Buying a Used Newer Caddy---Advice Please..
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Cadillac DeVille 1985 to 2005 including:
1985-1992 Fleetwood, 1993 Sixty Special, All FWD Forum Discussion, Buying a Used Newer Caddy---Advice Please.. in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; Hi, I have a 1988 Cadillac Sedan DeVille, which I've been driving for my entire life. It's the only car ...
  1. #1
    Eva14 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Question Buying a Used Newer Caddy---Advice Please..

    Hi, I have a 1988 Cadillac Sedan DeVille, which I've been driving for my entire life. It's the only car I've ever owned. It has 120,000 miles on it. I LOVE my car and wish it would last FOREVER! Unfortunately, I've been having a lot of problems with the car lately and am considering buying a replacement vehicle. I will only drive a Cadillac.

    I went to the Caddy dealership today and dropped my car off for possible repairs. It seems to be over heating. I know there's a crack in the coolant pan, which is probably the problem, but I admit I don't know much about cars.

    My Caddy dealership has been GREAT about maintaining my old vehicle. They'll fix anything, but apparently replacing the coolant pan would be so expensive (several thousand dollars) that it would be far wiser to buy a new car. (I still don't know exactly what the problem is or IF it can be fixed; I'll find out tomorrow).

    While I was at the Caddy dealership, I stopped to look at some used Cadillacs. (Unfortunately, I can't afford a new car).

    The staffers are absolute professionals when it comes to repairs and selling NEW cars. However, their USED car section is operated by different people. The people at the used car division are stereotypical pushy used-car salesmen. They promise the world, encourage me to ditch my old vehicle, try to apply high pressure sales tactics, etc.

    Even worse, I'm sure that they can sense that I really don't know much about cars. I'm a woman alone, so I know that's one (or maybe two) strikes against me. Unfortunately, I don't know any men (or knowledgable women) who can help me with buying a car. I have to try to figure this out on my own.

    The used car salesmen showed me a 2007 DTS with 75,000 miles. Price was $17,000, not including tax, warranty, or licensing fees. He said it would be about $20,000 total. My credit is okay, but not great. Last time I checked my credit score was 670. I will need to finance at least some of it. I live in California, so I'm sure everything's more expensive here.

    I did test-drive the 2007 DTS and it seemed nice, but I'm far from an auto expert. Is 75,000 miles a lot for a 2007? I can't afford anything that's barely used. Is their price of $17,000 a lot? The car appeared to be in good condition, but who really knows?

    I know to ask for a Carfax report, but I don't know what to look for. Is an older model with fewer miles better than a newer model with 75,000 miles? I really didn't see any older models at this place.

    Is the DTS a good car? I find all of the computerized stuff confusing, but all the newer Cadillacs have all of that. They tell me that the DTS is the closest thing to the old DeVilles (which Caddy no longer makes). I do like a 4-door sedan.

    These used car salesmen are so pushy, promising everything is perfect. I don't know anything about mechanics, so I'm lost. All used car salesmen seem to be this way. I'm not able to "shop around" much because I live in a big city (SMALL lots---few selections). I drive to the suburbs to look at cars, but there's not much of a selection (in terms of used cars).

    I was pretty disappointed when the used car salesmen said my 1988 Sedan DeVille has ZERO trade-in value (without even looking at it). My Caddy is yellow and the exterior and interior are very well maintained. (Many people have asked me if I'd like to sell my Caddy because it's so beautiful. I always have said "NO, thanks" and never bothered to take down any phone numbers). I'm sure it's not worth much, but it's worth something.

    The used car salesman also said that repairing my old car would cost $8,000! (I explained to him that I wasn't even sure exactly what the problem was and he had ZERO knowledge of my car's problems). My repairs usually don't cost more than about $1,000.

    Does anyone have any general advice re: buying a used Caddy? I suppose I can't just keep repairing my 1988 car forever, or can I? (If the repairs DID cost $8,000, I would have to get a new car. But my Caddy repairman said he doesn't think the repairs will be that expensive.)

    I'm emotionally attached to my 1988 DeVille, and it runs pretty well. I have been having problems in recent years, though.

    If I have to get a replacement vehicle, I will. The 2007 DTS drove well, but I worry about buying a used car. There could be hidden flaws or even disclosed flaws that I will have no comprehension of. (A NEW Caddy is way out of my budget). I certainly don't want to get a newer Caddy, only to have to put lots of money into repairs.

