Author Topic: Risk of Car with Rust - Ship it or Sell it?  (Read 2078 times)

MacGyverIt

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Risk of Car with Rust - Ship it or Sell it?
« on: January 03, 2016, 07:40:21 PM »
I had some work/life questions in another thread which led to something car related and Tom Bri wisely suggested I post the car question in a separate thread for our forum's car gurus to review.

SCENARIO:
I'm moving back to the states unexpectedly, my 2003 Toyota Matrix w/ 134k miles is still overseas. My work will ship the car back with the rest of my stuff free of charge.

PROBLEM: 
- I bought the car from a co-worker and barely used it. A while after the purchase (and the co-worker was long gone) I noticed what I thought was dirt was actually rust spots, no larger than a quarter, on the hood, roof and the front passenger door frame. There may be more rust spots Iíve missed and I had to leave unexpectedly before I had the chance to crawl under the engine and look for rust on the under carriage.

- I don't know what physical location I'll be working in so I don't yet know if I can get by without a car and I may need to make the ďship it or sell it over thereĒ decision before I know where I'm working.

QUESTION:
- The car is worth just over 4k, could rust repairs run more than this? I've read in other forum discussions to not spend more on the car than its actual worth.
- Is it worth risking bringing the car over, paying for license/registration/taxes if I then find out itís a total rust bucket/I donít need it b/c I can use bus/metro OR should I not assume if there is rust on the hood, there is must rust on the under carriage?

NOTE:
What I like about this 2003 Matrix is that it's just old enough to be fairly old school, a very basic car without all the fancypants electronics. And I had all the windows tinted since I've had multiple skin cancers, I'd have to tint the windows of any untinted car purchased here which is another few hundred in expense. (But that is still cheaper than lots of rust repairs...) On the other hand, itíd be fairly easy to get another car (possibly with tinted windows) here if I found out I really needed one but unsure if I can find one as affordable.

Appreciate any suggestions, I have zero experience with rust on cars so this is all new to me and I'm navigating a lot of big decisions during a very difficult personal time.

Thanks,
Mac

JLee

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Re: Risk of Car with Rust - Ship it or Sell it?
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2016, 09:46:30 PM »
Any idea where in the US you'll end up?  I know a body guy in southern NH...but from what you describe, it shouldn't cost a whole lot to repair. If it's not rusted badly enough to require new metal (cutting/welding), it should be reasonable.

former player

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Re: Risk of Car with Rust - Ship it or Sell it?
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2016, 01:30:42 AM »
If your work will ship it back free, you are not losing anything by bringing it back.  What would you do with it if you don't bring it back - do you have a convenient way of selling it, and how would you ensure that you were not ripped off?

If you bring it back, you can sell it as is, do the repairs and sell it, do the repairs and keep it or not do the repairs and keep it.  To make those choices you would first need to know the cost of the repairs, then the value with and without the repairs, and then know how much longer it would last without doing the repairs at all (with rust, if you are going to do the repairs, do them quickly or not at all).

Dots of rust such as you are describing, on the hood, roof and passenger door frame, sound to me as though it may have been parked outside somewhere it was subject to a particularly paint-eating tree sap or bird poop and then not cleaned on a regular schedule.  If that is the case, the undercarriage may be OK.

Uturn

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Re: Risk of Car with Rust - Ship it or Sell it?
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2016, 07:39:14 AM »
are you positive that it meets US safety and/or emissions standards?  I know they have Matrix here, but it is really the exact same car? 

kendallf

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Re: Risk of Car with Rust - Ship it or Sell it?
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2016, 07:43:34 AM »
Since you're getting free shipping back, use it -- there's no downside to that unless the logistics of arranging shipping and pickup cost you a lot of time and/or money. 

The only reason I'd sell it there is if there's some arbitrage value to it; i.e., car prices are much higher where the car currently is than back here in the States.  I know lots of military guys who've done this with American muscle cars in Europe; bring them over and then sell them for much higher prices than they'd bring back home.  I doubt this applies to a 2003 Matrix with some rust issues, though.  :-)

MacGyverIt

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Re: Risk of Car with Rust - Ship it or Sell it?
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2016, 09:17:41 AM »
Any idea where in the US you'll end up?  I know a body guy in southern NH...but from what you describe, it shouldn't cost a whole lot to repair. If it's not rusted badly enough to require new metal (cutting/welding), it should be reasonable.
Not close to NH but I appreciate the recommendation and great to hear it may not cost too much.

If your work will ship it back free, you are not losing anything by bringing it back.  What would you do with it if you don't bring it back - do you have a convenient way of selling it, and how would you ensure that you were not ripped off?
I'd probably deal with the pain that is Craigslist to sell it, or donate it to a charity if that makes $$$ sense.

Dots of rust such as you are describing, on the hood, roof and passenger door frame, sound to me as though it may have been parked outside somewhere it was subject to a particularly paint-eating tree sap or bird poop and then not cleaned on a regular schedule.  If that is the case, the undercarriage may be OK.
Tree sap or bird poop makes total sense with the location of the spots I noticed, which is GREAT NEWS!!! I hadn't thought about that. What a huge relief this is.

are you positive that it meets US safety and/or emissions standards?  I know they have Matrix here, but it is really the exact same car?
I'm 90% certain it is a U.S. car. What is a Matrix in the states has a different name in the rest of the world, can't remember it but it is a different name. I vaguely recall the guy who sold it to me telling me he was the second owner and the car was purchase in Texas but I don't trust my memory at this time so I may be recalling wrong.

Since you're getting free shipping back, use it -- there's no downside to that unless the logistics of arranging shipping and pickup cost you a lot of time and/or money.
I think the biggest logistical issue would be doing the tax/tag/title conversion to my state and the pain that is paying the state inspection fee and the annual taxes on the car.

So based upon every one's thoughtful input unless something changes like finding out my work location will metro/bus accessible, I'm keeping the car.

Thanks for your wisdom and generosity!!!!!!!!!!!