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AutoTrader Experiences



  • pondviewpondview Posts: 22
    That would depend on what kind of street you live, lol.

    corrrectly to me means local paper, Autotrader magazine(or similar mag. in your area), internet, word of mouth, flyers, ect ect.

    Basically, if you really want to sell a vehicle...get the word out there in as many places as possible.....and most important, price the car right, don't list at what the dealers are listing at. Listing solely in the freebie section of is not going to get the job done. IMHO
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    ........ The biggest problem is -- people don't "Present" their vehicle. They just run a little 2 or 3 liner, it looks like everyone else's, the buyer's get bored into a coma after the 2/3 line, and off they go to the Vegas style ad by ABC Dodge ....

    This is what -0- bucks gets you: -0-

    This is what 15 bucks gets you:

    1997 Buick Regal, low miles, all power.
    $7,900 call Bob. XXX-xxx-xxxx

    This is what $40 bucks gets you:

    *1997 Buick Regal LS*, 39,000 original miles.
    V6, power seats, power windows, cruise, tilt, CD
    Adult driven, garaged and professionally
    Maintained, looks new, drives new. *Must see
    must sell* $7,900 call Bob. XXX-xxx-xxxx

    Call me silly ... Call me stupid, but I think one ad, in the major newspaper, will do volumes more than hanging signs or waiting for the next "phone book" from the Auto-trader. But, it's your dime ...

  • mackabeemackabee Posts: 4,709
    I agree with Terry. Back in 1985 I put an 81 Toyota Celica in the autotrader. It sat there for 3 weeks, in the meantime my ordered 85 Toyota Mini-van was due in. I got on the phone and called the San Diego Union/Tribune and placed an ad that read something like this:
    Beautiful silver blue Celica in excellent condition. 5spd manual transmission, a/c, am/fm cassette, alloy wheels, 39K miles, one owner, all service/maintenance records. New baby forces sale! $xxxx or best offer. Call xxx-xxxx up to 7pm.
    I placed the call on a wednesday, ad came out friday morning, car was sold Saturday morning. Best $39.95 I've ever spent.
                             : )
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,346
    Also, an ad in the local paper will get a lot more SERIOUS callers.
  • leomortleomort Posts: 451
    I just bought a '99 Chevy Prizm via an ad. Went through about six different dealers before settling on two to actually visit. Found and bought the car I was looking for in two weeks. I tried looking at the want ads in the local papers. Never found what I was looking for or just priced too high.

    But I also agree that some of the advertisers there do not post what tranny or what mileage or the vin# which can be aggravating. I was fortunate in that only one dealer I called about in their ad was already gone.

    Overall, not a bad buying experience. I'd use it again.

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,346
    About the VIN number?

    when they don't post the tranny, you can bet it's a stick. If they don't list the miles they are probably high.
  • leomortleomort Posts: 451
    Hi isell,

       Well because, with vin# you have the option of doing a carfax. This might bring up a red flag and save you some $$$.

      The other two I have to agree with you in that it usually means that they're purposely avoiding stating it due to high mileage or an "undesireable" tranny. Although price usually reflects the high mileage.

      BUT from a customer's perspective it would allow me to narrow my search or at least keep me from wasting my time on what would otherwise be consider dead lead(s).


  • stickguystickguy Posts: 13,559
    In some cases, I think people assume everything has an AT, so they don't bother to put it in. Unless I see stick indicated, I figure it is an AT, although sometimes they are mis-labelled.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,409
    What Leo said.

    You're right with the miles, usually, but the AT often gets forgotten... of course, every Taurus will proudly state: "Automatic, V6" or, my favorite: "3.0 V6" (of course, but which one!???) and "highway miles".
    Don't' get me started.

    BTW, you often have the attitude, "why would you care", or "this is no big deal" with used cars. I think it's because you don't deal with the used-car market much, and because you work at a stand-up store... so your used cars are likely to be in good shape.

    You ought to try hitting the pavement looking for a $2k car sometimes... it's a jungle out there! My typical "phone interview" with a seller lasts easily 10-15 minutes.. I've learned how to get a feel for them and their car over the years... but there's a reason I haven't bought a jalopy in a long time. It's really aggravating...

    So I'm with Leo on this one.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,346
    I just didn't understand why the VIN number would be important. I wasn't thinking about using CarFax. I too, have bought many a beater over the years. I got pretty good at sorting through the ads and interviewing people. There were certain phrases that wouuld scare me.

    " The body is in good shape for it's age"

    "It probably could use a tune up"

    " It runs a little just needs to be driven"

    I bought quite a few cheap old cars and helped a lot of friends do the same. This is probably what led me to the car business when I found myself on the short end of corporate downsizing.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    ...when doing a phone 'interview' about used cars, especially beaters, it's important to ask specific questions. Vague questions like 'How's the body?' is going to be answered with an equally vague, it not completely misleading answer. Though I can't exactly call most of my car ownership experiences great, I do usually prepare a list of a few questions for each car (especially those seemingly avoided in the ad like mileage and transmission type) and jot down responses while I'm on the phone. I do think it helps.
  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,409
    be careful what you ask for... cut&paste following.

