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Old 30.04.2015, 08:32
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Advice when buying a used car in Switzerland?

We just moved to Basel from San Francisco and are looking for a car for weekend trips/grocery shopping. We are wondering if there are any recommendations when buying a used car to consider. Thank you for the help.
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Old 30.04.2015, 09:03
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Re: Advice when buying a used car in Switzerland?

Dealers are more reliable than some private sellers and less of a con than in some other countries.

The warranties that they offer however, wont usually cover the things that go wrong within their run time - but better than nothing offered by a private seller.

Cars advertised for sale here on this forum, are nearly always unrealistically over-priced.

..... and if it seems to good to be true - it probably is(n't?)
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Old 30.04.2015, 09:29
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Re: Advice when buying a used car in Switzerland?

What sort of advice are you looking for? What car to buy? Where to buy? What to look out for? Diesel/petrol?

There is plenty of help on here but you do have to ask a meaningful question.
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Old 30.04.2015, 10:23
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Re: Advice when buying a used car in Switzerland?

Three thoughts on buying a used car:

1) Buy one with a recent MFK (Motorfahrzeugkontrolle)

2) Get an idea of pricing by reviewing internet advertisements:

http://www.autoscout24.ch/de/auto

http://auto.ricardo.ch/

3) Buying from a dealer is probably less risky than buying privately but will likely be more expensive.
- Are there any expats in your company who are leaving and must sell their auto, e.g., those going back to a right-hand drive country or to Asia or N./S. America?
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Old 30.04.2015, 10:30
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Re: Advice when buying a used car in Switzerland?

What Mullhollander said. Also, it may help to buy a car from within your canton, because you should get the benefit of the full MFK period before being "invited" for the next test.

See also this post.

Last edited by Jern; 30.04.2015 at 10:34. Reason: Corrected - rules seem to vary by canton.
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Old 30.04.2015, 10:47
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Re: Advice when buying a used car in Switzerland?

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We just moved to Basel from San Francisco and are looking for a car for weekend trips/grocery shopping. We are wondering if there are any recommendations when buying a used car to consider. Thank you for the help.
You'll look more serious if, when looking at a potential car, you kick the tyres and suck air sharply through your teeth. Shaking your head slowly a few times helps too.
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Old 30.04.2015, 11:42
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Re: Advice when buying a used car in Switzerland?

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We just moved to Basel from San Francisco and are looking for a car for weekend trips/grocery shopping. We are wondering if there are any recommendations when buying a used car to consider. Thank you for the help.
Living in Basel, you will probably want to do much of your shopping in Germany or France. So the ideal vehicle would be one which appears (to the eye of a customs officer) to be tiny, yet which has concealed compartments which are big enough to accommodate a couple of weeks' supply of pork chops.
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Old 30.04.2015, 11:43
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Re: Advice when buying a used car in Switzerland?

Same as most places - think of everything you've had to fix on your cars, and check that stuff, particularly things that could be an immediate cost to you and may be something the dealer can fix cheaply as part of the negotiation:

* exhaust
* tyres
* brakes
* aircon

Here you have two sets of tyres, winter and summer - if you have space to store them a full set of extra wheels means you can change them yourself. If you don't, an extra set of full wheels is a liability, so don't buy them if included, knock them off the price.
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Old 30.04.2015, 12:00
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Re: Advice when buying a used car in Switzerland?

You can also check http://www.adu.ch/index.php?lang=3 they have nice prices for new cars compared to the ones offered in Swiss Dealers.
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Old 30.04.2015, 12:02
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Re: Advice when buying a used car in Switzerland?

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We just moved to Basel from San Francisco and are looking for a car for weekend trips/grocery shopping. We are wondering if there are any recommendations when buying a used car to consider. Thank you for the help.
NEVER buy a car in CH without warranty, this is the rules one and only -) repairs at any service stations official or not will cost you load of money. If your warranty is over - extend it or buy a car with warranty. period -)
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Old 30.04.2015, 12:09
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Re: Advice when buying a used car in Switzerland?

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NEVER buy a car in CH without warranty
I disagree - it depends on the cost of the warranty vs the value of the car vs the cost of potential repairs.

