Adventures in car buying, part 2

Well, I expected this to be a long-running series, but I found a car I like rather quickly in the process. Thus, part two is about disposing of the used vehicle.

The dealer where I bought the new car offered me a ridiculously low amount in trade for the old wheels. When I politely declined, they gave me a little wink and said, “Take it to CarMax, they’ll give you more for it.” So, off I went.

CarMax is a great concept. One price, selling or buying, no hassle. Still, it feels like McDonald’s for cars — basically devoid of any unique human interaction. 20 minutes after arriving, their computer spits out an appraisal/offer — and mine was 5% less than the dealer had offered. I politely declined, and decided I could sell it on my own.

In the intervening week, I had the car detailed inside and out. Damn, I should have done that sooner — for an eight-year old, it looks brand new! I also had to replace the battery — seems the old ride didn’t want to go. No biggie.

Once all that was done, I went to, thinking that their tie into the Chicago Tribune would mean one ad would reach both online and print audiences. Not exactly. If you place a three-line ad with the Tribune, it will also show up on The reverse is not true — if you place a snazzy, color photo, detail ad on, it doesn’t echo to the Trib. Ah well. I ran it in both places.

In the first three days, I had five inquiries into the car — four Chicago-area, one from Alabama. At least two were serious. It’s not sold quite yet, but this definitely taught me that a clean, good condition used car can be sold privately, quite easily.

Perhaps that’s why I had a visit from “Jessica” today. Jessica was a rather attractive, tall, thin, endowed blonde who might be more at home at Excalibur than Pep Boys. She said that she has an auto dealer’s license and that she “flips” cars to make money. I suspect she was looking for a steal of a deal, and when it turned out my car is really worth what I was asking, lost interest. Or she was assuming that when she flashed me some cleavage, I’d be dropping my, um, er, price. Or, it could have been a setup — Ed seen in town driving around with hot young blonde. That would go over well.

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