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#4484282 - 08/10/17 05:51 AM Buying Used in an age of Complaints
Bhoppy1216 Offline


Registered: 08/09/17
Posts: 33
Loc: Houston, TX
Hi everyone!

Been lurking for awhile and gotten great info, but I needed to ask a very specific question, so figured I would join up. I am in the market for a new to me car, as I usually always buy used, and I am just running into an issue that I am sure is just me mind screwing it to death. I started my journey by picking a few cars and then going onto carcomplaints.com, and boy was that a mistake. It seems like everywhere you turn every modern car model has some serious issue like consuming all the oil, total transmission failure, or blown head gaskets. I was seriously considering a 2009 Camry because they seem dependable, but then found out their condensers collect mold and smell the car up, and there seems to be no permanent fix. I hate to use the phrase "they dont make them like they used to" but it just seems to apply! I know not everyone is experiencing these issues, but it makes you think twice before throwing 5-10K at something that might just bust a 2K transmission bill on you. Advice, suggestions, reassurances?

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#4484286 - 08/10/17 05:57 AM Re: Buying Used in an age of Complaints [Re: Bhoppy1216]
rooflessVW Online   content


Registered: 12/24/11
Posts: 3672
Loc: North Carolina
I prefer to buy clean, high-mileage cars with a good service history, preferably one or two owners depending on age.

If the car is clean it was cared for.

Service history allows you to track any recurring issues or verify that common trouble spots have been corrected.

I like higher-mileage because to me, it would indicate that any "gremlins" are either non-existent or have already been addressed.

Buying cars this way has kept me in a string of mint-condition German cars, that have all been trouble free for me.
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#4484301 - 08/10/17 06:29 AM Re: Buying Used in an age of Complaints [Re: Bhoppy1216]
Shannow Online   content


Registered: 12/12/02
Posts: 39020
Loc: 'Stralia
I've only ever bought one new car, and the "new" colorado is demo.

Nothing else that I've ever owned has had under 50,000 miles on it, most around 70k+.

I don't like "new", as you own every single scratch, and that plays havoc with my head.

I've owned in my younger years plenty of cars at 120k miles + when I bought them, and in those years, I was moving on every couple of years.

You can tell (generally) if something's been neglected...

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#4484302 - 08/10/17 06:29 AM Re: Buying Used in an age of Complaints [Re: rooflessVW]
SeaJay Offline


Registered: 03/05/15
Posts: 957
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: rooflessVW
I prefer to buy clean, high-mileage cars with a good service history, preferably one or two owners depending on age.

If the car is clean it was cared for.

Service history allows you to track any recurring issues or verify that common trouble spots have been corrected.

I like higher-mileage because to me, it would indicate that any "gremlins" are either non-existent or have already been addressed.

Buying cars this way has kept me in a string of mint-condition German cars, that have all been trouble free for me.


As long as the service records are there, no problem.

But I do know car flippers who have a questionable car detailed, and it will look like one of those well cared for cream-puffs. They haven't figured out how to fake the service records yet, but I predict that will be coming soon.

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#4484307 - 08/10/17 06:35 AM Re: Buying Used in an age of Complaints [Re: Bhoppy1216]
DdDd Offline


Registered: 06/08/17
Posts: 184
Loc: NY
The least reliable car sold today is more reliable than a Japanese car from the 90s which was once the hallmark of quality.

Ironically as vehicles become better engineered and require less maintenance there's this segment of the population that refuses to take care of them at all. That's the majority of compliants you'll read about, especially online. Not to say there isn't the occasional recall, those are pretty easy to spot.

Just the other day my doofus neighbor was mowing the lawn. The motor was screeching on occasion because they probably haven't checked the oil since they bought the thing. Pretty soon there will be a mower in the trash and an online review about this "piece of junk" brand.

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#4484308 - 08/10/17 06:37 AM Re: Buying Used in an age of Complaints [Re: Bhoppy1216]
Linctex Online   content


Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 5718
Loc: Waco, TX
There are always a few lemons here and there, but OVERALL - there really isn't one "major" (Daewoo, Kia and Hyundai included) car maker that "consistently" builds "bad cars"

Most complaints are probably on the order of 1 or two per 1000 cars of that model.

Do what I do: talk to neighbors, friends, and even random strangers at filling stations! "Hey, I've been thinking of buying one of those! How do you like it?"
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#4484310 - 08/10/17 06:40 AM Re: Buying Used in an age of Complaints [Re: DdDd]
Shannow Online   content


Registered: 12/12/02
Posts: 39020
Loc: 'Stralia
Originally Posted By: DdDd
The least reliable car sold today is more reliable than a Japanese car from the 90s which was once the hallmark of quality.


That assuredly deserves a link to the study...got one ???

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#4484311 - 08/10/17 06:40 AM Re: Buying Used in an age of Complaints [Re: Bhoppy1216]
Bhoppy1216 Offline


Registered: 08/09/17
Posts: 33
Loc: Houston, TX
All great advice! I have run into one guy that was questionable. I opened the hood to a 2005 corolla and man you could eat off that engine cover. The whole engine bay was black and shiny from a fresh coat of dressing. I generally like to give people the benefit of the doubt since thats how I like to detail my engine bays, but when dealerships do it I get suspicious. Lucky for me I knew to check under the oil cap, and of course there was a nice foam under the cap, so no deal from me lol.

