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    1. #1
      Member Blade3562's Avatar
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      Buying from a used car lot, things to watch for?

      Well my hunt for a VR eos has led me to one that checks all my boxes except interior color. However it's at a used car lot. I've never bought a car from one before. I'll obviously be a cash buyer, but what should I be on the lookout for? What might they try to hide? Or should I just steer clear entirely?


    2. #2
      A beautiful Summer's Eve Sold Over Sticker's Avatar
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      Those are usually the cars bought at auction that franchise dealers pass on. Most are in poor cosmetic or mechanical condition, have questionable histories, or are such bad investments that dealers pass on them. Then the indy dealers swoop in.

      Now, this isn't the case 100% of the time. Just like 80-90% of the time. Take it to a trusted mechanic, and pour over it for signs off accident damage or deferred maintenance. Plenty of times these things run red light at the auction, all the ''respectable" dealers pass on it, and some indy picks it up, scans and clears codes, throws just enough money at it to keep from getting sued and sells it.

      The VR's also murder their batteries.
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      Quote Originally Posted by bothhandsplease View Post
      Brendan told me to get the best discount, I had to send dick pics. I thought this was standard car buying practice.
      Quote Originally Posted by H.E. Pennypacker View Post
      Brendan and his all knowing heavy breathing baboon are correct.

    3. #3
      Member MAGICGTI's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Sold Over Sticker View Post
      Those are usually the cars bought at auction that franchise dealers pass on. Most are in poor cosmetic or mechanical condition, have questionable histories, or are such bad investments that dealers pass on them. Then the indy dealers swoop in.

      Now, this isn't the case 100% of the time. Just like 80-90% of the time. Take it to a trusted mechanic, and pour over it for signs off accident damage or deferred maintenance. Plenty of times these things run red light at the auction, all the ''respectable" dealers pass on it, and some indy picks it up, scans and clears codes, throws just enough money at it to keep from getting sued and sells it.

      The VR's also murder their batteries.
      The flip side is that a franchise dealer like mine is fastidious about reconditioning and afraid of being sued, we just don't want to deal with a car outside of factory warranty (most of the time). Rare that we would keep a car more than six years old. We sent a 2010 with 55k one-owner miles straight to auction, and it was our brand.

      Auction isn't an automatic red flag. But otherwise, agree about being careful and inspecting the hell out of the car.
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    4. #4
      Senior Member VarianceVQ's Avatar
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      About 60-70% of the used cars I search for are being sold by a large "wholesale" used car lot that has a terrible reputation and a not inconsiderable amount of bad customer feedback. It's seems quite a few have accidents on Carfax or are due for pricey services of some kind. They price their cars lower accordingly. I keep wondering if it worth taking the chance that one of the clean history ones they have won't be a POS but I conclude it isn't worth the potential headache. I hate that these guys have so many of the cars.

      Get a good PPI if you go through with it.
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    5. #5
      Member Blade3562's Avatar
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      Based on the vin check etc it looks like it was a trade in that got sent to auction. This was what we did when I worked at the Nissan dealer if the car was out of factory warranty. No accidents on the history but I'll obviously check out that. I wish I knew where my VagCom cable was so I could run a diagnostic scan for problems etc.

      Another dumb question but does VW record everything in a national database or is it dealer specific? Like say I take the VIN to my local VW dealer could they view the service history?

      I don't have to pounce on it, but it's the closest match I've found in my search!

    6. #6
      A beautiful Summer's Eve Sold Over Sticker's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by MAGICGTI View Post
      The flip side is that a franchise dealer like mine is fastidious about reconditioning and afraid of being sued, we just don't want to deal with a car outside of factory warranty (most of the time). Rare that we would keep a car more than six years old. We sent a 2010 with 55k one-owner miles straight to auction, and it was our brand.

      Auction isn't an automatic red flag. But otherwise, agree about being careful and inspecting the hell out of the car.
      We wouldn't have kept it at my store either, but a lot of franchise dealers will swoop on it at the auction too. When the dealer it was traded in at, and all the other dealers at the auction pass, it gives me less than warm fuzzies.

