Author Topic: Buying used vehicles with accident/damage record?  (Read 401 times)

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Offline momopi

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Buying used vehicles with accident/damage record?
« on: June 24, 2019, 10:50:15 AM »
I'm currently in the market for an used >2012 Lexus ES 350 to replace a 20 year old Camry with 290K miles on the odo.  Up until recently I've only considered vehicles with clean carfax history with no accidents.  I'd prefer to pay less than $20K which excludes Lexus certified used vehicles that are usually priced higher.

Recently I've started considering vehicles that have been in minor accidents, looking at carfax records for reference (no structural damage).  I've acquired an ODB reader to run diag and paint thickness meter to check which panels have been repainted (does not work on non-metallic bumper covers).

Does anyone have an opinion or suggestion?

I also like the ES 300h.  I read that for Prius the hybrid powertrain is under warranty for 10 years or 150K miles.  Is this applicable to the ES 300h, and does the warranty also cover the generator?  I've read conflicting reports on 15 years vs 10 years, and the replacement cost on the generator appears much higher than the battery pack.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2019, 10:59:48 AM by momopi »

Offline daedalus

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Re: Buying used vehicles with accident/damage record?
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2019, 10:38:02 PM »
Your own experience says that future resale of the car will be impacted by the accident history.  Use this as a bargaining chip to get price reductions.  For a short term ownership I would not take a risk on resale, but if you plan to own the car for a long time, it'll wash out IMO.  I don't personally feel my safety is more imperiled because of a minor accident in the car's past, but I have run from buying a Tundra after seeing a minor accident in the Carfax, because the price no longer made it worth it to me.

You have an OBDII (OBD 2) reader, and probably a generic one.  OBD (on board diagnostics) protocols are crafted around federal emissions laws, so generic readers will read generic things, for the most part...the stuff that has to be there.  All manufacturers then add their own codes and info to the mix, which may not be read or correctly interpreted by the code readers.  Not sure what "diagnostics" you're looking to get, but for the most part, if the check engine light isn't on, the car doesn't think it has a problem.  The exceptions are for intermittent or "soft" codes.  The big one here is for a borderline catalytic converter.  Very rarely a problem with a Lexus.  Sometimes the code reader will tell you how many starts the car has had since the last code clearing, and this is good to know.  If there have been only a handful of starts since the last code clearing, that would be a big red flag.

Warranties are part of the owner documentation, which is often published online by manufacturers.  A 2016 ES 300H warranty, for example, can be found here:  https://www.lexus.com/pdf/service/MY16_Lexus_ES_300h_WSG.pdf.  For this model/year, the hybrid system is covered for 8 years or 100k miles.

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Offline Irvinecommuter

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Re: Buying used vehicles with accident/damage record?
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2019, 09:18:16 AM »
That is a deal breaker for me...safety >>>>> money saved.

Offline momopi

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Re: Buying used vehicles with accident/damage record?
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2019, 03:34:34 PM »
Update:  I ended up buying an used 2015 ES 350 for $18K out the door (tax/fees included) with clean carfax record from Lexus dealership.  No prior accidents and extensive maintenance record.

It was somewhat cheap because it had a little over 80K miles on the odo, which exceeded the Lexus pre-owned certified used vehicle program's 80k mile limit.  If it was under 80K miles and came with the 2 year certified used warranty then it would have likely costed more.

Since I take the train the work, I drive less than 5,000 miles/year.  I estimate that over the next 10 years the car will depreciate around $1,000-$1,200/year.

Prior to this I tried to negotiate on used Lexus ES 300h at 3 other Lexus dealerships.  They did not accept lower offers and gave me the boot out the door.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2019, 03:39:38 PM by momopi »

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Offline daedalus

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Re: Buying used vehicles with accident/damage record?
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2019, 09:16:24 PM »
That's a very nice car.  Congrats on the purchase.  You got a smoking deal on it.

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Offline momopi

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Re: Buying used vehicles with accident/damage record?
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2019, 02:46:30 PM »
For those looking for used hybrids, 2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE's with clean carfax record can be had for $12K.  These were $27K+tax/fees new.

The SE is the base model so don't expect upscale interior.  These were popular as rental and lease vehicles and you can find 2 year old ones at good price.  Note that former rental cars tend to have higher mileage and lower resale value.

Why so cheap?  Ford has announced that they will discontinue the Ford Fusion in near future.  If you don't mind taking the risk, these can be a good bargain.

If you're willing to spend $14K-$16K, you'll have a broader selection of 2016-2017 hybrid cars including the Camry hybrid, Chevy Volt, Prius, etc., or a 2016 Ford Fusion with titanium trim (larger screen w/navigation).  You might prefer the 2016 model as it still has a stick for shifting, versus the 2017+ has a round dial/button.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2019, 11:31:24 AM by momopi »

 

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