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Old 21.09.2014, 08:38
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Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

Hi everyone,

My name is Joe and from the Philly area of PA. I am unfamiliar with some of the makes, brands, and models here in Switzerland. Also with some of the engines such as erdgas.

I am looking to buy a used car or something cheap hopefully under 10,000-15,000. In the USA I would use such things as "Kelly Blue Book" "Edmond's" and research a little bit "Consumer Reports". Also I would talk to a local mechanic I was friends with. I am out of my element here in Switzerland as how to search.

The last car I had in the US was a 1998 jeep cherokee in great condition that had well over 200,000 and owned for well over a decade of it's life. With the exception of replacing a radiator and water pump, I did many of the small repairs myself on car. I actually took pride and enjoyed going to the "you pull-it, you pick-it" junk yard for parts and doing the work myself.

I mention that so that someone answering has an idea that my car knowledge is dated and generational, as well as geographically. Cars like Opel Astra are new to me and Peugeots were always foreign for example.
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Old 21.09.2014, 09:25
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

Avoid anything french...
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Old 21.09.2014, 09:34
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

You may notice the average Swiss vehicle is not a fix-it-upper. They have strict regulations about registration requirements, after the car is a certain age. Actually, it does seem to make the whole driving experience safer....


In any case, keep your eyes out for good deals here, on English Forum. If you are not in a hurry, you may find exactly what you need.

We needed a second car, but did not want to put out a lot of cash, so this was a good solution for us. [Lease Transfer] Ford Focus 1.0i EcoBoost 125 Trend [Zurich]

The Ford has been just what we needed: economic, low mileage, pristine clean and good fun to drive!

Good luck!
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Old 21.09.2014, 23:30
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

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You may notice the average Swiss vehicle is not a fix-it-upper.
However, I, and others, have certainly purchased wrecks in CH and brought them back to life, so it is easily possible here.

Tom
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Old 21.09.2014, 09:34
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

Avoid anything German...
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Old 21.09.2014, 10:53
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

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With the exception of replacing a radiator and water pump, I did many of the small repairs myself on car. I actually took pride and enjoyed going to the "you pull-it, you pick-it" junk yard for parts and doing the work myself.
Good on you. You can save a fortune in Switzerland by not going to a garage for every little squeak and leak. No junk-yards of that type here, though. Usually have to buy parts online, because they are pricey here. Plenty of EF threads on this topic.

Don't buy anything without a recent MFK (roadworthiness test).

Try online: autoscout24.ch, autoricardo.ch, anibis.ch
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Old 21.09.2014, 14:21
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

List key requirements and the kindly EF car-geeks will give you suggestions.

EG Size, performance, economy, luxuries, age, condition etc
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Old 21.09.2014, 14:38
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

If you wait long enough, all the advice in a car-thread will contradict each other.
If you are going to buy a 2nd-hand car not from a dealer and without recent MFK, you can take it to one of these places to have it evaluated:
http://www.tcs.ch/de/der-club/meine-region/#3
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Old 21.09.2014, 17:37
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

If you want to get acquainted with the european brands the best thing is to lose some hours browsing through the brand sites to know the models, and english wikipedia pages of the models (since you're buying used you might wanna see older models).

Fuel: in switzerland you go for petrol/gasoline or diesel, there hasn't been any political push toward diesel like in france or toward new fuels like erdgas (which i would avoid), so unless you do more than 20'000 km a year petrol is the best bet because the higher price of diesel engines is hard to pay itself out. SUVs are usually diesel .

Sizes: You should tell us what size and shape you're looking for (sedan, station wagon, hatchback, MPV). Standard size in Switzerland for an all-around is the Golf, slightly bigger for families (like skoda octavia), or smaller like the VW Polo.

Two best seller cars (there are probably a lot of these used i guess) are the Volkswagen Golf, which is the C-segment hatchback you got this in the states too, and the Skoda Octavia which is a normal station wagon (skoda is a medium-lower brand of volkswagen group, it's basically a volkswagen but with better value for money) which has similar underpinnings to the Golf.

Use autoscout24.ch to look for used cars from both privates and dealers and to compare prices.

Last edited by Meerkat33; 21.09.2014 at 19:31.
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Old 21.09.2014, 17:50
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

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Avoid anything french...
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Avoid anything German...
Avoid anything American .....


- they don't work well in Europe, and are probably a re-badged Euro Or Jap model, anyway.
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Old 21.09.2014, 20:57
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

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If you wait long enough, all the advice in a car-thread will contradict each other.
I disagree
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Old 21.09.2014, 23:09
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Thank you and everyone else for their time in posting and insights.

My plan is to buy the car in about 3-6 months. I am just starting the preliminary stage for searching, information gathering, and getting a feel for the market.

