By on October 17, 2011

Bill writes:

Hello TTAC crew!

My Mom is in need of a new car. The problem is her trade in: It is a 2002 PT Cruiser with a serious overheating problem ($1700+ quote at two reputable repair places) Now here is the problem. Do I keep my dang mouth shut when we go to the dealership and do the deal? I have a spare car that she is driving until it cools off and the overheating problem will not be noticeable at trade in.

I would never sell the car to a guy off the street without disclosing a major problem. Even to a car dealership I think I feel guilty in not disclosing it. We are not going to be financing, and will be paying cash for the car. So it is not like they can unwind the deal if they discover the problem.
Having ethical dilemma about screwing over a car dealership who exist solely to try and take as much money as they can from you in every conceivable way is weird.

Bonus question. These are the three cars we are considering Hyundai Elantra Touring, VW Jetta Wagon and Ford Focus Wagon. Any recommendations of the three or reasons to avoid them?

Thanks in advance for any help!

Sajeev Answers:

Fair disclosure: my full-time job is in the automotive retail business, so I have my own ethical dilemma. And don’t ask what an autojourno makes, it’s precisely why I work there. With the Jeff Glucker incident fresh on my mind, I’ve decided to publish this query and throw myself at the mercy of the B&B.

I hope I made the right choice. Well…here goes:

Ahem, not all car dealerships are alike. Sure, they all wanna make a buck, but if the mainline dealers inspect a vehicle and deem it not worthy to sell, it heads straight to the auction…so some other chump can deal with the problems. This is one reason why the Buy-Here-Pay-Here lots have the reputation that they often (not always) deserve. You could easily trade in your ride to the big name dealerships, they will see the problem and dump it.

What I’m trying to say is, the dealer may be a little pissed that you traded in a lemon, but they won’t pass their karma on to their used car customers. That’s just bad business, in the long-term. Odds are their trade-in value is about what they’ll get at the auctions anyway, so even if your PT isn’t as promised, the loss will be minimal. Maybe even in the hundreds, as a PT Cruiser isn’t a late-model AMG Benz that’s been abused and almost ready for a $20,000 repair bill once the “extra life” additives wear out and its new owner gets a shocking surprise.

Then again, the converse is that you should be ashamed for not disclosing a problem you know. That’s just basic karma, and it’s something I usually believe in.

Honestly, I’ve stressed over your question for weeks, and I still don’t know what the heck to tell you. I’m sorry.

Off to you, Best and Brightest.

Send your queries to [email protected] . Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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63 Comments on “Piston Slap: The Two-Sided Ethical Dilemma...”

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    I understand that dilemma. If it was me I’d really only be able to sleep at night if I owned up to it, however Sajeev has a point in that if you don’t disclose it, the actual loss to the dealership will likely be minimal given that the PT Cruiser doesn’t have much of a trade in value anyway.

    Commenting on your car picks for Mom, new or used? The Focus Wagon hasn’t been produced in quite some time. Go with the Hyundai or the Ford, don’t roll the dice on a VW that will likely sell for the highest price of the three and have the most problems.

  • avatar
    Hildy Johnson

    “Honestly, I’ve stressed over your question for weeks…”

    so most likely the trade has already taken place, one way or another.

  • avatar

    any place worth their salt is going to check for overheating. you could try the egg trick or radiator stop leak, but lack of actual problem diagnosis makes this a waste of effort for speculation. karma always catches up, one way or another.

  • avatar

    Sajeev is right. A new car dealer is likely to dump the PT Cruiser at the auction anyway – if they try to keep it and discover the problem, then it definitely will go there. Then the lucky bidder will have the rude surprise.

    You have to be able to sleep at night, so if it is going to bother you, let them know.

    It is interesting that a dealer that gets “tricked” by a customer has no real recourse, but a customer that gets “tricked” by a dealer has the whole legal system on their side.

    • 0 avatar

      Okay – true or false, I really don’t know even though I have my suspicions.

