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Taking a paper loss - a different take
Old 10-03-2005, 10:58 AM   #1
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Taking a paper loss - a different take

So I am finally rid of my VW Passat. Regular readers know what kind of a pain in my butt this beast was. The latest issue was the Anti-lock brake controller failed - a $3000 repair. At this point we decided to sell it to Carmax rather than repair it again. They cut us a check for $2000 under official Kelly Blue Book value and we considered ourselves coming out ahead. Right now we have "borrowed" a friends third car in the hopes of buying it from them (they are not sure they want to let it go). Chevy Cavalier, stick shift, a brazillion miles to the gallon.

The car only has 80k miles on it, and it's just had everything tuned up/repaired/replaced. We think they'll sell for 2 grand.

A lot of people said, "WHAT!? You should have sold private party! But I don't think we would have gotten any nibbles with the ABS not working, and no way would we recoup the repair cost." Still, it was my first new car, a lot of memories there.

Anybody else jettison a lemon, knowing that on paper you were taking a loss, but just done with it anyway?

BTW, Carmax was a great experience, 30 minutes to get us an offer, 20 to do the paperwork.
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take
Old 10-03-2005, 11:05 AM   #2
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take

Speaking from personal experience, passats are a pain in the butt to sell. I tried to private party sell my dads for 2 months and then he gave up and traded it in at the toyota dealer, taking a bigger bath than you did.

Over the course of my life, I probably blew enough money on cars to finance an ER. Unbelievable waste of money. Buy a good one and keep it for ten years. Just the sales tax, insurance and registration costs alone will save you a ton of cash vs buying a new car every 2-4 years.
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take
Old 10-03-2005, 11:21 AM   #3
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take

Funny you should mention a cavalier. In 1997, we moved from Ohio to NYC. We were broke. I mean, after paying for the move we literally had $200 in the bank. Yet we had two late model cars with car loans. We most definately did not need two in NYC (Queens, actually), so we had to sell one of them. I sold the Cavalier for about $100 over what we owed on the loan. We took a ~$4000 bath over 18 months of ownership. Still, it made a boatload of sense to jettison a rapidly depreciating asset that was also easting ~$400 a month in cash.
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take
Old 10-03-2005, 11:29 AM   #4
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take

Exactly, the repair bills were averaging $300 a month, we have enough of a (self imposed to be sure) cash flow issue!

Ten years, that's our new goal for our vehicles. We have compromised on the notion of one "nice" vehicle and one "commuter/beater". And the bar for "nice" is now set pretty low.
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take
Old 10-03-2005, 12:00 PM   #5
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take

Another lesson learned it to avoid german built cars. While they had terrific build quality and reliability in past decades, the reliability records have dropped to the bottom of the barrel during the last 5-6 years. The germans blame the influx of east german workers who 'dont give a damn' while I think I see the cause in most german manufacturers dropping their quality control costs to nearly zero figuring that 'after all these years, the quality is baked into our processes and people'.

Something's 'baked', but its not QA...

In fact, Mercedes was at the very bottom of ALL car makers in one reliability survey I saw. Below the makers of cars that you wouldnt piss on if they caught fire. Seems like "Chrysler disease" infected the host...
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take
Old 10-03-2005, 12:05 PM   #6
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take

I will never stray from the rising sun again....
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take
Old 10-03-2005, 12:11 PM   #7
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence
They cut us a check for $2000 under official Kelly Blue Book value and we considered ourselves coming out ahead.

A lot of people said, "WHAT!? You should have sold private party!"* But I don't think we would have gotten any nibbles with the ABS not working, and no way would we recoup the repair cost.* Still, it was my first new car, a lot of memories there.*

Anybody else jettison a lemon, knowing that on paper you were taking a loss, but just done with it anyway?
Ooooh, yeah. *A two-year-old Yugo ($995). *A 12-year-old Mazda GLC with a hose clamp around a radiator leak, leaking hydraulic fluid from the master cylinder, and oil from the head gasket ($600). *A 13-year-old Plymouth Champ with a new timing belt, the last one I'll ever be able to do on my own ($600). *A 7-year-old Suzuki Swift that kept breaking fuel lines ($1395). *A 1990 Honda Civic with a faulty engine computer and gosh knows what else left to break that hadn't already cost $3000 in repairs ($2495 but we still see it on the road).

