Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking, “we have already mentioned this so many times, why do you need to add on to it?” Well the reason is because I just had a perfect example with a girl in my school.
So, this girl in my class just got her license and was looking for a first car. She knows nothing about cars. I mean absolutely nothing. She thought a Dodge Challenger was a Mercedes Benz. But anyway, she had a budget of around $4500 and needed a sedan to haul her and her friends around. Being a good person, I basically volunteered as tribute and decided to help since I know what to look for in a car (and I kind of liked her, but that is for a different story.)
I go home and begin looking on Craigslist. There, I find what seems to be a really good find: a 2000 Honda Accord Sedan EX with 160,000 miles for $4000. Original owner, no accidents, sold by the original owner, and local (I know he was the original owner and it wasn’t in an accident since he provided a Carfax). The car also was a Florida cars its whole life, so no rust to worry about. For someone who knows little about cars, it really was perfect. Or so I thought.
I bring in the ad the next to show her. She wasn’t that impressed, saying that it was kind of boring. I try and explain why this would perfect since it is reliable, safe, gets good gas mileage, is in great shape, and is being sold from an honest seller, but she doesn’t care. So, after the day ends I begin looking again. I find a Dodge Stratus, which again, although boring, is usually pretty reliable and good for the car clueless.
It was when I came into school the next day that I was upset. She got a car. And it was a bad one. She ended up with a 1996 BMW 525I. At first I was intrigued since it was a BMW, which was kind of cool. She then showed me the ad of the car. It was at one of the sleaziest buy here pay here dealers in the area. This BMW had 245,000 miles and was covered in small dents and scratches. The seats had horrible seat covers on them (I’m assuming the leather was in bad shape) and it had an aftermarket steering wheel (with no airbag). She also paid $5000 for this. I begin trying to say how bad this was, but she was too happy with this car.
I had a friend of mine run the VIN. It turned out the car had a salvaged title as it was totaled in an accident in 2007. Yes, it had frame damage with airbag deployment. Things were getting worse every second I looked into it. But, I didn’t want to crush her spirits. The next day, she comes in with a picture on her phone of the dashboard. She asks what that orange light means. I tell her it’s the check engine light and it could mean something as dumb as an open gas cap or as bad as a blown head gasket. I tell her to take it to this local mechanic I know. On the way trying to get there, her car seizes up and stops running, requiring a tow. It turns out her engine seized due to a lack of oil. She will need a new engine which may run her over $5000; or more than the value of the car.
Now, she is looking into the Florida Lemon law to try and get help. If she just went with the Honda. Why do I bother giving advice?