Category: Car Buying Tips

By on April 26, 2016

Mark's Saturn Astra, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Over the weekend and earlier this week, my girlfriend and I negotiated over and agreed to purchase a new car. No, it isn’t that.

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By on March 11, 2016

Salesman With Customer

Carfax has become so commonplace that it’s now standard practice for many car buyers to ask for it when shopping for a used car. Its database has grown over the years to the point that it now claims to to have the most comprehensive vehicle history database in North America.

The reports include such valuable information as title brands, accident history, and even service history for some vehicles, but it has some limitations that unscrupulous dealers are using to their advantage. The missing data allows these dealers to represent damaged cars as clean and use the Carfax report to support those claims.

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By on February 19, 2016

New Suckers At The Stock Photo Dealership

The Internet brings transparency to the car buying process and allows us to search the whole country for our favorite car. While shopping for a WRX a few months ago, I got quotes from dealers as far as 1,500 miles away. I ended up skipping the local dealers and travelling to a dealer 80 miles away in order to get the best price.

Leaving your immediate geographical area can be beneficial in many instances, especially if you can find a more competitive market that’s reasonably close. Unscrupulous dealers have caught on to geographical buyers who are only looking for the lowest price. These dealers combine geography and psychology in order to dupe buyers to come in and often get rewarded for their shameless behavior by making the sale.

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By on January 4, 2016

Escort_wreck_006

Salvage and rebuilt vehicle listings on Craigslist (and other classified sites) are ubiquitous. They often manifest themselves as late-model metal with low prices and even lower standards of ad copy.

But have you ever wondered how those vehicles end up on Craigslist in the first place? What happens to a salvage or rebuilt vehicle between the time it’s sold at auction and its first appearance on your local classified site?

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By on December 29, 2015

Imagine the following scenario: You’re a Buick salesman. An elderly woman comes into your showroom to inquire about a replacement for her Regal. You decide that she’s a great candidate for an Encore, and since you have some previous-year Encore stock you decide that she’s a great candidate for a 2015 Encore instead of the new model. There’s a $149/month lease deal available from GM Financial. What kind of deal do you make for this woman?

If your answer is, “I’d charge her over sticker for the vehicle, switch the lease company to make some back-end money, and add nearly a thousand dollars of profit in fees above that,” then you might just be the salesman that Buick GMC of Beachwood, OH needs.

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By on December 10, 2015

titleloan

Many people rely on title loans when money is tight, regardless of their infamous predatory nature and high interest rates. However, getting that loan is much like playing Russian Roulette — and with similar odds. According to a recent PEW study, one out of every nine title loans results in a repossession, with the titled vehicle eventually heading to auction. 

Recently, I received a notice that a large title loan vendor was to auction off over 500 vehicles. My curiosity got the better of me. Armed with the auction run list and a VIN history tool, I decided to take a look at what ends up at these auctions and how they get there.

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By on December 8, 2015

Quadra-lift_air_suspension_01

If you’re a car enthusiast, you likely get asked by your friends and acquaintances for advice on their automotive purchases. If you write about cars, that probability becomes a certainty. When they ask something really general like “what’s the best car?” it’s a bit annoying because what fits your needs best may not be the best choice for your neighbor. However, sometimes you’re presented with a genuine need and you want to give sound advice. Read More >

By on October 29, 2015

WRXMain

The Ford Focus ST and Subaru WRX were the two finalists in my new car search and the Focus ST seemed to be winning out due the extra incentives that were being advertised. I emailed a few Ford dealers in my area to negotiate an ST2 and a few Subaru dealers to see if they were offering any discounts that were not advertised.

The 2015 Focus ST might appear to be the best deal if you go by the advertised prices, but the 2016 WRX ended up being a great deal after talking to a few dealers. I was interested in the ST2 model of the Focus and got quotes of about $24,800 on a 2015 and around $26,700 on a 2016 based on all the discounts for which I qualified.

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By on October 28, 2015

FocusST

The time has come to replace my Cadillac STS with a newer ride, so I have spent the last couple of weeks narrowing down the potential replacements. I have bought and sold enough vehicles that my evaluation process for resale vehicles is somewhat cut-and-dry, but buying a new personal vehicle seems to bring more questions and answers.

The Cadillac STS came from an auction like many of my previous daily drivers. It was a purchase of opportunity, due to low cost at the time. Profitability trumps emotion for many of my car-buying decisions; I care more about how much it costs to buy and recondition a car — and its subsequent profitability when I sell it — than I care about how it feels.  Read More >

By on September 3, 2015

Used cars

Going to visit a dealer on a rainy day or the third Sunday after a holiday might not help you get a better deal on a used car, but tracking how long it’s been sitting on the lot may work in your favor. Aged inventory takes up valuable lot space while interest adds up every day motivating most dealers to drop the price to sell it quickly.

Most cars arrive on a dealer lot arrive from wholesale auctions or customer trade-in and are paid out from dealer funds or by a loan through floorplan financing. As with most loans, interest and fees are paid until the loan is satisfied for the floorplan. Each day of interest cuts into the potential profit for a vehicle so dealers try to move inventory as quickly as possible.

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  • Bark M., United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic

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