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Used Car Dealership - Negotiation Ideas & Mechanical Check out

I am wishing to trade in a 2007 AVEO-5 SMV, 4D Hatchback, aftermarket A/C, which causes me to get only 17 mpg. I hate the car - smaller cargo, not good on HWY, poor mileage. Car looks fantastic and I have less than 5K miles so far, so I’m trying to sell now. I paid with all fees, etc., $11,200. I got a solid offer to buy it from CARMAX for $8,000. Not the greatest fee, but I don’t have to deal with the public, so I’ll probably take it just to unload it. I’m getting rid of the AVEO asap!!

(This very similar question was posted 7 days ago, but I found a different vehicle, but this one is at a used car dealership versus buying from private seller.) So, now I need advise on this one!

I found an '03 VW Golf GLS, 4D Hatch, manual, moonroof, with 49K miles, good cond. VIN 9BWFK61J734003835. Dealer’s price for the same year car is $500 cheaper than the private party’s offer. This car has 48K miles versus the 66K miles from private seller. Advantage: I got to meet the owner and see all of her service paperwork. Now, I’m dealing with a used car dealership. I have asked the salesman to fax me the CARFAX info on this car. Do dealerships share info of car’s past service work? They don’t let you take the vehicle off the lot for a mechanical check because they want to sell you a warranty. How do I negotiate around this? Do they ever let you take the car to a place like PEPBOYS or something, since you are doing a test drive anyway? I am meeting the dealer today, so if you could write back, I’d really appreciate it!!!


I wouldn’t plunk this much down for a car, especially not a VW, without getting it checked out by a good independant mechanic. If you let them know that this is a deal breaker, they might change their mind. If not, I would not buy a used car from them. Even if they do agree to an independant inspection, I would still be more comfortable with the car that was owned by a private party and has all the service records. An inspection won’t catch all forms of neglect, especially since they’ve no doubt been covered up by the dealer’s own mechanical check-over. Perhaps you can use the fact that you’re looking at the dealer car to talk down the private party.

Also, just FYI, the only two things a CarFax report will catch are a car where the odometer has been rolled back (which is very uncommon these days) or a car that has been totaled and rebuilt and had the salvage title “cleaned” through various means. A lot of people are under the misconception that the CarFax is something like a credit report or a driving record that would indicate the general worthieness of a car, which it does not do at all. It’s only good for catching those two forms of malicious fraud.

if they won’t allow an inspection, walk away

I concur. If they don’t allow you take it to a independent mechanic…WALK. They are SLEAZE.

Ditto. They should not have a problem with your wanting to have an inspection done.

Couple of other notes.
CarFax is not the final word on a vehicle history. Much is omitted and info is frequently incorrect. CarFax is used as sales tool by giving people the impression that CF knows all about that car you’r going to purchase.
Do not assume an extended warranty is going to pay for every problem that crops up either. Maintenance, wear and tear, and many other things are exempt. Often there is a deductible on EACH repair and EACH time you bring the car in so keep that in mind.

An '03 with 49k miles may or may not be a deal; it all depends on how well it was maintained and driven. I’ve seen a number of near new cars with less than 20k miles on them that had already degenerated into nothing more than a ragged, daily beater. And a few were even flirting with the car crusher.

As a former car salesperson, I offer you this advice: If you want a decent deal on a vehicle, change your attitude.

You’re asking what they will allow you to do. I’d say, “nothing,” because you are willing to let the salesperson control the negotiation and the transaction. They are trained to lead you around by the nose. I’m not exaggerating. That’s exactly what I was taught to do. You cannot allow this to happen.

If you approach this deal as if YOU were in control, you might have a chance. Consider this; who’s money is being spent? It’s YOURS, of course, and that should put you in the driver’s seat (so to speak), but only if you realize you have the power, and you use it. YOU are the buyer. YOU should decide what you will accept and what you won’t accept.

You DO NOT negotiate around having a car inspected by an independent mechanic. If they won’t allow this you should walk away and find another car at another dealer. This is a GIANT red flag. You don’t want this car. Walk away now, before it’s too late.

How long has this used car dealership been in business? I ask this question, because in my community of about 80,000, I have seen some used car dealers last only a couple of months. On the other hand, we have one dealer who has been in business for at least 3 generations. The dealership started sometime in the 1920’s or 1930’s. I bought a car from this dealer. He let me take an extended test drive and I took it to my independent mechanic who checked it over for me. He then asked what dealer was selling the car. When I told him, he replied, “You didn’t need to bring to me–they don’t sell junk”. My point is that I think you should check this dealer as carefully as you check the car.

Very good advice.