      If the most likely outcome is that the car will get auctioned off, will the dealer disclose the known fault?

      I thought auctions were “as is” and so they normally would not. So your disclosure to the dealer would do nothing other than let them lower the price on your trade – it would not impact the value they’d actually get for the car.

      If that is so, I don’t think there’s any “moral” reason to disclose the problem, since it’s not going to impact the fate of the car’s ultimate owner.


    • 0 avatar

      dwford is right. Unless a car that age is absolutely cherry looking from the outside at least, most dealers will dump it anyway. I may be wrong, but I don’t think anyone will write a loan for a car that old.

  • avatar

    My only advice here is to go with the Elantra unless she falls in love with one of the other options. Ford has been having issues with their dual clutch transmissions, and VW is not exactly known for their reliability either. When I recommend cars to my parents, I always play it safe with the reliability issue.

    What you choose to reveal about the trade in is between you and your invisible superhero in the sky.

  • avatar

    I had a similar dilemma a few months ago. Had a Saab 9-3 who I was thinking of selling, when it started showing faint signs of a worn clutch. The clutch only slipped going at speed on the highway, so any sort of city-testing probably wouldnt have shown itself (when you live in Brooklyn, there aren’t many chances for speed). Probably a $6-700 job on a car that was worth maybe $2.5k.

    It didn’t feel right selling privately without disclosing it, but I really needed to maximize profit from the car to help pay for a move across country.

    My solution? I ended up selling it back to the original used-car lot that I originally bought it from….for not much less than what I bought it for. The reason? When I bought the car from, them, they failed to disclose a few issues with the car (one which ended up a nice 1k bill to resolve) that I wasn’t informed enough to pick up on during my test-drive. Buyer beware of course, but it did leave a bit of a bad taste in my mouth).

    I still didn’t feel great about it, but at the time it seemed about as fair of a solution as I could think of while still getting a decent price on the car.

  • avatar

    I’m inclined to agree here, ‘fess up on the overheating, especially if they check the car out, which a good dealer will do if they are worth their salt.

    That said, it all depends on how quickly this car overheats or if there is an actual leakage going on that’s causing the overheating (not enough coolant due to an external leak) The other way is to check both the coolant and the oil for any cross contamination as that’s a sign of problems.

    At the very least, they’ll take in the trade, give you what they may WELL get out of it and dump it at auction.

    I dislike this idea of assuming all car dealers are crooks and thus try to outcrook them as karma CAN be a bitch when you give them bad karma, it can come back to bite you real hard.

    • 0 avatar

      This is the only proper ethical answer. All efforts to put the responsibility on the dealer or to minimize the dealer’s downside are nothing but efforts to rationalize away the fundamental issue of honesty in business dealing. Even if you’ve been burned by the very same dealer, two wrongs don’t make a right.

      I wouldn’t be so sure about the dealer having no recourse, either. You have 2 estimates for repairs, so there’s a record of your awareness of the issue. While the dealer is unlikely to discover the repair estimates, you just never know. It’s a small world, maybe the dealer has a business relationship with one of the shops. Even with that knowledge, it seems unlikely that the dealer would pursue your mom, but some people just get crazy when they’ve been burned. And it sounds like you’re shopping used cars. Isn’t there a dealer warranty on used cars required in your state?

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    As a general matter, an individual selling a car to a dealer does not sell it with any kind of warranty as to its condition. The dealership has an opportunity to inspect the car before it buys the car. Moreover, being “in the trade” one would assume that the dealer is far more competent to evaluate the car’s worth than the average Joe who is offering a trade-in. The “overheating problem” mentioned by the OP is probably endemic to that engine, and the dealer is likely to know that in advance and account for that possibility in the price offered. By the time a particular engine/model has been on the market for several years, most of its known weaknesses have shown up . . . like cooling system issues in BMW sixes from the early to late 2000s.

