Used car negotions for 2013 GMC Terrain

Hi all,

I’m looking to buy a used 2013 GMC Terrain from either a used car lot or dealership. Yes, I am aware of the issues of buying from a used car lot, but I will go in there prepared. My question is, what percentage lower of the asking price should I initially offer? I’m paying cash, but obviously don’t want to let them know off the bat. I was thinking 20-30%, but was curious on our thoughts. Thanks in advance.

While I’m no car buying expert, it seems like used cars don’t get the same discounts as new ones. I would check out used car sites like and, narrow down the searches to 2012-2014 Terrains in your area, and see what’s out there that you like. Here’s an article on used car prices:


Never negotiate based on the seller’s asking price. Always negotiate based on what an industry-standard pricing guide such as Kelley Blue Book or NADA Guide says the vehicle is worth. And of course, your negotiations should include reasonable deductions for required but unsubstantiated maintenance, such as a timing belt replacement interval which was reached, but the seller has no proof the work was ever done. The value, of course, depends on whether you are buying from a private party or a licensed dealer, and the vehicle’s condition, mileage, equipment/features, and engine/transmission type.

“Excellent” condition means a vehicle with a clear title, no body damage, and all required maintenance has been done. By definition, a vehicle with a restored salvage title, unrepaired body damage, excessive wear to the interior, or overdue for major maintenance is not in “excellent” condition, and should be priced accordingly.

So for example, if you are looking at a 2008 XYZ Car from a private seller, you’d examine the car, make sure there is no body damage, fluid leaks, funny noises, etc, make sure the seller has a valid title in their name, and jot down the mileage and other details. Then, before any discussion of price, you’d go to KBB or NADA online, plug in the details, and see what a fair private party value would be. When buying from a dealer, the process is similar, except that a dealer must by law convey clear title, so you don’t have to ask about this, and you’d be looking for the fair dealer retail price range.

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That much of a discount will only be on something that the used dealer really wants off the lot because they know it is a marginal vehicle.

I guess you decided against the Cadillac . Why the Terrain ?

Frankly , I think you should not be afraid of used dealer lots or new dealer with large selection of used vehicles . I hear of more bad deals from private sellers than dealers . The new vehicle dealer tend to wholesale the marginal vehicles and keep the better ones on their lots.


If they do not let you take it to an independent shop for an inspection I would be wary. One used car dealer I dealt with stated all the repairs done by them on a car I was looking at for my daughter, new wheel bearing brakes and tires, and no problem having an independent mechanic inspection. That was one used car dealer I felt comfortable with. 90 day warranty bumper to bumper so they said.


@VOLVO-V70 I keep getting great advice from you all so I decided against the Cadillac. I like the Terrain because it’s not too expensive to repair, good gas mileage, and decent size for me.

I just know that the length of time the vehicle sits on the lot would benefit me and if they’re trying to unload the vehicle. I just wonder if I should bring an OBD II scanner with me too.

@bcohen2010 Should I completely stay away from rebuilt titles or are there instances where it could be okay? I’m trying to do as much research as I can, but all this information is really overwhelming.

Rebuilt title cars can be a complete black hole. You don’t know why they were rebuilt, what caused it to need to be rebuilt. etc. Could have been a flood car. It’s doubtful you’d ever know.

The only way I’d buy a car with a rebuilt title is it was my ONLY option.


I would also recomend stay away from the buy here pay here used car lot’s.


Absolutely stay away from , rebuilt or salvage title vehicles will have insurance problems . You might get liability but you can get collision or comprehensive.

Do you not have a relative or friend to help you ?


A 2013 GMC Terrain is mechanically identical to my 2013 Chevrolet Equinox. Between 2010 and 2013 the 2.4 4 cylinder engine had issues with high oil consumption due to premature wear of the piston oil control rings. Google “Terrain” or “Equinox oil consumption” for more info. Many stories about folks not checking oil level between changes and running out of oil.

I started to notice oil consumption between changes starting around 20-25k miles. By 42k miles the Equinox was using a quart of oil every 1500 miles, more than enough to run low between changes. The dealer replaced the pistons, rings, and timing chain under warranty in 2015. It has 99k and is running well. There was a class action settlement, but I believe it was only for 7 years. I was changing the oil every 5k and adding as needed between changes before the rebuild.

I’m satisfied with my Equinox, but I would not buy one used. At the very least get an independent inspection and as many service records as possible.

