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      11-10-2012, 12:21 AM   #1
Robocheme
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How do you figure out a fair price for a used car on a dealer's lot?

My son is thinking about getting a used 328, 250i Lexus or an Audi A4. We've seen ads on AutoTrader for cars that look pretty nice, but we don't know how flexible is the pricing? Is Kelly Blue Book retail a good price or can we expect something lower than that?

When we bought our X3, the dealer told us that they mark up the price about 2K$ to sell it as Certified. Do you think that it's worth it?

Thanks,
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      11-10-2012, 01:27 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robocheme
My son is thinking about getting a used 328, 250i Lexus or an Audi A4. We've seen ads on AutoTrader for cars that look pretty nice, but we don't know how flexible is the pricing? Is Kelly Blue Book retail a good price or can we expect something lower than that?

When we bought our X3, the dealer told us that they mark up the price about 2K$ to sell it as Certified. Do you think that it's worth it?

Thanks,
When you buy a new car, you can pretty much count on a consistent experience and a consistent product.

Do not confuse this truism when shifting to a used car. No two used cars a alike. The used car dealer wants to pretend that you will have a consistent experience. But, it is virtually impossible.

So, treat the purchase of a used car as a unique experience. You have to really dig in and ask the right questions in order to get a good car.

Remember, it is far more important to buy a good used car than it is to get a good deal. A great deal on a piece of crap car is far worse than getting suckered and paying more than you should have for an otherwise good car.

Car dealers know how to size you up. So, this is a topic where you should really bring someone with you that is expert.
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      11-12-2012, 12:13 PM   #3
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Read the series at http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/201...negotiating-2/.

That's part 4, but links to the first 3 parts are in the intro beneath the photo. Read them in order.

I've bought used cars both from dealers and private parties. Today the advertising medium of choice is craigslist, but it's the choice for both scammers and regular folks who are selling a car. Serious sellers include their phone number, and serious buyers call. If there is no number I include mine in the response e-mail. My first question is how the seller can prove they are the original owner and confirm that the vehicle is still registered in their name. I would limit my search to those vehicles. Try especially to buy from a seller who has a folder full of records and kept the records of their original transaction. Like Lang says in the articles I referenced above, you are buying a previous owner as much as you are buying a car.

Insist on an inspection. Find out the best place to get your make and model inspected and have a chat with them in advance. A specialist can be provide a wealth of information on variations within the model that tend to break or be expensive to repair.

Craigslist sellers can be (and should be) just as wary about buyers. Go out of your way to be the buyer who makes it easy to transact safely. Meet sellers in a public place during daylight hours. Suggest that the final transaction can be in the lobby of their bank so funds can be verified and you can conduct business in a safe environment.

If you can close a deal quickly without getting a loan in the way you will be in a strong negotiating position with most private sellers--their market is limited to people who can actually scare up the money whereas dealers can easily facilitate (and profit from) lending.

The cheapest (per mile) cars I've ever owned were bought used relatively young and with relatively high miles because those tend to be easy highway miles. If you don't anticipate driving less than average this works well because the car will have average miles or less when you sell it in a few years.

CPO is a tough call. Another alternative is to buy a vehicle that still has at least six months of factory warranty on it. Six months is probably enough to identify and correct any issues the car may have or dump it quickly if you made a bad buy. A car that has a transferable extended factory warranty can be a good deal as well.
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      11-12-2012, 12:26 PM   #4
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I just realized there is an updated version of that series:

Part 1: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/201...first-contact/

Part 2: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/201...-test-drive-2/

Part 3: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/201...he-inspection/

Part 4: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/201...negotiating-3/
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      11-17-2012, 04:16 PM   #5
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Thanks!
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