    • 0 avatar

      These little 2.4s are a bit gruff, but there aren’t any real issues with them if they’re serviced properly. The only problems built-into the PTs are weak suspensions in the lower front. It happened with the neons too, but– the 2.0 had those head gaskets that needed servicing and gave these engines bad name, not the 2.4.

      The Mini re-boot had the miniature version of this engine family.

      • 0 avatar

        My friends properly maintained PT Cruiser 2.4 needed a headgasket as it approached 100,000 mostly highway miles. It wasn’t a simple one either.

      • 0 avatar

        Nothing on the PT is simple! One has to remove the intake runners to even replace the spark plugs– packaging and suchnot.

        Did the head gasket just pop, or had some event caused it?

      • 0 avatar

        I believe it just popped. My friend has a fair amount of mechanical sympathy and knowledge. He does track days and the PT’s role was to keep miles off his track car and gas bills low relative to his tow vehicle while living in south eastern San Diego and needing to routinely commute over 100 miles a day. I do not believe there was a coolant loss, overheating, check engine light, or any other warning. I don’t believe the car had many other problems mechanically, just electrical issues.

      • 0 avatar

        We’ve two 2.4s in the family with a combined 140,000 miles– neither have given us any issue what-so-ever.

        The 2006 Stratus had rusted door spears at 20k, and the 2008 PT needed a door lock repaired at 26k, other than that they’ve been great. I’ve never heard of one just blowing up before.

      • 0 avatar

        My friend Katie had a 2.4 in a Stratus expire dramatically too. Hers must have been about a ’97 model though. I don’t think it had too many miles, but it was enough that she didn’t get mad at me for giving her the okay to buy it over a Mercury Tracer(the Escort based one, not the 323 based one) that had clearly been in a wreck and repaired poorly.

        A combined 140K could mean neither have covered as many miles as either of my friend’s 2.4s made it, but they certainly don’t have as bad reputations as Mopar’s 2.7 V6.

  • avatar


    I’m sharing your Panther love…

    …and my good name is worth more than $1,700. I know 3 rights make a left, but 2 wrongs do NOT make a right. Jeesh, c’mon, folks!

  • avatar

    That’s a not-so-difficult one in this one case. When my son traded his 1997 Mustang in for his 2000 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT back in March 2004, the Ford had a coolant leaking issue, not disclosed to us when he bought the car – there was even a recall on it, and didn’t manifest itself until late 2003. Anyway, he didn’t say anything, as the dealer could figure it out in due time, if not during the test drive.

    The issue hadn’t become serious yet – no overheating or anything, but the issue was there, and I knew the dealer had to see it, as a small splash of dripping was visible after the test drive the dealer took.

    By that time, we assumed he knew and went ahead and made the deal. My son got a very good trade-in on his car and a pretty fair price on the Eclipse, which he still drives, which has been mainly trouble-free.

    So, in that case, we said nothing, as it has been my experience that a dealer will find the slightest problem when they test-drive the car and I won’t deny anything.

    I suppose I play this on a case-by-case basis, as I’ve been taken to the cleaners once or twice!

    EDIT: Who has had Bugs Bunny first? Do I need to find a new avatar again?

  • avatar

    I find it hard to believe that an overheating problem would cost so much if it’s not head gasket related or something like that. If that could get past the screening process it’s not much of a dealership. Having said that, the folks that don’t disclose problems like that are what has given the used car industry such a bad (frequently not deserved) reputation. If you fixed it, would she still need a new car?

    Honestly my conscience would hurt just as bad as Sajeev’s would. You might consider selling it as a fixerupper for a really decent price. I am sure a lot of our readership could fix it and drive it. Don’t know if they would want it. I could have bad dreams about driving a pt cruiser as my main car. Dump it and stay honest. You still have to look at yourself when you brush those choppers.

  • avatar

    If the car is paid for, a $2,000.00 repair is cheaper than 60 payments. Make the repair and drive it until the transmission fails.

