Chapter 5 – My Three Part Auto Rating Guide

I Like To Look At Car From Three Main Points… 

  1. The Exterior
  2. The Engine
  3. The Interior

If two of three are good and one needs minor repairs, you got a deal or even better yet, if you get a car that has no issues and all you need to do is wash and detail, then that’s a SCORE!
Anyway, here are the examples…

Example #1: Needs Exterior Work. 
Say you’re looking at a 2006 Subaru WRX.
The interior is clean, the engine is excellent with only 87,000 miles on it, but the body has a few dents, or it may need a panel or two painted.

Then you’ll want to look at the dents as cost per panel.
There are seven major body panels on a car. 
The Hood, Fenders, Quarter Panels, Doors, Trunk, Bumper Covers and Roof.
I do most of my own paint repairs but you may want to look at it like this.
For each panel that has a major dent and needs body work and paint, you’re looking at roughly $300-$400 (US) for paint repairs per panel.

Use that as a negotiating strategy when making a deal.
This price is actually a high-quality price. You can get them painted cheaper by shopping around.
Now, when I say major damage, I mean pushed in 3 to 5 inches deep and maybe a foot long.
Minor coin size dings and dents are common and usually don’t really turn people off, it is just normal wear and tear but, painting panels with small dings are less costly than a panel with major work needed.

You may find scuffs and scratches on the bumper covers of the car. If you see any paint marks on bumpers, you may simply rub them off using paint thinner or nail polish remover. Paint thinner is better and stronger but nail polish remover will do.

“The Small Details Make a Big Difference!” 

If you take the time and find touch-up paint for your make and model then go around the car, simply filling in the scratches with paint the car will look 10 times better.
I do this to every car that needs it and it completely gives it a face lift! This will increase your chances of selling because your first impression is the last impression.

You want to get it sold on the first viewing! Just make it look good!
Even if the paint doesn’t match perfectly, it will wipe out eye sore rock chips and other small defects.

Example #2: Needs Engine Work. 
A 2005 Honda Civic – nice interior, nice body, but needs a timing belt and water pump. Off the bat that is about a $700-$800 job (maybe cheaper if you have connections with mechanics).

If you can scoop the car for $1,200-$2,500, I say you have yourself a deal. Many people sell cars that need minor work, leaving you a nice profit to make. Or you may want to do the job yourself. It would probably cost you under $300 in parts including new oil and spark plugs.

Example #3 Needs Interior Work. 
Okay, so let’s say that you are looking at a 2006 VW Bug. The engine has 95,000 miles on it, the AC is cold, the body is in excellent condition but the interior needs work.

The headliner is sagging, the vinyl on the door panels are peeling off and the carpet is stained with cola.
You’ll need an interior detail for about $60-$100. A new headliner and the door panel vinyl glued and repaired from an upholstery shop.
The usual headliner repairs go for about $100-$125.

Door panels are quite simple to fix you can easily buy some upholstery contact adhesive and glue loose vinyl yourself. Interior fixes are very affordable. I have had headliners and small rips in seats repaired very quickly and easily.
When negotiating, always make the problem seem bigger than it is.

Make it sound like you’re doing them a favor by taking the car off their hands. This is how you get the deals.
So if you got the car for $3,500 and put $500 into it and sold it for $5,800, you make a nice $1,800 very easily by having other people do the work for you.

What is Good Mileage on a Car? 
The normal annual engine mileage estimate is roughly 10,000 to 12,000 miles per year in your average urban cities. But if you live in the country, I know the mileage can be much higher.

Maybe about 15,000 to 20,000 miles per year, maybe even more.
So if a 2009 Toyota Camry is on the market now, what is a good mileage? Do the math…
Years old X 10,000 miles = Mileage
And it all depends on your area. Sometimes you may get cars at this year with only 30,000 to 40,000 miles.

Mostly owned by the elderly.
Like I said, I had a 2004 Mini Cooper that had 31,000 miles on it! And it was 10 years old! That’s why I got so much more over book value for the car when I sold it. You will always get more for a car with low miles.
I’ve had some cases where I have picked up low mileage cars like this from the elderly because they just want to get rid of the car.

They don’t drive them anymore or don’t feel comfortable driving so they let them go very cheaply.

Money TIP: 
This is when you will want to sell at a higher price range because of the extremely low mileage.
Always bring cash “money talks” be ready to negotiate. You can always bring your offer higher, so start with a low offer but not too low to insult the seller.
Just make the offer and go with your gut!

You can always bounce back up.
Now, if you go and look at a car and you know that the mileage seems a little high for its year, you might want to ask the seller:
“Was the car used as a delivery vehicle?” 
Or questions like…
“Why is the mileage so high?”
“Have you had any major maintenance mechanical work done on it?”
Such as timing belt, spark plug wires or transmission filters and brakes. “Any services or flushes?”

Here’s another example of a low mileage car that I recently purchased. It was 2007 Suzuki Grand Vitara Retail book value on it was about $9,800. It only had 37,000 miles on it.

I got the car from a military couple that was in the process of moving and they told me that they had purchased the car a year ago from an elderly person. It was a one-owner car. It sure looked like it was. The title was clean, of course and overall it checked out fine.
When you hear things like that, it’s excellent news for you.

They were really in a rush to move.
It was a Sunday night and they were leaving the next day so I jumped on it ASAP. Although it was a little far from my house, maybe 40 miles.
I managed to jump on it and negotiate.

They were asking
$6,500 (Keep in mind that the Trade-In Good value was $5,675) and it was already priced at a good deal considering the extra low mileage.
It was about 10PM, I closed the deal for $5,700 cash ($800 lower than the asking price).

The car was very clean in and out, it had 37,000 miles cold AC. All it needed was a light detail.
I sold it five days later for $8,200 cash. Private party value in good condition was listed at $7,525. Why did I get $8,200 so fast?
Because of the LOW miles and the way that I wrote my ad.

Here it is below:
So within 5 days I made $2,400 cash. I spent $100 for a complete mobile detail. A guy came out, spent 3 hours on it and fully detailed it – Interior, Exterior and even the engine compartment.
During that time, I was on the computer searching for my next deal.

Total time that I personally had in the deal was the buying and the selling of the vehicle. I say 2.5 hours.

2007 Suzuki’s Grand Vitara – Only 37K Miles – Must Sell Moving!
Hey, guys I’m selling my totally dependable roadrunner Suzuki Grand Vitara.
Easily driven and elderly-owned.

I’m in the process of moving and I need to sell it asap. No low ballers and serious only. Call or send me a text to take a look at it.
I’ve been getting a lot of calls lately. I know that it will sell pretty fast.

Thank you!

-Only 37k Miles
-Automatic, Cold AC
-All Power/ Keyless Entry
-AM, FM, CD Stereo.

-Runs Excellent, Like New.
-New Tires (paid $750)
-Current Papers
-Moving Must Sell By End of Month!

Get this dependable little truck before you miss out. It’s very clean and runs excellent.

Non smoker.
Retail Blue Book $10,800
Asking ONLY $8,900 obo

Call Tony at: 555-777-9999

Of course I had a few more pictures but here’s one…


I think it’s okay to inflate the retail value a little to make your asking price a little more easy on the eyes.

Just don’t overdo it. $500.00 -1,500.00  fine on newer cars.