The Truth About Cars » reconditioning http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 29 Aug 2015 15:27:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » reconditioning http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Piston Slap: The Cons of Recon Before Trade-in? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/piston-slap-cons-recon-trading/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/piston-slap-cons-recon-trading/#comments Tue, 14 Jul 2015 11:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1113713 TTAC commentator cwallace writes: Sajeev, Here’s what’s probably an easy question for you: Is it ever worth the money to update wear items on a car before trading it in? My trusty 2007 Accord EX V6 is suddenly about to cost me some real money. With 154,000 miles on it, the tires are about shot, […]

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dirtycar

Low Miles, One Owner… (photo courtesy: www.parknshine.com)

TTAC commentator cwallace writes:

Sajeev,

Here’s what’s probably an easy question for you: Is it ever worth the money to update wear items on a car before trading it in?

My trusty 2007 Accord EX V6 is suddenly about to cost me some real money. With 154,000 miles on it, the tires are about shot, it needs new struts, there’s a crack in the windshield, and the rear main seal is starting to make a mess of my driveway. Plus, my commute just got a lot longer, so the lack of creature comforts (like sound insulation, for heaven’s sake) make me think I’ve got my money’s worth from this car.

Other than those things, it looks good for its age, and everything else works just as it should. All that dealership service paid off, is what I tell myself.

Anyway, should I bother fixing the windshield and maybe putting a new set of tires on it before trading it in? If I were selling it to another person, I’d do that only because I am an ardent believer in karma, but I’m sure a dealer can do that work more cost effectively than I can — so should I bother?

(P.S., I’m taking over command of my wife’s Mazda CX-9 and she’s getting a Toyota Sienna, so it isn’t going back to a Honda store, if that makes a difference somehow.)

Sajeev answers:

Good question. Perhaps a Honda store likes new tires as part of reconditioning your trade into a Certified Pre-Owned vehicle, but not with your Honda’s age and mileage. Reconditioning for trade-in is a slippery slope. Dealers usually expect to recondition (or dump at auction) and your “value add” won’t mean as much to them as to you.

More to the point: Leave service records on the passenger seat and clean from bumper to bumper to get the most value on trade-in. Dirty, cluttered cars are both hard and/or time consuming to appraise and (more importantly) allude to overall vehicle neglect.

Why? Because it’s a sad reality of trading in a vehicle. Your car — unless Certified Pre-Owned, with the assumed quality from that asking price — will likely be sold to someone who doesn’t care about the quality of the reconditioning. New Michelin Pilot tires? The Kelly-Springfields look just as black and round to me. New glass? Nice, but the dealer probably gets it done for less.

Seeing a clean interior, fresh fluids, good (enough) tires, decent brakes, a solid Carfax and everything working on the test drive is a 99 percent guaranteed sale to someone.

While it’s possible to demand more for your trade-in because of reconditioning, you must include that in the negotiation. If not, you’ll get pennies on the dollar invested. Sell fully reconditioned cars for private party money on the open market for maximum profit. Otherwise, dump it as-is, and trade-in like everyone else yearning for a new ride.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Piston Slap: Rejuvenate or Deep Six the A6? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/piston-slap-rejuvenate-or-deep-six-the-a6/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/piston-slap-rejuvenate-or-deep-six-the-a6/#comments Mon, 24 Dec 2012 12:52:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=471463 Vincent asks: Hi Sajeev, I own a 2000 Audi A6 2.7T that I bought 3 years ago. It has been a surprisingly good vehicle to me – comfortable and fast. I even track it on occasion with no complaints. It’s been fairly reliable; the most major issues were having the ABS controller rebuilt and replacing […]

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Vincent asks:

Hi Sajeev,

I own a 2000 Audi A6 2.7T that I bought 3 years ago. It has been a surprisingly good vehicle to me – comfortable and fast. I even track it on occasion with no complaints. It’s been fairly reliable; the most major issues were having the ABS controller rebuilt and replacing the valve cover gaskets myself, which were not a big deal. As long as nothing catastrophic happens, I plan to keep the car for many more years.

Of course compared to a newer car, I expect this aged A6 to be a bit loose, a little less accurate, a bit more noise, etc. However I recently rode in someone’s 1999 A6 and it feels much, much tighter than my car. My understanding is that there haven’t been any non-stock mods on that car, just lots of dealer service (yikes).

That got me thinking:

1) What maintenance/parts are needed to make a used car feel as much ”like new” as possible, in terms of ride and performance? And what are the best bang for the buck projects? (e.g. I don’t care about having the new car shine and smell)

2) When does it make sense to throw in the towel, and buy a newer (used) car?

Thanks!
Vincent

Sajeev Answers:

I complain that many newer cars aren’t as tight as my Fox Body Cougar (fresh suspension with KONIs, new steering rack and shaft with needle bearings, weld in sub-frame connectors that also bolt to the seat bottoms, strut tower brace, boxed rear control arms, Dynamat, etc). Which might be why I haven’t done a new car review in a loooooong time: but then again, Imuch like Mitt Romneyhave binders full of service/parts receipts proving this Cougar knows that Performance is an Eight Cylinder Word. RAWR!!!

 

When someone says their car feels old/loose, knowing the mileage and recent service history is important. Especially since an Audi from this generation is the epitome of a modern hooptie. Well, a beautiful hooptie at least.

So let’s assume yours isn’t a garage queen with low miles. Perhaps you drive it on less than perfectly smooth roads.  And that you’ve never shown your car to a dealer, or any mechanic super concerned with fully reconditioning an older ride.  So you probably have a steering system with too much play, perished shocks, slightly saggy springs, loose ball joints, toasted control arms, bashed up bushings, etc.

Basically you need a rebuild of all worn bits in your suspension…and probably new steering bits too. New tires too? Only a mechanic who cares enough to do the right thing knows the real deal. Which means you gotta fork over lotsa $$$, honey!

Which leads me to question #2: run the hell away from this car. You will regret the moment you put a wrench on the underside, things will start setting your wallet on fire, so to speak. The once-tight A6s are somewhat fragile (compared to a boring, numb, loose mainstream sedan made to handle years of abuse) because of their complex design. And every part is too expensive considering the current (and forseeable future) value.

Unless, of course, this A6 is to you what the Cougar is to me. And then, by all means, do the right thing and empty out your wallet.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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