"He says he has done all the maintenance work himself,
he is the original owner. Since he did it all himself, he has no
Asked him if he had changed the timing belt...he says no. Its not a
concern to him, but is to me. I'll bet he hasn't power-flushed the
tranny either. Probably to get the timing belt replaced will cost,
I'm guessing, $200. His lackadaisical attitude towards changing the
timing belt makes me wonder if he has diligently changed the oil and
filter, as he claims he has."
A reasonable point. He says he's done all his own maintenance, but you've
already determined he hasn't done it all as scheduled. Did he service the
coolant? The interval for the trans service has gone into the wild blue
yonder, so I wouldn't expect him to have done it unless the fluid was
Check him out. Look at the oil. It should be clean. Look in the fill
hole. There shouldn't be any dark brown gummy buildup. There also
shouldn't be any dark brown buildup or varnish on the dipstick. If there
is, that's evidence that the oil wasn't changed at the proper interval.
Look at the transmission fluid. Don't be alarmed by a brownish color as
long as it's relatively transparent and fresh smelling. (The fluid
doesn't have much dye in it, so it turns brown quickly.) Dark brown,
opaque brown, or nasty-smelling transmission fluid is cause for immediate
concern for the livelihood of the transmission.
Look at the tires. Are they nearly new or mostly worn?
Get a small flashlight and peek through the holes in the wheels to see the
brake pads and rotors.
If there are numerous items which will need attention soon, it's a sign
that the owner has purposely been not doing maintenance because he's
already made the decision to sell.
Geronimo also said:
"He wants his payoff amount which is $6K. THe Kelly BB price
is currently $6700. Don't think he is going to come down on his
price, since he wants to get it paid off and get his wife a new car....
The other issue I have about buying it is the mileage. He was
commuting a long way each day in it, and so it has the same average
mileage as a 6-yr old car, but is only 3 yrs old. This devalues the
car for sure...but by how much?"
Nose around on the internet. I ran this vehicle on www.kbb.com (Kelley
Blue Book), picking what I thought would be the appropriate options, and
the private owner price came back $6000 for "good" condition, which based
on what's been said, if it's true, this car would probably be. And I'm in
a high rent district. The price may be lower in your area. In my opinion,
Kelley Blue Book overprices vehicles. That's why used car dealers compare
their prices to it. You'll need to do some legwork to figure the market
price of this vehicle in your area, but I'd suspect it's $5000 to $5500.
You'll also need to decide what the vehicle is worth to *you*
quickly do you need a car? How badly do you need this particular car?
When I shop for a car, I decide how much the car is worth to me. That's
how much I'll offer. If they don't accept, I walk. As long as I'm not
hard up, I don't need that particular car, and I just keep shopping until
I find something more to my liking.
Geronimo furhter said:
"I am probably going to have to sell
it in one year, and since it has lost $800 in value over the last 12
months, I think it is likely to lose another $800 over the next 12
months. On a 48-mo car note at 4.9 percent, I will have paid only
around $100 of principle. So my payoff will be $5900. My concern is that
I might get inverted on it with 48 or 60-mo
financing. Maybe even 36? I guess what I need to know is how much to
subtract from the cars' value for the given high mileage. I probably
would not add more than 15K miles over the course of driving it for a
year, so it is likely to be at 105K miles next July when I have to
sell it.I have to be a sure as possible that I won't be inverted by
hundreds of dollars.....2 or 3 hundred? Tolerable.
Probably I should then set up the loan for shorter term. On the
60-mo terms they offer, The monthly would be only $112.00, financed by
the credit union where my savings account is. But I could also leave
it at 60-mo, but just make sure to feed the savings account an extra
$40 a month or so, then I have a little reserve built up to pay the
inverted amount, if any. This gives me the flexibility to pay a very
small car note if I have a bad month financially. Or perhaps give the
seller $500 cash, in return for him reducing his asking price to
You'll need to analyze your financial situation to determine what loan is
best for you. To get an idea of your depreciation, run the numbers on a
2002 Elantra with identical equipment in identical condition and 105k
miles and see what the web sites come back with. I did this at
www.kbb.com and came back with $5120, so estimated depreciation would be
But don't link the purchase price and the loan. The seller doesn't car
how he gets his money, whether all from you, all from the credit union, or
part from each. Figure out how you want to approach the loan once you
figure out the approprate selling price.
Make a fair offer. If I were buying, I can assure you it'd be less than
$6k. But know ahead of time how high you're willing to go (even if you
don't think it's a fair price). This is the how much is it worth to *you*
price (unless that's what you've already offered, of course). If the
seller isn't ready to come down to that price, you need to walk.
Remember, there are lots of cars for sale. You don't need his.