  We tell him and he finally tells us  everything that is wrong with the car can be fixed.  Great!  Then fix it.  And we leave.  We do not want to spend money on a car that needs to be fixed.  We figure this particular car was put together all wrong in the first place.  It might have been a Friday car.  You do not want to buy a car that was put together on a Friday or a Monday.  Shift happens on those days.

We checked the internet for another dealership that had a vehicle we were interested in.  Found one about 20 minutes away.  We go to the second dealership only to find the one car we were interested in “just sold”.  Out we goused car dealership!  Of course we had to give an e-mail address and listen to a spiel about how the car we want is all wrong and the cars they are selling are much better.  Sorry.  I’ve done a lot of research as to what we need and it’s not what they are selling.

On to the third dealership.   Another 12 minutes and we are at the third stop.  We were very fortunate to get a young man who was not into the typical used-car chatter.  We gave him the information as to what we were looking for.  He looked at his inventory sheet and found several cars.  We agreed on three of the cars, and took those for a test drive.  We did find one car that we really liked but of cooverpricedurse the price was too high.  We gave our offer, said thank you and left.

We have since visited two other dealerships, no luck in finding a used car that we like that is in our price range.  However, we have the internet and all of the tools we need to find our car.  We  will prevail.  We will try to find an honest car dealership, one that will give us a fair value (Kelly Blue Book Value would be nice), and sell us a car without problems.

toyotaAfter testing 12 cars, we finally found a very nice woman at a dealership that allowed us to take the car home, and the next day, drive it to where El Hub works.  He put it up on the lift and checked it out.  All looked well.  We went back to the Dealership and put an offer on the car.  We negotiated back and forth a little and came to an amicable conclusion.  This saleswoman was forthright, and did her best to get us the best possible price for a decent car.

What this little chapter in my life has taught me is;  persevere with my conviction and stay true to my belief that I can find a vehicle that will suit what my family needs and be the right price.  This took many hours of research on the internet to get an accurate price for the on liftvehicle of my choice.  It took the test driving of 12 cars, and traveling over 150 miles to find the right car.  During this process, I did find the prices of the comparable vehicles change depending on the average income of the local community.   We didn’t purchase our car from an affluent area.

My advice:  determine your needs, research the car(s) you think you want to purchase.  Figure out your budget and what you can afford.  Stick to what you can afford.  You’re going to hear a lot of sales talk about how you can lower your monthly payment by extending your payments to 72 months – or more!  Really?  72 months?  Test as many vehicles as you can.  Stay true to yourself.  Don’t listen to “We’ve had a lot of people looking at this car, it may not be here very long”, or  “you purchaseshould put a deposit down to keep the car”.   You’ll make a better deal at the end of the month.  If you can’t negotiate the price you want, try to get something added into the negotiations that you need, such as tires, new brakes,  whatever you think you may need with the car.  Carfax is good, try to get that, it will help you get a sense of the history of the vehicle.  Take your time, look around and make a reasonable, logical decision.  A decision  you can live with for at least five years.  Five years is how long your car should last if you’re able to buy a car that is in fairly good condition and you take care of it.  Don’t purchase with your emotions, purchase with your brain.    If you do this, you may just end up with a good, sound, car that will serve you well.