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In 2000 I accomplished this in the following manner:

1. First I decided on what I wanted: a low mileage, high gas mileage, late model Toyota sedan. Toyota because of reliability; I had a limited amount of money and had used up ALL of the money I had saved in the previous year on car repairs. I looked up models on the internet. From this I determined the Blue Book cost so I would know how much I expected to spend.

2. I had once worked in a non-profit with the owner of a Toyota dealership. I called him up and told him that I had used up my last car largely through the non-profit (volunteer work), which was true. He shunted me over to the sales manager in his absence. I told that guy what I wanted. He had a few Corollas on the lot.

3. I went into the dealership and introduced myself to the sales manager. He looked up a Corolla on the computer and found one with 40,000 miles on it. The price was about $1500 less than Blue Book, probably because I knew the owner. I drove it around and bought it with a cashier's check the next day. I had that car for almost twelve years and put 180,000 miles on it before the transmission blew up. Only one major repair expense ($1700) toward the end.

Best deal I ever made. I had figured I'd get the cash back in a year and a half's wages just through saving money on repairs. It worked. The cost of the car was back in my bank account after just 15 months. The rest was all gravy, no repairs. Love Totoyas!

Perhaps I could have "saved" (?) some money buying from a private owner or a fly-by-night lot (one of the those corner lots with little colored plastic flags hanging from a wire on the street side), but going to a named dealer with a long-term presence in the town AND a repair facility is the best way to keep from getting burned. The repair facility is important because if the dealership screws people over on a regular basis, they'll lose out from people not wanting to go there because of the bad reputation. You'll pay more, but you're less likely to get taken to the cleaners.

I used to know hotrodders who would never buy a used car, so to avoid "buying someone else's problems". This is the best method I've found to counteract that.

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2012-05-09 19:31:57
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Q: Where can you buy a very good used car with low mileage?
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