Buying from an independent used car dealer

Does anyone have advice about buying from an independent used car dealer? I am looking for a mid-2000s Volvo that I can drive from 100K until it dies. Most of the ones I can find in my area (Cleveland, OH), are at independent dealers. Does anyone have advice about dealing with an independent, and about where to get information about honest and reputable ones?

We have one independent dealer in my midwest community (population 70,000) that has been a family business since the mid 1920s. I bought a 1993 Oldsmobile from the dealer in December of 1995 and the car was a very good car. I bought a 1990 Ford Aerostar from another well established independent dealer in the fall of 1991. The Aerostar had the balance of the factory warranty. A year later while the Aerostar was under warranty, the engine failed. The independent dealer made certain that the Ford dealer replaced the engine and the independent dealer loaned me a vehicle while the engine was being replaced.
On the other hand, I bought a used car from a dealer when I was ready to leave graduate school. The car was a 1968 AMC Javelin and this was in May of 1971. The odometer read 33,000 miles. I discovered before I bought the car that at the state inspection in February the car had 55,000 miles. I used this as a bargaining tool and got the price reduced from $1695 to $1200. The dealer gave me a sob story that he let the car go for this price because he needed to make a sale to stay in business. He may have been right–one month later he was out of business. The lot where I bought the car was used in the film “Breaking Away” and the dealer I dealt with and the one in the movie were the same type of characters. At any rate, I put 100,000 miles on the Javelin in addition to what was on the odometer and sold it 5 years later for $600.

My advice is to check to see how long the dealer has been in business and ask around. If this is a “No money down” type of dealer, stay away. If the dealer has been there five years or more, the agency is probably reputable.

As to your choice of a Volvo, you may want to rethink that.

Another point to consider:

When it comes to recent vintage used vehicles (the 1-3 year old type), the independent dealers often get their stock from the exact same place as the dealership - fleet auctions.

A mid-2000’s Volvo with 100,000 miles? Most people on this board are DESPERATE to get rid of these cars. You are about to make a very expensive mistake. Repairs and maintenance costs are astronomical on these things.

Does anyone have advice about buying from an independent used car dealer? I am looking for a mid-2000s Volvo that I can drive from 100K until it dies

So. . 250 miles? :wink:

Listen to mleich. You’re about to buy a huge headache. Buy something else.

drive a Volvo from 100k till it dies? So you just wanna drive it off the lot? :stuck_out_tongue:

Volvo seems to be cashing in on its glory from past years. Dollar for dollar a comparably equipped Toyota or Nissan might be a much better choice. It would seem that Volvo built their reputation on rock solid basic transportation, taking advantage of the best that was offered from around the world. SU carburetors, Borg-Warner automatic transmissions, Girling brakes, etc., were incorporated in the cars. Personally, the early 240s were the epitome of the Mark… IMHO. shadowfax may be generous with his opinion of the mid 2000 models. But opinions vary.

Ask Irv:

Unfortunately, the last great Volvos were made in the 1960’s.

Buying a used car from anyone (new car dealer, private party, or ind. dealer) is a crap shoot. Do you think dealers really know the inside scoop on the cars they sell?

It’s not a matter of a dealer being honest or not. They’re selling you a used consumer item that on the surface may appear to be fine. If it has underlying problems they may or may not know about those problems.
If you walk into a pawn shop, buy a used TV, and the TV goes belly-up 2 weeks later does this mean the pawnbroker was dishonest and stiffed you? No, he simply sold you another used consumer item that may or may not have warts.

I will have to go along with the majority on this one and advise you to buy a brand other than Volvo. They are great looking cars but they tend to age early and become very expensive to repair and maintain. A Toyota, Nissan or Honda in the age range you are looking for will be a more reliable ride.

I’d have to agree that a Volvo is not the way to get a long term dependable car but Volvo owners seem to be a cult.

I bought a 73 Lincoln at an independent once. I’ll have to say it needed some maintenance and repair and had some electrical glitches but the price was right. There won’t be any new car trade-ins there and seems to me the seem to be bought at auction with unknown histories.