FAQ: Buying / Selling A Car - General Forum

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FAQ: Buying / Selling A Car
Sunday, May 16, 2004 11:29 PM
FAQ: Buying and Selling a Car

Buying A Car:
Buying a car isn't simple. Car dealers are paid for what they sell, and how much they make on each sale. I don't care what a dealer says to you, they are trying to make you pay as much as they can for each car that they sell. Now especially if you are young, or buying your first car, there is no better advice than your parents. Bring them with you whenever you go to the dealer. Dealers can spot young kids from 3 miles away, and you'll end up paying through the nose for it. If you are 16/17/18 and looking for cars, then do so with your parents. It may be embarrasing to have mom/dad there with you when you are picking out your "ride" but your going to end up saving a LOT of money in the end.

Next, picking out your car. Go shop the dealer lots in your area after hours when the dealers aren't open. Pick out a bunch of different cars that you would like to purchase and write down as much information on each of them as you can. Information you would need are things like year/engine/mileage/body style/condition/color, basically anything you can get your hands on. Take this information home with you and start your research. Your research should include things like common problems, years of manufacture, cost of ownership, gas mileage, insurance quotes, any information you can find on each vehicle. Make yourself a notebook and keep all of this information with you. You can get a lot of information online about new cars if thats what you are looking for. Things like dealer sheets that list exactly what the dealer is paying for the vehicle. Very helpful in negotiating prices.

After you have gotten all of the information that you can, its time to talk to the dealer. Remember, take your parents if this is your first time, or even your second time. If you are trading your car in, take a look at the section below about value. Know exactly what your car is worth before you get there so that you can get what its worth on trade in. When talking to the dealer, don't let them start pushing you into a vehicle. You have your list, stick to it. Make sure to fully inspect a vehicle before buying it, as there are parts that may help you negotiate the price down, listed below:

The tires should be inspected for wear. Uneven wear on a tire is a sign of misalignment. If the tires are overly bald, the dealer may have to replace them before selling the vehicle. Don't let them add this into the price. When you buy a vehicle, it should be ready to drive off the lot and not require maintenance within 6 months. If the dealer won't replace the worn tires, you can negotiate the price down. A good starting point for tires is $75 per tire that needs replacing. This includes mounting and disposal of old tires. This may force the dealer into actually replacing the tires instead of knocking the price down since they can get them done at a much lower price per tire.

On the test drive, the brakes should not squeak. If it feels like the rear of the car is squatting, then your brakes may need replacement. The front brakes provide up to 75% of the braking power for the car, and should feel as such, unless it is a 4 disc brake car. Before the test drive, take a look at the rotors. If they are completely rusted, then the car has been sitting for a long time. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, it may mean that the discs/rotors need to be replaced. Look at the rotors for grooves and damage. Any grooves means the rotors need to be replaced and should be worked into the deal for the vehicle. When test driving, get up to a highway speed, and lightly push on the brake pedal until the pads touch the rotors. Pay attention to the brake pedal and watch for pulsing, which is a sign of warped rotors, and need replacing. The parking brake should be solid, and able to hold the vehicle in place.

This is an area of major discussion. Remember, rust is called cancer by bodyshops for a reason. Look for what looks like rust being painted over, which resembles very large bubbles. Rocker panels, door jams, and wheel wells are common places for rust. Look for signs of major body work and signs of previous accidents. Different color paints under the hood and trunk are signs of this, as well as poorly aligned body panels and welds on the inside of panels. The body is a major point of arguing with a dealer. New cars should be almost flawless, and used cars should be judged on thier age and price.

The interior of the car is also a point of arguement. Watch for wear marks in the seats, holes in the apholstry (sp), and wear marks in the carpets. Stains and poor interiors are a sign of poorly maintenanced vehicles. Take a look at the brake pedal. The rubber covering may be overly worn, which is a sign of a significant amount of city driving. City driving is the worst for engines and puts the most stress on the vehicle. Cracks in interior parts are expensive pieces from the dealer. I have easily talked a dealer down $500 for a cracked interior panel (part that goes along the windshield).

