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Buying my first (used) car tomorrow! Anything I should know? Any advice?

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Old 09-10-09, 08:48 PM Thread Starter   #1
LoneWolf121188
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Buying my first (used) car tomorrow! Anything I should know? Any advice?


I know there's a lot of car mechanic type of people on these boards, so I thought I'd ask you all if you had any recommendations when I go to the dealer tomorrow. I've hunted around a lot and I think I've settled on a 2009 Subaru Outback Special Edition. It's only got 11k miles on it, and the asking price at the dealer is $19,900, which I think is damn good already for a Special Edition (2nd up from the bottom trim level) with the All-Weather Package and only 11,000 miles. It's a Subaru Certified Pre-Owned, which have a 6 yr/100,000 mi Powertrain Warranty plus roadside assistance (which is actually way better than the new powertrain warranty). That's in addition to the 3 yr/36,000 mi standard warranty, of which it's still got 2 yr/25,000 miles left on. According to its Carfax report, it was used as a rental car by a "major car rental company" in Portland, then sold at an auction on the 10th of August.

Everything looks good on paper, and the price is very low (which concerns me a little...). If I can get it for anything under $19k, I'll be super happy. But is there anything I should look out for as a first time buyer? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 09-10-09, 09:42 PM   #2
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I haven't heard any real complaints about the 09 series engines, a lot of guys in my subaru club are enjoying yhem for the space and usability. I've driven a lot of subarus in the past and have enjoyed every one. I think you'll be very happy with it in the winter. Enjoy and good luck on the purchase.

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Old 09-10-09, 09:49 PM   #3
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The dealer markup is 2-3 thou.

I rolled the dice on Craig's List and paid a trusted mechanic for a top to bottom inspection when I bought a previous gen (pre 2007) Camry. Haven't had to take it in for anything since + saved 3 thou on a used car dealer price. us bank has low used car financing rates.



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Old 09-10-09, 09:54 PM   #4
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I argued the price down using this:
http://www.kbb.com/kbb/UsedCars/default.aspx

But you can usually only do that with a private party purchase.
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Old 09-10-09, 09:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoneWolf121188 View Post
I know there's a lot of car mechanic type of people on these boards, so I thought I'd ask you all if you had any recommendations when I go to the dealer tomorrow. I've hunted around a lot and I think I've settled on a 2009 Subaru Outback Special Edition. It's only got 11k miles on it, and the asking price at the dealer is $19,900, which I think is damn good already for a Special Edition (2nd up from the bottom trim level) with the All-Weather Package and only 11,000 miles. It's a Subaru Certified Pre-Owned, which have a 6 yr/100,000 mi Powertrain Warranty plus roadside assistance (which is actually way better than the new powertrain warranty). That's in addition to the 3 yr/36,000 mi standard warranty, of which it's still got 2 yr/25,000 miles left on. According to its Carfax report, it was used as a rental car by a "major car rental company" in Portland, then sold at an auction on the 10th of August.

Everything looks good on paper, and the price is very low (which concerns me a little...). If I can get it for anything under $19k, I'll be super happy. But is there anything I should look out for as a first time buyer? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
LW,

They are a nice car, get a Carfax report from the dealer.

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Old 09-10-09, 11:06 PM   #6
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I heard that Subaru doesn't sell cars to car rental companies. Of course it was a dealership that told me that.

Sounds like a good price for a good car.

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Old 09-11-09, 12:11 AM Thread Starter   #7
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Thanks guys! What documents am I going to need to bring? Obviously my license and insurance...on top of that I'm planning on bringing my social security card and a few other forms of ID...is that sufficient?

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Old 09-11-09, 12:20 AM   #8
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Never, ever, ever buy a rental car.
The only more abused cars are taxis and police cars.
Figure the mileage at 10x bare minimum, so if it has 12k it's worn at least least 120k mile car.
Actually, 20x is probably better, really. So that has 220k on it roughly speaking.

I have never run into an ex-rental car that was in decent condition (it may look good after the detailing, i'm talking powertrain wise), not once in 21 years of professional auto mechanicing(mechanication? Hell i donno, wrenching, whatever. Long time, lotta cars).

Aside from that, subarus are great cars, when the head gaskets hold together (figure on replacing them between 70 and 160k miles, costs 1500-2200), and when the left rear wheel bearings hold together (they seem to have gotten this largely under control with >2003 cars, costs ~400-500, 500-600 if they salt the roads where you live).


EDIT:
Is this a six cylinder as c627's post implies? I have no clue what their head gaskets are like, but figure 2000-3000 if they pop, those motors are a pain to work on.
Then again, i've never seen a 6 in anything but an XT(lol old), SVX (It's a spaceship!) which are both different sixes, and in the Legacy, never in an outback.

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Old 09-11-09, 12:33 AM   #9
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Here's something to know as a first time buyer...there's a good chance you're getting screwed in some fashion.

I wouldnt buy a rental car for the same reasons Bobnova laid out. And I was going to mention the same thing about police cars as well. The only people that buy those are taxis because they're cheap and in abundance for fixing.

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Old 09-11-09, 07:31 AM   #10
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I used to work for Chrysler.. take my word for it, never buy a used rental vehicle.
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Old 09-11-09, 08:04 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RollingThunder View Post
LW,

They are a nice car, get a Carfax report from the dealer.
Oops, you did get a Carfax.........

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Old 09-11-09, 08:24 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobnova View Post
Never, ever, ever buy a rental car.
The only more abused cars are taxis and police cars.
Figure the mileage at 10x bare minimum, so if it has 12k it's worn at least least 120k mile car.
Actually, 20x is probably better, really. So that has 220k on it roughly speaking.

