Buying a used car

I meant to post this a few weeks ago when I saw it on the world news.  Cars that we're flood damaged from hurricane Harvey in TX totaled more than 680,000!! The news reported flood damaged cars will "absolutely" make their way back into the nation's automotive fleet, and used car buyers need to be EXTRA vigilant to avoid being stuck with one. I know most of you are aware of this already but I  just thought  the number of  cars was crazy!! It was reported that the cars that people had insurance on will  be able to be checked with CarFax, But thousands of people did not have insurance and those cars you will not be able to research so beware these cars may end up in other countries being sold.

Yes its a huge number! sure many will end up here. Other than Carfax not sure what else you can do. Physical exam of the car? How will water damage show up???

Yes lots of flood damaged cars will end up here.  Carfax does not rely on insurance (at least I don't believe so) but rather on registration and VIN number.  YOu will find cars here with flood titles or junk titles that are cleaned up and sold looking brand new.

We once almost bought a used car here.  Ran it through Carfax and found that it left Miami three weeks earlier with 100,000 more miles on it that was indicated by the "rolled back" odometer here. 

Bob K

The report on the news emphasized that if there was "no insurance" there would no Carfax report and for "buyer to beware", you would think it would be by the VIN but maybe the only way the VIN gets into the system is when your Insurance company enters it and it gets sent to companies such as Carfax. The reporter asked "is there anyway to tell if the car has had flood
damage? " and the only way mentioned was that if the car was newer but being sold as used,  look to see if the upholstery still looked NEW because if it looks really new and no signs of use it could be that it  was a new car that was flooded.... The water usually doesn't flood the entire car for engine to be ruined. I once was driving my company car to work a few yrs ago here in Florida after major rain I turned off onto a side street that only looked like a "puddle" but after turning realized "Oh S---!! " the water was up past the floor of my car.  They towed it away and I was given a new company car because of the damage to engine. I guess the only other red flag would be... don't buy a car if you know it's coming from Texas,  I know there are  other states that had flooding as well but there are over 680,000 flooded cars in TX alone.

I've been in the automotive reconditioning for remarketing for many years and carfax doesn't always work. Its an instrument that can give you an idea from what you see, test, and compare with "data base information ". The best way to evaluate the condition of a potential vehicle for purchase is to :

1) Bring a mechanic of proven experience that can be really trusted (read between the lines)

2) Have the computer (obd) check for erased codes  since today anybody can get access to one and erase codes at the time of test drive and hidding potential and expensive repairs. When check engine light is on, repairs will need to be done, period. If they tell you its just a sensor, no big deal, It is a big deal! If it wasnt, why it was not repaired before placed for sale?

3) Have the vehicle raise on rack to search under carriage for hidden truths ( body work, rust) since a hi number of vehicles in th DR have been repaired due to age or previous accidents search for signs of frame, geometry or drivetrain damages.

4) Ask , ask and ask questions and listen to your gut, it works. The challenge is that we tend to second guess ourselves due to many factors, specially if youre not experience buyer or your personality plays tricks on you. If it doesn't drive, feel, looks, smell right, Its beacause its not, period. Keep asking questions and ask for prove when answer. If youre not convince, move on. Last car I purchsed in the DR i searched and negotiated for almost a month until i was convinced of the one i purchased and when i sold it got my investment right back.

5) DO NOT show an expression of "thats the vehicle I've been looking for", it will cost you an extra $100k dominican pesos. Dominicans car salesmen are experts in reading your facial expressions and they will raise up the price by thousads of dollars when they see white flesh. I payed a dominican local one time to inquire about the vehicle of my interest before showing up in person to evaluate level of professionalism. Price diference was $3000US.

I love the DR and this happens everywhere in the world, dont take it personal.
Its just business

Good post, thank you for sharing your knowledge.

It is obvious that great caution must be taken when looking for a used vehicle no matter where you buy. What would be nice to know is a general price range for various vehicles that are 2 to 4 years old. It would help in budget planning. I understand local sales and prices vary but it would great if there were some where on line to ask as one more "check" .

Check online for pricing 

Search for what you are looking for.  They are in spanish though.....

Muchas gracias. Muy util como siempre

Good post with good info.

Bob K

When buying a vehicle here new or used a good general rule of thumb  is check the KBB prices in the US and add  about 35%
Bob K

Yup good rule of thumb. 

AND now we need to be extra careful about  damaged vehicles from these past storms being shipped here!

Just to add to Bob's text, KBB + 35% is a good rule of thumb as long as the vehicle is a US specs being sold here.

There are a few variables in values depending where vehicles are being marketed today.
2017 Nissan Frontier with a Cummings Diesel engine is built different in many ways compared to the 2017 Nissan Frontier NP300 which Diesel engine has been in production for years in Europe . The European Frontier NP300 is a far better built engine to withstand the elements of the roads and fuel quality in the DR while the US specs model with the Cummings diesel just came out and and designed for US roads with cleaner diesel. The price for the US version will be $7-10k US more than the euro version. The euro is a proven tough version for this country and less money but is nowhere to be found on KBB book. So if you search for a Nissan Frontier diesel on KBB will give you the much higher price of the Diesel engine that is not on the one found here.

I know I'm being technical here but this little details can make a 6month difference in living expenses here and nobody will tell us of that

Again good info and a good business idea for you! Helping those of us who dont know enough to make a good purchase based on our needs and budget!

Yep again a good point.  Our recently sold 2006 Toyota Rav4 was produced in Japan for non US markets.  This should have effected the sale price (to the negative) but it is such a popular car here we still sold it for 133% or KBB price.

Bob K

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