    In 2 years, limp it to the dealership for the token $1,000.00 and get what she wants. The kinks will be worked out of the current crop of little wagons by then– and maybe Chrysler will be selling a neoPT of their own.

  • avatar

    Your reader needs to consider the whole deal with Wholesale vs Retail on both the sale of the car and the repair of the car. The cost to the reader might be $1700 for the overheating problem… The cost to the dealer isn’t going to be anywhere near that. (That is if he even decides to fix it… all of the above posters are right, this car is too old for most dealer used car lots and it will be off to the auction-house)

    Next understand the dealer will be offering a wholesale trade value… this is often several thousand less than the retail value of the car. Why? Cause he has to plan for exactly a situation like this. He has to clean, fix and prep the thing, and the he would like to make at-least a small profit on the used car sale.

    I wouldn’t lose sleep over this one. Most dealers these days are HAPPY to sell you a new car, and are happy for the business. If the dealer doesn’t ask if there are problems with the car, I wouldn’t volunteer anything. If he does ask I would say, “I don’t know its my Mom’s car”

  • avatar

    Rationalising why it’s OK to lie to the dealer is like rationalising stealing from someone who ‘can afford it’. Not disclosing some defect is dishonest. If the answer to the question ‘how would I feel if they found out about what I’d done’ is ‘not good’ then go the honest way.

    Screwing people is wrong.

    • 0 avatar


      If the seller was okay with the dealer doing the same thing to him, than by all means go ahead and screw the dealer, otherwise it’s unethical and immoral hyprocrisy.

  • avatar

    I wouldn’t worry if I were you. Your car is old enough that it will go to auction immediately and your trade in price will reflect this. Most new car dealers don’t stock anything more than 5-6 years old.

    The Buy-Here-Pay-Here dealers will be able to get that car fixed with a few junkyard parts for much much less than your $1700 repair estimate and they’ll make a profit from the car. In the end, it’s all good.

  • avatar

    Three years ago, I bought my dream car, a low-miles ’96 Miata. Paid $4500, and it needed new tires that day, so $5 grand.

    It turned into an electrical nightmare, with each part failing one-by-one. I couldn’t sell it in good conscience.

    But I *had* to dump it. Brought it to a Mazda dealer, and was more than happy to get Blue Book trade in of $2500. My loss, oh well.

    Traded it on a low-miles ’05 Scion xb, and never looked back.

  • avatar

    Disclose it. In my experience dealerships respond very favorably to honest and informed customers. As previous posters have mentioned, there isn’t much of a hit to a dealer wholesaling a trade-in so it probably wouldn’t impact your negotiations much. However, you have just generated a substantial amount of goodwill with the dealership – that in experience provides immediate tangible benefits on the price of a new car – and you will be able to sleep well at night.

  • avatar

    Maybe I am meaner than some here, but I always considered the used car trade buyer beware. A year back, I was in the same position. I was selling my old Nissan Altima. My father had been using the car to commute a few miles away and that was it. I don’t know if the thing ever got over 50 mph in the last year. On a test drive with someone interested in the car, he noticed that the it shifted rough into 4th gear. It seemed as if the trans was slipping (at least that is what the test driver thought and me too). It had also been a PIA with thinks constantly falling apart. I sold it to a Carmax dealer for a fair price, but a bit less than I was asking. I sleep fine. If the overheating a head gasket, it is $10 in parts and a few hours of time for their mechanic. Even if you were honest, there is no reason they will be when they auction it off. Besides, with the types of cars they deal in (I have seen newish mercedes, bmw, etc), the couple of grand you get is a right off to them. Whoever gets it will likely make it back in financing after charging two grand more than you sold it for to a poor family.

