Seeking opinion


I am in the market for a used car. I am considering this car -


It is a lease-owned car. I have seen the carfax, single owner auctioned at an auto fair to a dealer. The registration sticker says 2006.

The car drives fine but the one thing I found weird was that the machinery under the hood was “clean”, as if someone had wiped it. Is that normal for used cars sold through the dealer? I always thought “dirt” under the hood assured that the car came will all original parts.

It has new tires. The dealer showed me a copy of the price he paid at the auction. With the new tires and the “cleaning”, his profit is coming out to only $300. Again, is that normal?

I will appreciate any opinions, I don’t want to make a hasty decision.


Did you read the craiglist warning about scams? The ad states that the car is a year 2000 model (with 89,000 miles), NOT a 2006. Cars are often cleaned, inside and out, to appeal more to prospective buyers. Have you ever heard a car advertised as a, “Dirty, many-owner, unmaintained, old car”? It may be legit; you’re taking your (financial) life in your hands. The stated profit margin for the dealer? Oscar Mayer! Be warier.

Cleaning the engine compartment is standard practice for car dealers. Some private owners keep them clean, too.

As with any used car, be careful and have it checked by a mechanic. It’s hard to believe the seller is making only $300, but anything is possible.

The “Y” in the 10th character from the left says that it is a 2000. The “2006” is probably a typo. They gave you the VIN, so I don’t think they are trying to hide anything. If you like it, get it checked at an independent mechanic.

If it looks like it’s in showroom condition, then the price is good. If it shows a little wear, it is a fair price.

By the registration sticker, I meant the one on the license plate. It is a year 2000 model.

The dealer showed me the carfax report which showed the whole buy-sell timeline. My main concern is that the car has not been driven much in the last year - about 400 miles. The tires are all new, which means that they must have been in a bad condition before.

Like any used car it should be carefully inspected and a decent test drive performed. Those 2 to 5 mile test drives don’t provide a lot of info. A drive of 40-50 miles will get you more acclimated to any potential problems that may be overlooked on the short drive.

Offhand, the mileage is very decent for an 8 year old car and cleaning under the hood is nothing to worry about. Most dealers either have an in-house detail shop or send them out as a sub-let job for detailing. Cleaning under the hood is part of it and nothing to worry about.

So the car was not registered past '06? In CA the car has to pass smog before you buy and that is the “seller’s” responsibility. Why was the car not registered past '06, or maybe someone stole the sticker? Do they have the registration paperwork? Have the car checked by a mechanic. And yes they clean the engine bay, but look for oil leaks anyways.

Good call and by the way carfax wont register any body or frame repair on a car that the damage was paid for with cash by a person that owns a repair shop.