Anonymous asked in Cars & TransportationBuying & Selling · 5 months ago

Can anyone tell me if this is a red flag on this car listing?

I am in the market for a "new" midsize sedan.

I never buy new cars, I always go for slightly used, like new cars because new cars instantly depreciate the moment you drive it off the lot, so I save a lot of money that way.

The best one I saw and test drove today was a 2017 Nissan Altima with 25k miles on it. It has a clean Carfax.

Sticker price was $16,800 but I negotiated it down to $14,400 in the event I get it tomorrow. They are holding it for 24 hours while I think about it.

Here's my concern:

It has two previous owners. One wouldn't concern me because some people drive a car for a short period of time and then decide they don't like it or want something else. And of course if I want to buy barely used, it has to have a previous owner by design.

But this one, in the span of only two years and 25k miles, has already been owned by TWO people who both apparently had reason to trade it in after such a short period of time.

Is this a red flag that something may be wrong with the car, or am I just paranoid?

9 Answers

  • 5 months ago

    It's not a red flag. Lots of people change their car frequently.

  • Eddi
    Lv 7
    5 months ago

    Two owners of a car in two years would not concern me if the car checked out properly with a mechanic. People like to lease or try out new cars every year these days. Nissan Altimas have high reliability ratings and are easily serviceable- they are not "lemons". However, are you sure that you are getting that great of a deal? They are selling 2020 models now. A quick check online shows that 2019 new models of Altimas are going for a bit over $20,000 here in Florida.

  • Anonymous
    5 months ago

    Two owners in two years - red flag.

  • Ron
    Lv 7
    5 months ago

    I don't buy cars for their depreciation, because it's an idiotic way of thinking. I buy a car and drive it until it doesn't go.

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  • Scott
    Lv 6
    5 months ago

    It could have been a rental or fleet vehicle for the first year, which may explain the mileage.

  • 5 months ago

    Quite likely one or both couldn’t make the payments and it was repossessed. But with a used car it is a good idea to get it checked over by a mechanic of your choice before agreeing to buy it.

  • 5 months ago

    I too would be a bit concerned. Normally, people don't sell or trade cars in such a short time because they lose substantial money. So why were these people willing to lose so much money to get out of the car?

    • nt
      Lv 6
      5 months agoReport

      First owner could have lost their job and gave it back. Not a thing wrong with it.

  • 5 months ago

    The biggest red flag is it's 2 years old with 25K miles which means it would still be under the original warranty so why isn't it being sold as a certified used car.

    Some states have a way to tell lemon cars and some don't.

    - there might be a lemon sticker on the door or it might be a designation on the title.

    Where has the car been registered? A place that would have had a high probability of a flood?

    Be mindful, that carfax doesn't know about everything. And what it does know is not always truthful:


    - I sold a car last year that had a "clean" single owner car fax. But that's not true. It had been in an accident but for some reason the repair was never listed on carfax. I told perspective owners because they wouldn't have found out if they took it to a mechanic.

    - A friend recently sold a car that was a single owner but carfax listed 3 owners because it assumed all title changes were different owners = it was the original title, name change due to marriage, new registration when she moved to a new state.

    • A Hunch
      Lv 7
      5 months agoReport

      My point exactly... if the dealer can make $2k more, why aren't they? But I agree that for the buyer it is not desired...

  • Snezzy
    Lv 7
    5 months ago

    Pay your favorite mechanic to look at the car. Probably $100. He'll tell you if there is anything you need to worry about. It'll be money well spent, regardless.

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