Advice on buying a used truck

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Old 01-05-21, 12:30 PM
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Advice on buying a used truck

I posted here several months ago about possibly buying a truck in the future and I got some advice about the process of buying new but I think I need to go the used route. This will be our secondary vehicle replacing an old Tahoe which only has averaged less than 5,000 miles per year and we really just use it for vacations, pulling a trailer, or hauling stuff that won't fit in the car along with just using it when we need 2 vehicles at the same time. Because of the light usage, I can't justify spending $40k on up for a new truck I think keeping it under $30k would be fine because I do tend to keep vehicles a lot so I would imagine I would need to look at something in the 2016-2018 range, probably leaning toward a Silverado crew cab 4x4 with 5.3L. Anyways, since I have actually not bought a used car since I was in high school and my dad was with me then, I wanted some advice on the pricing. I have been looking on KBB and Edmunds to find the market value of the vehicles and even looking at trucks listed on there. Is that a good place to start? Would you try to negotiate a price to low end of that spectrum, or go even lower than that? I have seen some though, for example where it may say the range of the truck should be between $30,000 and $34,000 but then saw the listed price at just under $30,000. Would you expect them to not go much below that in this case, whereas if they listed it at $32,000, maybe they would go down to $30,000?

On another note, is it recommended to get a vehicle inspected before you buy it, even from a dealership? If so how does that work with a dealership? Do you negotiate a price first and then will they let you take it off the lot to bring to your mechanic, or what? Thanks for reading.
 
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Old 01-05-21, 06:07 PM
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You're going to pay more from a dealership but most of them should give you some kind of limited warranty, like 30 days. Additionally, they typically have had someone give them a once-over and fixed issues which were found. It's been my experience that KBB is a little high so I would certainly try to get someone lower. How much lower is based on how long you can wait for the right deal.
 
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Old 01-07-21, 07:52 AM
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www.nadaguides.com also a good pricing source. Plus you could go to www.autotrader.com and key in like make & model and see what those are being sold for, keeping in mind those are asking prices.
 
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Old 01-07-21, 10:36 AM
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Ok thank you. I realize those are the asking prices and it gives a range, but I guess I am wondering how much to offer below those prices before it is too low and you might insult someone. Or are you supposed to have a salesman start you off with a price (or are they just going to go right back to the asking price)? Like in my example above, let's say the range of that truck was 30k-34k and they were asking $31k for it. Would you start off with an offer of like $28 or $29, or would you ask the dealer to come up with a price to start with to see what they say?
 
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Old 01-07-21, 05:28 PM
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My usual approach is to determine what I want to pay total for a vehicle and make my one and only offer on an "out the door" basis, possibly after the dealer or owner has told me their price. I hate doc fees but with an out the door price I do not care what amount they fill in on any line of the contract except the total cost to me.. Its not necessarily a friendly approach to negotiating but since I have time to shop the market I am not really concerned about friendship. You will never know if you got the lowest price possible. Any offer the seller accepts could possible have been lower.
When I sell my own vehicles which is very rarely my attitude is the buyer can bring a mechanic to my house to look at the vehicle but I am not giving possession of the vehicle to a stranger even if it means missing a sale.
Trust no one.

Be sure to check published reviews for the vehicle you are planning to buy. Ever heard of the 'death wobble" in the Super Duty Fords? You sure don't want that problem. Consumers Reports is a good source for info.
 

Last edited by lakeseed; 01-07-21 at 05:31 PM. Reason: additional comments
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Old 01-07-21, 06:49 PM
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First off never be afraid to walk away if you don't like the deal. It is your money and they want it.

Second, you should never be afraid to insult someone about their asking price. Typically when I plan to make a deal I use a percentage as my guide. Offering somebody 50% less than their asking price is just a waste of time and we are too far apart from what I am willing to pay. But 10 - 20% is not crazy to start with. Remember, that would be $6200 off a $31K at 20% off the asking price. Likely you will land someplace in the middle.

I have found dealers don't like to give an out the door price and they give you the price plus tax, title, and license. Just remember that will be added to the bottom line.
 
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Old 01-08-21, 06:27 AM
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Traditionally, shopping near the end of the month may help. Month-end sales quotas can drive the willingness to meet your price.
 
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Old 01-08-21, 10:51 AM
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Thank you so much. This is all great advice. I do like the idea of giving one out the door price like that. What about for a trade in? Is it better to come up with a price on the truck first and then factor in the trade in, or is it better to just name a price including the trade in? I don't expect to get very much anyways for my 2000 Tahoe. It is in great shape and has 150k miles but KBB says it is worth between 1400 and 2400 for a trade in.
 
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Old 01-08-21, 04:28 PM
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You will always do better if you sell your Tahoe yourself. Typically trade-in is about half of what you can sell it for. Remember if you trade it in that money comes off the top before taxes are calculated. At least that is how it is in my state.
 
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Old 01-09-21, 07:55 PM
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Yeah I figured as much, but I probably don't want to bother with selling it myself. Probably won't get much for it anyways. But just in general, is it good to include the tradein in the offer or to do it after you agree on a price?
 
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Old 01-10-21, 07:16 AM
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I have seen it go both ways. When I traded in my 2000 Silverado (that had issues) for my 2018 Silverado I wanted them to drop the price $500 so they just gave me $500 more on my trade-in. The net was the same.

For comparison, they gave me $3500 for my truck and it was on the lot for sale for about $8000 a week or so later. Who knows what they sold it for.
 
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Old 01-17-21, 09:56 AM
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That sounds good. I guess the one thing I picked up is to have financing in place with a bank or elsewhere before you go in so you are only negotiating the price of the car and trade-in and then they can't try to jack up the price by working around monthly payments.

What are your guys thoughts on negotiating over the phone or email and how does that work? That actually sounds good in my case since I am in no hurry and I could walk away from anything. Would it work by if I saw a truck online, or maybe even at the lot, and noticed it has been for sale for awhile, is it as simple as just emailing them something like "I'll offer $30k and my trade in for that truck.". Seems like a simple no pressure way to do things and not have to waste time in the dealership. Then maybe if they still have it for awhile, they might eventually get back to someone on a deal like that?
 
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Old 01-17-21, 02:55 PM
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Dealers seem a little better with dealing with customers by e-mail, text, or by phone, but one customer on the lot is worth more than two on the computer/phone. The last car I purchased I mostly did the deal over the phone. You just have to look everything over very well when you get to signing the papers.
 
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Old 01-17-21, 04:09 PM
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The best thing to do when buying a SPECIFIC vehicle- go check what that make & model has listed for recalls and focus on the MOST expensive repairs: body, cooling, drivetrain, engine, suspension and transmission. Then print out / save that list of recalls and repairs, and when you email/speak to the sales person, ask them to have the mechanics check the car for those known problems, and say you'll wait for an answer in writing. Makes it MUCH easier to get things fixed for free if your driveshaft drops out the day after you drive it off their lot.

THEN bring up that you may have a vehicle to trade in that they can re-sell for a couple thousand, and you're happy to bring in your truck so they can look over it to get an accurate value in current condition.
If they give it a clean bill of health, you MIGHT want to sell it yourself. If they find something expensive to fix, easier to trade it in and let them fix & re-sell it.
 
 

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