How to neurotically shop for a used car

I think I’m a freak or something.

After writing my last post, I searched for cars online.

“Where do I start?  How the hell do I do this?”

My brother – “Just look on consumer reports for reliable cars or something.”

That was the extent of all the help I received.

I did as advised, and ended up on J.D  It gives a list of car ratings.  Then I found myself on, which also gives ratings.

One site awarded a car, while the other deemed it un-driveable.

Me – “Shit.”

Honda civic received good marks on both sites, so I searched a few websites to see how much they go for.

I looked on, eBay motors, car guru’s, and honda dealerships.  All of which were over my price bracket.

Me – “Maybe I should just buy one on craigs list….”

The thing is, I hate spending money.  I hate gambling money, is more like it.  Craigs list is a gamble.

Buying a used car by owner makes my stomach twist.  My first two cars were sold by owners and both of them were pieces of shit.

The cars people normally sell are either too old, too expensive, or have high mileage (possibly all three).  Spending $3,000 on a 13-year-old car not under warranty with over 80,000 miles on it, won’t last you as long as an $11,000 3-year-old certified car with 40,000 miles and offering free lifetime oil changes.  I mean, right?  Which one makes more sense?  Which is less of a gamble?

These questions sent me into hyperdrive anxiety.  I still have hyperdrive anxiety and it’s nearly 24 hours after writing my last post.

Wow I’m completely neurotic.

I stayed up until 7AM this morning searching for cars.  Twice I had given up and closed my laptop to try to sleep, but I can’t sleep when I need to decide on something.

It’s now 9PM and I found a total of three cars that meet my criteria.  Three.  Only three!

All three are certified vehicles, they’re ranked high in dependability, good on gas, priced below $12,000 (which is a stretch), and in driving range from my house.

2010 Toyota Yaris for $10,900 with 49,310 miles

2011 Nissan Versa for $11,950 with 33,317 miles

2012 Nissan Cube for $10,980 with 39,219 miles

Out of the hundreds of cars I looked at, it comes down to these three.  I’m going to look at the Yaris tomorrow.  The Cube is a much better deal, so I’ll have to check that one out too.

I still can’t believe that these are my only options.  Not my TOP choices, but my only choices.  Am I being neurotic?

Here is my step by step guide on how to shop for a car the neurotic way:

1)  Know your price limit!

2)  Peruse for the highest ranked cars.

3)  Write them down.

4)  Search auto trader, eBay motors, and car guru’s to see if these cars are in your price range.  Car guru’s is great for this because they tell you if a car is priced too low or too high.

5)  Write everything down.  Take notes!

6) Look at their ratings on and to compare reviews.

7)  Notice how both rating sites give opposing opinions.

8)  Read real costumer reviews and watch YouTube reviews (if available).

9)  Write down (or cross off) the remaining cars that passed with over-all positive marks.

10)  Look on auto trader, eBay motors, and car guru to find these cars in your area.

11)  Notice how none of them are in your area, but you find another car on eBay motors that you might like.

12)  Search for that car on and compare their rating with

13)  Watch YouTube video’s of that car.

14)  Read real owner reviews of that car.

15)  Notice how half of them are bad.

16)  Look on auto trader, eBay motors, and car guru with another $1000 added to your price range.

17)  Find a car that meets your criteria.

18)  Repeat steps 5 – 10.

19)  Oh and try to avoid tunnel vision.  Tunnel vision happens when you fall in love with a car solely on looks or superfluous hype.  If someone should talk against this car, you will get exceedingly angry for no real reason.  That’s how you’ll know if you have tunnel vision.

After 15 hours with no sleep, it’s a universal law that you will end up with approximately three probable cars in your area to choose from.

This is only true if your search depends on these 6 prerequisites:  certified vehicle, ranked high in dependability, good on gas, priced below $12,000, 2010 or younger, and in driving range from your house.

Oh no, I’m looking on craigs list again….

Certified cars are better, right?  I mean logically, I’m spending less over time, right?  I need a valium.

I don’t have valium, so I taken the poor mans valerian root pill.

Holy shit I just realized that this is the first time I’m actually buying a car.

I paid $300 for my first one (my dad knew a guy), and nothing for the following two.

I hope I sleep tonight.

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Filed under humor, journal, rant

12 responses to “How to neurotically shop for a used car

  1. Steph

    All of those cars are really tiny…. Not good if you get in an accident. Civics are rated the safest. My parents had a Nissan last for 15+ years, I have a Nissan Rogue and I love it.
    I went thru all this in Sept!!! Good luck!

    • I know they’re tiny. I don’t particularly want a tiny car, but they’re turning out to be my only options based on my stinking prerequisites. People really love that Nissan Cube, but it’s so odd looking and not arrow dynamic at all. But it’s a 2012 and only $11,000 or something. This is hard 😦

  2. I bought my first second hand car recently. I spent weeks on autotrader. I couldn’t resist spending a lot of time looking at second hand Ferrari’s, despite my budget being 3 grand. The owner of the car I eventually bought came with me to a mechanic who put it on a ramp and checked it was mechanically sound before I bought it. He didn’t even charge me!

    • I looked at the dependability of porsche’s and they are rated at the top of quality and everything. It’s hard to resist looking at them. That’s great you actually got a ferrari! I keep thinking that if I’m going to spend money, I should at least get something that’s fun to drive and own. I can’t get over how hard this is.

  3. I didn’t get a Ferrari! I just spent time looking at them in a stupid wishful way. Even ones from the 80s are about 40000. I remember when I was a young teenager being genuinely baffled about why anyone would get a run of the mill Renault or Volkswagen. But then I learnt about insurance and fuel efficiency and other people’s perceptions and have ended up with a Volkswagen Polo, godawful sheep that I am. I did test drive a Yaris- they go from 0-60 quite quickly. I decided the shape of them was too trendy for me in the end though. That’s just me though, I think they’re nice. Good luck with your search!

  4. Pingback: Melanie buys a new car | Melanie's Life Online

  5. I know it’s ugly to be even looking at cars like that. I wouldn’t actually buy one!

  6. We have a growing family and I also take people to church group in my truck. We are all squeezed in there like sardines and my truck is 15 years old. I decided to buy a small bus for our family because it will also make sense when we go on vacations or camping trips. But I am definitely taking my time and reviewing my options. I think it pays to be slightly neurotic because you make a better decision – and we certainly learn from our past mistakes.

    • So far so good. My neurosis paid off as far as I can tell. The only thing I’m regretting is seeing my car insurance double – possibly triple because I need full coverage. If it’s not one thing, it’s another…

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