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Any Used Car Horror Stories?

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Any Used Car Horror Stories?

Postby sox 06 » Thu Apr 23, 2009 3:14 pm

Last summer I started looking for a used car to buy. Being a senior in high school, the car didn't have to be anything special. After looking all summer, I finally found a 1998 Honda Civic ($4500) that was for sale at a small used car place. My Dad and myself test drove it and it checked out fine. The guy at the car place seemed nice enough. He was very straight forward and he made a big deal about how he graduated from the same high school as my dad and soon myself and how he had a son who was the same age as I was. My Dad took the car to his mechanic to have it looked over and he said that the car was good to buy. However, he did say that the rear wheel bushings and tires were worn and were going to have to be replaced soon. My Dad took the car back to the used car guy and said that the car needed rear wheel bushings and tires. He said that he would replace them and that the car would be ready in a couple of days. Two days later, the car was ready and when we went to pick it up the tires looked new. After driving it for two weeks, the check engine light came on so we brought the car back to our mechanic. It turns out the exhaust manifold had a crack in it and had to be replaced ($632). The backend of the car swirved and fish tailed whenever I drove over a bump but my dad blamed it on possible cheap tires. Long story short, the backend problem was due to the worn out bushings that the guy apparently never replaced ($454). The mechanics who worked for six hours replacing the bushings and trying to align the tires said that the backend was in horrible shape. They said there were broken things, loose things, things that were bent and that nothing was adjusted correctly. They also said that if anything back there ever gets "thrown out of whack" that it would need "extensive work done to it." So not only did the used car guy not fix what he said he would, but he lied to us.

Sorry for the long story, but are there any other used car horror stories?
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Re: Any Used Car Horror Stories?

Postby Metroid » Thu Apr 23, 2009 3:28 pm

That's weak sauce. I have never had any bad luck with buying used cars but I know a lot of people that do. It seems like some people just have bad luck with cars. This is your first time round though, hopefully this will be an isolated event for you. ;-D
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Re: Any Used Car Horror Stories?

Postby scottaa1 » Thu Apr 23, 2009 4:08 pm

Well, firstly, never trust any salesperson. That goes quadruple for a used car salesman.

Second, did you get a vehix car report on it? I wouldn't be surprised if the car has been involved in a collision, probably rear-ended, and that the frame is bent and is throwing everything out of whack with each mile.

And then there's the fact that it's a 12 year old car. Can't expect like-new quality from something that old. You didn't state the mileage, but it's also common for an older, higher mile car to have one bad link in the chain fixed only to cause the next weakest link to break. A guy I work with drives a *1987* Chrysler Lebaron with so much going wrong that most shops won't work on it for fear of liability ("there's so much wrong in there that anything we touch could cause other issues, and we're not taking that risk").

Did the car come with a 90 day warranty or anything? It would at least cover the exhaust manifold. Also, check with your local BBB re: the dealer. Most BBB's are online and you can do a quick check from your computer to see the dealership's history.

Basically it sounds like you got a car that was maybe damaged, possibly not well maintained, or just has alot of age catching up with it. That sucks. Civics and Hondas in general are great cars, don't let this single case turn you off to them. You may want to consider trading it in for something else, though. You don't want to spend $4500 on a car only spend another $3000 just to keep it running.

I've had a few bad used car experiences. A used Ford Escort GT that I bought after high school had apparently never had its oil changed. When the trouble lights started going off and I looked under the hood, the lifters and whatnot were all covered with a thick layer of sludge. That engine eventually blew and had to get a rebuilt for it. I bought a '97 Dodge Ram in 2001 for $17k and I think I had to put another 10k into it as well as all the conflict with the local dealership who couldn't seem to do competent work. I'd probably crash the server if I went into all the problems the Triumph TR-7 had. The Porsche wasn't much better with all its electrical issues. By far and above the two best used cars I ever had were Honda Accords, 155k and 172k miles on them, respectively.
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Re: Any Used Car Horror Stories?

Postby sox 06 » Thu Apr 23, 2009 4:32 pm

scottaa1 wrote:Second, did you get a vehix car report on it? I wouldn't be surprised if the car has been involved in a collision, probably rear-ended, and that the frame is bent and is throwing everything out of whack with each mile.

Did the car come with a 90 day warranty or anything? It would at least cover the exhaust manifold. Also, check with your local BBB re: the dealer. Most BBB's are online and you can do a quick check from your computer to see the dealership's history.

When we bought the car, it had around 156,000 miles (I don't remember the exact mileage). It did come with a 30 day 100% parts and labor warranty. We did take it back to the guy when the check engine light came on and he ran the computer on it and said that it was most likely the gas cap (either it wasn't screwed on tightly enough or that the seal was broken/dry). This is exactly what my Dad told me when I told him that the CEL came on so he was satisfied with the guy's answer. We mentioned the backend thing to him and the fact that the brakes squeaked so he told us that he would have his mechanic check it over. We got it back the next day and the CEL had been reset, the brakes didn't squeak anymore and the backend thing was gone. After driving it for a few days, the CEL came back on and the backend thing came back. By the time we got around to having it looked at by our mechanic, the warranty had expired.

About it possibly being involved in an accident, that's a possiblity but our mechanic looked this thing over REAL good. He rejected two other cars that my Dad brought to him. The first one he drove and then had it up on the lift for a good 45 minutes. There was a noise coming from it and he couldn't tell if it was the transmission making the sound or a wheel bearing. While the car was up on the lift, he had one of his other mechanics in the car running it up to about 45MPH and he had his ear about an inch away from the front tire (which was spinning as though the car was going 45MPH) in an effort to tell where the sound was coming from. On both of those cars he found some very minor things that were wrong with them so if this had been hit, I think he would have noticed something. On the second car we took to him, he told us not to buy it because he noticed that the front bumper had an odd paint job to it and mostly likely it had been hit.
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