Hope my sold car is OK

Discussion in 'Generation 1 Prius Discussion' started by ronlewis, Jul 3, 2020.

  1. ronlewis

    ronlewis Member

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    The buyer emailed this afternoon and said that car rattles while idling. She knows nothing about cars, and less about hybrids. It wasn't rattling, in my opinion, when I delivered it. I wonder if she's hearing something normal and thinks its rattling. The rattles I've heard in these cars were misfires - injectors in my case. Wouldn't that throw a CEL? I'm trying to get more info from her, and she said she'd send a video tomorrow. Any guesses as to what else could cause a rattle so I can ask her more questions? She's about 40 miles away, and the only running car I have now is the one losing coolant, so I'd rather not drive out there.

    I've asked her to confirm whether it rattles only with the AC on (ICE) and stops with the AC off. If it does it at idle, that would seem to rule out steering, suspension, etc.
     
  2. Nelsonprius

    Nelsonprius Junior Member

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    Muffler or exhaust heat shield, or brake rotor shield rusted lose?
     
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  3. ronlewis

    ronlewis Member

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    Thank you, sir. Those definitely can rattle, but not sure how much they'd do it standing still and idling. But maybe - hopefully she'll provide some more info.

    BTW, my green Prius, like yours, is next up on my project list. I think it has about 150k miles. Very nice and clean one-owner, but it rear-ended a truck, looks like, and will need a new HV battery after this long sitting up. I got all the body parts to fix it on my parts car and the body shop said $700 to assemble, straighten, and paint. All-in-all, I should have about $2500 in it by the time I get it running, lol, which wouldn't leave much profit, but I could drive it for a year first and get some ROI that way.
     
  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    that's a difficult car for a newbie, i wish her all the best.
     
  5. ronlewis

    ronlewis Member

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    I understand that perspective, but the numbers make sense for a lot of people. Of course, when you buy a used car that is past its warranty period, there's always the risk that it can break and cost you money; but, if you just look at the car's ROI, it's really hard to lose on a cheap used car vs other options.

    Blue Book on these cars is around $3500. That valuation reflects the average of all transactions, most of which involve cars with older HV batteries and no warranty. The average person drives less than 12,000 miles per year.

    Compare that cost to buying a new $20,000 car (Gen1's original list price). At minimum, one loses 20-30% of that cost to depreciation in the first year ($4-6,000). If financed, that cost is more. If full coverage insurance is purchased (maybe not required at all on the old car, but certainly cheaper), more comparative cost.

    If this car lasts my buyer one year and 12000 miles, she has saved money over a new car and may still have equity left in the car.

    For "newer" used cars, cars 2-5 years old, the depreciation is about 15% per year ($3000 on a $20k original price), again plus interest and insurance upcharges if financed. Paying for the car on any term over about 3 years means the buyer would probably never have any equity during the loan term, just as most people find themselves upside down on the cars. That still compares unfavorably to the $3500 used car, plus that car, again, may still have equity.

    It's only when the car gets older than 5 years that the depreciation alone doesn't outweigh the $3500 ROI.

    So, it just comes down to that risk of breaking down, and that risk is completely mitigated on the $3500 car after only 12,000 miles driven.

    Even compared to other cheap used cars, this one is a good deal for the simple reason that its most likely big repair is the HV battery, and this car has two years left on its battery's warranty. Try to find any $3500 car with a warranty on its major potential repair cost. I don't even think the companies selling warranties on old cars will do it for cars this old, so can't really compare to other $3500 cars.

    Plus, this car only has 150,000 miles - there are plenty of these cars still on the road with twice that many miles. And, the ICE should be good for quite a while. She is basically rolling the dice that she'll get 12,000 miles out of the car, and I like her odds.

    It's only if one has greater expectations than 12k miles, if they're not willing to throw the car away if it breaks after that, that they will be disappointed. Heck, I've used the car for a couple of years and got about 5,000 miles out of it, and still sold it for a little more than my costs.
     
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  6. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    but expensive to repair, and difficult to find a mech if needed
     
  7. ronlewis

    ronlewis Member

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    True, but she has us, lol. I haven't tried to find a Prius tech here in Houston, but this is a big city, I'm sure there are some. And all techs are expensive, IMHO. $100-125/hr???? That's close to lawyer's rates. Never understand where they get that from. Do techs really make $200k/yr?
     
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  8. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    not after paying the overhead
     
  9. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    Too many layers here to offer any real opinion.

    Especially if you aren't even sure what she is describing as a rattle, is a rattle.

    Not to be snarky, but it's hard enough over the internet to diagnose rattles, squeaks, and sounds when it is just the direct owner, and the sound, sometimes with provided audio.

    Add the disconnect of as of yet no audio available, and a 2nd owner (who knows nothing about cars, per description) to Original Seller, chain of communication?

    Who knows?

    As already provided, " Muffler, Exhaust Heat Shield, Brake Rotor Shield" all COULD be reasons for rattles. But an old vehicle is like a haunted house, who really knows what might be causing the sounds coming from the basement?

    Long distance, internet, noise ghost hunting, with several layers of disconnect?
    That's just too difficult to do.

    Nice that you sell the car, and as seller are trying to be helpful in concerns the new owner now has, but I want to say, as a 19 year old, 1st generation Prius, I'd be surprised if it didn't have rogue noises.

    Is the new owner REALLY upset? It's her car now. I'm assuming it was a As Is sale, and you offered no warranty.

    You're being nice in trying to help and allay post buyer concerns of the new owner. But unless you facilitate a full refund/return how much are you obligated to help?

    I'm ASSUMING the whole transaction was done in good faith, and with honest representation of the vehicle.
    Would also assume the buyer did a test drive before buying?

