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AutoTrader Experiences

melissamelissa Posts: 27
Have you purchased or sold a car from If so, share you story here. Let other consumers know the good and the bad.


  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 21,984
    listed 2 vehicles on there (my 2nd is up right now and has been for 2+ weeks now), and, regardless of the fact that I am the cheapest up there in my area, I have received no responses (both times). I'll let ya know if that changes. But, so far, I'm not too thrilled. I even paid the $5 this time to get preferred listing and the yellow highlight.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • stickguystickguy Posts: 24,945
    I listed my '95 Mercury mystique a few months ago. First I used the basic freebie, and got no calls. Later I re-posted using the $5 deluxe option, and got a hit, which turned out to be the person who bought it.

    I also had the car in the local paper at the same time, and got a few calls from that, but I may have gotten a few other nibbles from Auto trader.

    The odd thing is the person who found me on Autotrader lives in the town where the local paper is published, so whe just as easliy could have found me there.

    Anyway, I also used AT to find my replacement car. Very handy for guaging the market for a particular model, but it seems to be dominated by dealers. Also, many of the listings are out of date when you call the dealer.

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • lambdaprolambdapro Posts: 51
    Be sure and subscribe to the two months of car fax. This is saving me a lot of time with irresponsible parties listing bad mileages on the listings. I do wish that all ads had their VIN. It takes extra time to call and get the VIN from the sellers.

    The nice thing is sorting on years/models. If it had keywords it would be better.

    I am looking for a couple of cars right now that are difficult to find with their algorithm.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 24,945
    one thing that did bug me was many ads did not specify trans type, on cars that do come with a stick. I assumed no mention meant AT, but couldn't really tell.

    No prices listed also bugged me.

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • im_brentwoodim_brentwood Posts: 4,883
    So what did you end up with???

    Inquiring minds wanna know :)

  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    Using them. I used their freebie ad and it sat there for a couple months and got numerous calls and finally sold it.

    I worded my ad to keep away anyone but serious buyers - as I was in no hurry to sell.
  • lambdaprolambdapro Posts: 51
    I bought a couple of mid 90s Caprice LT1 wagons with 25K and 47K miles using autotrader. They mistakenly had a picture of a minivan instead of a full sized wagon and the seller had not gotten any calls. I was in need of replacing my tired, worthy workhorse wagons. I have ordered one Suburban and have now gotten a couple of low mileage wagons. My wife wanted one new vehicle and maybe two. This way I added a couple of wagons that I hope to fall in love with for about half of the price of another Suburban. I'll post in a month how the wagons are doing. They passed inspection just fine, but you never know.

    I would've bought a new Caprice wagon instead of the Suburban if they still built them.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 24,945
    I ended up with a '99 Maxima SE 5-speed to tide me over for a few years. Too many factors to go into, but a real nice car, lots of room, for a lot less than a Volvo or the like. I'll deal with the 5-speed resale issue down the road again.

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • im_brentwoodim_brentwood Posts: 4,883
    5-speeds dont punish Maxima SEs badly... not to worry. :)

    Nice car, and easy to resell in Jersey.

    I had been wondering!
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 24,945
    I didn't have any reason to post more price requests once I got it. Tough car to find with the 5 speed, and I just happened to stuble upon it at the local Lexus dealer.

    After selling my Mystique quickly to someone who only wanted a stick, I know that the cult is out there. Not a lot of people want them, but look out if you find one that does.

    And the Max might not be a Jag, but a heck of a step up from the Mercury. Plus I have money in reserve for a toy down the road.

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • qwallsqwalls Posts: 406
    It was in great condition, and only 35k miles. A dealer offered me $11k as a trade in. I listed it for $15,499, and got one call in a week. After lowering my price to $14,999, I got a call about every other day. I sold it two weeks later for my asking price. I got the $30 "run until it sells, bold, etc." package.
  • photog0264photog0264 Posts: 314
    I am in a NO-Hurry look and see whats out there mode for a high mileage under $5k used Station Wagon or hatchback. Following a recent buying fiasco for my current new car I vowed I wouldn't visit two or three dealerships ever again. Alas they don't list the dealers by name.

    It would be nice to have an E-mail only generated quote system as well. As it is I usually just give a phone number with no phones attached to it...
  • scottdudescottdude Posts: 177
    I've had a basic ad up for a couple months and have not gotten any responses. It would be nice if they ran the ad in the Auto Trader magazine too. I'll bet more people read that.
  • mtwallacemtwallace Posts: 28 75 miles. I was looking for a Corvette, and there weren't many locally in the price range and age I was looking for.

    I ended up buying one from someone who had ONLY advertised in AutoTrader. I got the feeling it had been on the market for several months, and the seller told me he had gotten very few calls and no lookers. Still, he optimistically proclaimed "the car is so nice, all I need is to get one person to see it and drive it, and they will buy it."

    I saw it, I drove it, I bought it!
  • cbyrnecbyrne Posts: 1
    I had been checking Autotrader for the car I would like to buy, but I became annoyed with dealerships that continue to post ads for cars they no longer have. I've had this happen twice and the ads are still online (over a month later).
  • abtsellerabtseller Posts: 291
    as well, and find that they are very slow to update their listings. Its frustrating from a seller's point of view, that's for sure.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    I sort of fished my 89 VW Golf with a free 'basic' ad, got a few calls but no buyers. I think an ad with a picture makes all the difference. I just bought my second or third car by using autotrader, I think the site is great. I do wish they would:

    -list the VIN of all cars
    -require that seller list mileage and transmission type on all 'pay' ads (this would reduce everyone's bother)
    -list the city/state of all ads (doing a search on an area code is an extra PIA)
    -remove the ad PROMPTLY when the car sells (I've called about MANY cars on AT that sold weeks or months ago)

    That said, I haven't seen another venue that does a better job than they do. I live in a big used car market (Chicago) and our local newspapers and other websites with similar missions don't compare.
  • ravvie4meravvie4me Posts: 110
    -Have it required that the owner list the engine type (4-cyl, V6, V8, etc...), especially cars like Camry, where 4-cylinder and V6 engines are available. (ie if someone doesn't want a 4-cylinder Camry, he or she can skip over the ad)

    -If it's a truck or SUV, have it required to list 2WD or 4WD

    (and if possible, put those options (4WD, V6, etc...) in the search, too)

    It would save alot of time for Auto Trader viewers and buyers in finding the right car. Otherwise, AT is pretty good.

  • pondviewpondview Posts: 22
    If you are REALLY trying to sell your vehicle, for heavens sake, pay the $30-50 and advertise the thing right. Those freebie listings are a total joke. I can't believe that there are people are there tring to sell $15,000 vehicles and don't won't to spend $40 to advertise correctly. Talk about cheap..
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 21,984
    Can you tell me what the "correct" way is? Cause I've tried every avenue in my 12 years and 20+ cars of experience and have yet to find one way that works better than any other (including spending money on ads). My best results have come from parking it near the street. And that costs me nothing aside from the paper I printed the sign on.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • 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: 19,555
    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: 19,555
    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: 24,945
    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.

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,561
    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: 19,555
    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.
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