Would a private buyer give you Blue Book for broken ABS? *Would they even split the difference and give you $1000 below BB? *How much hassle factor would you have expended for that extra $1000? *You guys made a great decision and some CarMax mechanic is cursing his purchase manager as we speak.

Sure it was your first new car, but hopefully it's your last!
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take
Old 10-03-2005, 12:30 PM   #8
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take

I got lucky with an old cars demise once. About 1998 I bought an 11-year
old Accord with 200000+ miles on it for $1350. After almost 4 years of
driving it started gasping a bit just before smog-test time.

Ka-ching! Car was labelled a "gross polluter" and the state (CA) paid me
$1000 to drive it to a junkyard. A car-savvy friend said that siginificant engine
work was needed, costing much more than the car was worth (maybe $700
if the engine was running OK).
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take
Old 10-03-2005, 12:57 PM   #9
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take

I'm the reigning queen of junkers.* I drove heaps all of my life until 2 years ago.* My most infamous heaps of all time (no particular order):

- A 1980 Volkswagen Rabbit Diesel (paid $1200 in 1990) with a blown head gasket.* I had to buy hoses and clamps from the auto store every week in order to replace hoses that were about to blow.* It finally coughed and bucked forward one cold morning never to start again.

- A swingin' 1972 Maverick that I acquired in 1980.* Not bad, just a hideously ugly vehicle.*

- A used (can't remember the year) Hyundai that I acquired in 1991.* It had a large hole in the exhaust, so my passangers and I would reek of fumes, not to mention a little bit high the rest of the day.*

- A 1966 Impala.* This 8 cylinder puppy hauled ass!* * Although, it did puff plumes of smoke when I hit the accelerator and got 5 miles to the gallon* :P

- A gold spray painted 1979 honda civic.* It did mankind a favor and died after 3 months.* It was the ugliest thing going.* It actually made the Maverick look good.

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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take
Old 10-03-2005, 01:03 PM   #10
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take

Heheh, I once owned a real "soecial" vehicle. 1987 Toyota pickup (there was no special model name), originally blue, but painted over with Ford white. Two junkyard doors, neither of which matched the body (tan on one side, maroon on the other). The hood was held down with a cotter pin and a big bungie cord. There was always something wrong with the electrical system, so I had to put in and take out a fuse to "turn on" and "turn off" the headlights. You can imagine the body dings and scrapes. Ran it 10k miles in under a year and then spun into a guardrail on black ice on the highway with it.

I'll drive beaters, but I'll never drive anything that crappy again.
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take
Old 10-03-2005, 01:14 PM   #11
 
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take

You never know what's going to happen when selling a car to a private person.

Back in about 1984 I was selling a Toyota Celica with no problems that I knew about. Someone came to look at it, and during the test drive, steam started coming from under the hood like crazy. I was sure the guy would split, but instead he said "I'll take it!' and pulled out $1900 in cash.
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take
Old 10-03-2005, 01:15 PM   #12
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take

The top of my pile of junkers was a 1959 Hillman Minx. *I bought it from a friend of my brother for $35. *I had to tow it home and I worked on it all summer next to my dad's house. *I got it running and kept it going with scrapped Triumph parts from a number of local junk yards. *Even JC Whitney did not carry parts for this car. *

Next was a 1975 Ford Pinto station wagon that my first wife just had to have. *I traded it off after two years and 5 recall notices later for a nice loss.

I had a 1981 Chevy Suburban (official car of Texas at the time) in 1986, *that once belonged to a vet. and it always smelled like a wet dog. *Everything that could break or wear out did so right after I bought it.

I had a 1991 Toyota Corona station wagon that had three different colors of paint and was a major just bucket but still ran like a top. *It was ugly but it never quit on me. *

Once I broke the US big three habit my experiences have all been good and long term low repair ones. *My current cars are 4 years old; paid for and going strong. *
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take
Old 10-03-2005, 01:35 PM   #13
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveR

I had a 1981 Chevy Suburban (official car of Texas at the time) in 1986, *that once belonged to a vet. and it always smelled like a wet dog. *Everything that could break or wear out did so right after I bought it.