    The warranties cost extra---about $2,000 or so. I supppose I'd HAVE to get a warranty, since I know next to nothing about auto mechanics. I only WISH that the used car salesmen were as professional as the NEW car salesmen. The used car salesman just says, "It's luxury, it's a beautiful color", probably because he knows that about covers what I know about cars.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated! This is one of the most difficult tasks I've had to do in life. I'm knowledgable in other areas, but not when it comes to cars.

    Eva

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  3. #2
    pompste is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Buying a Used Newer Caddy---Advice Please..

    Welcome to a great Cadillac owners forum!
    Be sure post to back what exactly they tell you is the problem and what they tell you the cost will be to fix it.
    From what you write,the Caddy dealership has taken care of your Deville to your liking over the years.One thing you should know is any dealership has higher hourly labor rates than a local auto repair facility.Parts from a dealership often are priced higher than local auto parts stores.
    I have a 1978 Sedan Deville and parts have always been available for it,especially online,so if the dealer tells you they can`t find the parts you need and/or quote an absurdly high price for parts/repairs--be sure to post back here and knowledgeable members here can steer you in the right direction for whatever parts you may need at lower prices.
    Seems the dealer and used car salesman are trying to manipulate you into buying a used Caddy you can`t afford and might not want.
    Might be wise to get a second opinion at a local auto service shop in your area.
    Firsts things first,let us know what they tell you the problem and cost for repairs is.

  4. #3
    Slipgate is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Buying a Used Newer Caddy---Advice Please..

    $17k is very high. They run from $7k or so and up. I'd say they probably have around $6k in the car so anything north of that is profit for them. For that price it would need to be absolutely showroom new and even then I'd want them to throw in a warranty (included in the price). Also at that mileage probably nothing has been replaced so this could start to cost you soon. It is at that mileage where things start to break.

    A quick look at closed and current ebay auctions show those don't sell very well. There are plenty with lower mileage for a lot less as well.

    TOP price at kbb.com shows around $14k FROM A DEALER.

    http://www.kbb.com/cadillac/dts/2007...icetype=retail

  5. #4
    amunderdog is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Buying a Used Newer Caddy---Advice Please..

    What is your geographic location?
    You really should be looking for a mechanic who can keep your 1988 model running if that is your wish/need.
    The dealer shop repairs will be three times the price and they really do not want to work on it anyway.
    Yes used car lots are a nightmare.
    Do you know anyone besides here that knows about cars; Cadillacs in particular?
    Post back what the shop diagnosis as the problem.

  6. #5
    cadillac kevin's Avatar
    cadillac kevin is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    17k is far too much for a 2007 DTS. Your old car does have trade in value, albeit not that much (although at how outrageous their price is on the DTS, they could give you 10k for it.)
    As for your car needing a "coolant pan" that will cost thousands to replace, they're BSing you. Theres nothing in the cooling system that should cost thousands on an 88 deville (they aren't that complicated), and I have no idea what a "coolant pan" is (radiator? Coolant resevoir?.)
    amunderdog likes this.

  7. #6
    bigm57ict's Avatar
    bigm57ict is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Buying a Used Newer Caddy---Advice Please..

    I was wondering that, as well. Coolant pan?!!
    A good, low mileage '07 DTS sells for $12,000 tops around here.

    When the dealer says your car has no trade-in value, that doesn't mean it has no value. It just means they don't want it. Most dealerships won't resell cars that old. They just send them to the auction house.
    120K is pretty low mileage for an '88. If the appearance is still good and there aren't a lot of issues, you should have no trouble selling it if you decide to go that route.
    However, if the cooling system is your only real issue here, I would look into getting it fixed at an indepedant shop.
    If the issues are starting to pile up, then it may be time to move on.

    By the way. Don't put a lot into Carfax. A carfax report with bad history on it is useful information. A clean Carfax is pretty worthess, in my opinion. Most repairs and body work do not get reported to Carfax.

  8. #7
    Ranger's Avatar
    Ranger is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Buying a Used Newer Caddy---Advice Please..

    A few things to keep in mind.

    1. A salesman is a salesman. Makes no difference if he is selling a new or used car or a widget for that matter. He makes his money by making a sales and the more he sells it for, the more he makes. So before you make any decision and sign anything, do your homework. Price the same car on KBB, NADA, cars.com & autotrader. THEN you'll have a good idea of what a fair price it.

    2. Carfax is only worth so much. It's best attribute is telling if the mileage is accurate.

    3. An '88 Deville really is worth zero to them on a trade. They cannot move it and don't want it. In that respect, he was being honest.

    4. Putting money into it is very subjective and hard to advise on. All depends on the cost of the repair and condition of the car, keeping in mind the value is near zero and nothing lasts forever. Get your repair estimates from qualified mechanics or service writers, NOT used car salesmen.