  • avatar
    gator marco

    I had a similar dilemna several years back – wanted to trade in the car the teenagers had pretty much driven to death. The trade-in was obviously going to be an auction car, so we were going to get a minimal offer for it.
    My wife liked one of the new CUVs, so we sat down at the dealer to do the paperwork. The dealer had his guy drive my car, and noticed that the power steering was heavy and noisy. He thought maybe a quart of fluid would fix it. In reality the whole power steering system leaked like crazy, and a repair was more than the car was worth.
    I could have said nothing, and maybe gotten $200 or $300 more for the trade in. But I told them the power steering problem was more than fluid. And they dropped the trade in offer by $200.
    My wife wasn’t very happy, but I figured we’d be back to that dealer for at least warranty work, and my pride was worth more than $200. I thought maybe I’d get free coffee when I came in for service.
    Boy was I wrong. The new car manager has mailed me complimentary oil changes for the past 4 years, and always runs the car through their detail center twice a year, gratis.
    Whenever I bring the car in for service, the new car manager always stops by, and if there is any charge at all, he’ll waive it as “on the house.” We always joke if the power steering level is OK.
    Sure its all been trivial items like wiper blades and air filters, and even at his cost I’m sure its been much more than $200.
    I thought you’d have to pay through the nose for a luxury car for that kind of service. I know where I’ll start shopping for our next ride

  • avatar

    I’d disclose it for a couple of reasons. The main reason is that it’s my own ethics. The other is that I avoid buying anything from companies with poor business practices, so when I do find a company that seems to treat people fairly honestly and well, I do the same to them.

    In any case, a dealer is going to want to make the deal work either way, and if you’re honest with them, you won’t feel you have to avoid them should you need anything. Similarly, if they do catch the car has a serious, undisclosed problem before your deal is finalized, they have reason to not trust you.

  • avatar

    The crappy lowball offer for your trade takes into account mechanical problems. Considering the lack of remorse at making several thousands off trades I would say top off the fluids and drop it off.

    They have mechanics, get parts at a discount no matter the make, and a network to move it around when needed.

    I know someone that just got screwed on a used car they cleared the codes on , so dealerships play this game too.

  • avatar

    If I’m not mistaken, when you trade in a car here in Canada you have to sign a disclosure form. I’m pretty sure one of the questions on that form has to do with any problems that you might be aware of with the vehicle. If so, then you are obligated to disclose and are liable if you don’t. I’m not sure what the processes and laws are in other places.

    Anyway, for something like this where you already know about the problem (and all other things being equal), the ethical or moral thing would be to disclose the problem.

  • avatar

    Why is this hard?? Disclose it and keep your integrity. You know it is wrong to not let them know. Whether they do it or not is not your problem, you have to decide what kind of a person YOU are. If you do it, you are going to think about it for the rest of your life. Why carry that burden around? 10 years from now, the difference in money will not be remembered, but the act will stay with you.

    Or maybe it won’t. Maybe you have so many dealings like this it won’t be a problem for you. But if you are agonizing over it, you may not be too far gone.

    Life lasts a long time, why would you want to sully it for a few bucks?

  • avatar
    Mr. K

    Here is some data. In the Philly area in domestic dealers techs who could do that job get from 15-30 an hour flat rate. I dont have the time to look this up but 6-7 hours should be very generous. To plane the head at a shop is ~a c to 250 if it needs valves, seats et al. The head gasket set is what 30 bucks? Toss in some coolant hoses and a gallon of antifreeze and that’s what it costs us.

    Used car valuation is done by the used car manager and they are usually sharp but might not pick up something like this, however the PT would be wholesaled right away unless it was very clean.

    A full mechanical check is done after used cars buys the trade when the overheating should be found…

    Quite frankly I’m not sure what I would do – if I could afford a 200 buck hit – from numbers in the story i did not look up value – I would disclose…

  • avatar

    Let’s keep it simple. As long as it’s a Chrysler dealer, feel no remorse. It was their POS to begin with.

  • avatar

    If you have to ask permission because you have doubts then you know in your heart it’s wrong.

  • avatar

    My integrity, my integrity–oh what is thy worth! It’s always easier to tell the truth. There’s no story to remember.

  • avatar

    I have traded cars like that several times, I disclosed the problems to the salesman.