    "How To Make The Phone Call

    So you pick up the phone and say this: Hi, my name is X, I’m calling about your ad in the paper. At that point, they’ll either start talking about their Prizm, or they’ll say – and this happens rather often – “Which one?” If they’re also selling a toaster oven, fine. But if they’ve got more than one car for sale, beware. Your job is to figure out if you’re talking with an individual selling their own car, or a dealer selling cars while posing as a private owner. This practice is called “curbstoning” and is often used to unload undesirable cars. I will not deal with someone like that as a matter of principle. Why bother? There are plenty of nice cars out there.
    Next, start asking questions. How long have they had the car? How does it drive? What’s the gas mileage? Get them talking. Ask if the title is in their name. Are they the first owner? Did they have any trouble with it? Has the car been smoked in ($500 hit) or do they have a dog? Dog smell is all but impossible to remove. Where did they go for service? Did they get the recommended service done? And a big one: Has the car ever been in an accident? Has it had any paint work done? A $1000 fender bender with subsequent dent work and repaint will lower the value of a newer car by at least $1k. A $5k accident with frame damage lowers the value of the car by 40% or so, even if it is perfectly restored – this is a fact that few people are aware of. No sense in buying a car that will give you a BIG headache when you try to sell it two years down the road. Even if there were just some scratches, the fact that paint work was done brings up question marks that lower the value of the car. If you ever need any paint work, better keep all the documentation.

    Always ask this question: May I ask how you figured out your asking price? Wish I’d’a thought of this one sooner. This gives me ammunition for later use; every time I ask it I get information that is useful.

    When interviewing people about their cars, use your imagination. If you’re buying an SUV, van, or truck, don’t ask “Has this vehicle been used to tow heavy loads”? Instead, tell them you’re interested in using the vehicle for towing a travel trailer or some such, and ask about their experience. If they get all gushy about how well their F150 pickup dealt with their 4,500 lb. fishing boat every weekend, you can either start saving for a new transmission or go and buy something else."

  • stickguystickguy Posts: 13,559
    One more reason to just buy a new car, and keep it for a long time, doing the maintenance, etc.

    Some wise (person? [non-permissible content removed]? can't remember who it is, but I'm leaning toward person) in town hall likes to say "everyone drives a used car" which is true, but the best used car is one where you know how it was driven and maintained. And I don't even like to let my wife drive my car since I don't know how she is treating it.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • stickguystickguy Posts: 13,559
    wonder if AT will be at all useful for a free ad for my Miata.

    Anyone have advice on the best place to list something like a Miata?? Maybe a board they can share (I never joined any other ones when I got the Miata). Just looking for something beyond the local paper, and short of Ebay.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    I think AutoTrader is a pretty good place to put an ad, a lot more people know about it now and most households (at least those in the market for a Miata) have computers and internet. The nice color picture tends to whet the appetite of potential buyers, too. Conversely, I think eBay is a decent place for collector cars, but I can't imagine why someone would buy something that's easily available locally (your average newer car) from a buyer halfway across the country, unless the price and/or condition of the car were absolutely phenomenal.

    There 'technically' IS a way of listing a car on for free, but it's an absolutely-no-details kind of ad (smaller, at the end of all other ads for cars of similar description, price and phone number only, no picture, no mileage, no color, nothing). At best this will get you too many lookie-lous or a bunch of calls that will go nowhere because of the cars details (mileage, transmission, color) that aren't described in the ad, or worse, will get you no response at all. Serious ads get serious response; I'd spend a little money, weed out those for whom the car isn't right and attract the real potential customers.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    I've had numerous experiences with calling or e-mailing sellers of ads on AutoTrader, only to discover some of the vehicles had sold literally MONTHS before. Apprently if you purchase the 'til it sells' type of ad, unless the seller contacts autotrader, it will sit on the website indefinitely. Very irritating. Of course, if the seller is too lazy to contact them and thus avoid the phone calls, I guess we can't blame AutoTrader, now can we?
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    ..... ** will sit on the website indefinitely. Very irritating. **

               Good point, but most of it is ego .. I've had customers tell me that they sold their vehicle in 2hrs and got $2,000 over the retail *asking* price .. then come to find out it was in the ad for 6 weeks and they got handed $3,000 under the asking price - ego my friend, ego .................... :)

  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    ...why would someone tell me (a potential buyer) that the car had sold several months before if they still had it for sale?

    What I mean is, sellers forget to contact AutoTrader when their car sells, then it can sit on the website for months. It's a pain. I think they should put the date the ad first ran somewhere in the ad, and perhaps let the sellers log on to cancel the ad when it sells.
  • qwallsqwalls Posts: 406
    I believe "run till it sells" ads drop off after 60 days unless you renew them.
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    Speaking from my own current experience trying to sell my '98 Mustang, the last ad you wrote would run about $100 in the local paper. They're prices are $45 for an itty bitty 3 line ad running 3 weeks and $10 for each additional line. So to run a super ad like you mentioned, would probably be upwards of $100. The ad I posted with them cost me $65 and I only got a couple calls. Don't think we even got to the negatives about my car (18" wheels and dual flow masters) that we've talked about in "Real World Trade In".
    I tried running a super ad in autotrader but was limited to about 200 characters. After posting the basics and options, hardly enough room for things like "new brakes, maint. up to date, carfax report, must sell, etc. etc." And that cost me $55 for 12 weeks. The last time I checked, there were about six other 98 Mustangs similar to mine within 100 miles, mine is priced near the bottom of the price range, so far one call, and that was a no show. I think I'd go hungry if I were a car salesman....LOL.
    My last resort will be ebay. I can post an absolutely super ad with a great description and lots of pics for less than $45. If I get a bid I'm looking for, there's another $40 charge.
This discussion has been closed.