Time For Me To Buy A Car

Hey all, I know the topic of car buying has been brought up from time to time here, but this is my first time posting on here while actively shopping for a car.

I was rear ended about a month ago and my trusty 2004 Honda Accord was totaled.

I have since received an insurance payment (for a lot more than I paid for it, so that was nice!) and am currently shopping for a car to replace that one.

I personally always buy used and in this case, my Honda was used primarily for deliveries so I want to get something older because I don’t want to worry about how much wear and tear I am putting on my vehicle.

Of course, as most know, the car market saw all time highs over the past year or so and not all prices have come down yet.

I should also mention, I am currently trying to switch out my other sedan for a minivan. I already have a buyer for the car, just trying to find the right van at the right price.

That being said, I would like to know your best tips, tricks, info, & warnings when it comes to buying a car.

I have bought from both private sellers and dealerships in the past, which do you prefer and why?

I know this topic is about me buying a car but I am sure you have something to share that could help not just me but also future car shoppers.

So share away!


No tips, but I am sorry about the accident! I hope you weren’t hurt- that car does look bad! Do you live in an area where you have a lot of options for purchasing?

I had to purchase a vehicle in the last few years, and ended buying new (for the first time) because it was only slightly more than used. (Crazy!) My 17 year old son was looking for a car and that took some time. We ended up finding one private sale on the side of the road that was amazing.

Good luck!

1 Like

Oh dear, that does look like a totaled car, we just went through that last year when my son totaled our 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe.
I have learned from experience I will never do another private sale, even if I know the person. We bought a H Accent, a cash deal for $1800, he swore up and down about how good and reliable it was, all lies. It cost another $1800 to get it repaired. One thing I did learn was to start the car multiple times before test driving. What the scammer did was clear the check engine light code (there are several ways to do this) just before he delivered the car, when he left I went to start it and voila, there it was, my new problem. Frozen shocks, gas tank had been dropped down and we could not get the nozzle in to pump gas,
Go to Carmax where they check out and repair vehicles they are reselling, or another place where there is structure involved. Some say take a mechanic with you and pay them, not so sure about this.
Recently we learned the Enterprise has auctions, that might be a place to investigate.


I’ve bought once from a private seller and twice from a used car dealer. None of them were great experiences.

Private seller: My very first vehicle – 1990 Toyota pickup. Seller was a family friend. Fairly reliable truck that was pretty beat up when I bought it. Lasted 4 or 5 years before repairs were too expensive to justify keeping it.

First used car experience: 2000 Subaru Outback purchased in 2010 with 130k miles. Slimy used car sales guy, for sure, but the car had a good reputation at the time. Lasted me nearly 10 year with plenty of routine repairs along the way, including the “big one” for Subarus of that era – cracked cylinder head. Sold it to a friend when I moved out of state.

Latest used car experience: 2018 Subaru Impreza bought in 2019. Super, super slimy sales guy. Only 8k miles at a great price, BUT had a salvaged title. Salvaged vehicles can be a risk, I know, but this car has been solid for the last three years. That said, I wouldn’t buy a salvaged vehicle again, especially with a kid to drive around (I didn’t have a kid when I bought the car).

So I’d say go with a dealership if you can swing it. Especially with the high prices of used cars at the moment, you won’t be paying much more at a dealership anyway. Used car lots are dicey and you can’t really trust anything they tell you. Same with private sellers.


Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences.

We actually ended up purchasing a van today. The van we ended up with: A 2014 Chrysler Town & Country with 125K miles.

We had previously looked at a 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan but with the $23,000 price tag, we felt it was not a good fit for our current financial situation.

We had discussed purchasing an older used van somewhere in the $6K-$7K range, using that for a year and then selling and upgrading once we had a nice chunk saved up for a newer van. But this van came on the market for $11,000, it was already priced $1,200 below KBB value so I went ahead an looked at it.

It is really kind of in between the cheap vans and the newer ones we were looking at which makes me think we might just hang onto it for bit longer than a year so maybe we can purchase a newer one cash.

We did end up financing this with $4,000 down but we were able to talk them down to $10,000 in the process, despite them showing us a list of all the other similar vans in a 500 mile radius of which theirs was the best priced.

While we technically could have purchased this car cash, financing it gives us a little bit of breathing room as I am currently in the process of getting a job that will allow us to hopefully pay it off in the next 6-8 months.

Lessons Learned for Buying At A Dealership:

  • Never take the first price at a dealership (there is always wiggle room)

  • Use anything you can to your advantage when negotiating (they will too so why shouldn’t you) [For example, I used the fact that we will be in Chicago later this month and were thinking of looking for cars there as a way to show them I wasn’t desperately in need of their specific van at that moment)

  • Always go with your gut, and have someone else there to talk to who is on your side

(I went by myself in the morning, then came back later with my wife and her sister. I let them take a test drive with the salesman without me in which my sister-in-law was able to get him to say they could possibly get it down to 10K. He came back after talking to his manager firm at 10.5K but after a little pushback from me he said how about we meet in the middle at 10,250. I told him we could look at the numbers. We went over them at which point he went to his manager and came back saying they were firm at 10.5. At that point I asked him to step away so I could talk to my wife, we both agreed we didn’t want to pay more than 10K. When he got back, I told him we were firm at 10K and reminded him that we would be in Chicago later looking at cars. After another brief meeting with his manager, he came back and we shook on the deal at $10K.) And that’s how I saved $1,000.

Sorry for the long reply but I do hope it may be helpful to someone in the future who may be looking to buy from a dealership. To be fair, I did actually purchase a car before from this exact dealership and used some of the same tactics mentioned above but in that case the negotiations spanned a couple of days. In this instance, I went in knowing the van was pretty decently priced already but knowing if I could get it down to $10K I would leave feeling like I had gotten a great deal.

Still looking for something to replace my wrecked Honda, will keep you posted on how that goes.


Seems like the dealer was the best route to go! Congrats on getting a good deal @mooreincome and looks like a reliable van!

1 Like

That’s great, @mooreincome , congrats on the new van at a great price!


I’m so sorry about the accident, and I hope you’ve recovered safely from it! I was also rear-ended in June. I ended up having to file a claim under my insurance who paid $9000+ in repairs. It’s is currently under subrogation.

For my current Acura ILX, I did buy from the dealer. It was a previously a loaner car and only had 4000 miles. It’s paid off. I’d like to save for an SUV in the near future, and I’d buy used from the dealer again. I just can’t fathom paying two car insurances and a car payment right now lol.

Just scrolled and read updates. Congratulations on your new minivan!!! Thanks for sharing your experience and tips!


Highly recommend you review YT: The Homework Guy and YAA: Your Advocate Alliance


Ah, man. That’s awful. Thankfully, you’re okay. I don’t have much advice about pre-used cars because I’ve only purchased new. However, looks like I will be looking soon as my 2005 repairs are costing a lot right now. I’m trying to hold off because cars, new or used, or just so expensive right now. I’ll be interested in others’ comments to you.