If you are old enough and a public radio listener, you may remember a popular radio show called Car Talk, hosted by brothers Tom and Ray Magliozzi, owners of the Good News Garage in Cambridge Massachusetts. People would call up from all over the country asking for advice on their car troubles. Inevitably, callers would ask for advice about buying a car.
The Car guys’ advice only works if you are not someone who needs to have a new car all the time. If you are like me and are just looking for tidy, reliable, well-maintained transportation, this article is just for you.
As mechanics, the car guys were perhaps biased toward taking care of an older car and making it last. The internet has made it easier than ever to find good used cars, but you still need to know what you want. Are there brands you have found that work particularly well for you? Or, that drove you crazy? Filter out what you do not want to consider.
You may wish to include only those cars that are Certified Pre-Owned vehicles from the brands of choice. Certified Pre-Owned generally means the dealer has checked out the car and for a relatively low cost, the dealer will offer a bumper-to-bumper service package for at least the first year you own the vehicle, covering any necessary repair that may emerge.
Arrange in ascending order from lowest mileage to highest mileage. This will produce a list of available vehicles in a radius of however many miles you are willing to consider. Avoid dealers with poor reputations, especially if you have had previous negative experience with that dealer.
In January of 2010, I sought a more reliable used car. Friends and colleagues suggested I try Lexus as they are exceptional reliable. A curious thing happened when I followed these instructions: a 2010 Lexus HS250h with 80 miles appeared first on the list. This was the first year Lexus produced a true Hybrid vehicle. The parent company, Toyota, had great success with the Prius, but Lexus had never produced a Hybrid luxury car, so people pre-ordering direct from the factory could not take a test drive. Apparently, a very tall gentleman had ordered this pearl white HS250h, but the car did not have enough head room for him.
I was 15 inches shorter than the original owner, so head room was not an issue for me. This was during a time when Lexus was looking into allegations of brake failures, but the evidence was that floor mats that had become unhooked were the source of the problem. In any case, the dealership made me an offer I could not refuse, and Pearl has been my driving companion ever since.