I have never run into an ex-rental car that was in decent condition (it may look good after the detailing, i'm talking powertrain wise), not once in 21 years of professional auto mechanicing(mechanication? Hell i donno, wrenching, whatever. Long time, lotta cars).

Aside from that, subarus are great cars, when the head gaskets hold together (figure on replacing them between 70 and 160k miles, costs 1500-2200), and when the left rear wheel bearings hold together (they seem to have gotten this largely under control with >2003 cars, costs ~400-500, 500-600 if they salt the roads where you live).


EDIT:
Is this a six cylinder as c627's post implies? I have no clue what their head gaskets are like, but figure 2000-3000 if they pop, those motors are a pain to work on.
Then again, i've never seen a 6 in anything but an XT(lol old), SVX (It's a spaceship!) which are both different sixes, and in the Legacy, never in an outback.
My friend bought a Focus from Enterprise car sales at 30k miles. It's getting to 150kmiles on same parts originally and regular maintenance. I don't know where you got your numbers from, but that's just stupid. You watch too many jackass/cky episodes.

it's a flip of a coin and depends on the car. An SUV or luxury rental barely gets rented a lot compared to the cheaper economical cars and car rentals tend to have a cap on mileage before they turn around and sell it.

Subarus are nice, but parts are harder to get, therefore they are more expensive fix and you can only get them through a dealership.

If you're going to buy used solely look at reliability... so Honda or Toyota.
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Old 09-11-09, 10:05 AM   #13
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Napa stocks tons of subaru parts, thats where we get all our subaru parts. You may have gotten the only rental that never got beat on, congrats. Calling what i've personally observed in the last 21 years stupid is.... lol

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Old 09-11-09, 11:04 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobnova View Post
Napa stocks tons of subaru parts, thats where we get all our subaru parts. You may have gotten the only rental that never got beat on, congrats. Calling what i've personally observed in the last 21 years stupid is.... lol
It's just that things nowadays are different. Making a blanket statement that all rental cars or POJs really isn't that valid anymore.
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Old 09-11-09, 11:10 AM   #15
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A 'fleet' vehicle may be from a government or corporate motor pool, and not necessarily a rental. I recently bought a used Honda Accord that was a fleet vehicle, according to the Carfax report. The car still has 2 years and 30K miles left on the power train, still smells new and runs great. The only flaws are minor scratches.
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Old 09-11-09, 12:01 PM   #16
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Fleet vehicles don't fall into the rental don't buy it category by default. Some fleets do, but they aren't abused as much as rentals, and they get the maintenance that rentals do not get.

Rentals are abused by most people that drive them, and get very little maintenance from the rental agency because they know they're just going to unload them to the people that don't ask or don't listen to mechanics.
Some individual cars got perfect builds and can take that, but the vast majority (we're talking 99.99% here) can't. I had one, it was a 76 volvo that was specifically built for the swedish ambassador to the US, he sold it to a cheesebrain who did no maintenance at all and it arrived at my shop making terrible sounds with almost no oil, almost no coolant, and looking pretty dead.
We bought it on the spot for a grand, put oil/coolant in, and it ran another 200k miles without a hitch. Volvo 240 series cars are a far different story then anything modern though, they were built with 300-400k miles in mind, not 100k.
I stand by my position of do not buy a rental, or at least not for more then a grand tops.

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Old 09-11-09, 07:11 PM Thread Starter   #17
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I ended up getting a similar Outback, 1 year old 2009 with 15900 miles, Special Edition, Black inside and out, for $19,500 including an upgraded warranty (6 yr/100k bumper to bumper). I probably could have gone a few hundred lower, but I really liked it and wanted to get it then and there. It was a fleet vehicle, owned by Subaru, so I'm hoping it got taken care of. In any case, I should be good for just about everything in the first 5 years. I'm really psyched about it! It drives very nicely...the drive home from the dealer is about an hour and a half, 45 min on the Interstate and the other 45 on back roads, and it handled everything just perfectly. I LOVE the turning radius, as compared to my parent's Volvo XC...I had to pull a U turn on a back country road and it fit perfectly within the width of the road. No way the XC could do that. It feels a lot lighter and nimbler too. Thanks for all the advice, guys!

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Old 09-11-09, 08:09 PM   #18
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Congrats and enjoy!
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Old 09-11-09, 09:15 PM   #19
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good you didnt get the rental car...

Hertz portland is the largest fleet seller up there, they pretty much do all oregon licenced rental hertz cars and subarus dont hold up to rental fleet managment for some reason.

that was a car we took to the shop more often than any thing else.

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Old 09-12-09, 11:20 AM   #20
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Very cool! You'll love the car, subarus are great.

One piece of advice: Change the oil, change the oil, change the oil.
The difference between the manufacturer intervals (7500, usually) and the mechanic recommended intervals (3000) is thusly:
7500 mile oil changes work great, but the car is about done at 100-150k miles, it might drag on longer burning lots of oil.
3000 mile oil changes cost more (obviously, you're doing them more then twice as often), but you can expect the engine to look like it's just broken in when it hits 200k miles, and to last for a very long time past that.

So if you're planning on selling it, who cares, but if you're planning on keeping it and driving for a decade or two, change the oil every 3k miles.
(My car has had 3k oil changes and is at the 284k mark now happy as ever, my dads is at 390k and happy as ever, moms is at 370k and happy as ever. None of 'em burn any oil due to wear, though the felpro(fail-pro!) valve stem seals on mine leak, that's a different issue)
Plenty of people these days (usually ASE people who just got their cert in the last few years) like to say that 3k mile changes aren't needed anymore. I believe them to be wrong, as do all the mechanics with a decade+ experience i've talked to.



EDIT:
Don't listen to click'n'clack for actual advice, either. They're a comedy group.

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