    5. Used car warranties are paying in advance for repairs you may or may not need in the future. Normally I say forget them, but in your case it may be worth while. That said, some are good and some are garbage. The best are from the manufacturer. Read them closely. Pay more attention to what IS NOT covered and understand two things about them. The salesman makes a commission off of them as well as the sale of the car and THEY ARE NEGOTIABLE.

  9. #8
    blalockchiro's Avatar
    blalockchiro is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    good day and welcome....i am now, someone who runs a high dollar car (bmw, jag, mercedes) shop and will let u know that ur car could probably be fixed at a independent shop for a lot less $...for example, we charge $75 for an oil & filter change and the dealership cost is usually $150+, so look for a good independant mechanic and get a 2nd opinion...but if ur in for a newer caddy, then do as ranger stated and look at kbb, nada and so on and educate urself on the price of the car and future maintence it may cost u...good luck
    amunderdog likes this.

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    stoveguyy is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    We all got bills to pay. A shop with $1M in equipment cannot charge $24 for an oil change and stay in business. Rapid oil can. They hire monkeys to change oil.

  11. #10
    blalockchiro's Avatar
    blalockchiro is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    hahahaha.....we dint have any of those...we have squirrels

  12. #11
    pkared is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Buying a Used Newer Caddy---Advice Please..

    Eva, you've done very well with your car. You've gotten a lot of good reliable service from itand enjoyed it-That's GREAT, it's the best. With the miles you have on that year car, know matter what, you will be needing to consider a new one even if they fix this particular situation. You have to have a reliable car that won't leave you stranded and you are reaching, if you haven't already reached, the end of the line on that particular car. The DTS you mentioned seemed a bit high in price, but if you could look at newspaper ads for used Cadillacs, or even look at eBay ads (if you are familiar with ebay) and watch the actual auctions as they end to see what people are actually PAYING for such a car you can get a good idea. Just like "RANGER" said above: Price the same car on Kelly Blue Book.com, NADA.com, cars.com & autotrader.com. Then you'll have a pretty good idea of what a fair price is.
    The DTS should be reasonably close to what you are used to they have given it a little "Lighter" feel and even though it is still a big car, it actually weighs less. The good thing is there have been many many significant improvements in Mileage, reliability and Longevity of the car that would make it an improvement over your old car, but, there would be payments now so it is important that it go a long while before any expensive repairs. A Mint condition DTS with 75,000 miles will easily go another 100,000 miles more if you are good at getting the oil changed and any other maintenance items. The computer in the car even tells you when to change the oil, when there is something wrong that should be looked at, and they go a lot further on an oil change now as well as a gallon of gas. Make sure you drive the actual car you are buying(Even if there are several similar cars you are looking at) and complain or discuss anything that you don't like(A vibrating steering wheel, a squeaky noise when it turns, whatever)and insist they fix it before you buy it. A car like this with those miles should not have anything wrong with it at all when you buy it, there should be nothing you have to "Live with." The "Check Engine" Light on the dash should not be lit(That's the computer saying there is something wrong) when you drive it. Be patient when you shop, you'll be together a long time, and you will be able rely on it. It will be a wonderful car for you, just like your old one.
    When you do buy one, don't "Second Guess" yourself or listen to anyone that might say you paid too much, "I saw one down the street that was a better deal", etc. Long term, paying a bit more or less at the start won't make that much difference in total expense of owning it, so just make sure you looked it over and bought one that the previous owner took care of, you like, and it will serve you well and you will be proud of it. It is absolutely impossible to ever know what a "Good" or "Best" price is for a given car so do not spend any time worrying about it once you've bought one-just enjoy it, it's yours.
    It would be really great if you could find an independent mechanic that you could get to know and trust, the dealerships are just about always the most expensive place to get the car worked on and they have a lot of cost pressures(Big expensive building to pay for, lots of people to pay) that can make them try to "Run up" the bill and, in this case, even tell you that you need a new engine or even a new car itself although this time that may be true. Ask other Cadillac owners you see or meet if they know of a small shop with a good car mechanic- when you have a trusting relationship with a good mechanic it is a very satisfying thing.(No worries about being cheated, if it really needs something he'll tell you, if you can wait he will tell you that too because he values you, and your long-term business) Dealerships usually can't be that personal, there's way too much money at stake for them, and the people move on to other jobs so they never see you again.(It's easy to lie to someone you will never see again)
    AS far as a warranty goes, they are kind of expensive(The cheap ones are usually some kind of scam(Don't cover many of the parts or labor) you probably should get a GM warranty if you bought one but it is a big decision. It would probably be added to your amount financed-so if you buy a 1 year warranty, say at $2500, it will be financed(You will be paying on it) for 4 years even though the warranty is only for 1 year. Now this may be absolutely fine, it's your decision, I'm just trying to make sure you understand that part of it. Some people would think it would be wise to get that first years' warranty so that if there are any "Bugs" discovered in that first year, you will be covered and won't have a surprise bill after you just bought your new car. But, if there are any "bugs" in the car, what are the chances of it costing $2500 to fix them? It probably would not cost that much but it is hard to predict the future. I believe that if you pick a nice, clean, taken care of car with nothing obvious wrong with it(Talkin' about that "check engine" light and any weird noises when you test drive it) you will most likely be just fine. I bought my car without the $2500 1 year warranty and my disc changer jammed. It cost $125 to fix at a local car stereo place(A shop that had been in business 25 years fixing car stereos), so I am $2375 ahead. But there is no way to tell for sure, and, I am kind of handy and can fix my own car 95% of the time. Your situation is different and your tolerance for risk is different, and your pocketbook is different.
    Maybe someone else from the forum will comment on used car warranties, this is a wonderful place to get information about every and any aspect of owning , fixing and driving a Cadillac. Remember that it is there for you. Ask any question that will help you make this decision, everyone here wants very much to help you.

