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How to buy a new (used) car

I am thinking of getting a new car (have my eye on a used Honda Odessy), but have never bought a car before. Any tips on how to buy a car/negotiate a price?

  • You’ll get the best deal by shopping private sellers on places like craigslist or other local classified ad-types of things. Dealers can hide issues as well as anyone else but they will charge you a lot more for it.

    - Be patient.

    - Your single most important ally is a mechanic that you can trust who will look over the car for you - often for the price of an hour’s labor or so. It will be time and money well spent.

    - if a seller can’t give you maintenance records, worry a lot.

    - As far as the Odyssey goes, if its at about a 2003 model year or earlier assume that its transmission is dead or near dead - unless you have documented proof that a Honda dealer has recently replaced the transmission. Even then, make sure it has a transferable warranty.

What year Odyssey? How many miles on it? I have a 2002 with the original transmission. Odyssey's are good except the transmissions are notorious for dying a young death, especially until around 2004. Not sure what they changed about the tranny, not sure I'd really trust a 2005 tranny unless Honda could explain what they did to improve it after 2003. Don't pull a trailer with an Odyssey.

Go to Craigslist and see what Odysseys are going for in your city.

MSN Autos has a detailed description of reliability issues for all autos, including the Odyssey. 2004 was the last year for that generation Odyssey, and Honda finally got it right. The next generation started in 2005, and there have been no major problems reported for 2005 - 2007. The next generation started in 2008, and it was fine, too. Newer models aren’t rated, but it is fair to assume that they have still excellent reliability.