Where is the Car Fairy?

Posted Saturday, October 1, 2011, at 9:32 AM
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    Most people spend more on vehicles each year than on their home! So it's a big decision.

    One trick I have used with success on myself, when I am tired of my old car, is this. I spend an entire day off, say Saturday, thoroughly cleaning and shining my current car--detailing it so I will get more for it when I trade (realize the dealer will be spending $200 to $500 to have his staff do this if you don't). Be prepared for a hard day's work.

    Start with the engine. Clean all the grease and dirt off that you can see; use ArmorAll on the radiator and heater hoses, and battery cables. Fill all the fluid levels. Clean battery terminals. Then clean out the trunk and interior. If the carpets are still dirty after vacuuming, shampoo them. Be sure to vacuum out the glove box, console, and door pockets--get rid of everything except the maintenance schedule, registration, insurance, and owner's manual. Clean all the inside and use plenty of ArmorAll or something similar on the vinyl, or leather conditioner on your leather. Wash the car outside, get all the old road tar off, apply touch up paint to chips, etc. Then get some high quality wax (the expensive stuff) and wax it to a high shine, buff it with a rented buffer if you need to. Use tire black on the tires, including the spare. Air up all the tires (the spare too while you have it out) to the specifications on the driver's door jamb. Be sure to put the spare back in like it came from the factory, so it doesn't rattle around when it's driven. Last, but very important put in a new car odor thing, and do everything you can to make it smell nice.

    You might be surprised how nice your current ride is at this point, and decide to keep it. If not, you have it ready to get every penny it's worth when you trade. Dealers love it if they can just put it for sale out on the lot without having to do all that work, the same day. One time I was trading cars and my old one was sold while I was buying the newer one!

    What about selling the old car yourself now that it's ready to go? That's what I do. Advertise it on bulletin boards around town with a photo and description for free! The Shopper ads work well, too. Be sure to type of a bill of sale that both you and the seller to sign--there are free samples on the internet--this takes you off the liability hook, if they don't transfer ownership from you to themselves, and they wreck it. Take only cash or a bank cashier's check in payment, and for the love of Mike, don't sell it on time with payments! The longest this ever took was 3 months for me.

    After it sells, go shopping for the next one. Your dealer will make money on your trade in and the one you buy both. You can make money selling it yourself, if you don't mind the work.

    Good luck, Betsy.

    -- Posted by Boomer62 on Mon, Oct 3, 2011, at 4:43 PM
  • Boomer62

    Thanks for the great advice! I appreciate you taking the time to respond. Your info will benefit others as well who may be thinking about getting a newer vehicle or are consider selling one.


    -- Posted by coolidge on Mon, Oct 3, 2011, at 5:18 PM
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