    Made no difference to the trade-in, in one instance the salesman said don’t worry about it we aren’t going to retail it anyway.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Here’s what you do.

    Tell the truth…

    “I know this is likely going to be an auction car. But I want you to know I’ve experienced overheating issues…”

    If someone wants to act dishonorably that’s their issue. For the rest of us who want every good person to ‘live happily ever after’ our obligation is to help make it so by being truthful.

    I would replace the head as well unless the vehicle has some other maladies that are substantial. If you’re willing to pay $1700 then make sure it’s one that has a very strong warranty. At that price point it should be a given.

    Good luck!

  • avatar

    My lovely bride was driving a total POS Pontiac Gran Prix and wanted to trade it in on a 2012 Nissan V6 Altima. Her car, nicknamed “the last GM product I’ll ever buy”, ate oil and coolant. I felt that I had an obligation to tell the truth, but I did not have an obligation to be a sap. I went in deciding that if the sales guy asked about the car’s myriad problems, I would be truthful. He didn’t ask and I didn’t volunteer.

    Not sure I understand why you would walk into the dealer with the laundry list of problems so they cam happily play on your guilt with a lower trade-in value (even when they’ve discounted it to begin with). “Total honesty” seems a predictable response, but everyone, EVERYONE, makes honesty trade offs in life. “Honey, does this make me look fat?”

  • avatar


  • avatar

    Actually, a 2002 PT Cruiser should be sent immediately to the steel processor to be made into I-beams for new skyscrapers in Dubai.

  • avatar

    Sorry to disappoint, but this does not rise to the level of an ethical dilema, mainly because it isn’t a dilema. An ethical dilema arises when there are two confliciting ethical duties, such as the duty of confidentiality and the duty to inform someone who can help. Here we have the ethical duty to be truthful and the ethical duty to deal fairly with people. What is the conflicting ethical duty; the ethical duty to ignore ethical duties that are burdensome and inconvenient?

    The question is simple; will you follow your conscience or your pocketbook.

  • avatar

    I once traded in a Honda with an intermittent check engine light due to a “bad” catalytic converter that my dealer quoted me something like $750 bucks to replace. That same dealer mechanic also said the car could be driven for years without needing to replace it; he offered to reset the light, but said that it would just randomly go on and off on its own. And it did for months.

    I knew I wanted a newer car anyway and had been doing research. One night driving home from work, the light shut itself off and I decided it was time to immediately go trade the car before the light came back on. Ended up getting 3800 bucks for an otherwise-immaculate 12 year old car with a new timing belt, which the dealer promptly parked it out front on sale for 8 grand with an extended warranty.

    The kicker was, two months later, the used car I bought had a CEL for an O2 sensor – covered under the almost-expired factory warranty. Go figure.

    Sorry, I’m not going to lose any sleep over dumping a vehicle with festering problems on a dealer. I’m Certainly not going to dock my trade in value an exorbitant amount relative to what it’ll cost them to fix (if they fix it at all). If the car’s a ticking time bomb, I won’t lie and say it doesn’t have any problems – if they ask, I’ll tell them. But I’m not going to go out of my way to tell them about every niggling problem, either.

  • avatar

    I would tell. But then, I expect the transaction to be honest and above-board all the way around. I level with the dealer, and if I think he is not leveling with me, I don’t do business there. Usually, I am trading for a NEWER used car, so i need to trust them too. My method has worked well so far.

  • avatar

    I had a similar problem a few years ago. It was trying to get rid of a Saturn with 150,000 miles on the odometer. Starting the engine one day it made a terrible noise. And I had read that the engines on a Saturn were problematic so it had to go.

    I put an ad in the Thrifty Nickel magazine for very cheap ($900) and sold it as is. I had so many calls that my voice mail was full. The first guy that test drove it bought it for his daughter. So my advice is just to sell it cheap– as is.