The engine should purr. The transmission should shift like new. Let the engine idle and open the hood and listen very closely. Look for oil in the coolant, which is a sign of a bad head gasket or worse. Overly loud ticking and ticks are not normal. Turbo'd vehicles should not burn oil or make excessive noise. Be aware of buying high mileage boosted vehicles. Taken care of correctly, these cars can last forever, but with vehicles that haven't been maintained properly, they die quick. The transmission should shift normal under full throttle starts from a dead stop. This is when the line pressure is the highest and can easily show problems. Watch for spots underneath where the vehicle was parked, and an overly dirty engine. Odd smells are also not normal. <br>

Aftermarket Parts
Simply said, a car with aftermarket parts has been abused. Even small things like body kits, you can be relatively assured that the vehicle has been beat on during more than one occasion. Don't let the dealer tell you otherwise. Also don't let the dealer add on a price for those aftermarket parts to the asking price of the vehicle. <b>Aftermarket parts aren't worth anything to the bank where you will be trying to get your loan, and they won't give you any more money, or appraise your vehicle any higher for having said parts. Aftermarket parts are nice, but are NOT a selling point. </b>

After you have looked over the vehicle(s) that you want, get the dealer's business card and tell him/her you will give them a call when/if you are interested. Do not let the dealer take your information, as they will use that as a pressure point to push you into a car. Go back and re-evaluate your decided on prices and change them as necessary. You should not be moving the prices up, only down. When you have decide what cars you would be interested in purchasing, then go back to the dealers. Give them the price that you were thinking about, and if they refuse, give them your phone number and tell them to give you a call if they decide differently. Do not let your emotions about the vehicle get in the way of paying the true value of the vehicle.

If you are purchasing a new vehicle, get an itemized list of what the price of the vehicle includes over the base price of the vehicle. Have the dealer explain EVERY LINE of the price breakdown. Dealers overprice some things like VIN etching which shouldn't cost more than $40, and I've seen them overprice that up to $400. They do this with many items, don't let the dealer rape you on things like that.

When you get the dealer to agree to a price you were thinking about, then work on closing the deal. Tax, title, and license are usually not included in the price. There may also be a dealer fee such as plate transfers and paper work fees. The paper work fees may be a point of arguement, but Tax, title, and license are not. Closing a deal differs on state, but the dealer should be more than able to file the appropriate paper work. Private party purchases need to be dealt with according to state laws, any of which your local DMV office can help you with.

Selling A Car:
Selling a car isn't easy either. First figure out what your car is worth, bottom line. Nobody cares what you owe on it, or how many payments are left. They want true down to earth numbers of what the vehicle is worth. Just as with buying a car, take a look at each of the previously stated areas and figure out a price. Start with the Kelly Blue Book private party price for your particular vehicle, and go from there.

We all know you spent thousands of dollars upgrading your car, but I hate to tell you this, when you sell your car, its almost worthless. The reason that it is worthless is that the person who is buying it will almost certainly have to go to a bank to get a loan. When a bank figures out how much money they will give a person, they look in a small (in Wisconsin its yellow) book to determine a vehicles value based on make, model, body style, engine, and mileage. It doesn't say anything in there about that awesome stereo, $1000 body kit, $5000 paint job, $1200 rims, or $600 tires. Its worthless. The best advice to those who have upgraded your cars is to part it out, whatever you can, before selling it. Return it back to as close to stock as you can before selling it. That is the only way you will come even close to recovering any of the money that you have spent modifying your car.

Then, you have to sell it. Naturally the people who are wanting to buy it will want to talk you down, so let them. Slightly overprice your car by up to $1000, and let the people talk you down. Don't go any lower than what you determined the car to be worth. Usually selling your car to a private party will give you much more money than trading it in. Many dealers don't sell the cars that they take in on trades, they bring them to auctions and have them sold. Auctions don't always give a great price, so the dealer won't give you one on a trade for it either.

Overall, get advice from those who have done things like this in the past. Your parents are a great resource, as well as Kelly Blue Book. Check with local and state laws during the process. Make sure your car is legal to sell before selling it, and that the car that you are buying is legal to buy when buying one.

Good Luck!!!

4cyltuner.com - Information Source For 4 Cylinder Tuners
Buy stuff from CarCustoms Ebay! Won't be disappointed!

Re: FAQ: Buying / Selling A Car
Monday, May 17, 2004 7:00 AM
look to see if the rubber over the brake pedal is worn, NEVER would i think to do that lol, it's a good idea tho

this needs a sticky, alot of good info in there <br>

Re: FAQ: Buying / Selling A Car
Saturday, May 22, 2004 11:42 AM
good deal man, that was a good read...i knew most already, but ALOT of people don't and then get screwed later for it.

i love seeing a 1997 z24 being sold for $9000 even though it's only worth $2500, and the only reason the owner marks it up is for all the "cool" stuff that's on it...and i just shake my head, cause in the end every aftermarket part you buy is worth a quater of what you paid the second you buy it, and worth half of what you paid after you install it, and just continues to rapidly depreciate as it's used. Aftermarket parts depreciate 2X faster than the actual car. so my advise is don't sink alot of money into a car you seriously do not expect to keep.