      It could be totally fine, and I'pm just being a whiner. Only way to find out is to go drive it and get it inspected top to bottom. There are some gems on different indy lots for sure.

      Local VW won't have the service history. VWoA has it, but they won't give it to you.
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      Quote Originally Posted by bothhandsplease View Post
      Brendan told me to get the best discount, I had to send dick pics. I thought this was standard car buying practice.
      Quote Originally Posted by H.E. Pennypacker View Post
      Brendan and his all knowing heavy breathing baboon are correct.

    7. #7
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      If you haven't read up on the early Eos' then definitely do so before going to take a look at it. The '07/early '08 models have known top problems, both with operation and leaking, so test the top MULTIPLE times (raise/lower the entire roof, open/close the sunroof, lower the roof with the sunroof open, open/close the trunk with both the roof up/down) On the test drive take it to a car wash (or your house if close enough) and run low pressure water over the top and check for leaks (especially where the roof meets the A-Pillar, where the top part of the roof splits from the rear area, and the around the rear glass.) Pay attention to the transmission and how is engages and shifts. If you don't come across any red flags then take it for a complete PPI by a reputable VW indy shop.

      I am curious on why the VR6? Talking with other Eos owners the general consensus is the additional weight negatively effects handling, the performance isn't noticeably better then the 2.0, and maintenance costs are drastically higher (seriously look up the cost of the battery for the VR6.) Admittedly both my Eos ('08 & '13) were the 2.0 but neither ever gave me a problem, and both were fun to drive (especially the '08 w/6spd.)

      I would be remiss if I did not offer my personal experience with the top. My '08 had leaking issues no matter what the dealer (CPO ftw) tried, both at the A-pillars and rear windows. I kept up on lubricating the seals (get a bottle of Krylox off eBay and you NEED to do it every 6 months) but it still leaked until the day I traded it in. My '13 leaked from the A-pillars when I got it, but once the dealer replaced both A-pillar drains its been watertight. However, in the first year of ownership it was at the dealer 4 times for the top refusing to raise. Dealer did everything they could (including totally removing the top, rebuilding it, and reinstalling it) and it still would refuse to raise randomly. They never were able to identify the problem, and in the end they just bypass all the safeties that related to the top control which solved the problem, but now forces anyone who drives it to ensure everything is ready for the top to lower because the car will do it no matter what (i.e. the cargo cover is not closed, the trunk is not latched, not enough space for the trunk to swing out, ect...)

      Good luck with the purchase if you do go through with it!

    8. #8
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      Make sure all lights appear on your cluster!!!!!!!!!!

      I bought my GTI from one. One year later I changed the cluster face on the car, and found electric tape covering my check engine light, and airbag light from behind the cluster face. Both lights had been on for over a year but covered by electrical tape to avoid seeing the light, I had no problems with the car though. They also broke the cluster speaker that beeps when certain check engine problems apply. Why did I not look for those lights previously before I bought the car? I didn't know someone would be so ghetto.

      Make sure all lights are on in the cluster when you have the key in II position.
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    9. #9
      Member worth_fixing's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by HackAC View Post
      I bought my GTI from one. One year later I changed the cluster face on the car, and found electric tape covering my check engine light, and airbag light from behind the cluster face. Both lights had been on for over a year but covered by electrical tape to avoid seeing the light, I had no problems with the car though. They also broke the cluster speaker that beeps when certain check engine problems apply. Why did I not look for those lights previously before I bought the car? I didn't know someone would be so ghetto.

      Make sure all lights are on in the cluster when you have the key in II position.
      That's grounds for a lawsuit. Imagine if you got into an accident and had a severe head injury (or worse) because the airbag didn't deploy...and the light for the airbag was "on" but camouflaged?

      Holy sh!t...
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    10. #10
      Member HackAC's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by worth_fixing View Post
      That's grounds for a lawsuit. Imagine if you got into an accident and had a severe head injury (or worse) because the airbag didn't deploy...and the light for the airbag was "on" but camouflaged?