Do you have any older relatives or friends looking to unload a car? I’ve been looking at Mustangs and it is very much a seller’s market at the moment.

Ed B.


The GMC Terrain is closely related to the Cadillac SRX that people disliked in the other thread. One mechanical difference is that the 3.6 liter engine is standard in the SRX and optional in the Terrain.

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@VOLVO-V70 @edb1961 I have absolutely no friends or family to turn to for support or guidance in purchasing my next vehicle which is leaving me distraught and desperate. I’m greatly appreciative of all the input everyone is providing on my questions.

Do you need a vehicle or just want it? If it’s “want”, I would hold off in today’s market. If it’s “need” perhaps a lease with low monthly payment or buying new. There are deals out there with 6 or 7 year low interest loans.

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You budget 6-7k. Do you have 2-3k for a major repair? Credit card? Are you paying cash? Or getting a loan?

I do have some extra funds in case of repairs but I do need a vehicle… Ideally, I’d like to be between 7-8k. I am paying cash.

The best used car I ever bought had just turned 4 years old, I had been searching the new car dealers lot on the way home from work for a while at 1 am to see what they has taken in trade that day. It was a 61 Dodge Dart Phoenix that was immaculate and had 22 thousand miles on it. I paid 20% over Blue Book price for it. The dealer knew what they had and so did I. I had it for 5 1/2 years with no surprises until my growing family dictated a station wagon. No minivans back then. If a car at a dealers lot seems cheap to you, there is a reason, they know what it is and you don’t.

I have bought used cars at a new car dealer for between 20 and 30 % off, but they were cars that they were having trouble selling.

For example, I bought a 76 Volare that the dealer had advertised in the paper for $3400. I got it for $2650. It was a cold rainy fall Saturday and they were giving away free hot dogs and pop but the weather was so nasty that I was the only one that showed up. It was a 4 door with bench seats, a slant 6 and a 4 speed floor shift manual transmission. A weird combo. when we went to go for a test drive , the salesman who was required to take it off the lot could not get it to start, while he was looking for a mechanic I got it started by realizing it had a clutch interlock so the clutch had to be pressed ALL the way to the floor. After the drive, I offered $26.50 for it which they declined. they kept countering with small reductions, finally I decided to leave. They claimed to have misplaced my keys. I said ,tats OK, I have another set with me, you can either deliver them to my house or pay to have my car re-keyed. They accepted my offer at my car in the parking lot.

Every time I bought a standard shift car, I had to teach my wife to drive all over again. When my son offered to sell me his twin stick Plymouth Champ I said no, your Mother will kill me if I buy a standard shift car with TWO shift levers. I drove a lot of trucks with two shift levers, duplex, triplex and 4x4. Also 10 speed road rangers with a separate deep reduction knob you pulled to get 5 more gears below first. Also 13 speed road rangers.

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Are you going to “buy here pay here” used car lots

If so, they may not even want to deal with a customer willing to throw all the cash on the table

The “buy here pay here” used car lot business model is set up for buyers who will make payments . . . and then the used car lot hopes they miss payments. At which point the car is repossessed and resold to another buyer, and the process starts anew. Each car on the lot is veritable gold mine

I’d avoid those kinds of businesses like the plague

I’d even buy a freshly traded-in used car from a new car dealer before I set foot on a “buy here pay here” lot

To tell you the truth, if you pay cash, that won’t exactly make the salesman’s mouth water. The business makes more money when somebody finances, preferably financed through them. Don’t be surprised if they try to talk you into financing. Resist these suggestions

i’d be looking at a honda or toyota suv, were I in your shoes. Some of them are very nicely equipped, if you care about creature features

If you want a bargain, you may want to trying buying a car that’s been sitting on the lot for several weeks. They may be willing to entertain a low offer, because a bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush. If anything’s been sitting on the lot for awhile, hopefully it’s because the color is ugly and not because it’s got a ton of problems

yup, that is exactly what they do. And it’s a smart move, in my opinion. Keep a variety of different brand used cars in good condition on the lot, to broaden the appeal. And send the real turkeys down the road, because they’re more trouble than they’re worth.

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Exactly. I remember many years ago when I tried to buy a used Toyota Tercel from one of these places, simply because they were the only dealer in town that had the car I wanted. They not only refused to sell the car for a cash price, but were even very rude about the fact that they make their profit on the financing, and that selling it to me for $3500 (what the Blue Book said it was worth at the time) just wasn’t worth their while.


