You're buying used cars...which is more important to you...

If I buy the new (used) car that I’m thinking of, I don’t want to get a trade-in on my little Toyota Paseo, I’d rather sell it myself.

I notice that all the Paseo’s of my model year listed in my local car-selling paper have anywhere from 35 to almost 60 thousand miles more than mine does. But my car looks a little funky. The paint coating on top is peeling, the drivers seat has a rip, there are a few dings. Not cosmetically fabulous. But I have all the repair and maintenance records on it for the past 6 years, I’ve taken very good care of the guts, and it has very low mileage.

So, folks, if you have a limited income and you are looking to buy a small car like mine, are you going to give more notice to the low miles and good maintenance of the important parts of the car and pay for them, or will you only pay for spiffy looks?

You are wise to sell it yourself, you will receive a lot more money for it that way. I have been in the car business for 15 years, and this is what I would do if I were selling the car. I would take it to Maaco, and get one of their $200 paint specials. The paint job will not be perfect, but it would look a lot better than it does now.
They will want to charge extra for the peeling paint, just decline to pay extra for that, and understand that they will not warranty the car against further peeling. Then I would buy a set of nice seat covers for about $20, and advertise it in the Auto Trader with mention of the low miles- state the actual miles don’t just say the miles are low. Also, don’t take a check from anybody,
insist on cash, or meet them at their bank to cash their check before you transfer the title. My experience has been that appearance counts for more than miles and maintenence.
I know it sounds crazy, but when people go to buy a car how it looks will many times matter more than how it drives.

I’d appreciate good maintenance and the fact that the mainenance is well documented. Sure. But then, I’d want the car to look good, too. And since a lot of miles on a Toyota don’t scare me a whole lot, your car would probably lose out.

Just my consumer’s POV. Not that I’d ever buy a Paseo, but there you go. :slight_smile:

Since I worked on cars for years (and when it comes to this my practicality wins out over my vanity), I’d check out the maintenance and repair history first. I can repair minor cosmetic damage, and I have friends who can fix the major stuff.

Oh, and my maintenance includes a $500 brake job a month ago, with virtually everything new.

And Homer, that is a FAAAAbulous idea, thank you so much. Any idea where I get seat covers? (The tear is on a seam, I could probably sew it up!)

You can get a cheap elasticized pair of seat covers at your local auto parts store or maybe even in the auto section of Wal-Mart or Kmart.

Yeah, after I thought about it, most people shopping for a used car look at the aesthetics, not the mechanics.

Well, the appearance does sort of reflect how you care for your vehicle; I don’t give a sh*t about my truck and it shows.
It’s kind of an age old battle though, isn’t it? Looks v. substance/quality, I mean.

I got one of those cheap-o Maaco paintjobs…sand any rough spots yourself before you take it in, because they won’t do anything more than just spray paint all over the car, they won’t prep it for you at all. And the paint job doesn’t last for very long (not that it will be your concern). After a year my waxing pads would come away with blue on them (the paint) and that was the beginning of the end of my caring for my truck’s appearance. Sigh.

im selling a truck owned by my elderly parents. it is in EXEMPLARY mechanical condition. it has very low miles. it has every concievable option installed. it sat in the hot sun for many years (the BMW and Yukon took up the garage space) so the roof is faded and some of the cheesy two-tone stripe is peeling.

what do i hear from potential buyers?

“owwwwww, geeeeee! the truck is perfect and just what i want! it runs so strong, it forced the hemmoroids back up my ass! it will pull the taj mahal off it foundation! the air conditioner will cool Vegas and the heat can smoke meat! …but the paint is faded! owwwwwww owwwwwww” …followed by an offer $2000 less than i’m asking, which is already $2000 less than book value for a POOR CONDITION TRUCK!!

fuck them all! i decided to keep the S.O.B. and i’ll drive the piss out of it! be prepared to hear alot of whining when you try to sell the car…

function over form, i say!

Regarding Maaco paint jobs: Unless you want the new owner coming back and whining about the shoddy paint, I would sand all questionable areas before going to Maaco. If you prepare the surface right, Maaco paint will last a long time. I bought a 1986 Pontiac with severely peeling paint in 3/00. I sanded the entire car down to the metal, sprayed it with Rust-Oleum primer, and had Maaco respray it in the original color in 7/00. Almost two years later, the paint still looks infinitely better than it did when I first got the car. Maybe a little fading, but no peeling or rust-through. Preparation is everything.

-Andrew L

Say what you will about looking good, I’ll take one that runs well and has been maintained over looks any time. Two years ago I got a deal on a 16 year old Subaru 4WD station wagon. Needed some body work, like all older Subarus, but ran like a champ. A patch here and there, and 35,000 miles later, it’s still gets me where I need to be. Only 215,00 miles on the odometer. Best $700 I ever spent. Still looks like hell, too.

I was shopping for a used car not-so-long-ago, and ended up with a car that is not flashy by any means but reliable and had relatively few miles on it and was taken care of (Ford Escort, btw). I will admit that I did shy away from cars that were missing paint, though, simply because I’d rather not deal with body rust problems, which can get major. However, I am not above a car with a few dings. Mine has multiple scrapes and minor dents on it, including one on the windshield, but I didn’t care much–it is my first car so I sorta expected it to have damage with me driving it eventually anyway. So long as the thing won’t leave me stranded by the side of the road.

Oh, yeah, and I am glad I didn’t go for a flashy car, because about a year ago a fender-bender messed up the front left corner of my bumper. We did a do-it-yourselfer fixup on it (read: it still looks bad, but is at least back where it belongs) and I didn’t freak because my car wasn’t “pretty” anymore.

Meanwhile, my sister and her fancy little MX-3 looked like hell after the spoiler fell off, and has finally died a messy death after multiple rear-endings. AND she spent more money buying that car than I did buying mine. Ahhh, revenge. :smiley:

Sounds like a question for what kind of person would be a good date! I’d go for the low miles in both situations. :wink: