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Running the used car gauntlet

By samsez - 16 January 2010 33

Buying a new car was a near vomit-inducing experience a few years ago due to the smarmy salesmen. 

We’re now wanting to get a small, reliable, inexpensive second car and the idea of dealing with used car salespersons is making my stomach turn. 

Any recommendations on car yards in Canberra worth visiting – and avoiding?

What’s Your opinion?


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33 Responses to
Running the used car gauntlet
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allydee 9:06 am 07 Jul 10

There are two Braddon automarts in Braddon, one opposite the roundabout and one at the corner, next to National Capital Motors. The one opposite the roundabout has a really annoying salesperson straight out of Texas ( if you know what I mean) The cars there weren’t so special either. The one on the other side had better salesmen ship.

I would prefer private sellers as you save coupla thousands by cutting out the middlemen .

brightworks32 9:46 pm 24 Jan 10

Samsez, I used to be a running dog of the evil used car industry (I painted used cars, often to make them seem better than they were).

Buy (and sell) privately. Yards put on about 30%, and the warranty covers only items that are unlikely to wear out in the warranty period.

Buy a copy of the Dog and Lemon Guide(from your newsagency -if they don’t have it, seek it out), a truly entertaining detailed review of all cars on the Australian and New Zealand markets, with $ values, likely faults, good features etc. written by complete cynics (their words).

Get more accurate car values by going to an online car sales site and using their car valuing screens – either Red Book or Glass’ Guide (the only two that research sales comprehensively)

This is more work and anxiety-making than delivering yourself into the loving arms of a car dealer, but you’ll end up glad.

Oh, and private sellers lie too, even the mostly honest people.

sirocco 12:22 pm 20 Jan 10

Go with private sales

but first research the sorts of cars/models/years you are looking at then walk through the commercial caryards looking at said models, number of kms for the years, prices over a couple of weeks and then look to the Canberra Times for private sales of similar cars: you’ll be amazed at the difference in price and kms.

Get the one you are interested in checked through REVS and looked over by a mechanic (really worth the money) and be prepared to walk away from it

nota 1:48 am 20 Jan 10

P Taker said :

realityskin said :

http://www.aclasscarsact.com.au/

Mate owns it, they sell a ton, top blokes.

I have looked at this website recently. All cars look tidy and reasonably priced.

$6,000 for a 12 year-old Daewoo Nubira is “reasonably priced” ?! He’s got two Nubiras, the other one is $8,000.

troll-sniffer 6:04 pm 19 Jan 10

Chris Clearihan of Braddon Auto Mart in Mort Street has been around for a lot of years so must be doing something right. Like any used car salesman he’ll sell you a $6,000 car for $10,000 if he can get away with it but if you go looking with a good idea of what you should be paying he’ll give you a fair deal and honour warranty work.

The quickest way to get conversant with what you should be paying is to select a few models and ages of cars for your needs, and then do a Red Book search for the book value of the car, followed by some research on eBay’s current auctions and completed sales. Generally you need to add $2,000 to a $10,000 private sale for the dealer’s warranty and other expenses, which is a fair margin for the peace of mind. If you don’t think the warranty and expenses are worth $2,000 then you need to spend the time to buy privately, which could mean several long weekends occupied and many kms travelled.

Personally I buy privately because I start looking well before I need to buy and can usually get a better deal than the car yard can offer me, but if you don’t have the luxury of time, and are prepared to arm yourself with a clear idea of current values for specific models, then a car yard is definitely worth a visit.

androo 2:35 pm 19 Jan 10

icantbelieveitsnotbutter said :

Stay clear of Canberra Fleet & Wholesale (out in Woden somehwere)… I saw I nice car on the internet that took my fancy, I rang them up to take it for a test drive. I was happy with the car, but not the price. When we couldn’t come to an agreement, I was accused of taking the car for a ‘joy ride’, wasting petrol money, their time etc… They basicaly told me to F-off.

I had a similar experience with a certain northside Nissan dealer… oh wow, same company! 🙁

P Taker 2:20 pm 19 Jan 10

realityskin said :

http://www.aclasscarsact.com.au/

Mate owns it, they sell a ton, top blokes.

I have looked at this website recently. All cars look tidy and reasonably priced. In saying that i have not seen or drive the cars in person.

DavoDavo 11:51 am 19 Jan 10

Do as much research on the Internet as you can, decide how much you want to spend and stick to it – except if you happen to find a car that is in excellent condition with low mileage and has full service history. Take it for a good test drive, if they won’t let you do that, move on. If you do test drive they will ask you for your licence and photocopy it and ask you to sign a form – this is so they can direct any traffic infringements your way if you are naughty while you are driving it. They will keep the form, but make sure that you get them to enter the time and date you took the car back and get a copy so you don’t get charged for someone elses’ misdemeanours.
If you are looking at a dealer’s car, buy at the end of the month – they need sales then to make their sales figures look good to their boss. Don’t be afraid to bargain on the price, if they won’t reduce the price see what you can squeeze out of them as extras (car mats, mud flaps, full tank of petrol, full service, new tyres, etc, etc).
I can recommend McGuinness Motors in Fyshwick, that’s where I bought a very good used car in November 2009 – the sales guy is Robert I think. But I don’t know if they have the sort of car/budget you’d be looking for.
Good luck.

icantbelieveitsnotbutter 10:11 am 19 Jan 10

Stay clear of Canberra Fleet & Wholesale (out in Woden somehwere)… I saw I nice car on the internet that took my fancy, I rang them up to take it for a test drive. I was happy with the car, but not the price. When we couldn’t come to an agreement, I was accused of taking the car for a ‘joy ride’, wasting petrol money, their time etc… They basicaly told me to F-off.

Oh, and buy private

sepi 1:54 pm 18 Jan 10

for second hand I think private sales are the way to go too.

I’d look at the EPIC car fair (weekends) or on allclassifieds for any of these:

Daihatsu Sirion – tiny, but lovely to drive, and has 4 doors. downside is that Daihatsu has left the Aust market, so parts might get expensive. But I had one for 5 years and nothing ever needed doing. cheap petrol. You can pick these up pretty cheaply.

Honda Jazz – fair bit bigger – lots of people love how you can change the back seats around to fit big stuff in the boot.

Or any small mazda or toyota not more than 5 or 6 years old.

Clown Killer 10:53 am 18 Jan 10

Go private. a used car dealer will be looking to get anything between $500-15000 clear profit on a vehicle.

New car retailers generally don’t want to deal with a trade-in so they discourage it (an honest salesperson – if that’s not a tautology – will tell you straight out that you’ll get a better deal by no offering a trade-in). As a result, lots of folk who have bought new cars still have their old one parked out the front of their house.

Working against you is the sad reality that the majority of people are reluctant to accept the fact that their car is worth a minescule fraction of what they paid for it two, three, five or more years ago – so getting a sensible price in a private market can be hard – if you can’t get the seller to be sensible walk away, there’s lots of cars out there.

Helen 9:59 am 18 Jan 10

georgesgenitals said :

Oh, and never, ever, under any circumstances, buy an older european car. It’s asking for trouble.

Quite a few friends have had older European cars – and it seems the only way to keep one running is to make sure you have a spare car of the same model to use for parts. They may be reliable but parts can cost a lot.

I’ve bought 3 of 4 cars privately, and only really had major trouble with the third one (which was my own fault for buying the car in a hurry – if I’d had time to think about it I probably wouldn’t have bought it). The phrase to remember is definitely buyer beware. Getting a mechanic to check it out is definitely a good idea, as is a REVS check. I had my father and my brother (a mechanic) accompany me each time I checked out a car and they were indispensable – noticed things I would never have picked up on.

I bought my fourth car (a 2001 Lancer) from Canberra Toyota in Belconnen last year and have not had any difficulties (touch wood). After visiting all the caryards in Braddon I was about to give up – the salesmen either tried to bully me into buying a car I didn’t want (if I say I don’t want a hatchback, I don’t want a hatchback!), bully me into spending more money than I had, or even just flat out ignored me. I stopped in at Canberra Toyota on the way home, and the salesman was lovely, didn’t try to talk me into or out of anything. I saw the car I wanted, took it straight out for a test drive, and bought it that afternoon. The price was the same as private sellers were asking for the same model – but it was clean, well detailed, and I have a warranty.

Pommy bastard 7:57 am 18 Jan 10

Why pay a dealer premium on top of the price of a used car?

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