All of the costs in Switzerland are higher, including warranty (/ the implied cost included in the car price). I've had to pay for some repairs on my car, and while expensive they've been nowhere near the cost of an after-market warranty policy.

Warranties normally exclude anything you can expect to need fixing anyway - forget aircon refills, new spark/glow plugs, etc etc.

You can of course buy new and maybe get a five year warranty - and the car will cost 100% more than buying a five year old one. Doesn't sound good value to me.
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Old 30.04.2015, 12:57
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Re: Advice when buying a used car in Switzerland?

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NEVER buy a car in CH without warranty, this is the rules one and only -) repairs at any service stations official or not will cost you load of money. If your warranty is over - extend it or buy a car with warranty. period -)
How about you set aside the money that COULD be used in case of a costly repair at the moment of purchase instead of buying the warranty? If you need it, it's already budgeted. If you don't, within the car's life in your possession enjoy a nice holiday.

There are very few cars that warranties are really necessary, and people that are in the market for these types of cars usually are not looking for advise on random fora, but on very specific ones.

Also warranties do not cover maintenance. So if you want to propose something along the lines "try to never pay a garage", you might want to propose buying with a comprehensive service plan. That by the way, you again pay, just in advance...


These kinds of blanket statements is what is allowing the garages to be that expensive and f@ck people over.
People pay thousands of francs in premium prices just because a car has MFK that should only worry people buying wrecks or completely disregarded cars (oops, blanket statement). Cars that most normal, risk-avoiding people never even look at. And people pay garages hundreds of francs for pre-MFK inspections that are essentially an invitation to the garage to start charging random stuff "that you need to pass the MFK".

If I wanted to see if I will fail the MFK, I will go to the god damn MFK and pay half as much as the garage would charge, for the people with the stamps to give me a proper list of things to fix. Or you know, I will JUST PASS THE FREAKING TEST because my car is not a public hazard on wheels...

Stop scaring people into buying "services" they don't need, because of the x, y, z anecdotal story about an MFK inspection that required blood from a virgin slain under a red moon to be put in the engine with every oil change...

You want advice? Here's mine, whatever it's worth.

Properly sort your budget, and criteria, look at the market, visit 2-3 cars that you like for whatever reason. Take them to a dealer or garage or the village witch (whatever floats anyone's boat; I don't judge) and ask if anything's wrong with it, and what is reasonably expected to go wrong within 6 or 12 months, along with an expected cost. Breakdowns can not always be predicted, but scheduled maintenance is- what's the word? Scheduled.

See which of the 2-3 selections is still within your criteria and budget, get the one you like most.

Enjoy your new used car and safe travels

Job done, have a pint, or Miller lite, or tea, or whatever...
And sorry for the mini-rant, but everytime someone mentions the MFK like it's the Inquisition I remember what I see getting driven everyday around me and I get infuriated...
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Old 30.04.2015, 13:15
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Re: Advice when buying a used car in Switzerland?

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We just moved to Basel from San Francisco and are looking for a car for weekend trips/grocery shopping. We are wondering if there are any recommendations when buying a used car to consider. Thank you for the help.
If you really use it rarely, there is Mobility car-sharing, in case you are not aware of it:
https://www.mobility.ch/en/private-customers/

Its pretty easy to pick up and drop off at many locations.
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Old 30.04.2015, 13:23
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Re: Advice when buying a used car in Switzerland?

Buy a unimog
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Old 30.04.2015, 13:44
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Re: Advice when buying a used car in Switzerland?

Not a bad idea

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Old 30.04.2015, 13:54
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Re: Advice when buying a used car in Switzerland?

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NEVER buy a car in CH without warranty, this is the rules one and only -) repairs at any service stations official or not will cost you load of money. If your warranty is over - extend it or buy a car with warranty. period -)
I would have paid at least 6k for nothing had I took this advice. If you own from new as I did and take good care of your vehicle, you will find that it would be purely bad luck and catastrophic failure that hits you - and the warranty might not cover that.

I've only performed regular servicing and replaced wear-and-tear items. Like my rear suspension this summer plus the steering bush.

Not bad for a 9-year-old car that's allegedly a moneypit.
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