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Buying a Used Car Finding a Car • Know what you want Read reports, e.g., www.consumerguide.com I. Identifying the Car for your needs - Research • ConsumerGuide.com/auto/used • Or Edmunds.com – Sort by type of car: full size (sedan), compact, SUV • Provides recommended buy ratings and evaluations relative to other cars in same category • Informs the vehicle life – when it was made ‘04-’09 • Primary Tech Features – ABS, Passenger Airbag Criteria for your Car - Research Narrow Results By: • Price Range • Vehicle Category- Compact, full size sedan, sports car, luxury • Consumer Guide Rating (?) • Safety Features • City MPG • Fuel Type • Engine • Transmission • Your Selections • Year – 2004 Mazda • Model – 3 Research - Highlights of Car • Pros - Acceleration (s models with manual transmission) • Fuel economy • Handling • Cons - Cargo room • Vehicle Highlights • Mazda replaced its Protoge subcompact for 2004 with a slightly larger new car called the Mazda 3. Mazda 3 came in 4-dr sedan and hatchback body styles. The sedan was available in base "i" trim and uplevel "s" form. The hatchback came only as an s model. Two 4-cyl engines were available: a 148-hp 2.0 liter for i models, a 160-hp 2.3 for s versions. With either engine, a 5-speed manual transmission came standard; a 4-speed automatic with manual shift gate was optional. The i model had 15-inch wheels or optional 16s. The s sedan came with 16s; 17s were included in its Sport Package option. The hatchback had 17s. Front side airbags, curtain side airbags, and ABS were grouped in a single option package for all models. Air conditioning was optional on the i model, standard on s versions. Year to Year Changes • 2005 Mazda 3: A new sp23 model included leather seating, and 17- inch polished alloy wheels. • 2006 Mazda 3: The sp23 model was dropped, and s Touring and S Grand Touring were added. S Touring included front side airbags, curtain side airbags, and 17-inch wheels. The s Grand Touring added to S Touring leather seating, heated front seats, automatic climate control, trip computer, and xenon headlamps. • 2007 Mazda 3: Mazda 3 added a performance model and traction/antiskid control became available for 2007. These 4-dr sedans and 4-dr hatchbacks came in Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring trim, and were joined by a MazdaSpeed hatchback for '07. It had a sport-tuned suspension, xenon headlights, leather upholstery, larger brakes, and 18-inch wheels. Other models got minor cosmetic changes for 2007. • 2008 Mazda 3: The Mazda 3 was largely unchanged for 2008. • 2009 Mazda 3: The 2009 Mazda 3 received few changes. Research – Road Test Review • Review Updated: 02.22.2005 • Pros • Quietness, Ride, Passenger room • Cons • Automatic-transmission performance • Consumer Guide® Road-Test Evaluation • Acceleration is little-changed from the prior generation--in short, nothing to shout about. Our test GLE ran 0-60 mph in a so-so 10 seconds with automatic transmission. The 2000 models should be a bit swifter. There's also little change in the transmission's reluctance to downshift promptly, or in its abruptness when it does. Our test GXE returned a somewhat disappointing 20.3 mpg, while our GLE averaged 23.4 mpg, despite hard city driving and performance testing. • Expect a smooth, absorbent ride except on washboard surfaces, where minor wheel pattering disturbs the calm. Alas, the ride exacts a tradeoff in mediocre body control over big humps and dips, plus more body lean in tight turns than we prefer. Even so, Altima handling is competently agile, aided by quick steering with good feedback. Braking with ABS proved to be safe and undramatic, if unexceptional by today's standards. Research Reliability Trouble Spots • Air conditioner: Overheating and/or lack of charging may result from a tensioner pulley that wears out and the tensioner; drive belt as well as A/C drive belt must be changed. (2004-05) • Brakes: Rear brakes make grinding or squealing noises and revised brake pads have been issued, while front brakes squeal when cold, so new pads along with a revised caliper support have been issued. (2004-05) • Check-engine light: The check engine light may illuminate even though there is no detectible drivability issues due to a valve in the intake system jamming. (2004-08) • Finding a Vehicle • Know what you want • Know what you can afford Car Budget • New Cars = $20,000 • In 3yrs worth $10-12k – 3 to 3½ yrs = $10,000 35-50k miles • Usage cost $10k + tax + I for 3 yrs – Years 4-6 = $6,000 50-85k miles • Usage cost $4,000 + tax + I for 3yrs + maint $500 – Years 7-10 = $3,000 85k+ • Usage cost $2,000 + tax + maint $1,500 • Age is critical on cost, Years 5-7 are typically optimal => adequate depr & minimal repair costs Finding a Car - Useful Life • Know what you want • Know what you can spend • Determine the car life and miles you need – 5,000 miles/yr for 3 yrs, you can handle higher mileage car – 15,000 miles/yr for 3yrs, you will need lower mileage car – Buy the portion of car you need (e.g., small town, older couple) • Determine features you want – The used car market discounts heavily for manual transmission, 2 door e.g Toyota Solara or Fwd SUVs II. Shopping for a Car You are now ready to start looking for a