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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Very overdue in replacing my 1996. I have a current choice between two local(ish) 2011 Camry LEs. I haven't seen them in person yet, so the differences maybe enough to sway me. But going into it, here's my dilemma:

First one is Black with 104,000 miles and 33 listed Carfax service records (unfortunately one being with the current dealer with a cryptic 'power steering fluid leak *check*' entry. Not 'fix' but 'check'? Hmm. Two former owners. The records are nice, but most of them are with third-party shops, including 4 trips back to the same one in the space of one month, which sounds like a fix that didn't get done right.

The second one is in the Magnetic Gray (kinda prefer over the black) with 93,000 miles on it, but only 7 service records and has had four owners and gone thru two dealer auctions.

Otherwise, they seem to be the same standard package (cloth seats, non-JBL stereo, steel wheels & hubcaps, 2.5L four).

Both started out as rental cars. Not thrilled about that, nor the mileages, but we church mice can't be too picky.

The price differential between the two is around $2000.

Really torn.
 

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did you punch the two car's specs into nada.com and kbb.com to ensure they weren't too far off the price?
also, black is hard to maintain and likes to peel, at least around here.
lower miles sounds good but depends on how they were accumulated. i'd rather have 104k highway than 90k around town and church on Sundays.
the auctions and the rental are both flags for me. were the rental agencies reputable ones? if so, they probably kept the maintenance up?
it took me 5 years to find my last car so I do alot of homework before i pull the trigger. i do carfax/carcheck, toyota vin maintenance record research, talk to the current owners and previous if possible and ask alot of questions. if they don't wanna answer them, that's their prerogative. it's also mine not to buy.
tony
 

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Take carfax with a grain of salt or any reporting tool. Use it to guide, but not a serious thing.
Our official toyota dealership (Servco) does not report any dealership work to carfax (or the like) so it wont appear in carfax. Other shops such as fast lube, goodyear do though.

Check for excessive tire wear as well and for any odd things that stand out

Physical inspection is worth more then a carfax report. Look for paint overspary, mismatch body panels (paint matching gone bad) and any excessive wear for the miles.

Black is overall hard to maintain if you don't have a garage. The gray is slightly easier but I'd avoid all dark colors if you do not have a garage or have the time to upkeep unless you don't care on the paint.
 

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Speedkar99 on YouTube
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Physical inspection is worth more then a carfax report. Look for paint overspary, mismatch body panels (paint matching gone bad) and any excessive wear for the miles.
+1
Go and have a look at the cars in person and drive them. Thoroughly check both with an open mind. There's no point being torn between two cars from behind a computer screen only to go there and see a car in horrible condition. Maintenance records don't really mean much.

Check out my used car buying videos, its a six part series which talks about what to look for when inspecting a used car:

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Take carfax with a grain of salt or any reporting tool. Use it to guide, but not a serious thing.
Our official toyota dealership (Servco) does not report any dealership work to carfax (or the like) so it wont appear in carfax. Other shops such as fast lube, goodyear do though.

Check for excessive tire wear as well and for any odd things that stand out

Physical inspection is worth more then a carfax report. Look for paint overspary, mismatch body panels (paint matching gone bad) and any excessive wear for the miles.

Black is overall hard to maintain if you don't have a garage. The gray is slightly easier but I'd avoid all dark colors if you do not have a garage or have the time to upkeep unless you don't care on the paint.
Black one is out of the running. Really scratched up paint, busted spare tire cover, too many miles. The little plastic pocket in the trunk had some residual fluid in the bottom: the feel and taste (I know, I know) of brake fluid. Check the reservoir and... it was too full? This was a 2011 and the reservoir had a horizontal line, a downward pointing arrow, and the letters MAX. The fluid level was about a 1/2" above that line.

Oh, and the dealership were absolute a-holes. I had to tell three separate stooges no so many times I lost count. Should have known it would be a high-pressure, profit at all cost outfit from the custom curved saltwater fish tanks. And the bouncy castle. And their deli. And their (WTF) movie theater.

Looking at the second 2011 tomorrow. Lower miles and in Magnetic Gray (favorite). I do find it odd that they've had it for sale in a rather large city since July. They got it at an auction after having been at another car dealership. Chatted on-line with that dealership as to why they auctioned it. He said they can only keep a car so long before they start to lose money on it (another thing I don't understand). Why would a rather popular car with a good general quality rep end up sitting for so long at two dealerships? To their credit, the current dealer did provide the Carfax sheet right there with the car listing. It also includes a Carfax buyback guarantee, but I have a feeling that would be a nightmare of hoop-jumping if it came to be needed. Oh, and this place have non-commission sales staff, so maybe there's hope for humanity after all.

There is a third 2011 my money man pointed out to me. Below average miles, one-owner in the same town the car is for sale in, and well-serviced. It was in an accident, but the owner kept it for 32,000 miles so probably okay (but quite a few tire rotations and alignments listed on the Carfax (I had to purchase) which is either diligence or a flag of a 'bent' car eating tires). But the major problem (for me) is that it is Aloe Green. To me, the photos look like it was painted straight-up Army OD Green and then hit with some gloss coats. Geez, I don't want a green car.
 
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