I though myself out of asking this question, then your asked for more questions, so…What’s the best way to sell a beat-up 2002 Hyundai “Satan Fe” without feeling guilty about it?
Not so long ago, I married into a family with an irrational preference for Hyundais. In order of purchase (all new): 2002 Santa Fe 2.7L AWD, 2003 Santa Fe 3.3L FWD, 2006 Santa Fe 3.3L FWD, 2009 Azera, 2011 Tucson. All bought with about as much consideration as I put into buying shoes. The upside: hand-me-downs.
My wife and I are using the two oldest Santa Fes. Both were free to us and get better gas mileage than my first-gen Xterra 4×4 with 180k miles and 31″ ATs, which still in great shape (I maintain it myself) but is now mostly a weekend chores truck in semi-storage. The 2002 Santa Fe is a good car for my wife to drive because the AWD and slightly pokey engine keep it within her driving skills, as opposed to the FWD 2003 Santa Fe (hit the gas at stoplights and the wheels easily break loose). However.
The 2002 now has 143k miles and recently had to have a pile of work (AC line, tuneup, replaced leaking valve cover gasket) from the dealer. I didn’t want that work done, as I thought it was time to abandon a sinking ship. Now it badly needs a power steering line. There are several colors of leaking fluid, so I doubt the power steering work is the only impending expense. I bet the leaking valve cover gasket coated the whole engine in oil at some point, and now anything that can leak is thinking about doing just that. When checking out the leaks, I also found an old spark plug wire dangling in the engine bay. The car has a small dent in the hood that looks like someone sat on it and an equally small but uglier dent in the tailgate from a mailbox connection. Our dog chewed up the nylon tabs that release the back seats for folding. The car is as beige as beige can be considering it is battleship silver. It is an auto(gag-sob)matic.
I am extremely wary of owning any high-mileage vehicle that needs a lot of work, and especially wary of this Santa Fe that seems to be especially expensive to repair. So yesterday we titled and registered it in my wife’s name so the we can sell it ASAP. She will drive the less-safe 2003 Santa Fe, and I will bring my dear Xterra back into the rotation. I don’t drive much these days (I’m a work-at-home writer: of job applications). We could use the little extra cash from the sale. Yet I am also wary of unloading such a vehicle onto anyone else. Times are tough for others, too. I suspect that anyone interested in buying this high-mileage CUV from a private seller is not exactly flush. When something goes wrong, I don’t want the hassle of the buyer coming to me to complain.
We have a couple of weeks to clean up the car before the new title arrives. I have never sold a car before. When we are ready to sell, I was thinking about taking the car to Carmax and seeing what their lowball offer will be, then putting up on Cragislist for a cash price that is higher than what Carmax or a dealer would give us but much lower than the local rate for these things. I’ll be honest in the ad about the good and the bad. If it doesn’t sell in 7 days, I’ll take it back to Carmax. Is this a good idea? Are there better ones?
You’ve summed up your situation nicely, and unlike many questions tossed down Piston Slap way, I feel comfortable armchair quarterbacking a conclusion. You musta gotten plenty of A’s in ‘dem grade school classes about English, reading, writing and what not. Because it shows!
I have no better answer for you. I mean, you really nailed it. Compounding the problems you mentioned, older Hyundai-KIAs have hard-to-find parts, if what I heard from several people at O’Reillys is true. The 3.3Ls need valve lash adjustments, and much to my personal pleasure, the 2.7Ls do battle with the Piston Slap on occasion. Not that my heart doesn’t go out to people with Piston Slap problems in their rides, it’s just that a writer can fall in love with his schtick!
So yes, get that “Satan Fe” appraised at Carmax. Ask for about $500 more on Craigslist. You’ll get more cash, and the buyer gets more financial cushion for repairs…compared to your average used car lot where Hyundais of this vintage are cleaned up, marked up and then sold. Honestly, both parties win.