"Formerly known as Jammit - JBO member since 1998" JBOM | CSS.net

Re: FAQ: Buying / Selling A Car
Thursday, June 10, 2004 2:43 PM

There are a lot of things in there that I would have never thought about when buying a car. And YES, bring your parents along with you. Dealers like it when these dumb 16/17/18 year olds come in, but when you bring your parents along with you, they cant feed all the lines of BS that you might believe, but your parents will call .

A+ Work!! <br>

Did you just get you @$$ handed to you by a Cavalier?? SURE DID!!!
Re: FAQ: Buying / Selling A Car
Saturday, June 12, 2004 3:53 PM

The only way to sell/trade a mautofied car, www.mautofied.com

^^they are in no way affiliated with Wink's. Just an awsome site with high traffic to sell your modified car on.

Hope that helps some
Chris <br>

Re: FAQ: Buying / Selling A Car
Wednesday, July 14, 2004 11:24 AM
You did a good job of discussing the car business. A person might think we are all a bunch of ruthless, heartless, cruel individuals.

One thing about the car business unique to any other business is EVERYONE has ample oportunity to research market value, invoice, etc. on every car. Everyone has ample time to research rebates before ever going to any dealer. This is true of both new and used cars.

Would you please let me know any other business were this information is available? Any other business where the primary goal isn't to make as much money off each sale? <br>

RD King
Re: FAQ: Buying / Selling A Car
Saturday, October 30, 2004 2:50 AM
what about appraisals ? If a vehicle is appraised with aftermarket goods installed it is worth more to banks and lending companies in whole. and for insurance purposes for that matter.
Re: FAQ: Buying / Selling A Car
Monday, November 01, 2004 10:54 AM
The ONLY time an appraisal will get you more money for a car is if it is considered a collectors item. 99% of cavaliers aren't collectors items, and if it was deemed as such, it wouldn't be considered a daily driver, and you could get special insurance for it. There are special insurance programs that cover the addition of aftermarket parts, but it doesn't mean the vehicle is worth any more than the blue book says it is.


4cyltuner.com - Information Source For 4 Cylinder Tuners
Buy stuff from CarCustoms Ebay! Won't be disappointed!

Re: FAQ: Buying / Selling A Car
Monday, November 01, 2004 12:48 PM
wow. this was a great article to read.

now i know alot more than i thought i did and im almost ready to go test drive some cars.

this will be posted on all my other forums. thanks alot guys.
Re: FAQ: Buying / Selling A Car
Monday, November 01, 2004 1:30 PM
Let me know where you put it


4cyltuner.com - Information Source For 4 Cylinder Tuners
Buy stuff from CarCustoms Ebay! Won't be disappointed!

Re: FAQ: Buying / Selling A Car
Friday, August 26, 2005 8:32 PM
Oh, it hurts my heart to hear such nonsense, now i have to post considering that i am a used a car sales person, and after reading that article which has some high points and some low points, let me correct you on some things starting with the first paragraph.

Of course we are trying to sell the car for the most that we can, we run a buissness and in a buissness you have to make money, they is nothing wrong with that. That is just like sombody trying to sell a carpart. You want to get the most that you can for it, yeah you would considering a few bucks less, but in the end you are still trying to get the most for your product. Moving on, i don't know about in some other states, but in wisconsin, it is illegal to sell a car to anyone under the age of 18. So if you are "16" or "17" you are going to have to have your parents consent anyway. Sure we do spot you from 3 miles away, but me personally, i wouldn't even bother with you once i found just how old you really are. I would even tell you to come back with your parents.

Second paragragh- It is extremelly usefull to use use the internet to resaerch a car, there is so much information that is avaliable to you as a consumer. Finding insurance rates and gas mileage, and relability is a huge factor and should be considered greatly.
If you are looking for a new car, sure you can find out ABOUT how much each dealer pays for a car, but there is no way to find out exactly the price that we have into a vehicle. Each dealer is different and all cars have a different destination charge, and a different mark up, as well as a different dealer fee. Mark up on a vehicle is not a s much on new vehicles as people think that they are. It can range anywere form 85.00 to 1500.00, not 8,000 like some people seem to think. So there is no way to find out the exact price.

