Buying a Used Car

This is a scary venture. I have had two experiences with buying used cars. Both turned out very positive.
Years ago, in the mid 80s, we drove an old VW camper across country...and it died on the lot of a used car place. The owner said we could choose between two cars for a trade...a Sunbird, which the steering wheel kept falling off, or a '73 Ford Pinto. We took the Pinto. We had heard plenty of stories of them being rearended and blowing up, and it was declared a real lemon by everyone.
Well, that little Pinto took us across 4 provinces, and my husband used it when he was a sales rep for a company in Sask. It went everywhere for a year or so, never a breakdown, the only repair was a replaced muffler. Tough little car!
I just recently bought another car. We have had a single car for many years, I have teens who work, and we live in the country. It is VERY tough to have only one car. And it's a standard, so the kids had a hard time learning. Finally, we decided we would look around. Our motivation was really because we had bought an old boat which we fixed up and we needed to tow it. And we wanted all three kids to get their licence so we didn't have to drive them everywhere!
We found a beautiful car that would do, mint condition, but I didn't feel right about it. I don't know why, it was below all the other prices and was the luxury edition...but I hesitated. When I went back it was sold. But oddly, I didn't feel bad.
We kept looking and honestly, you have to look very carefully at the people you are dealing with. If you are not comfortable, no matter how good a deal....walk away. Listen to your gut instinct.
We did find a similar car on the internet, but it looked in very bad shape and when my husband called, the man could hardly speak English. But he persisted and we went to see it. When we got there, the car looked way better than the photos and a few cosmetic problems, but nothing major. The guy was very nice, but had visitors and just wanted to get rid of us, really. I suppose he thought it was just another person coming to look.
The engine was in very good shape, and was much better than the others we had tried.
So we took a chance and my husband made him an offer and he took it. Because it was the weekend, and he had let the insurance run out, we had to leave it there, but we left a $100 deposit and brought a set of keys for it with us as insurance.
So far so good, no problems. At that price, if it lasts 2-3 years and the kids learn to drive with it, it will be well worth it.

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