      Holy sh!t...
      Could be a reason why the dealer I bought from disappeared shortly after buying the car. I also never received my tag which got sent to the dealer lot, who didn't exist anymore. I ended up having to go through the county clerks office to obtain a new tag.
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    11. #11
      Member l88m22vette's Avatar
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      I bought my XT from an independent and it was actually fine (aside from a dink on the hood hidden by the bug deflector), I killed the engine all myself

      Still, you're more likely to have to deal with shady, ghetto, or straight-up unprofessional BS - the only reason I used one was because they had the car with the color, mileage, and price I wanted, and plenty of turbo Subarus from proper dealers blew up as well.
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    12. #12
      Member BoostedOne's Avatar
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      Problem I see with a car lot, besides the concerns of shady issues with the vehicle, is their business model is based on being able to sell a car with a $3000 street value for $7000. This is because their bread and butter is people with horrible credit that refuse to either drive a car that is within their means, or do not have the mechanical skills to keep a cheap car on the road. They get you financed for a rediculous price and or interest rate then if you pay it off, they make a fortune. If they repossess it, the cycle starts again, and they still make a fortune.
      So their incentive to deal with a cash buyer who is going to offer close to street value for the car is pretty low. Lot prices are usually so high, for a 5-10000 car you can usually fund a weekend vacation to another state via plane, buy private party and still come out way ahead.

    13. #13
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      Google the dealer and read the reviews. If the car seems too good to be true it usually is. I found a lot about an hour for me that had a whole bunch of car I wanted. Turns out they were buying wrecked cars, barely fixing them up and selling them for a "deal". They were using outdated or falsified carfaxes to show that they were "clean" cars.
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    14. #14
      Member 4.OMG's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by BoostedOne View Post
      Problem I see with a car lot, besides the concerns of shady issues with the vehicle, is their business model is based on being able to sell a car with a $3000 street value for $7000. This is because their bread and butter is people with horrible credit that refuse to either drive a car that is within their means, or do not have the mechanical skills to keep a cheap car on the road. They get you financed for a rediculous price and or interest rate then if you pay it off, they make a fortune. If they repossess it, the cycle starts again, and they still make a fortune.
      So their incentive to deal with a cash buyer who is going to offer close to street value for the car is pretty low. Lot prices are usually so high, for a 5-10000 car you can usually fund a weekend vacation to another state via plane, buy private party and still come out way ahead.
      My experiences have been slightly different. I've bought a number of cars from used car lots of varying degrees of skankiness over the years. My experience was similar in that the asking prices were typically inflated by about 20-25% over market value. But, walking in with an envelope full of $100 bills tended to get these guys in a negotiating mood-probably partly because they knew they wouldn't have to repo the car and partly because they were probably cheating on their taxes.
      Now this was a superior machine. Ten grand worth of gimmicks and high-priced special effects. The rear windows lit up with a touch like frogs in a dynamite pond. The dashboard was full of esoteric lights and dials and meters that I would never understand.

    15. #15

      Things to watch for..

      As an independent dealer in VW's, Saabs and Volvo's, and I kind of feel compelled to answer. Been doing this for almost 20 years...

      In addition to what all of the "experts" will tell you, it is more that possible to buy a car from an independent dealer and have a happy outcome.

      1. If you are going to buy from an Independent, buy from one who specializes in the make(s) you are looking for. I specialize because that us where I can do the best job. If the store you are looking to purchase from has exactly 1 VW on the lot, slowly walk away. If they don't know the brand, they won't have a clue.

      2. A good independent will have service available, and would be pleased to show you what equipment/tools etc they have access to. I provide a list of all of the things we addressed when the car came to the workshop, the initial VAG-COM scan, and the final VAG-COM scan. An ethical dealer will also gladly provide as much history as they can get a hold of. Be aware that MANY folks trading a car in go out of their way to hide ANY prior information, going as far as to rip out the owner's documents out of the manuals, toss the service book, and the like. On an EOS, I want to hear the words "We traded it because we need something bigger" and most certainly not "I lost my job and I can't make the payments". Ask, I'll tell you everything I know!

