Choosing the perfect car. My thought process.

So before I chose the Ford Explorer Platinum I had a few other cars in mind. It’s surprising how many times my decisions and criteria has changed.

Salvaged and Rebuilt Cars

Originally when I was looking for cars. I was being cheap and wanted the cheapest car at an affordable price. I was looking at rebuilt cars on eBay. I was dead set on this idea until I realized the following:

  • Reselling a rebuilt car is not the easiest. People will lowball you because of the rebuilt title and financing a rebuilt car can be difficult.
  • Trusting the sellers and their quality of repair. You can Google the VIN number of the rebuilt car to see the before pictures and compare the repaired pictures. Typically on eBay the description will be something along the lines of “Rebuilt title, all that was needed was a repaint and bumper replacement” but clearly the before picture shows airbag deployment, and frame damage.
  • Some states such as NY will require inspection for rebuilt titles. A small annoyance on the list.
  • Majority of the rebuilt cars on eBay were 4+ hours away from me. During the middle of COVID it was difficult to see these cars, let alone travel 4 hours away to see a car that I might or might not buy.

These were the main reasons that steered me towards buying a clean titled car.

Car Choices

The main reason for buying this car is for a major cross country road trip that I’ve been planning for years and then using this for normal commute after. These were the cars I had in mind before the Ford Explorer:

  • Subaru Legacy. This was my first choice. I originally chose this car because it was small and gets decent MPG.
  • Ford Taurus. I realized I wanted something bigger for the road trip.
  • Ford Taurus SHO. After researching the different trims, I discovered the SHO line has a the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine with twin turbo that puts out 365 HP! I always wanted a car with twin turbo.
  • Trucks. I have an affinity for trucks and the long wheelbase makes for a comfortable ride on a long road trip. Downside? I won’t be using the truck bed at all. Also, driving and parking a truck in a congested city is not fun.
  • Ford Explorer Platinum. I wanted something future proof if I started a family but at the same time I wanted something with creature comforts and a powerful engine. I was looking at videos of the interior and that’s all it took to catch my interest. Don’t laugh at me but it was the design of the seats that caught my attention. The quilted design on the seat reminded me of something from a Bentley. Then when I researched this model and trim even more, it had a lot of other features I was looking for. I’ll expand more on this in another blog.

My budget was originally $10,000. How did it go up to $37,000? This is how:

  • $10,000 budget- Originally, I wanted a salvage car. There was nothing under $10k that appealed to me.
  • $15,000 budget- Rebuilt Ford SHO were going around for $15k.
  • $25,000 budget- Rebuilt Ford Explorer Platinum were going around for 25k
  • $32,000 budget- Was starting to look for clean titled Ford Explorer Platinum.
  • $35,000 budget- Wanted to add additional warranty on the car just incase something major breaks.
  • $37,000 budget- Well, after calculating car + warranty + tax¬† I have estimated the final cost of the car should be around $37k. Is $37k budget a lot for a used car? Yes it is. But with COVID, the price of the used cars went up. I waited for a several months but didn’t see any improvement in pricing.

I’ll admit, if this went on any longer, I was thinking about raising the budget to $45,000 so I can get a 2018 Ford Explorer Platinum instead of a 2017 year. But luckily I’m poor so my budget never went to $45k :D.

Where to buy the car?

Originally I wanted to buy the car at CarMax but I went through a few choices before finally buying the car at a Ford dealership.

  • CarMax- No need to haggle for the price, amazing extended warranty plan and I heard they have good quality control when it comes to used cars. Downside? A tad bit pricier compared to other sources.
  • Carvana- A buddy told me how painless it was to buy a car from Carvana and they shipped directly to your home. Only downside is the limited inventory on the Ford Explorer Platinum. They were always being sold out before I can get to it.
  • Ford Dealership- Finally, I purchased the car from a Ford Dealership. What’s nice about buying a preowned Ford from a authorized Ford Dealership is that it comes with limited warranty (1 year/12,000 miles) and PowerTrain limited (7 years/100,000 miles). The buying process was rather surprisingly painless. I found the car and dealership through The majority of the negotiation was conducted through text. The car was originally quoted for $38,000 OTD with extended warranty and able to negotiate it down to $37,000 OTD. Not much option to negotiate because it’s a sellers market right now due to COVID.

As you can see, there’s a lot of research and decision changing when it comes to choosing a car.

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