car! Good sites for car buying: - cars.com - autotrader.com - ebaymotors.com Finding a Car –Good Price • Check the market price for the car – www.autotrader.com – Select about 100 mile range – Grade levels, engines, features – Write down prices to understand what the market is bearing • Reference also Blue Book values: www.kbb.com or www.nada.com • 3 price levels - Lender, trade-in, retail levels Shopping for a Car- Who to Buy From • Choices 1. Large Dealer – High margin, overhead, no history, easy to clean up car problems, higher accountability… reputation in town 2. Small Lot Dealer - Medium margin, overhead, no history, easy to clean up car problems, low accountability…may move or go out of business tomorrow 3. Private Owner – – A. Keeps car like a baby or pet, follows manual, utilizes same mechanic, keeps maintenance records – B. Functional maintenance, does not go the extra distance and is concerned about cost more than care – C. Irresponsible owner – no maintenance schedule, no records, careless, no clue about cars • Private Owner type A is best bet to buy from! Finding a Car via Phone Criteria • Save time using phone interview elimination questions • Develop a matrix to pull data from ads – Car model, grade level, year, miles, cost, main features, plus elimination questions Options to look for: • Air conditioning • Automatic transmission • Power windows • Power door locks • Power steering • Power brakes • More options = more potential problems Phone Interview Questions 1. Are you the original owner of the car? If not, how long have you owned it? Did you know the original owner? 2. Who drove the car most of the time? 3. How many miles are on the car? How many of those were highway miles? 4. Has the car ever been in an accident? 5. Do you have a file of all the maintenance and repair receipts on the car? Phone Interview Questions 6. When the car needed maintenance, where did you take it? 7. If you were going to keep the car, what repairs would you expect to have within the next few months? Years? 8. After I look at the car, and if I am still interested, may I take it to my mechanic to have it checked out? 9. How much rust is on the body? 10. Why are you selling the car? Phone Interview Questions 11. Was the car kept in a garage or carport? 12. How badly worn is the interior? 13. Is your asking price negotiable? If not, why not? 14. What options does the car have? 15. What is the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) so I can check www.carfax.com? What to look for • Interior – Condition sometimes indicates owner’s cleanliness and care – Condition gives overall feel for use by family or single person Torn Seat • Duct tape • Look under seat covers if you can What to look for Exterior • Dents, scratches, dings • Tire wear – uneven • Broken glass • Lights - broken - water vapor on inside of lens - discoloration of lens What to look for • Exterior Care - Dents, scratches, dings - look down side of car What to look for • Tire wear –uneven What to look for Function • Oil leaks - look under car for oil • White milky oil stuck under cap • Check oil levels-Turn engine off to check engine oil • Dirty engine = oil is black or dark • Check smoke from exhaust at start up (Should not be blue) What to look for Function • Check transmission fluid - Park on level surface - Leave engine running when checking automatic transmission What to look for Function • Is the Engine Check light on? Are there any other warning lights on? What to look for Function • Is the Engine Check light on? Autozone has free diagnostic service Are there any other warning lights on? • Check all accessories for operation - all windows, locks, power seats, etc. - all door locks and handles (stiff?) What to look for Function • Engine smoothness - rough idle? Timing calibration? • Noises/squeaks- belts Test Drive • Transmission Check - Winding noise change when shifting to drive – transmission may be slipping – concern area – investigate. Test Drive • Brake Check - Smooth steady breaking or pulsating squeaks? Test Drive • Steering suspension - Pull car to each side in a circle and verify no noise -> cv joints and bearings. Important Principles • Choose not to fall in love with the car or show that you are falling in love with it. This will affect your ability to negotiate a good price. As a seller, if I sense the person has fallen in love, I am not so willing to reduce the price, because I know they want to buy it. • Trust that there will be other cars available! Buying the Car • Talk them down! Asking price is not generally the least they will take! $500-$2,000 possible reduction. Buying the Car • Talk them down • Find flaws in car • Complain about something • Don’t go alone - bring a friend when buying the car • Ask a mechanic to look at the car • Have a few cars in mind • Offer less and let them work up the price Car Insurance, Title, DMV Car Insurance • Once the price is settled, you will need car insurance to drive the car away • You can check car insurance online Title – see copy distributed • Check for signatures, notary • DMV - If title has not been notarized, then you both need to go to the DMV to process the title and get license plates Congratulations on buying a suitable used car!
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