  • avatar
    dvp cars

    ………I hate to do this, because you sound like a man of some integrity….. I have a solution for your quandary, but it may still not sit well with you. Somehow lost in this debate is one salient fact………it’s not your car!….naturally, you want to be along as financial counsellor, and you should advise her on other practical matters, but it’s up to her to answer any questions asked, or make an unprompted declaration. If you make it an issue with her (assuming it isn’t already), your influence will be critical….on one hand you could end up coaching her in the art of passive deceit, or, on the other, end up preaching to her about morality of convenience. I doubt either scenario is appealing to you, and could result in embarrassment all ’round. Just take your mother shopping and enjoy the process, no matter what she decides to say. On a sterner note, none of this absolves you from grinding out the skinniest deal possible in that showroom, but you knew that.
    As for car choice, I hope for her sake that the price is competitive, because if she’s anything like the women I know, given a choice, the VW is a slam dunk (not necessarily for me, though).

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    This is an easy one. Three basic questions. I learned this stuff as a kid.

    1- Will you get caught and punished for lying, cheating and stealing, this time?
    -Probably not.

    2- Is it OK to lie, cheat and steal?
    No. Take your incurred losses and move on. Life is short.

    3- Is this actually an instance of lying, cheating and stealing?
    Yes, if you willfully withhold material information from buyer with the motive of increasing sales price to buyers unwitting disadvantage.

    No, if you did not do it yet and decide not to. It is not a finalized lie-cheat event to contemplate evil and then choose the right path. (mild gray area.)

    Are there other gray areas here? Well, buyer may be scum, but that is buyer’s issue. Not your gray area.

    Strange question for TTAC forum. What is going on here, people. WTF.


    Sorry if I sound preachy. Kind of surprised at most responses and the question being posted.

    Lang is right. Breath easy about Lang. “Lang is honest”. Do you want to be that way?

    OK back to searchtempest now. Seeking mid 50s Italian tiddlers and gray market street Jap 250s. Sayonara.

  • avatar

    A long time ago (12 years ago) I worked for a large car dealer (selling at least 6 different brands) as a trade in refurb mechanic Basically clean cars with less then 75 k and less then 8 years old came to me to check out and make a list of required repairs. I used to check the slips for what we paid on most of them as I could buy them for $250 over what we paid. As I mentioned cars over mileage and over age were simply shipped to auction no inspection done and the deals were structured to account for this. In the case above this dealer would have simply offered $1000 for the trade in or added in more wiggle room to the financing/ price to get the same $1000 effect for the car. At the time our salesman wouldn’t even walk out side and look at the car they would simply look out the window confirm the make and model and offer as little as possible. If I came across a car that needed more then basic items I would bring my list to the manager who would usually say stop work and the car would be sent to auction with my write up quietly slipped in the trash.

  • avatar

    Skipped down some, so idk if anyone said this, but surely you can find someone online who needs the pt for parts or has an irrational love for them or something. Trade in value is so ridiculously low at every used car dealer i’ve ever been to that it seems like someone would pay you more *knowing full well about the problem* than a dealer would who didn’t. People rear end other cars all the time, and a lot of them are willing to buy a car with a good body and drop their engine in them, which would be much cheaper than a new car if they have the tools or the right “driveway mechanic” buddy. It seems like everyone above agreed that the pt would go to auction, which means the dealer isn’t paying more than that for a working car of the same year/model. Doesn’t that imply that we’re talking about 1k or less? You obviously have the cash for the new car before the sale of the cruiser, so you could probably afford to part it out to recoup your losses rather than get taken just so you don’t have to look at it anymore.

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  • el scotto: @ILO Sir, MBAs will wake up and decide that perhaps transportation is not the place to take place in the...
  • Inside Looking Out: Yeah but it is available immediately. While from Amazon – good luck if it shipped from...
  • el scotto: evil el Scotto checking in. I grew up in a small town in Indiana. One of the lawyers in town, it’s...
  • el scotto: @ILO Sir, Moose. It has to be able to make high-speed moose-avoidance maneuvers.

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