      3. EOS tend to go cheap at the auctions because they are not VW's best car. That being said, a good one is a wonderful thing. In addition to the tops, the interior pieces tend to be fragile and non durable. I often find cars where reconditioning the interior is the most expensive an complex job.

      4. At least around here, ALL of the franchise stores are multi-line stores and they can't be bothered with anything post warranty....they ALL go to auction!

      5. I too would HIGHLY recommend the 2.0 over the VR6 for cost, complexity, and just general PITA to work on. In this area, they wholesale for LESS, and there is a reason.

      6. The comment that we buy $3000 cars and sell 'em for $7000 is just plain WRONG! I wish it were true, but in almost 20 years in the business, my average gross margin is just a shade over 11%, and out of that still needs to cover fixed costs, rent, phone, insurance, so I'm making a living but not a fortune.

    16. #16
      A beautiful Summer's Eve Sold Over Sticker's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by vwharbor View Post
      As an independent dealer in VW's, Saabs and Volvo's, and I kind of feel compelled to answer. Been doing this for almost 20 years...
      for being one of the good guys.
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      Quote Originally Posted by bothhandsplease View Post
      Brendan told me to get the best discount, I had to send dick pics. I thought this was standard car buying practice.
      Quote Originally Posted by H.E. Pennypacker View Post
      Brendan and his all knowing heavy breathing baboon are correct.

    17. #17
      Member Blade3562's Avatar
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      Well after reading through everyone's comments here's the CL Ad and a link to more Pictures I was sent. Things I saw in the pics, the driver window needs calibrated, and the vinyl lifted off the passenger door card.

      I'm after a VR6 simply for the VR6, I'm looking for an Eos or CC with a VR6.. We had a 2.8L 12V Eurovan that went 200k miles and never needed anything drivetrain related, just lots of brakes and HVAC things. We sold it and it still hasn't needed anything as it approaches 250k!(probably will need chains soon). There's also less temptation for mods etc with a VR6 over a 2.0. I've just always liked the VR6, and this one is only 2 hours away.

      With the car being 2 hours away I plan to go for a little bit longer of a test drive. Thanks for the car wash suggestion! I know to inspect top operation and dsg shifts as two big points. Worst case this is a good one to just inspect to really learn where to look. Who knows maybe it is a great find. It does not appear to be at a VW Audi used car lot. Reviews for the lot seem few/far between but are on either end of the spectrum, just as you would assume with a used car lot lol.

    18. #18
      Member BoostedOne's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Sold Over Sticker View Post
      for being one of the good guys.

      I will second that... If you mean to tell me that if I sold you a car for $6500, when you went to resell it the price would only be $7200, I would be thoroughly impressed.
      I could probably go on with atleast 15-20 different examples of personal experience stories, but on this point, one time I had a New Beetle 1.8T black with leather for sale, it was about 4 years old. Took it to a new dealer running one of their "we want to buy your car, top dollar paid promotions".. They said the car was worth $3400.. They couldnt give me a good answer on why it wasnt worth the $8500-9000 they were asking for two almost identical cars on the lot, LOL.. Few years before that, my driver dropped a valve, and I wanted a Ranger. Went to a Ford dealer, and they had a 4 year old Ranger, standard cab, 3.0L V6. They had it stickered for 9500.. I offered him 7K. He got pissed and screamed at me, "Obviously you dont understand how blue book works!".. 3 days later I bought one a year older, Splash model stepside, extended cab with the same milage for $5600..

      From what I have known of people that worked on lots, managed lots, and worked with lots(parts suppliers, tow guys, etc), it should not be the assumption that someone is working with someone like you. Heck, throw in experiences from people I known who bought from used car lots.. And throw in VW shops I worked at when I was younger who sold cars as well.

      I standby what I said for most lots unfortunately, even ones that specialize. And it is totally possible to be happy buying from a lot, many people do. Especially if cars arent your hobby and know what they are actually worth.

