Author Topic: Should I sell this car? Can I sell this car?  (Read 4213 times)

TheGadfly

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Should I sell this car? Can I sell this car?
« on: July 08, 2015, 01:16:05 PM »
Hi everyone,

About a year ago I bought a well-maintained 2007 Honda Fit on Craigslist with about 142k miles on it.  If you're curious, I paid $4500.  My wife and I purchased the car so she can drive 38 miles (one-way) to her internship 2-3 days per week.

The car worked great for exactly 8 months before it started misfiring.  My mechanic had a little trouble diagnosing the problem but he eventually figured out that a faulty oxygen sensor was giving the car a bad mix of fuel/air.

(Brief aside: My mechanic actually tried a bunch of other things before identifying the source of the problem (the sensor).  He replaced all four spark plugs and coils.  He also did a valve adjustment and cleaned out the air-intake.  Since none of these things fixed the problem, he didn't charge me for the coils or the plugs, which cut the bill down from $2000 to $800).

Anyway, now I have a car that, as far as I can tell, is in great shape; however, my wife is no longer comfortable driving it (she was never really a fan of the fit's lack of power on the highway and its low clearance in the winter).  She is pushing for a newer car with about 75k miles on it.  We can afford this, especially if we can get top dollar for our current car.

Question 1: Should we buy a newer car so we don't have to deal with the stress and costly repairs of owning our current car?  Or should we stick with the Fit until it's completely dead?  Hondas tend to hold their value so I believe the car could fetch $4000 in a private sale.

Since the original misfiring issue, the car is throwing the P0420 code "Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1)".  My mechanic says that this is most likely a problem with the catalytic converter itself--not the sensors or other components--set off by the misfiring.  If I choose not to sell the car, I will probably ignore this code for awhile since the car is performing better than the day I bought it AND my state does not have emissions testing.  Basically, I have no incentive to change the converter.

Question 2: If the answer to question 1 is "Yes, sell it", how difficult will it be to sell my car if the check-engine light is on?  I will, of course, give full disclosure about the car's recent past and the reason why the car has a P0420 code.  How likely is this to impact the selling price?  In my opinion, the car is worth at least $4000, maybe more, considering the recent repairs.  Am I likely to find a buyer who agrees with me?
« Last Edit: July 08, 2015, 01:26:00 PM by TheGadfly »

waffle

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Re: Should I sell this car? Can I sell this car?
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2015, 01:29:44 PM »
Its pretty silly to want to sell a car because an O2 sensor went bad... That's a $20 part so I tend to think you just got screwed by your mechanic. At $50/hour they are claiming it took 16 hours (you said they didn't charge for the parts) to basically do a tune up and replace a sensor. A $2000 bill is even more insane! That should have all been 200-300 tops with parts.

You said the car is performing better than the day you got it... Why would you sell it?

frugaliknowit

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Re: Should I sell this car? Can I sell this car?
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2015, 02:04:25 PM »
If it really bugs your wife, then sell it.  What can you do?  If it freaks her out, it's not worth the economic efficiency.

If you are going to sell it, that warning needs to be cleared.

rtrnow

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Re: Should I sell this car? Can I sell this car?
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2015, 02:07:25 PM »
Its pretty silly to want to sell a car because an O2 sensor went bad... That's a $20 part so I tend to think you just got screwed by your mechanic. At $50/hour they are claiming it took 16 hours (you said they didn't charge for the parts) to basically do a tune up and replace a sensor. A $2000 bill is even more insane! That should have all been 200-300 tops with parts.

You said the car is performing better than the day you got it... Why would you sell it?

This!!! You were being ripped off. The fit is a great car to learn to work on yourself too. With the help of forums, I've had mine for 3+ years and 55K miles (yes I drive too much) and have yet to take it in for service. Oil changes are super easy, don't even need to lift the car. I've also done brakes, plugs, and valve adjustment myself. I would keep it for sure. BTW, total time for the valve adjustment and plugs took 2-3 hours for me who is not a mechanic and was being very slow and cautious to sort and label everything. A real mechanic should be able to do that in an hour.

Eric

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Re: Should I sell this car? Can I sell this car?
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2015, 02:10:26 PM »
I'd consider getting your wife a cell phone.  That way, if the car actually has a problem, she has a way to contact you or AAA or another company to come help her.  If she already has a cell phone, then you're in luck, since the problem has already been solved.

TheGadfly

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Re: Should I sell this car? Can I sell this car?
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2015, 02:21:36 PM »
A $2000 bill is even more insane! That should have all been 200-300 tops with parts.

Just to be clear about this, the $2000 estimate includes the coils, the plugs, valve adjustment, seafoam cleaning, upstream O2 sensor and labor (labor includes the amount of time he spent test driving the car).

I ended up paying for the valve adjustment ($400), the sensor and installation ($300) and taxes/fees ($100).  Are you sure I got ripped off?

Tester

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Re: Should I sell this car? Can I sell this car?
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2015, 02:22:16 PM »
I don't know how others see a car with an error, but for me I would like a car for which I am sure what the costs are.
As I experienced some problems with mechanics starting replacing parts and not fixing the problem, I know that error codes can mean a very simple thing like replacing a sensor or replacing the catalyzer (talking directly about your case).