    ----------

    My Boss says I'm too "wordy" at times. Sheeesh.

  13. #12
    blalockchiro's Avatar
    blalockchiro is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    gee whiz...what happened to keeping things short and sweet....wording that is

  14. #13
    MoistCabbage's Avatar
    MoistCabbage is offline Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
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    Re: Buying a Used Newer Caddy---Advice Please..

    Quote Originally Posted by pkared
    With the miles you have on that year car, know matter what, you will be needing to consider a new one even if they fix this particular situation.
    I wouldn't condemn it just yet. Her car only has 120K, and one of Cadillacs' most reliable engines. Mechanical parts are still readily available, and reletively inexpensive compared to parts for the newer, more advanced models.

    The DTS should be reasonably close to what you are used to they have given it a little "Lighter" feel and even though it is still a big car, it actually weighs less.
    Actually, her car is ~300 pounds lighter.

    A Mint condition DTS with 75,000 miles will easily go another 100,000 miles more if you are good at getting the oil changed and any other maintenance items. The computer in the car even tells you when to change the oil, when there is something wrong that should be looked at, and they go a lot further on an oil change now as well as a gallon of gas.
    Her car has an OLM and (less advanced) OBD. Gas mileage is very similar, and the 4.X engines don't need oil changes any sooner than a new Northstar. Also, Northstars consume oil by design, so she would have to add between changes.

    Even if her car needs MAJOR work, it's not going to cost what a newer DTS costs.

    I think it all comes down to which car she'd rather drive and maintain.

  15. #14
    CadillacLuke24's Avatar
    CadillacLuke24 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Buying a Used Newer Caddy---Advice Please..

    If you want a new car, go find a 2004-2005 Cadillac DeVille or DHS. Great car durable, and you should be able to find a clean example for a reasonable price (less than what the stealership wants to fix your 88).

    If you want to keep the 88, go find a good independent mechanic. Ask around.

  16. #15
    pkared is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Buying a Used Newer Caddy---Advice Please..

    I'm assuming we have some comedians in our midst that don't have any Wives or Daughters.
    The 120,000 mile 1988 Deville 4.5L(Snub-nosed, last year why its light) with engine issues should be kept because it might still run, gets the same mileage as a 75,000 mile 2007 DTS, and cheap engine parts are available? Does that about cover it?

    If you drive the 4.5L like grandma and the DTS like Mario you could get the graphs to cross but what is the point? Day to day mile after mile the DTS will deliver better mileage, Superior reliability, durability, look damn good, and will most likely never leave her at the side of the road. I think it's best that she stay safe and alive. She could do that in a Chevy, but If you've read her post, she appreciates Cadillacs she likes Cadillacs, and should leave this one while it's still a happy memory and not a threat to her safety and a constant drain on her resources. She isn't fixing it herself, you know. She doesn't know when it's going to cost her how much to run it. Know what the most stressful things in life are? The things you don't know. Does she love me, doesn't she? Am I being fired or are they going to keep me? Do I Need an extra $1000 next month for repairs on my car or can I go on vacation? If I drive my car to Florida will it leave me stranded and poor? Who can I get a ride back from, I spent my last dime trying to fix it. That's why you get the reliable car-peace of mind.

    Lets see, which car would she rather drive and maintain-bet that's a tuff one-She went and drove the DTS didn't she?

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