I had a 1991 Toyota Corona station wagon that had three different colors of paint and was a major just bucket but still ran like a top. *It was ugly but it never quit on me. *

Once I broke the US big three habit my experiences have all been good and long term low repair ones. *My current cars are 4 years old; paid for and going strong. *
Actually, I cannot complain about either of the big 3 vehicles I owned. The ford in particular (1995 Escort wagon) ran like a champ and was cheap to buy, own and insure for 10 years until I sold it to my sister for peanuts. She is now runninng the thing like crazy.
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take
Old 10-03-2005, 03:41 PM   #14
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take

My list of vehicles is actually pretty scary, considering I'm only 35, but here goes...

1980 Malibu, Mom gave it to me when I got my license. She bought it new.
1969 Dodge Dart GT, replaced the Malibu. Nothing major wrong with the Malibu, but it was getting tough to pass emissions, and considering the way they built cars in the late 70's and early 80's, an older 60's car was often a better bet!
1957 DeSoto Firedome. When I saw a picture of one of these when I was 16, I knew I just HAD to have one. So I did, eventually
1968 Dodge Dart 270, bought it after I totaled the '69 Dart, and held onto that one for parts
1969 Pontiac Bonneville, bought from my cousin for $400. Don't ask me why I had to have it...in retrospect I shouldn't have!
1967 Pontiac Catalina convertible, something that I wanted ever since I was a little kid.
1982 Cutlass Supreme, bought from one of my college professors for $800. It was almost worth it.
1988 Chrysler LeBaron turbo coupe, bought from my uncle after I got married. When I divorced, I gave it to my ex wife because I knew it would be a bigger POS than the Dart.
1979 Chrysler Newport, my family and friends had been ragging on me to get something newer than that damn Dart, which was now up over 320,000 miles. So partly to appease them, and partly out of sarcasm, I bought this Newport from the junkyard for $250. It actually made it home under its own power. And hey, it was newer than the Dart! And had about 100,000 less miles!
1986 Monte Carlo, given to me by my Mom. Totaled after 3 months when I got t-boned delivering pizzas
1989 Gran Fury police interceptor, bought with insurance money from the Monte Carlo
1967 Chrysler Newport, given to me by a friend who was trying to clear out his grandmother's estate after she passed away. It was free, and worth every penny.
2000 Dodge Intrepid, the first and only new car I've ever owned
1979 Chrysler New Yorker 5th Avenue, bought off eBay for $900. It was similar to but more luxurious and powerful than my old '79 Newport, which I missed, so I guess it filled some kind of void
1985 Chevy pickup, bought new by my Granddad, given to my Mom when he passed away, and then Mom gave it to me.
1976 Pontiac LeMans, a vain attempt to transport myself back to my carefree childhood in the 70's?
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take
Old 10-03-2005, 04:44 PM   #15
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take

Don't really own a lemon, but some here may remember my recent threads on spending ~$1,000 on repairs to my 1994 Honda Accord. Well, it's running just fine these days at 147,000 miles, and I expect it will continue to do so for at least another couple of years.

As for lemons, I've had a few. I had a 1986 Toyota MR2 which was a blast to drive, but cost a fortune to repair (mid-engine 2-seater sports car). Invariably, it had a $400 repair every 3-4 months. After a while, it made no sense to keep putting money into it, and I found a great Honda Prelude to replace it.
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take
Old 10-03-2005, 04:59 PM   #16
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andre1969
My list of vehicles is actually pretty scary, considering I'm only 35, but here goes...

