Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Buying A Car Sucks

So I purchased a car a few days ago. This made me very happy as buying a car sucks. I should probably clarify that I bought a used car, because buying a new car is simple. Do your research, find the car, get it within your budget. Buying a used car is a very annoying process, and there is no way to avoid frustration. It also does not help that I know very little about cars. My past two cars have been a 93 Mercury Tracer (Which I lovingly referred to as the T-Racer to make it seem more badass) and a 1998 Ford Escort, so I'll never be accused of being a gear head. My only goals were to get a reliable vehicle for a good price. This proved to be much more difficult than I expected. Here is my journey.

Honda Civic - I found a Civic online for a good price at a local dealership, so I set up an appointment to check out the vehicle. I got there, and the car was getting detailed, so it was unable to be driven for another hour. Still, it did drive well, so I wanted to look into pricing. After we agreed on a price, they managed to add an extra $800 for dealership handling fees. They hadn't had enough time to even put the car out on the lot yet, but they had apparently put a lot of money into it. I was also immediately told that the price of those fees were not negotiable. If there is one thing I hate, it's hidden fees. Also, the aggressive sales techniques turn me off, so a used car lot is not a welcoming place for someone like me.

Ford Focus - This was my first Craigslist adventure. It was a 2007 Focus with very low miles, and priced well below the KBB value. I was pumped enough to drive an hour away to check out the vehicle. He had me drive to a church parking lot, and then informed me to follow him instead of just bringing the car to the church. This seemed odd, but I followed, and luckily, this was not a setup to ambush me. Still, the guy selling the car was Ukrainian, and his English left a little to be desired. Still, his English was much better than my Ukrainian. The car actually drove well, and I even got a few hundred dollars off the cost. I agreed to buy the vehicle as long as everything checked out. He tried to get me to put down a $200 deposit, but I politely told him that I was not going to give him cash for the fun of it. When I got home, I ran the CarFax, and found out that it used to be a rental car. Then it was deemed undriveable. And his story about having it for three years was inaccurate as he had barely had it three months. I called him and told him that things were not going to work out, and my search on Craigslist continued.

Ford Focus - After that, I checked out yet another Ford Focus, although this one was much closer and a year newer. The people seemed nice, so I took the car for a test drive, and it sounded like a lawnmower, and shook like a jackhammer. My test rive lasted about a minute, and 30 of those seconds were wasted on finding a place to turn around. When I told them about the problems, he told me that it was just how a 4-cylinder engine runs. As an avid driver, I assured him that it was not how a 4-cylinder engine is supposed to run.

Hyundai Sonata - I found a Sonata that only had 90,000 miles on it, and I was very interested in buying it. Unfortunately, after running a CarFax, I found out the odomoter had been altered and there was no way to know how many miles were actually on the vehicle. I decided to pass.

Ford Taurus - At this point, I was two weeks into my search and getting desperate. The Taurus was about and hour away, but it was for a good price, so I decided to make the trip. About five minutes before arriving, I checked my email at a stoplight and found out it was sold already. He decided to email me instead of calling, so I didn't actually see it until right before my arrival. At least I got a chance to pointlessly drive to Venice, so I can check that off the old bucket list.

Toyota Corolla - I found this one on Craigslist, and it was 90 minutes away, but I was now in extreme desperation mode. I just wanted to get this shit figured out. I drive all the way down there to find out it was a dealership posing as a private owner. I knew I wouldn't be purchasing the car at that moment, but I still took it through what would have been a rough and angry test drive, but the transmission was already rough when shifting gears, so I figured the damage had already been done to that car. I solemnly made the drive back home.

Volvo S60 - I found this on Craigslist with a price that was slightly below the Blue Book value. Before taking a test drive, I was able to talk him down $500 more dollars. I took it for a test drive, and hoo boy, that car can move. I know it's not polite to talk about the dead, but this car could have probably beaten the T-Racer in its prime. But I did my research and found out that at the mileage it was at, it was going to need the timing belt replaced very soon. That was going to be a 700-900 expense. I really liked the car, but with that big expense looming, I low balled the shit out of him. He thanked me for my time and said he would get back to me if he could not find another buyer. I didn't like driving away from the car, but since I didn't give a shit about a car that was fun to drive originally, I kept my calm and figured I would let things fall where they may.

But I still really wanted to get this shit over with. I waited until the next night and followed up with him and said I could go up a few hundred from where I was at. I was willing to go $400 over what I had offered, but I certainly wasn't going to tell him that. He said he would do it for $300 over my original price, and even though I probably could have kept negotiating and maybe paid $100 less, the last three weeks had exhausted me, so I took the deal.

I ended up getting the car for about 1800 under KBB value, but in a few months, I am going to be putting in $800-1000, so that takes away a little bit from that great deal, but it was still a really good price, and the relief of finally having it be done was fantastic. I am now the proud owner of a 2007 Volvo S60. Although I really like the power of the car, my favorite feature is that there is a button that drops the back headrests so it is easier to see out the back window. Even Xzibit would be impressed with that.

So although I am happy with the end result. The process was awful. Just constantly checking Craigslist was very depressing. If anything was promising, I'd go into Kelley Blue Book, which was always six steps where it would have been awesome if they could have shrunk that process down. And then I got to the test drive part where something would inevitably go horribly wrong. What I'm basically saying is just buy new cars. It's so much easier, and they come with warranties, so you can do about 15 minutes of research and buy a vehicle. Having money must be awesome.


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