I dont think my major concern is people keeping up with the service records, those help and are important, but it just seems like all the major car makers are taking short cuts and ending up with [censored] product in some area. I am just not sure how to buy a car now when with a little research you find all kinds of complaints about brake lines rusting or a certain year range having transmissions that will just quit on you.

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#4484314 - 08/10/17 06:41 AM Re: Buying Used in an age of Complaints [Re: Bhoppy1216]
barkingspider Offline


Registered: 12/22/13
Posts: 1965
Loc: socal
Do not let these complaints scare you away from certain vehicles. If the used car has been taken care of and it has a pretty good reputation, like a Toyota Camry, then u will be fine. The last new car I purchased was an 02 S10. I've had at least 5-6 cars since then and they were all used cars and they were all reliable despite what people on the internet complained about . Do your homework and take your time when buying used.
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#4484318 - 08/10/17 06:43 AM Re: Buying Used in an age of Complaints [Re: Linctex]
Bhoppy1216 Offline


Registered: 08/09/17
Posts: 33
Loc: Houston, TX
That is a good way of looking at it. Like I said I am sure not everyone is experiencing these problems. Just like not everyone had spark plugs snap off in their early 2000 Ford F150, but its hard to focus on the good I think when all you have are complaints on certain websites. I think asking real people like you said is a good way to go.

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#4484319 - 08/10/17 06:44 AM Re: Buying Used in an age of Complaints [Re: barkingspider]
Bhoppy1216 Offline


Registered: 08/09/17
Posts: 33
Loc: Houston, TX
Originally Posted By: barkingspider
Do not let these complaints scare you away from certain vehicles. If the used car has been taken care of and it has a pretty good reputation, like a Toyota Camry, then u will be fine. The last new car I purchased was an 02 S10. I've had at least 5-6 cars since then and they were all used cars and they were all reliable despite what people on the internet complained about . Do your homework and take your time when buying used.


I was actually looking at a 2007-2010 Cadillac CTS or ATS. I see you have one of each, how do you like them?

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#4484323 - 08/10/17 06:46 AM Re: Buying Used in an age of Complaints [Re: Bhoppy1216]
KrisZ Offline


Registered: 12/23/06
Posts: 7288
Loc: Toronto, Canada
It's the internet, most people will not post about their trouble free experiences, most will post their problems in search of support or solution.
Therefore internet is rather useless at gauging overall reliability.

Funny you mention Camry and the smelly AC. My former friend's 01 Camry had the exact same problem.

I find that a forum like BITOG, which is not dedicated to any specific make or model, is quite useful at getting an overall feel for a specific model. Yes you will get some fan-boyism going on, but not to the same extent as on the make/model specific forums and it will usually be corrected.

However, if you start a thread asking about opinions for, let's say, two specific models you narrowed down, good luck getting the consensus, unless one of the contenders is really a known, horrible car.
I find that the best result, with BITOG crowd is to narrow your search to two, three models and ask about it one model at a time. So start a thread for one, let it run its course, then start a new thread for the other. Don't start them all at once.
This way you keep most of the fan boys out and mostly get responses from people that have experience with the model in question.


Edited by KrisZ (08/10/17 06:48 AM)
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2006 Mazda 3-155k miles

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#4484362 - 08/10/17 07:33 AM Re: Buying Used in an age of Complaints [Re: Bhoppy1216]
c502cid Online   content


Registered: 01/17/03
Posts: 999
Loc: Elizabeth. Colorado
Looking for a car for my kids I have run into the same thing. I use carcomplaints.com as a guide to see if the car I want has some troublesome areas I need to ask questions about and check first when I go look at the car. Use the website to your advantage because when you see a car has had thousands of power steering issues in a select model year, and the Craigslist ad for the same car says, "has a little power steering problem, a cheap fix according to my mechanic" you know it's not even worth looking at.
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#4484375 - 08/10/17 07:54 AM Re: Buying Used in an age of Complaints [Re: c502cid]
Bhoppy1216 Offline


Registered: 08/09/17
Posts: 33
Loc: Houston, TX
Originally Posted By: c502cid
Looking for a car for my kids I have run into the same thing. I use carcomplaints.com as a guide to see if the car I want has some troublesome areas I need to ask questions about and check first when I go look at the car. Use the website to your advantage because when you see a car has had thousands of power steering issues in a select model year, and the Craigslist ad for the same car says, "has a little power steering problem, a cheap fix according to my mechanic" you know it's not even worth looking at.


That is also something I did not think about, that is a good idea. My biggest issue comes with figuring out that a certain year had a major issue and then seeing only that year online being sold in bulk. At that point you have to figure out if its still in good shape, or if they dumped it once it started going down hill.

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#4484389 - 08/10/17 08:10 AM Re: Buying Used in an age of Complaints [Re: Shannow]
planeman223 Offline


Registered: 07/20/17
Posts: 72
Loc: Charlotte
Originally Posted By: DdDd
The least reliable car sold today is more reliable than a Japanese car from the 90s which was once the hallmark of quality.

Not a chance. Link or this is complete nonsense.

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