For one car I had I cleaned the air intake (cheap and good anyway), the throttle (cheap and god anyway), replaced knock sensor (not needed, but cheap), replaced spark plugs (did not fix the error, but needed as they were very old), spark plug wires (did not fix the error but needed as they were very old), tested some induction coils.
In the end the problem was where I suspected from the beginning: the EGR valve.

My advice (could be wrong for USA, I can tell what works in my country): if you want to sell the car with a good price make sure it does not have any errors reported, as that would drag the price down.
USA might be different, as I see that having the car in top shape seems to not be as important here (my subjective impression).
I am constantly looking for a car although I will not buy one this year.
I want to get used with the prices.
I can tell you that if I see mentions of engine check lit but the car is working perfectly I do not look at that add anymore, because I don't know what will be the real cost.
Some say that they know what the problem is and almost everytime they say it is cheap to fix it but I know from my own experience that they could be right or wrong...

What would I do:

1. If it works fine, use it like it is (I used my car for around 15000 miles with the EGR valve blocked before replacing it as it removed the problem. I only blocked it after talking with my mechanic). Replace the O2 sensor and then the catalyzer when you have the money. That is what I would do, but I like to have my car in "perfect" shape. I feel "pleasure" when I fix the problem and the car works perfectly - I had two used cars until now, both sold in better shape than when I bought them. 
2. If it really does not bother you, use it like it is right now.
3. If it does not work fine, replace what is needed to make it work fine. Continue using it or sell it.
4. As I understood the car is not appealing anymore to the driver, I think you should really think of getting another car. But in this case you might need to fix the issue to get a good price. If you spend a lot, this could mean you will have to keep the car in the end to at least use the new part you install :).
5. Sell it with the error code present, but expect a tough negotiation.

Regarding fixing the issue:
Try to find a way of testing if a new catalyzer will fix the problem without having to buy the catalyzer - perhaps talk with a mechanic to test a used one.
If this fixes the problem you at least know what you have to do to fix it. If not, you will only pay the work to put it in place and remove it...

Please let us know how things work out.


waffle

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Re: Should I sell this car? Can I sell this car?
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2015, 04:47:57 PM »

A $2000 bill is even more insane! That should have all been 200-300 tops with parts.

Just to be clear about this, the $2000 estimate includes the coils, the plugs, valve adjustment, seafoam cleaning, upstream O2 sensor and labor (labor includes the amount of time he spent test driving the car).

I ended up paying for the valve adjustment ($400), the sensor and installation ($300) and taxes/fees ($100).  Are you sure I got ripped off?

Yes you got ripped off. not too long ago I had the timing belt replaced for 400 and In a honda CRV.

For less than $2000 they should've been able to replace the whole engine. The labor for it anyway.

Forcus

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Re: Should I sell this car? Can I sell this car?
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2015, 10:00:30 PM »
I wouldn't sell the car. But if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

CoffeeDrinkingThrow

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Re: Should I sell this car? Can I sell this car?
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2015, 10:08:43 PM »
I agree that the happiness of your wife is important, but it sounds like this decision is 100% emotional and 0% financial. If she were perfectly rational I don't think there would be any reason to sell based on the info provided.

CanuckExpat

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Re: Should I sell this car? Can I sell this car?
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2015, 01:59:18 PM »
About a year ago I bought a well-maintained 2007 Honda Fit on Craigslist with about 142k miles on it.  If you're curious, I paid $4500.  My wife and I purchased the car so she can drive 38 miles (one-way) to her internship 2-3 days per week.
...
Anyway, now I have a car that, as far as I can tell, is in great shape; however, my wife is no longer comfortable driving it (she was never really a fan of the fit's lack of power on the highway and its low clearance in the winter).  She is pushing for a newer car with about 75k miles on it.  We can afford this, especially if we can get top dollar for our current car.
...
Since the original misfiring issue, the car is throwing the P0420 code "Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1)".  My mechanic says that this is most likely a problem with the catalytic converter itself--not the sensors or other components--set off by the misfiring.  If I choose not to sell the car, I will probably ignore this code for awhile since the car is performing better than the day I bought it AND my state does not have emissions testing.  Basically, I have no incentive to change the converter.

I agree that the happiness of your wife is important, but it sounds like this decision is 100% emotional and 0% financial. If she were perfectly rational I don't think there would be any reason to sell based on the info provided.

CoffeeDrinkingThrow alluded to it, and I have to ask: Is your wife interning as a rally car driver, or hauling a tractor trailer? I'm not sure I understand your wife's reason for the Honda Fit not meeting her needs regarding winter and power. Hell, these guys raced late 80s model civics that probably have less power and clearance than your car around frozen Wisconsin and they are three time International Ice Racing Association Champions:


Assuming you live somewhere with paved roads and moderate plowing, wouldn't the problem be solved by getting a decent set of winter tires? (Unless you needed to be jumping curbs, going offroad, and/or hauling a thousand pound trailer along)


"A poor craftsman blames his tools. A poor horseman blames his horse."
A poor driver blames his vehicle ?

AZDude

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Re: Should I sell this car? Can I sell this car?
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2015, 03:01:50 PM »
Offer to buy her AAA and a cell phone. Cheaper than a new car, should give peace of mind.