Paragragh 3- Kelly Blue Book, Kelly Blue Book, Kelly Blue Book,.............is useful in some states. It is illegal to price a vehicle in the state of wisconsin by using Kelly Blue Book. There is no way that an online website can physically come out and look at your car and tell you how much it is worth. If you were selling your car to Kelly Blue Book, than yes, follow there pricing.....but you are not, You are selling your car to a dealer and a dealer can Physically look at your car and tell you what it is worth not by Kelly Blue Book, but by a BLACK book, which is used in the northeast part of the united states, and is only avaliable to dealers because dealers are the only people who can appraise vehicle. They also go by by what is called Manheim. Manheim lists every vehicle that is sold at an auction and lists they price that it is sold at. That my frinds is real money, that is what your car is worth, right along with the over all condition.Sure one dealer can tell you that they are giving you 2,000 dollars than the guy across town all they are doing is discounting the vehicle and making it look good on your trade in. If you ever run into this problem, tell that dealer that you will sell them your car, and that you are gonna buy some place else. 99% of the time, they will not give you that price for your trade in becase they took some mark up out of the vehicle, and put it into your trade in. So I guess that finding out how much your car is "exactly" worth, cannot be done before you go to the dealer. Sure, get a couple of appraisels done on your car, they will generally all be within 100-300 dollars of each other, unless you run into the guy that will give you 2000 more.

Tires- I'm not sure what dealer you shop at, unless it is a corner lot, but any reputable dealership will do what is called a state mandated inspection. Within that inspection includes that the tires have to be a certain depth, as well as a certain thickness. We cannot sell car that is not safe on public highways. If it is not safe, we WILL replace the tires with either new tires, depending in the vehicle, or qualified used tires. Uneven tire wear should not be seen because the alignment should also be taken care of. If it is not, mention it and we will be more than happy to fix the problem. Last point on this section before we move on, the part about maintainence.
Quote-When you buy a vehicle, it should be ready to drive off the lot and not require mantainence within 6 months. HMMMMM, how often do we change our OIL. Nuff said.

Brakes- anouther safety issue, that has to be addressed and that is mandatd by the state. Brakes have to by a certain thickness, and rotors either have to be replaced or resurfaced in order to be out for sale. Rust on the rotors is a normal thing and can happen after a day of being in the lot. It rains one night and the next day,Wala, rust on the rotors. I see it my car all the time. If you feel the brakes need replacing, then say so and we will look at them.

Paint/Body- The bes thing to do i s ask for a carfax on the particular vehicle, and we will be glad to give it to you. What is nice is that carfax allows what is called a BUYBACK GUARANTEE which means that if on the carfax there happens to be a brand in the title that does not show up on the carfax report, then carfax will BUYBACK you vehicle for 100% of what you paid for it. Anouther thing to do is ask for the previous owner, and who they are. They can give you a name and address, but not a number. Call the previous owner and see what the thought of the car, how they used it and how long they had it for. Previous owners were and are just as insecure as you are about buying your new car and will likely tell you anything that they know and will tell you anything you would like to know about there previous car. If a car has been in any major accident, a dealership will likely not keep the car. They will just wholesale it and be done with it. There is too much liability to be delt with and if we appraise a vehicle that has any of these signs, we do take that into consideration when putting an actual cash value on your trade, and decide if we do take the vehicle that we will not keep the car.

Interior-This is were we spend all of our time, and will likely have the most wear and tear. If the interior is that bad on a vehicle than maybe you should not buy it. All dealers detail all of there cars, and try to make them as good as new as make them look as new as possible. If peice of the interior is broken or worn out, that is all factored into price of the car. Keep in mind that it is a USED vehicle and that if you are going to be that picky with your new vehicle, that maybe you should buy a new one. If it is not a mjor peice that needs replacing, than most likley we will replace it. If it a peice that is not easily replaced, than yeah, ask for the discount.

Engine/Transmission-If there is anything wrong with an engine or a transmssion or anything on the vehicle, it HAS TO BE DISCLOSED ON THE WINDOW LABEL. If it is not disclosed than the dealer has to fix the problem unless stated otherwise I.E. sold as is with no warranty. It is illegal to hide anything from the customer. If you do purchase a car with no warranty, you are justifying the old saying of you get what you pay for.

Aftermarket Parts-If a car comes in with aftermarket parts, we will either replace the part with factory components, or if the car is really modded it, they won't even keep it all, they will auction or wholesale. If they do sell the car, chances are that it will be sold AS IS with no warranty. You get what you pay for. Dealership won't be liable for the car once it leaves the lot.