I know what I need to look for now and in the future, but it will be hard not to reminisce.

The cars I liked are a generation ago and further down the past. The cars since the new millennium are increasing reliant on electronics and computer diagnostics. It has been good for car dealerships with specialized equipment, but hard for general mechanics to keep a diversified business and today's cars really aren't suitable for the "do-it-yourself-er".

I am going to miss the "you pick it, you pull it" junkyards, but I've noticed they have been fading out for sometime. That generation seems to be dying out with but will probably never go extinct for a market of select car enthusiasts.

For me, it wasn't about saving the money. It was more of a hobby, scavenger hunting, and the thrill going through the junkyard and finding all kinds of interesting odds and ends. It usually turned into an outing and an experience every time.

You may notice the average Swiss vehicle is not a fix-it-upper. They have strict regulations about registration requirements, after the car is a certain age. Actually, it does seem to make the whole driving experience safer....


I haven't seen the old metal coat hanger holding up a tailpipe and/or muffler here in Switzerland. Is that what you meant by making the "whole driving experience safer. . .

Last edited by 3Wishes; 14.01.2015 at 13:26. Reason: merging successive posts
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Old 21.09.2014, 23:26
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

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For me, it wasn't about saving the money. It was more of a hobby, scavenger hunting, and the thrill going through the junkyard and finding all kinds of interesting odds and ends. It usually turned into an outing and an experience every time.
To hijack that subject for a moment - what will the Swiss recycling / junk depots say if you knock on the door and ask if you can rummage a bit? I've been entertaining similar thoughts and eyeing a particular junkyard down near... um... well, down south/southwest from Basel, drive past it every single time we head for the Alps. Has anyone tried, or is it Just Not Done?
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Old 21.09.2014, 23:33
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

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To hijack that subject for a moment - what will the Swiss recycling / junk depots say if you knock on the door and ask if you can rummage a bit? I've been entertaining similar thoughts and eyeing a particular junkyard down near... um... well, down south/southwest from Basel, drive past it every single time we head for the Alps. Has anyone tried, or is it Just Not Done?
You'll probably be given some drivel about liability insurance. I've been to a few junk yards, and they all seemed to be organised around selling parts off the shelf (ie which they have already stripped off old vehicles).
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Old 22.09.2014, 08:10
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

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You'll probably be given some drivel about liability insurance. I've been to a few junk yards, and they all seemed to be organised around selling parts off the shelf (ie which they have already stripped off old vehicles).
It is the model all junkyards are moving to. Buyers want to check for a part online - then either go and collect - or have it delivered. It is more cost effective for the yards and less time consuming for the customer. It also ensures that the yard gets best value from the car before it is crushed and the metal recycled. They can hold more stock in a smaller area.
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Old 22.09.2014, 13:23
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

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To hijack that subject for a moment - what will the Swiss recycling / junk depots say if you knock on the door and ask if you can rummage a bit? I've been entertaining similar thoughts and eyeing a particular junkyard down near... um... well, down south/southwest from Basel, drive past it every single time we head for the Alps. Has anyone tried, or is it Just Not Done?
Yea have done it and they said just take out what I wanted and bring up front, took some tools and found a few things I was looking for. My son was with and even asked for a part he found to sit on his shelf, they took him it was free.
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Old 22.09.2014, 13:30
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

www.car4you.ch
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Old 22.09.2014, 08:13
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

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The cars I liked are a generation ago and further down the past. The cars since the new millennium are increasing reliant on electronics and computer diagnostics. It has been good for car dealerships with specialized equipment, but hard for general mechanics to keep a diversified business and today's cars really aren't suitable for the "do-it-yourself-er".
http://www.autoscout24.ch/de/d/merce...4134&vehtyp=10
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Old 03.10.2014, 03:26
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

Anyone think Saab will make a comeback?
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Old 03.10.2014, 08:17
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Re: Going to looking for a used car, I am unfamiliar with many of the cars here.

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Anyone think Saab will make a comeback?
Only as an electric car - if they can get the financial problems sorted out.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saab_Au...12.E2.80.93.29

For the OP, don't forget to check at dealers for their used cars offers too. They often have ex-demo models and those will have low mileage. They'll also have older models on offer as well.

Cars here tend to be better specc'd than the American ones so though you might pay more you'll get more too.

Don't always think you need a big engine for more power. We swopped our Nissan Qashqai 2.0 litre petrol model for a 1.6 litre diesel and the OH was worried that it wouldn't be powerful enough, but we've found it much better overall than the petrol one. If you're not going to be doing a lot of kilometres though then a petrol will be a better buy. Diesel cars tend to be more expensive to buy and although they need less maintenance and can last longer diesel is more expensive here than petrol, usually around 10-15 centimes a litre - though around my area at the moment there's only a 3 centime difference.
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