1980 Malibu, Mom gave it to me when I got my license. She bought it new.
1969 Dodge Dart GT, replaced the Malibu. Nothing major wrong with the Malibu, but it was getting tough to pass emissions, and considering the way they built cars in the late 70's and early 80's, an older 60's car was often a better bet!
1957 DeSoto Firedome. When I saw a picture of one of these when I was 16, I knew I just HAD to have one. So I did, eventually
1968 Dodge Dart 270, bought it after I totaled the '69 Dart, and held onto that one for parts
1969 Pontiac Bonneville, bought from my cousin for $400. Don't ask me why I had to have it...in retrospect I shouldn't have!
1967 Pontiac Catalina convertible, something that I wanted ever since I was a little kid.
1982 Cutlass Supreme, bought from one of my college professors for $800. It was almost worth it.
1988 Chrysler LeBaron turbo coupe, bought from my uncle after I got married. When I divorced, I gave it to my ex wife because I knew it would be a bigger POS than the Dart.
1979 Chrysler Newport, my family and friends had been ragging on me to get something newer than that damn Dart, which was now up over 320,000 miles. So partly to appease them, and partly out of sarcasm, I bought this Newport from the junkyard for $250. It actually made it home under its own power. And hey, it was newer than the Dart! And had about 100,000 less miles!
1986 Monte Carlo, given to me by my Mom. Totaled after 3 months when I got t-boned delivering pizzas
1989 Gran Fury police interceptor, bought with insurance money from the Monte Carlo
1967 Chrysler Newport, given to me by a friend who was trying to clear out his grandmother's estate after she passed away. It was free, and worth every penny.
2000 Dodge Intrepid, the first and only new car I've ever owned
1979 Chrysler New Yorker 5th Avenue, bought off eBay for $900. It was similar to but more luxurious and powerful than my old '79 Newport, which I missed, so I guess it filled some kind of void
1985 Chevy pickup, bought new by my Granddad, given to my Mom when he passed away, and then Mom gave it to me.
1976 Pontiac LeMans, a vain attempt to transport myself back to my carefree childhood in the 70's?
Just curious, you into Rock-a-billy music and swing dancing? You remind me of a friend of mine....
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take
Old 10-03-2005, 08:03 PM   #17
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take

1964 Chevy Impala with a straight six. Blew a quart of oil every 30-40 miles and had been painted white, at least four times, directly over the rust (yay boston...salt is great on cars). No floor boards, had some pieces of wood panelling shoved under the carpet, which miraculously allowed it to pass state safety inspections.

1969 Plymouth Valiant that broke both its torsion bars through the frame (yay, rust again) going across a sidewalk into...of all places...a welding shop. One of the owners laughed and said to leave it there and he'd pull it into the shop in the morning and weld the frame back up for $100. Unfortunately the other owner showed up first the next morning and upon seeing a busted car laying in his yard entrance called a tow truck. Which refused to tow the vehicle as they didnt feel it would be safe. Yes...a tow truck driver refused to tow the car I had been driving as it might not be safe to drag behind a truck on a chain.

1967 Chevy Kingswood station wagon, formerly my girlfriends dads junkyard hauler for a long time, and it sure smelled that way. Broke an axle which walked out of the car as I drove around a rotary in Watertown Mass. Watertown and Newton are the rotary capitols of the world. Got to see the tire and rim bounce by me as the back end slammed down and I hoped the piece of gum I had shoved into a hole in the gas tank was going to hang in there.

Dont even get me started about the jacked up pinto with the raised white letter tires, black and white flame paint job, v6 and manual transmission that I bought for the simple sickness of the vehicle.

Selling a lemon? My wifes (then my girlfriend) old corvette, all 160,000 miles of it. Blew out the navy smoke screen every time you stepped on it, the car alarm went off periodically while driving it, all four tires were completely bald, and the battery boiled over and started hissing noxious fumes at the end of the test drive. When the guy started writing me the check at the end of the test drive, I looked at him and incredulously asked "Really!"
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take
Old 10-03-2005, 08:18 PM   #18
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take

I thought the old Impala's were 8 cylinders I know my '66 would smoke (literally, hehehe) the whimpy 4 cylinders.
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take
Old 10-04-2005, 08:00 AM   #19
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take

Hey Laurence, sorry, but I can't dance worth a damn...swing or otherwise! Two left feet here!
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take
Old 10-04-2005, 11:40 AM   #20
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Re: Taking a paper loss - a different take

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence

Anybody else jettison a lemon, knowing that on paper you were taking a loss, but just done with it anyway?
Dumped my 1978 chevy caprice in 1982 when, after 60,000 miles, it would just quit on the highway and nobody could figure out what was wrong with it. Got fair value at wholesale, but soured me on gm cars for the last 27 years.

Have dumped poorly preforming real estate and stocks when they have not fit our needs or projections, just to move on to other things, and have never looked back.

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