Ask the Best and Brightest: Why Did You Sell Your Car?

Michael Karesh
by Michael Karesh

The auto industry spends millions each year studying what motivates people to buy a car. Much less studied, perhaps not even studied at all is what motivates people to get rid of a car. After all, people don’t just fall in love. They also fall out of it. We have a list of likely suspects: new car fever, the warranty running out, problems, maybe even the suspicion of future problems. So, what motivated you when you got rid of a car? A few critical bits of info: model, model year, month/year sold, odometer when sold (or junked). Extra credit: month/year purchased, odometer when purchased. Lessees need not respond: you’re boring—the lease simply ran out. I’ll go first. I traded my 1996 Ford Contour SE V6 (purchased October 1997 with 23k miles) when the engine lost some compression in three cylinders thanks to an engineering defect. Replacing the engine would have cost more than the resulting increase in the car’s value. That was in November 2003, with 69,000 miles. We sold my wife’s 1998 Olds Intrigue (purchased in January 1999 with 14k miles) in July 2004 with odometer in the high 70s because she was bored with it, and we thought it might start having problems at some point—though it had had none for the previous 2-3 years.

Michael Karesh
Michael Karesh

Michael Karesh lives in West Bloomfield, Michigan, with his wife and three children. In 2003 he received a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. While in Chicago he worked at the National Opinion Research Center, a leader in the field of survey research. For his doctoral thesis, he spent a year-and-a-half inside an automaker studying how and how well it understood consumers when developing new products. While pursuing the degree he taught consumer behavior and product development at Oakland University. Since 1999, he has contributed auto reviews to Epinions, where he is currently one of two people in charge of the autos section. Since earning the degree he has continued to care for his children (school, gymnastics, tae-kwan-do...) and write reviews for Epinions and, more recently, The Truth About Cars while developing TrueDelta, a vehicle reliability and price comparison site.

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  • Andy D Andy D on Mar 07, 2009

    In over 40 yrs of car ownership, I have only sold 1 car, a 73 Gran Torino Squire wagon. The rest I have scrapped .

  • Accs Accs on Mar 07, 2009

    Hmmm I definately need to post here more often... I started out driving my mom's 88 Civic at about 95 or so.. when I started feeling that the car is a bit too small for even average vehicles on the road. But then she started getting older, and I needed a car with a bit more room and more than 1" of space under the floorboards and the ground under me. Picked up a '92 Accord Lx 2.2ltr 4 at about 03 with 159,000k and drove the car approx 100-120mi a day for about 3yrs time. I had to let her go at 231k because of a electrical sensor in the trans that wouldnt let her shift back down to first, and shift back up again. It was a real heartbreak. First real car and all. I traded her for about $1000 on a 00' Accord with 106k. almost 3yrs later the odo has 181k on it and I now drive 136mi daily. Putting a tank of gas in every 3 days and running between 450-500 mi per tank, with 1200mi a week. Ive been contemplating... my next car for some time. I have a 6th gen Accord weighting about 3200lbs. my last Accord a 4th gen car, weighed 2800lbs.. soaking wet. Ive thought about buying a current gen.. but the car is just too damn big and the button monster scares me. I dont need a car as big as that. Im what is called.. A D R I V E R. I take hard corners, speed, push the limits of fundamental design and engineering on my Accord. I've ruled the current Accord out, but I havent ruled out the last gen Accord SE 4dr with decent miles (hopefully under 80-100k). Ive mostly ruled the current Civic out also. The interior just doesnt do it for me. They blew their load over the main pod and left the rest to plastic heaven. Honda also wont bring the Civic hatch into the US.. for fear that its CRV / Pilot will steal sales from this hot hatch, and that it will die like every other hatch / wagon that has been faced with internal competition. Although the Interior of the Civic hatch.. and the body spanks the Mazda3... Id love the Civic. SO.. Ive placed most of my up and coming fun.. on a current or next gen Mazda 3 hatch. Big 3 options... HATCH front and rear sway bars AND TINT over the rear 3qtr of the vehicle. Not to mention the packages of the Mazda a bit better than the Civic... But Id be giving up the love for my Accord / Honda, not to mention my resale. As far as problems Ive had... Only the dealership that I purchased my car from.. is a huge pain in the ass. I definately wont be going back there. But the car's only niggling problems.. have been inadequate pressure from the windshield nozzels, and an issue with warping of the brakes. Stopping distance sucks. Both Accords have had the same issue. Its a relatively small issue almost not important.. but I cant find a way to fix it. As for why Id be changing cars... Its lighter, Its faster Its got a hatch, sway bars, and rear tint. Not to mention the interior is up-to-date and it will be my first new car. Rest have been purchased used.

  • Sashazur Sashazur on Mar 07, 2009

    I hate to admit it, but except for one exception, I've gotten rid of all of my cars simply due to boredom after 3-4 years. The exception was my '01 V6 AWD Passat wagon. I bought it new, but by the time it had hit 100K miles I had put about $10K of repairs into it, so I decided to unload it and cut my losses.

  • Rivertiger Rivertiger on Mar 07, 2009

    First real car out of college was a brand new 1999 Toyota 4-runner,SR-5 4WD for $27K. Drove for one year, sold it at 40K miles at $24.5K. Figured it was good time to sell before it really dropped in depreciation. Bought a 1996 Honda Civic for 44K miles for $11K. Very reliable car but absolutely scary on winter roads cuz the vehicle is so light. Got into accident with airbag deployed. Sold to a neighbor for $4500 at 88K miles. Bought a 2000 Porsche Boxster S at $32K at 17K miles. Lived the dream and then burned the clutch and flywheel. $1500 fix and then sold at $20K at 50K miles. Vowed never again to pay for Porsches. Bought a 1998 Nissan Maxima at 98K miles for $3K. Drove well and problem free for well over 3 years. Replaced ball joints and usual maintenance costs. Sold to family member at 165K miles for $1500. Most reliable car I've owned. Bought a 2002 Mercedes C32 AMG for $16.5K at 67K miles (currently). Occasional electrical problems.thinking that this is a good car for now, but could probably sell it given the economic recession...