Automotive

Would you buy a dirty used car?

  • Last Updated:
  • Sep 5th, 2020 10:51 pm
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Poll: If a used car was owned by a slob you should

  • Total votes: 35. You have voted on this poll.
Walk away
 
14
40%
Negotiate harder
 
18
51%
No opinion
 
3
9%
[OP]
Member
Jun 11, 2015
453 posts
467 upvotes
Vancouver, BC

Would you buy a dirty used car?

I test drove a used luxury car at a local dealership and it was... dirty? Gum wrappers in the cup holders, nerds on the back seat, paint marks from where the car door had been opened into a wall, etc. This was on a recent luxury car listed for $33,000. (Shout out if you were the sales person.)

I ended up walking away. Is this reasonable or stupid?

On the reasonable side, I know only a few people who keep their cars like that, and those are the type of people whose car I wouldn't want to buy. There were also a bunch of interior trim pieces that were slightly damaged, and fixing those would be annoying and expensive.

On the stupid side, if the dealer had detailed the car properly, I never would have known. Further, the car's maintenance records were fine and it wasn't that old. The person's kids abused the car, but a detail and a few broken trim pieces is far cheaper than fixing an engine. Moreover, I could have used the bad condition to try to negotiate harder.
16 replies
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2011
36020 posts
22163 upvotes
Center of Universe
Maybe for $1000
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Nov 4, 2008
6857 posts
7488 upvotes
Richmond Hill
Can you find another one at a similar price?

If yes -> walk away
If no -> negotiate harder than a diamond
When given enough time, all threads on RFD can and will go off on a tangent.
Deal Addict
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Nov 28, 2007
1606 posts
772 upvotes
I test drove a 2016 Model S at a BMW dealer, it was dirty - they said they didn't have time to clean it as it just came in, the bigger issue was the screen didn't work properly....they didn't seem to care or know what to do. Offered that they would take it to Tesla if I agreed to buy it.....seemed backwards, I didn't call them back
Cool Beans
Deal Addict
User avatar
Sep 24, 2007
1945 posts
575 upvotes
I would walk away. Chances are that the “slob” that owned it before did not maintain it properly, so you may be in for some unpleasant (and potentially expensive) surprises in the very near future.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Jul 12, 2003
12103 posts
4438 upvotes
Toronto
It is surely a turn off to picture your next car this dirty,

Other aspects I will look at, is this car priced below others in the market?
Are they willing to drop the price further?

If these 2 are yes, i would consider.
A good details job for a car is about $300, which is less than 1% of the price of your car.

Like buying all used car, inspect the car carefully, if the car is properly maintained.
Interior wise, check if there are any tears. It is expensive to replace the leather of the interior.
Tear or scratches are something you cannot clean it or details, so watch for those.
Retired Forum Moderator February 2009 - June 2015
[OP]
Member
Jun 11, 2015
453 posts
467 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
Ya... that's why I was wondering if it was a bad move to walk away.

$600 for a detail plus $800 worth of replacement aluminum trim and the visible damage would be fixed. If I could have gotten $2k off the price, maybe I'd be ahead.

The leather was fine, since it was black. I'm sure it wouldn't be if it was white.

