My experience with buying cars in a nutshell –
Prior to 1998: every car I owned up to this point was a hand-me-down from my parents.
1998: Purchased my first car, new, a Ford Ranger
2013: Still have the Ranger. Its time has sadly come to an end.
I’m a graduate student, and I teach a few classes at community colleges. My credit score is good (760, I believe), my income is ok, but I have a lot of student loan debt - like, over $100K. I’m looking for something used, that will last me at least five years. No older than 2004 or 2005, no more than 120K miles on it, I don’t want to spend more than $10K to $12K. My biggest consideration is gas mileage, since I have to drive to different colleges in the area on a daily basis. My credit union has already denied me financing, based on the student loan debt.
One of my problems is that I hate that haggling shit, and really don’t want to do it. I’d prefer to go somewhere and just pay the damn price they list. Preferably somewhere the listed price is the price you pay, such as Carmax. But I’m in Portland, and the nearest Carmax is down in California.
I’m also wondering about a couple of stories my girlfriend’s best friend has told, that I’m not sure I should believe.
She says she went to the local Toyota dealership, and they wouldn’t even talk to her until they ran her credit. When they found her credit was less than stellar, they started jacking up the prices of the cars she’d looked at online. She finally walked off the lot.
She also claims her father’s friend is a car salesman, and this salesman says that a buyer should never mention a down payment until the deal is well underway. For instance, if I’m taking $4000 with me, and I’m looking to spend no more than a grand total of $10,000, I should not mention the down payment, or they will raise the price of the car $4000 so that they can still get their $10,000 loan.
The problem I have with both of these stories is that I can’t see someone arbitrarily raising the price above what’s listed. The prices are listed online, and on the vehicles themselves on the lot. Would they really raise the price and expect someone to just go along with it? Is girlfriend’s friend just blowing hot air?
Also, I’ve been thinking about getting my new (to me) vehicle from a car rental place. Enterprise has a few lots in the area. A good family friend has gotten several cars this way over the years, and has always been happy. Any experiences with this route, good or bad?