The last few days have been spent scouring Craiglist for what I want. After some stubbornness of not doing my trip in my 2 door Echo, AKA the green dolphin, I looked first at Subaru’s for AWD for dispersed camping, then quickly found the Honda Element.
These boxy little cars, have quite the cult following and hold their resale value well—important if on the other side of this trip I want to sell it and recoup some of the costs.
Tips for buying used cars:
- Search craigslist—use a an RSS Reader, I used Vienna, it auto downloads any new posts and allows you to spot them on them
- Research average going price—Another benefit of an RSS feed is I could see all the posts and costs of different cars and see what was a reasonable price. Also researching on Element Owners Club
- Run a carfax and read Yelp (if buying from a dealer)— I ended up finding mine through another site, with a dealer who only sells Subarus and Elements, he seemed reasonable
- Get a prepurchase inspection done—The carfax did turn up some unreported damage so I had a mechanic in Dublin check it out (the dealer drove it there and back, and the mechanic called me before I drove it up, and everything checked out besides some typical maintenance stuff)
- Test drive and purchase— try to haggle if you can, I knew I was getting pretty close to going price so I didn’t try to hard
- Be ready to pay—most places will take cash, I ended up having to go to a local branch of my bank, which was fortunately around the corner, although it did take 30 minutes, so make sure to have the time for that.
- Take care of loose ends—Drive safely, fill out paperwork, make sure to get it insured
I’m pretty happy with my car with the drive back, and feel quite spoiled with features like power windows, air conditioning, rear defroster—not to mention the moonroof, AWD, ample cargo room and head room, aux in,—I almost feel like I should just permanently move in.