    With a 19 year old Prius, that evidently was 1 of at least 2 cars you owned, the truth may be as simple as a 40 mile drive, might of revealed sounds, problems, that your shorter, day to day usage of the vehicle never revealed.

    How supportive of resolution for the new owner you want to be here? Is maybe the 1st question you need to ask yourself.

    If investigation reveals it is injectors or a problem that is more serious than just a loose heat shield?
    How far are you willing to go?
    Refund and Return?

    If the new buyer drove it home, and is already upset or dissatisfied, this could become a very difficult can of worms.

    Hope you can find resolution that allows you peace about selling...and her satisfaction about owning.
     
  10. ronlewis

    ronlewis Member

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    Of course, TME, lol. All of that goes without saying. As an aside, your post is an example of the difference I see between this forum and my Ford Diesel forum. Not being critical, just saying, there are definitely personality differences in the respondents.

    My diesel buddies love to talk about possible issues. A post like this would have gotten many guesses, and spawned lots of conversations. No one would have offered all the advice you did.

    Yes, some of that is the basic volume of users - lots more Ford diesels with my engine on the road than Gen1 Prii - but it's, IMHO, also that those are more get-greasy kinda guys whereas we have more electronics/techy clean-hands kinda guys here.

    And, SYK, in Texas, buyers have 3 business days to cancel any contract or sale. Since I financed this car to her (with 50% down and only for 1 year), I don't want her to ask for her money back and would be obligated to return it if she did. Nor do I want her to be pissed after three days and quit making payments. I took a chance on her because I needed money - I don't have a tracker on the car to find it if she quits paying. But, she seems honest, and most thieves wouldn't put that much down. She even increased her down payment over my request to lower her payment.

    And, yes, I am a nice guy. I hear you about the as-is, and if it was a guy, especially an older guy, I'd be less concerned. She's just in her early 20s, just starting out on her own. I have a daughter and wouldn't want some guy to treat her that way. If you read one of my early posts about all the misfortune in my life, you'd understand that I don't need to be testing karma again.
     
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  11. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    Please don't think I'm suggesting you should NOT be helpful in assisting the new buyer.
    My question is, what level of assistance and aide in resolution are you willing to offer?

    And IF...IF we are talking about a young buyer with little experience owning a used vehicle, who may be suffering from buyers remorse, and fears about what she has now invested?
    The warning that it could become a messy can of worms.

    But I think it's GREAT that you are willing to try to help the buyer.
    My ultimate feeling IS this:

    But the warning is, a metaphor, is that sometimes when you jump in the water and go to save a struggling swimmer, you can get pulled down with them.

    If you either discover this 19 year old hybrid has a serious problem, or just if the new buyer becomes inconsolable concerning her fears about now owning it?
    Just be prepared that it could become complicated.
     
  12. Sandy Meyers

    Sandy Meyers Member

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  13. Sandy Meyers

    Sandy Meyers Member

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    Ron, I’m going to add my female perspective and two cents.... ask her to return the car so you can investigate and then advise her and ask her to accept the car as-is with a revised Bill of Sale and/or be prepared to offer a full refund and kindly send her on her way. You have no obligation to ascertain anything with the vehicle after the sale. Hopefully you provided a Bill of Sale that states “as-is” and “Buyer has been advised to seek an independent vehicle evaluation prior to the sale.” Make sure she signs and dates any revised Bill of Sale.

    I suspect this can turn into a PITA situation and unless you enjoy those types of people, get her to move along with a refund. You will find another buyer for this car. These cars are highly coveted.
     
  14. ronlewis

    ronlewis Member

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    Well, thanks, Sandy, and TME. Not sure what I said to trigger y'all, but I have literally no concerns about the sales process, legal ramifications, or personality issues with my buyer. Maybe it will help y'all to know that I have a law degree, 35 years in sales, and have owned more than 80 vehicles, most of which I sold (except those stolen ones) without assistance, or still have (12). I've sold projects for tens of millions of dollars to Fortune 100 companies; I'm sure I can get this one across the finish line. :)

    Again, I knew I wasn't providing enough info for anyone to correctly diagnose the problem, if there is one. Mostly, I was just bored and making conversation, but I didn't want this one. Now, I haven't heard back from her today, so maybe she decided it didn't rattle. I don't know. But, she's a nice young girl, and I'm a nice old man, and I know these are complicated cars, but she doesn't. So, I don't mind helping her. No, that doesn't mean that I'm going to torture myself or go further out of my way than I want to - once the 3-day cancellation period ends - but I'm OK with helping her, just like we try to help each other here.

    I also pulled over today and offered a ride to an old lady carrying two bags of groceries home in this heat (she declined but thanked me); then, when I took my dog up to the nursing home we visit (he loves old people), I saw another old lady, one of the residents, walking through an adjoining parking lot using her walker, and she appeared to be struggling. So, I first alerted the home's management, then ran out there to see if she was OK. What an amazing lady, 96 years old, sharp as a tack, and far from struggling. The heat was bothering me and Brody more than her.

    You see, that's just who I am, and I like myself just fine. It'll be OK, but thanks again.
     
  15. ronlewis

    ronlewis Member

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    To follow up on this. I never heard from her again. Didn't answer any of my questions. The three days are up; I only have to worry about her making payments for a year.

    Thinking about it, I hear a rattle from my car - when it first starts up, for 30 seconds or so. Like it's missing a bit until it gets warmed up. I expect that's what she hears. Do y'all's cars do that? I suppose it means I have a weak cylinder for some reason, but it runs fine after 30 seconds, so I don't worry about it.
     
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