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Too good to be true?

I found a 2008 Toyota Prius with 4344 miles on it at the end of my test drive. It drove like a new car, it looked and smelled like a new car, the tires looked new, but it costs the same as the same car with at least 40K more miles. Is there something wrong with it? I found it at a non-Toyota dealership; they say they got it on a trade in. Is this too good to be true?

Yep. Run the title. I bet it’s a salvage.

Check it out. I found my '07 Nissan Versa on a Mazda lot. It had 31,000 miles on it, but it wasn’t a “certified” used car. I checked it out and looked it over, and got it for $8,500. A certified one goes for around $11K, and mine is like a new car. The dealer took it in on trade, and it is a 6-speed stick, so they were probably glad to get rid of it. I’ve put 2,000 miles on it and the oil isn’t even dirty yet.

I agree with shadowfax. Check the title closely.

What sort of dealership are you shopping at, and what sort of warranty comes with the car?

It’s possible that the car is a good deal, but you have to make sure. It is three years old. They can’t price it as if it were a new car.

Most of the time people do not trade in a car that has no problems. This of course could be the exception, In addition get an independent analysis, 30 day no cost return, and a long road trip.

A Prius of that year with 44k miles should be about $17,300. A Prius of that year with 4k miles on it should be about $19,500 (both assuming excellent condition).

What price are we talking here?

This is the story. This car got totaled. Somewhere. Title search may turn up nothing. If it looks too good to be true it is. That said if you are mechanically inclined offer half the price. It could be they do not know what is wrong with it and are dumping the car. Go a bit over salvage and they may take that.

My memory is very very fuzzy on this and some of you may remember this better than I do but wasn’t there a whoop-de-doo about a year or so ago about what appeared to be an abnormally high number of salvage title Prius models coming out of Oregon for some reason?

You can’t always tell, even with a close look, whether or not a vehicle has a dubious history.
An ex-boss of mine was very car knowledgeable (mechanically speaking) and he got snookered badly on a couple of trade-ins; especially with a 2500 miles Chevy. It was determined after he resold it and a few problems developed that this car was actually 2 separate vehicles.

The front of one had been welded to the rear of another right across the entire width of the car at the front of the driver’s seat. It was an A-One job and the only way it was ever detected was when I pulled the front carpet up and found a mile of welding bead.
(And he bought this car back immediately from the people who had purchased it)

I have looked for anything wrong but found nothing. I have checked the vin with 2 different services and each find the same info, one owner no accidents, still under warranty. The engine is clean. Its at a Dodge Jeep Chrysler Dealer. I live in a place where most people have second homes and many of those people die or move and need to get rid of their car. That being said the Prius is by far the most popular car in town. My theory is that someone couldn’t afford the vacation life style and somehow this dealer ended up with the car. I have thought of offering half price and just seeing what happens, but I think the dealership would just sell it to someone else, after all, this is the most popular car in town. What could be wrong with this car that would make someone trade their Toyota Prius for a Chrysler or a Dodge?

Could be nothing, could be anything.

Could be that the car was in a flood.

Could be that they drove it into a lake, pulled it out, dried it out, and unloaded it.

Or it could be that the owner was irrationally scared of the unintended acceleration media blitz and unloaded the car as fast as he could.

If by different services you mean things like Carfax and Autochek you should keep this in mind. Those services are not completely trustworthy and are prone to omissions and mistakes. If you can’t put all of your trust into something then you should not trust it at all.

They only report what is reported to them and while it’s quite possible to run across a going on 3 model years old car with a measly 4000 miles you should proceed very carefully with this; especially if the price is slighltly less than reasonable.

Regarding those services you mention, I’ve run mine and my family members vehicles through Carfax before and found errors, bad ones, on over half of the vehicles we own.
The most glaring example was an old Subaru of mine that I wrecked and rebuilt under a Salvage Title. CF showed this as a clean title even 7 years later.
The most humorous one was my prior SAAB 900 which was shown as “currently stolen”. This was news to me, the dealer I bought it from, and the original owner. It was in my driveway every time I looked. :slight_smile:

Sometimes people by a car and shortly thereafter they get severe “Buyers Remorse” for one reason or another. Unless you are able to actually contact the former owner and talk with them about why they traded it off (and took a BIG financial beating) you will never know for sure why this car is being sold below market value…

If the selling dealer had reservations about the car, he would just unload it at a dealer auction and be done with it…Dealers don’t like messing with “Problem Children”, that’s not why they are in business…