Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Car Shopping

I'm trying to think if there's anything I hate more than car shopping. Hours and hours online, sorting through ads. Finally finding a couple of decent options, calling the owners, and finding that the vehicle was already sold but the ad hadn't been taken down yet. Telling myself that it would be far better financially to buy from another person, rather than going to a dealership to hunt up a used car. And yet, after hours of trying to find a privately sold car, thinking that spending an extra $3000 would be much better than continuing to sort through ads.

I keep thinking I have better things to do than this....


  1. I COMPLETELY agree - however,...

    I have finally found THE place to buy a car. I will buy all my car from there as long as possible! The owner has become a friend of ours. We deal directly with him. We tell him what we are in the market for and he searches auctions for the vehicle he thinks will be the right fit. He completely exceeded our expectations with our van. The price was right, it had more features than we expected. We had no middle man to deal with since he is the owner.

  2. WE HEAR YOU! So, is Paul taking one to school? We have always gone to a dealer...and we just walked away from a very good deal on a newer used car. There are deals to to had...July was had the lowest amount of car sales (for that month)in the last 16 years.

    Laura who hates the whole new/used car thing, too. (Hey we got a Lumina you can buy then fix. :)

  3. Timing is so poor here! I have my car which I will no longer need or even have a place to store, come next May, which is a great little car that will last a long time. But, well, I need it 'til May.... and it's in Texas. Hmph!

  4. Like Michelle, we've found our place for car buying. We've been getting our cars repaired at the same place for years. The owner buys cars at auctions, fixes them up, and sells him. We know him and trust him enough now, that when we needed a minivan, we could say to him: we will spend no more than $5000, don't care so much about looks but decent gas mileage is important. He kept that in mind, and called us when he had something. It was great!

  5. I fear we will be in this same spot in a short while as our 22 year old Camry is nickle and diming us...

    I was hoping to learn from you how to do it without spending all that time.


  6. Paula, apparently the answer is to have an honest and reputable friend who knows cars and deals in them. A couple of weeks before we moved, one of the elders at church (at the old place) told us where he always buys cars, and that you can always count on a good deal and a reliable used car from this guy. That would've been nice to know 17 years earlier! I wish somebody could tell me that now, about the new place!

  7. I know something even worse than car shopping: refinancing your mortgage. Ick. More totalizing and not one little part of it that might be described as fun.

    We had a great car-shopping experience at Carmax. Huge inventory and no dickering. You know, we have one of those in the Chicago area. And I know a great B&B you could stay at if you wanted to come down and check it out! :-)

  8. Laura and Cheryl with the Car-Max thing... So I checked online. There are THREE (count 'em, 3) Hondas/Toyotas for under $10,000. Three within a 100-mile radius. The lowest dollar-amount you can input is $10,000. When I checked all cars in that price-range, the lowest I found was $8000. If I'm going to spend that much, I have a lot more choices than what I can find at Car-Max. So help me out here: what is the draw to Car-Max? Do they have a reputation for never selling low quality? Or what?

  9. I don't know that you should discount a regular dealership. We were able to get dh a cheap ($3000) car last November. It has run really well, gets almost 40 miles per gallon, and had only 60,000 miles on it when we bought it. We couldn't find anything even remotely close to this price looking through private party ads. There was no haggling since it was something they had had on the lot for awhile and wanted to get rid of. We found it by searching the internet inventory listings for the dealerships in our area.

  10. Let's see, why do we like Carmax?

    I think it boils down to three things. One, huge inventory. Two, no haggling. The price is what it is. Three, their 125-point inspection. And they guarantee that no car they sell has had frame or water damage. And you have the 5-day buyer's remorse window to take it home and try it. When we bought our van from them, we did the Carmax financing so we could drive it away that day and then came back over a few days later and used a cashier's check from our preferred lender to pay off Carmax and switch the financing over.

    Other than these things, all I can offer is our personal experience of buying a car there, which was very good. We were shopping for a minivan, not happy with the run-of-the-mill options, and stumbled on this thing called a Eurovan. A web search revealed that our local Carmax had one on the lot. So that's why we went there in the first place--not because of Carmax's reputation. When we showed up wanting to drive it, the salesperson assigned to us had no idea what we were talking about. Had to go look it up and then search all over the lot to find it hidden in the back. We loved it but weren't ready to buy the first one. But after looking around Chicagoland at a few others on used VW lots, we went back to Carmax because they had the best price. Also, they paid for a new owner's manual and mats for us (both were missing from the van). It was just an overall very good buying experience.

    Kim also has a good point, though. The last car we bought was a used Mercury Grand Marquis--dh knew exactly what he wanted and we did an internet search and found one that had been traded in to a nearby Lexus dealership. He went over and bought it. We had not done much looking. I think we just got lucky on that one!

    And do I need to remind you again that if you decide to look around Chicago you have a ready-made place to stay? I'll even drive you to Carmax (or anywhere else) myself!

  11. Cheryl, seeing as how there are three in Mwkee, two of those within half an hour of the house, and the other close to Laura's, and seeing as how the website says they'll bring cars from other Carmax locations to the one by me, I don't think I'd have to drive 2.5 hours to go car shopping. :-) If I drive more than an hour for car shopping, I think I'll go to that guy over in Darien that our old insurance agent raved about. Thanks for the invitation, though.

  12. Oh well, can't blame a girl for trying, right?

    And I didn't realize you had a glut of Carmaxes in Milwaukee. Guess I'm one of those tunnel-visioned Chicagoans who thinks there's CHICAGO (which has everything, of course, including Ikea) and then there's all you poor deprived people who live Somewhere Else.


    (Now's when you get to remind me that you have a Woodman's and I don't.)