After you get our card and all the information that you need from us, think everything over as buying a car is a big decision to make and should be thought over in depth. If you do decide on a car on that you like, then sure come back and see us and we can work on a price. 9 chances out of 10, you will not get the price that you want to pay for the car. We all have want in this world and we can't all get what we want. If we cannot agree on a price, then we will just have to wait for the next person who looks at the car, there are alot of people in the world and yes, sombody else will buy the car if you don't
Most of the time a dealer will work with you the best that we can so that we can earn your buissness, if you are willing to work with the dealer. If we are willing to lower our price, then you have to be willing to higher yours.

The VIN etching thing i'm not sure about, i have never heard of that.

Tax, title, and dealership fees vary form dealership to dealership, as well as state to state, that part you are correct on. If a dealer says that the do not have a dealer fee, they are not telling the truth, dealer fee includes the inspection of the car and that fee pays the mechanic who did the inspection. Mechanics don't work for free as do neither you or I.

Also correct on the part of aftermarket parts and the pricing your vehicle for private party party sale. Sure you can price your car on whatever you want but the bank is only going to give you as much as the car is worth. not how much you are asking for the car, because they don't want to lend out 18000 dollars on a car that is only worth 12000.

When selling your car private party, you are gonna want to get the most that your car is worth(returning that you are going to want to get you them to pay the most that you can)just like the car dealer is doing. Also correct on the point that most dealers won't keep your car on a trade so we won;t give as much. We are only going to give you as much as we are ging to be to get for the car at auction, which brings me to my point earlier that we look at auction prices when we appraise your vehicle that way we know how much we can get for your car if we do not keep it. Most dealerships do this.

Well, i hope that i all gave you a little more info on buying a car and that we are honest people and that we will work with you on a vehicle if you like it and are considering purchasing. We are not out to screw anyone over or sell anyone a lemon, we are here to help people. Thanks.

Shifted did a very informative post, but he just has to get some of his information straight before telling everybody that all car dealers are out to screw us all.


I am what I am and it is what it is.
I am the 2nd most untrusted person in the world next to a lawyer,welcome to our dealership, may I help you?

Re: FAQ: Buying / Selling A Car
Friday, June 02, 2006 8:39 AM
i want to add one little tidbit, which i didn't know before i bought my Subaru. a LOT of banks(i don't know if this is standard or not...) will use NADA resale, rather than KBB, for determining loans. NADA is a slightly different scale than KBB, so make a point to check http://www.nada.com before buying or selling. for my Subaru, the price difference between NADA and KBB was about $1k - NADA rated it lower than KBB, and since they won't do a loan for more than 100% of the purchase price, i had to take out a secondary loan to cover the rest. it sucked.

R.I.P. Brian St.Germain
Re: FAQ: Buying / Selling A Car
Wednesday, August 23, 2006 7:14 PM
Just a little bit on the title on person to person (not dealership) sales

Make sure the person has a title and that the lien is either released or signed off on.

Make sure that the person on the title is the same as the person that you are buying it from.

If it isn't, make sure that the person on the title has at least signed the back of the title.

If that is the case, make sure that nothing else has been written on the title (signed and filled out by a different buyer). That requires that the original buyer either put it in his/her name, wait for the new title, and then sign it over to you.. or that you get an affidavit stating that the original seller was in the process of selling the car to the original buyer but the deal fell through and now the car is being sold to you.

There is room for only one person to sell the car on the title. All of the other places are reassignments for dealers only.

Make sure you write and spell everything correctly. There can't be any alterations on the title after you've written it down. Then you have to get a statement of fact saying you screwed up, what it should say, and no fraud intended.

Or at least.. that's how it is here in Texas

Re: FAQ: Buying / Selling A Car
Friday, September 22, 2006 5:10 PM
that's what it sounds like for AZ

Desert Tuners

“When you come across a big kettle of crazy, it’s best not to stir it.”

Re: FAQ: Buying / Selling A Car
Thursday, April 30, 2009 2:49 PM
Wow, i never thought to check some of the things that he meantioned here, especially the pedals, my cars brake pedal is pretty worn and the clutch was worn right down to the metal when i bought it, still works great though. The tires on mine were bald which was a good way to talk them down... and they were winters... and i bought my car in july. On the plus side i bought my car just 2 weeks after it had been inspected so it had brand new brakes, struts, and more.
In the long run i payed 2800$ for a 2002 Cavalier base model with 180,000km on it. $500 below the red book value at the time.

I don't fully understand the red book though. My car is a base model 02 cavalier 5 speed and my sisters car is a 01 Sunfire auto with power locks, an alarm, and lower mileage but my car is worth $3300 and hers was worth $2000 according to the red book when she got it about 6 months ago.
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