New car with 400+ miles?
August 25, 2010 11:36 AM   Subscribe

New car with 400 miles on it. What should I know before purchasing?

I'm considering buying a new car that has 400 miles on it (from being driven to another dealership), and it may accumulate more on it's 5 hour journey from that dealership to my local one. This car is being sold as new. What should I know before buying this thing? This is in Texas if it matters.
posted by Sufi to Shopping (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You're buying a new used car, in my opinion. I imagine the 5 hour journey will put around another 300 miles on the car.

Personally, I'd use 700 miles on a "new" car as a negotiating point. You could also tell them to flatbed it if you don't want additional miles put on.

I've had some friends that worked at dealerships and some new cars with higher mileage had actually been sold before and then the finances didn't work out on the buyers end. I'm not saying a dealership would ever lie to you about how the mileage accumulated on your vehicle. =]

Other than that I don't think there is much to know. It's just a car. If it shows up and looks\drives how you expect it to then there isn't any reason to not purchase it.
posted by zephyr_words at 12:13 PM on August 25, 2010

Why is it being driven around so much? Is it an unusual car? Is it from an earlier model year? Do you live in an especially remote area?

Regardless of whether they're calling it "new," a car with several hundred miles on it is worth less than a typical new car which has very few miles on it. Negotiate accordingly. Also, be especially diligent about inspecting the car before accepting it.
posted by jon1270 at 12:15 PM on August 25, 2010

[car] has 400 miles on it.... This car is being sold as new.

Does not compute.
posted by zippy at 12:29 PM on August 25, 2010

Just make sure the mileage warranty starts the day you buy it. For example, if it is a 36,000 mile warranty, have the dealer put in writing that in your case, this will be 36,400 (36K + what's on the odometer).
posted by walleeguy at 12:40 PM on August 25, 2010

400 miles is like two weeks of driving (at 10k miles per year). Sure, try to use it to bargain down the price, but if you had bought it at 0 miles, two weeks in you would still consider it new.
posted by smackfu at 1:15 PM on August 25, 2010

I bought a car that had 300 miles on it and everything worked out fine. It's not an unusual arrangement, and 400 or even 700 miles on a car is just really inconsequential. I'd ask for a free oil change or something if you have the leverage, but it's really not a value-diminisher on the car.

Depending on how uptight you are about nicks and dings in a new car, look it over extra carefully. It's true that there is some non-zero chance that some previous private owner owned it and returned it for some reason (dissatisfaction with purchase, finance troubles), but it is more likely, and highly credible, that dealership A just drove it over from dealership B. This is a common arrangement, as it's cheaper and easier to find guys (or gals) to courier cars in this way than it is to flatbed a car (which requires equipment, a trained operator with CDL, etc.)

As with any new car delivery, don't be afraid to do a very careful walk-around of the car to observe any dings, scratches, rips, tears, etc. The time to get those fixed (or walk away from the car) is BEFORE you take delivery.
posted by randomkeystrike at 2:58 PM on August 25, 2010

The other thing with such cars is they're possibly used as test drive vehicles for other customers.
posted by soss at 3:48 PM on August 25, 2010

When you're buying a new car and the dealership you're at doesn't have exactly the set of options or color or whatever you want you can either order it from the factory and wait a solid two months or the dealership with trade similar cars with another dealership for the car that you want. Your salesperson will drive the car being traded to the other dealer and drive your car back. If the dealerships are far apart (which happens more than anyone wants) this can happen.

A few hundred miles isn't a big deal but 700 seems a little excessive. IIRC the manufacturer has some kind of rule about how how many miles can be on the car. I'm pretty sure that the dealer gets a kickback from the dealer for new cars that are sold as demos but I doubt that would apply here.

The warranty will start from the "in service" date and mileage (as others have said). Usually you're supposed to make sure you don't drive at constant speeds with the car is new to better break in the engine. This might not be true anymore and I doubt it was ever a really big deal. Depending on how much money is left in the deal you might be able to get a little more of a discount but if you're down to just over the invoice price (and you check this out on if you haven't already) you're probably getting as good a deal as you're going to get. I doubt they're going to put it on a flatbed for you but you should make sure they fix any scratches and/or dings before you take delivery.
posted by VTX at 8:03 PM on August 25, 2010

To be more specific about the demo model, often times dealers will have new cars (new in the sense that they have never been titled) with 3,000 or so miles that were driven by sales people or managers as one of their perks. These cars are usually sold with deep ($3,000) discount. The dealer gets some kind of reimbursement from the manufacturer but I don't know how much or if that kind of mileage qualifies. I'll see if I can find out tomorrow though.
posted by VTX at 8:21 PM on August 25, 2010

Two years ago I bought a "new" motorcycle that had 180 miles on it. Originally, t had been purchased and returned after two days. I was shown the paperwork from the prior sale and return.

Because of this, the dealer discounted the original sales price by $1000, waived the shipping and set-up charges, and installed a $300 windshield at no cost to me. He also added 180 miles to the "new bike" warranty period.

I felt like I got a very fair deal.

The only thing that drives me crazy to this day is that one one side of the gas tank there's a area about the size of a penny where the paint is just a slight bit dull. Nobody else notices it, but I didn't see it until the a couple of days later, and I'm sure that I didn't do it.

I'd say make sure you negotiate for some kind of discount, and do a very careful inspection of the car before you sign the papers/
posted by imjustsaying at 2:34 AM on August 26, 2010

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