I guess I'm worried that this trim damage is indicative of annoying damage I can't see. Replacing a switch panel that is intermittent due to grime that got inside or kids kicking it eats up negotiated savings pretty quick.
Member
Jun 9, 2011
472 posts
236 upvotes
TWELVES wrote: $600 for a detail plus $800 worth of replacement aluminum trim and the visible damage would be fixed. If I could have gotten $2k off the price, maybe I'd be ahead.
The leather was fine, since it was black. I'm sure it wouldn't be if it was white.
I guess I'm worried that this trim damage is indicative of annoying damage I can't see. Replacing a switch panel that is intermittent due to grime that got inside or kids kicking it eats up negotiated savings pretty quick.
If I were you, I'd probably re-check it in a few days - likely a recent trade-in that they haven't put through their detailing routine yet. Probably all detailed by now. But this trim damage you mention is something that would bug me personally and might be something tough to fix.
Deal Fanatic
Sep 16, 2004
9721 posts
1981 upvotes
Toronto
I would buy most cars for the right price taking into consideration I saved because I decided to do a lot of things myself.
The popular "As Is" and safety yourself comes to mind.
There has to be great discount incentives.
Dealerhips used to do all this stuff to ensure a better sale price but now neglect it because they believe people are desperate plus less costs/more profit if they find a sucker.
With covid and some vehicles they expect it would be sitting on the lot for a while and may not have gotten to it if the car was recently acquired.
May be a sales tactic to throw in cleaning after the sale is made.
With a used car even if it was detailed I'd still be going over the inside for sure.
You are right though in that it's a reflection of slovenliness of which we have a lot in our multicultural Canada.
Who knows what people have done or lugged in their cars.
Smoking, garbage etc
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
May 11, 2009
6183 posts
2700 upvotes
Debtario
Impressions last and this is a "luxury" car for which you are paying a premium, I'd walk. Plenty of fish in the sea.
blakjak wrote: I would walk away. Chances are that the “slob” that owned it before did not maintain it properly, so you may be in for some unpleasant (and potentially expensive) surprises in the very near future.
Agree 100%. More often than not there's a strong correlation between owners that keep their car clean also keeping up with maintenance. If they can't be bothered to do a simple/almost free task like cleaning their interior and removing garbage, it doesn't bode well for other things.
"I possess a device, in my pocket, capable of accessing the entirety of information known to man. I use it to look at pictures of cats and get in arguments with strangers"
Deal Expert
User avatar
May 10, 2005
36250 posts
10436 upvotes
Ottawa
Did you ask why it was so dirty??
Maybe they just got the car in?
Maybe it is a courtesy car?
Maybe it is a salespersons demo car?
Deal Addict
Mar 17, 2016
1595 posts
1507 upvotes
I don't see why not if there are no other issues and all the maintenance was done on time. I'd try to use it to my advantage to drop the price a bit or at least get them to take care of the paint damage etc. All depends on the price.
[OP]
Member
Jun 11, 2015
453 posts
467 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
Pete_Coach wrote: Did you ask why it was so dirty??
Maybe they just got the car in?
Maybe it is a courtesy car?
Maybe it is a salespersons demo car?
They got it in a week ago as a trade in and didn't have time to detail it.
Deal Expert
User avatar
May 10, 2005
36250 posts
10436 upvotes
Ottawa
TWELVES wrote: They got it in a week ago as a trade in and didn't have time to detail it.
There ya go. You wanted a luxury so they showed you what they had.
Deal Addict
Jul 19, 2004
1297 posts
505 upvotes
Vancouver
I'd walk away. Both the owner and the dealer didn't take care of the car. How hard is it to just take away the garbage before showing you the car? If there's garbage everything, then there probably will be junk stuck in crevices that will be real hard to clean.
Sr. Member
Jan 7, 2013
789 posts
442 upvotes
Oshawa, Ontario
Whitby Honda was similar. Photos on their website with Cheerios spilt on the floor lol. Like at least bust out a hand vac before taking the glamor photos lol...
Deal Expert
User avatar
Feb 11, 2007
17312 posts
19326 upvotes
Oakville
MP3_SKY wrote: It is surely a turn off to picture your next car this dirty,

Other aspects I will look at, is this car priced below others in the market?
Are they willing to drop the price further?

If these 2 are yes, i would consider.
A good details job for a car is about $300, which is less than 1% of the price of your car.

Like buying all used car, inspect the car carefully, if the car is properly maintained.
Interior wise, check if there are any tears. It is expensive to replace the leather of the interior.
Tear or scratches are something you cannot clean it or details, so watch for those.
+1, use dirtiness to get a lower price, then use the savings to clean it.
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