    19. #19
      Senior Member VarianceVQ's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Blade3562 View Post
      Well after reading through everyone's comments here's the CL Ad and a link to more Pictures I was sent. Things I saw in the pics, the driver window needs calibrated, and the vinyl lifted off the passenger door card..
      And yet the CL ad describes it as being in "excellent" condition.

      They also have it listed on Autotrader and Cars.com. They don't offer a free Carfax report on either site. This may be just me but I'm wary of places that are too cheap/sketchy to cough up a free report to browse (most places these days offer them). Seems like they're trying to hide something and make you work to uncover it.

      This seems more and more like a "walk away" scenario.
      We have searched every square inch of this base and all we have found is porno, porno, PORNO!

    20. #20
      Member BoostedOne's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Blade3562 View Post
      Well after reading through everyone's comments here's the CL Ad and a link to more Pictures I was sent. Things I saw in the pics, the driver window needs calibrated, and the vinyl lifted off the passenger door card.
      Reviews for the lot seem few/far between but are on either end of the spectrum, just as you would assume with a used car lot lol.
      Not sure if the pic will come up, but this is always a good sign, LOL Typically only the finest used car establishments have these policies!



      If it doesnt show, referring to image 11.

      I think I found their ad
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sZuN0xXWLc
      Last edited by BoostedOne; 04-20-2017 at 04:23 PM.

    21. #21
      Member retro_rocket's Avatar
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      Here's a bad sign...pull up the dealer on Google Maps and go into Street View. The pic is from September 2016. What's that sitting on the corner?

      https://goo.gl/maps/ShziQ8QJPwC2

      It appears to be the exact same Eos! Note the tape on the windshield behind the rearview mirror from having an EZ-Pass mounted - you can see it in your pics and also in the Street View pic.

      If it is, then it's been rotting away on their lot for at least 8 months. Great deals usually don't sit on the lot for 8 months.

      *edit* Also noticed in the pics they sent you, it's sporting a rear license plate frame for a totally different dealer. Generally I've found that only the laziest dealerships don't bother to remove stickers, frames, etc from prior dealers that might have sold the car.
      Last edited by retro_rocket; 04-20-2017 at 08:41 PM.
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    22. #22
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    23. #23
      Member Blade3562's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by retro_rocket View Post
      Here's a bad sign...pull up the dealer on Google Maps and go into Street View. The pic is from September 2016. What's that sitting on the corner?

      https://goo.gl/maps/ShziQ8QJPwC2

      It appears to be the exact same Eos! Note the tape on the windshield behind the rearview mirror from having an EZ-Pass mounted - you can see it in your pics and also in the Street View pic.

      If it is, then it's been rotting away on their lot for at least 8 months. Great deals usually don't sit on the lot for 8 months.

      *edit* Also noticed in the pics they sent you, it's sporting a rear license plate frame for a totally different dealer. Generally I've found that only the laziest dealerships don't bother to remove stickers, frames, etc from prior dealers that might have sold the car.
      Valid points, it just popped up on my craigslist hit, and they don't have cylinder count listed so it doesn't come up on my cars.com list I'll still go check it out, but worst case just to see what to look for on other cars lol.

      My goal is to find a silver, gray, black or white one with red leather interior or thunder blue exterior to swap a red interior into lol.

    24. #24
      I always check for cheap bodywork, or any bodywork. Often they are found with some damage and then fixed cheap and sold for profit. Check around the windshield edge for a poor windshield install, often they put a new windshield in by the lowest bidder who massacres the pinchweld, causing bad corrosion a few years down the road. Same for body seams, check all gaps carefully. You don't want to buy a car that looks good now, but stuff starts bubbling a couple years into ownership. Been there, regret that.

    25. #25
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      Your orifice will be orificide.

      Your throat will be hot dogged.

      Your ear canals will be packed deep with the dog turds of lies.






      The abundance of shenanigans, deceit, and nonsense of misrepresentation of the state of used cars are fundamentally mind blowingly under exaggerated. PPI you say, Certified Pre-Owned, 100 Point Inspection.....yep....all done by the dealer......who's selling the car. The amount of sheer out right lies and ~illegal representation of said vehicles on our lot, was rich.
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