If you NEED an SUV for whatever reason (and that is your business) then that is fine. Preferring an SUV is fine. Preferring a mid-sized vehicle is fine.

However, unless you actually do need a mid-size SUV consider widening your search to include crossovers and sedans such as a Toyota RAV-4, Camry, or Corolla, a Honda CRV, Accord, or Civic, etc. You might find a newer vehicle and/or one with fewer miles in good condition that is within your budget.

As others have pointed out, absolutely have any vehicle you decide to buy checked over by your own mechanic BEFORE you make the purchase. It will cost you about $100 or perhaps a bit more but can save you from buying a major problem.

Absolutely take the vehicle for a thorough test drive that includes:

  • Both highway and non-highway driving. Test drive with the radio, air conditioning, heat off so you can listen to the vehicle while also paying attention to how it handles, steers, rides, corners, goes over road bumps, etc.

  • Is your driver visibility comfortable? Can mirrors be set where they work for you?

  • How comfortable is the seat? Hint: A five minute drive around the block won’t work to tell you real use seat comfort or other important things about how the vehicle drives.

  • How smoothly does the transmission shift? How well does it accelerate? How well do the brakes work?!!

  • If it passes all that to your satisfaction then time for noting other details:

  • Do all the lights work? Headlights both low and high beam and, DRLs, tail lights, turn signals, interior lights.

  • Turn on the a/c to see how well it works including while driving. Same then with the heat on.

  • See how well the windows work going up and down, both from the driver’s control and from the individual window controls on each door.

  • See how well all doors, rear hatch or trunk lid, and front hood open, close, and properly latch.

  • Check if the door locks work. That includes the fob button controls if the vehicle has fob control; the interior electronic lock button; the interior manual lock buttons; and using the physical key in the exterior lock/s to both lock and unlock.

  • Does the radio work?

  • Check to see if it comes equipped with a spare tire. If not then budget to add one after purchase if it is a vehicle designed to carry a spare.

  • Do all the seat belts / shoulder belts work properly.

  • When starting the vehicle do all the dash warning symbols come on momentarily as a system check?

  • Are there any dash warning symbols lighted up that stay on and/or come on while the engine is running?

  • Look under the hood at the engine. Pull the oil dipstick, wipe it off, reinsert it, pull it back out and check the oil level. Pay attention if it is clean or dirty and if dirty how grungy.

  • Is the coolant level in the reservoir at proper marked level?

  • Is brake fluid at proper marked level in the brake fluid reservoir?

  • From a distance of ten or twelve feet squat down and eyeball the vehicle on all sides. Does it sit properly squared up? Is it sagging somewhere? Are the front and rear tires offset such it would track “dogged” when driving?

  • Any visible rust? Note: Most older vehicles have some rust. Where and how much is crucial to find out. This is part of why you want a professional mechanic of your choosing to examine your final vehicle choice BEFORE buying. You need to know how serious any rust to frame, brake lines, suspension components, etc. is and if it is serious enough to pass on buying.

@BDazzle Remember, know your worth as a person and do not let anyone bully you or insult you. There are always other vehicles, other places to buy if you are uncomfortable with how you are being treated or you have doubt about the vehicle or transaction.

Don’t threaten to walk away, just do so if necessary.

*** And for heaven’s sake do NOT sign or even initial anything paper or electronic until you are certain and only after carefully, thoroughly reading and understanding every single line and word, including the fine print!!!

Take your time thoroughly vetting the Terrain or any other vehicle you seriously consider as a real candidate. Don’t let anyone rush or pressure you. That includes, if necessary, asking the sales person to step away and let you look and think in quiet. If s/he goes along for the test drive, which is often the case, courteously but firmly ask for s/he to be quiet and not talk so you can concentrate on how the vehicle drives and sounds. (Many, if not most, sales people will turn on the radio and yack about the bells and whistles as a distraction and pressure tactic.)

This purchase is YOUR choice with your hard earned money. You keep control of the transaction.

Good luck!

And please do feel free to keep asking questions. There are many experienced, knowledgeable folks here who can help with answers.


Exactly. I remember many years ago when I tried to buy a used Toyota Tercel from one of these places, simply because they were the only dealer in town that had the car I wanted. They not only refused to sell the car for a cash price,

I had the same experience many year’s ago all they would say was how much the down payment was and how much the monthly payment’s was never would give me a out the door one time payment price.

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