How Not to Sell Your Old Car

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You want a new car – or just a different car. What’s the best way to get rid of your current car?

For most people, it will be the way that puts the most money in their pocket.

Which isn’t the way many people do it.

Trading it in –

This is probably the number one way to lose money on your old car – because you are usually in a hurry to get rid of your old car. Probably because you need to convert it into cash in order to buy the new car. This puts pressure on you to accept whatever the dealership is offering.

That offer will almost always be significantly less than whatever the car is really worth.

Which isn’t entirely unreasonable given that the dealer will then have to sell your old car.

This will mean, at the least, doing any repairs necessary to bring the car up to snuff enough to pass emissions and safety tests – which licensed dealers are usually required by law to do before they can re-sell the car. So if you drove it onto the lot with bald tires, the dealer will have to put new tires on it before they can put the car back on the lot.

You, of course, pay for those tires.

And for the cracked windshield that will need to be replaced and the brake job that needs to be done. Plus mark-up.

And you’ll also pay for his time and trouble – which isn’t unreasonable, either.

But you may not notice what you paid – if the dealership folds these fix-it-up costs (plus mark-up) into what you pay for the new car while giving you what you think is a great deal on your trade-in, which you’re glad to be rid of.

Which brings up the main reason to avoid trading in your old car while negotiating the terms for the new one: Too many balls in the air.

It’s enough for most people to avoid being taken for a ride on the purchase of the new car. Add your trade-in to the mix and it’s easy to make a mess of it.

It’s smart to focus on one thing at a time. Talk to the dealer about the new car only. If he wants to talk about your trade, tell him you’ll talk about that after you’ve concluded the deal on the new one.

You could also buy a used car at auction.

Selling it Before Prepping it –

Putting a For Sale sign in the window and parking it at the end of your driveway is a good way to lose money – assuming you even get any potential buyers. To understand why, think about what the first thing a dealership would do with your car if you traded it in.

They’d prep it.

In addition to putting a new inspection sticker on it (and a passed emissions test receipt in the glovebox) which you should do, too – they’d vacuum the interior, possibly shampoo the carpets and upholstery; remove unappealing stains or at least make them less obvious. Any funky smells would be aired out or covered up with better-smelling smells. The car’s exterior would get a thorough wash followed up with a thorough waxing. All exterior glass – and plastic, including those yellowed headlights – would be carefully polished so that the car sparkles when it goes back on the lot.

It should look like that when you park it at the end of your driveway, too. (Or try to sell it online.)

A weekend spent thoroughly cleaning the exterior and interior of your old car can increase its value by 10 or even 20 percent without doing anything mechanical to it. This by the way is typically the difference between what a dealer will give you on your un-prepped car as a trade-in and what he’ll see it for to someone else a week after you did.

You don’t even have to do the prep yourself. You can have your car professionally detailed for about $100 or so – which is pennies to the dollars you’ll reap.

Ask any dealer.

Some inside baseball: Many people buy based on how a car looks – and smells. Whether it’s a good car – mechanicals sound, documented maintenance history, low miles and options often taking a back seat to emotional considerations. It’s analogous to meeting someone for the first time. If they’re freshly showered and wearing clean clothes, you’ll probably think more initially favorable thoughts than you would about someone who rang your doorbell looking like he’d spent the night sleeping in an alley.

Even if the guy who looked like he slept in the alley turns out to be the nicer person.

Not Knowing What It’s Worth –

This one’s obvious but that doesn’t mean the mistake isn’t common. It’s not enough to Google your car’s value according to the National Automobile Dealer Association’s or Kelly Blue Book’s used car guides.

Because these are general guides.

You need to ascertain the value of your particular car – which is a unique car, even if there were hundreds of thousands of others of the same make/model as yours built that year. None of those car will have the same mileage as your car, the same service history or be in precisely the same overall condition as your car.

Very few – if any – will have the same combination of color/options. None are likely to have the same ding in the rear quarter panel.

The NADA and Kelly (and other such) books are guides – not biblical writ. The dealers use them as guides only – and then carefully appraise the specific condition of your car to determine its particular value. Which can and almost always does vary widely across a spectrum ranging from “poor” condition (and lowest value) on the left to “excellent” (and highest value) on the right.

The difference between the left side of the spectrum and the right can be 40 percent or more in extreme cases but in most cases, the difference is between 5 and 10  percent. Which is still a big difference in terms of how much cash you end up with.

Keep in mind that the difference between a “good” condition car and an “excellent” condition one often comes down to prep.

Also be aware that some makes/models just sell better – and command higher prices – than others. Sometimes irrespective of their condition.

Types of car – and times of year – also affect used car values.

For example, vehicles with AWD or 4WD are usually worth more as Fall closes in – and potential buyers’ thoughts turn to winter. The value of convertibles, on the other hand, tends to drop along with the temperature.

Try to time your sale to the season.

Also keep in mind that basic things – like whether basic maintenance such as oil/filter changes – has or has not been done recently can greatly affect how much a car goes for and even whether it goes at all.

You’d be surprised how much spending $50 to get the oil changed before you put the car on the market can be worth in terms of what you end up selling the car for.

Similarly, service records. These are worth money – to the prospective buyer and thus, to you – in the same way that a pedigreed pooch is worth more than a mutt.

If you’ve lost them, you’ll lose money.

. . .

Got a question about cars, Libertarian political philosophy – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. Eric, given the amount of FRAUD out there these days, and especially if the “buyer” doesn’t bother to register the damn thing with the DMV, which leaves YOU holding the bag for liability of that wreck, even with a NOTARIZED notice of sale and a bill of sale signed by the purchaser. Too goddamned risky for the measly extra bucks you’d get.

    Best ways to dispose of an used car are (1) trade it in with the “stealership”, and bend over and take it, at least, for the many bucks you’re forgoing, you have legal recourse if they fail to document it properly, (2) donate it to a legitimate and worthwhile charity like “Kars-4-Kids” that will take the old battleship off your hands (3) Drive it to Pick-N-Pull or similar, or have them come pick it up, and accept the measly payoff, to again, have it LEGALLY no longer your responsibility.

    I’d say part the damn thing out IF as parts it’s worth a helluva lot more, and then already have arrangements to legally dispose of it. Many wrecking yards will NOT, under those circumstances, as their reason to handle it is gone. Do so with the heap NOT at your house (or your mother’s or other relative), especially if you advertise on Craigslist (aka “Thieflist”). The last thing you want are the dregs of society knowing where you live and having a cursory assessment of what you’ve got.

    If the vehicle is in good shape and worth SOMETHING, as my erstwhile 2014 Ford Focus was, just trade the damn thing in. Under the circumstances, I had no reasonable alternative, as it was part of the settlement to start a whole new regimen of car payments, which got me much more than simply taking the cash offer in exchange for a “re-enlistment” with Ford. And I liked the Fusion, having gotten one for two weeks when the Focus was undergoing warranty repair for the bum transmission, and vowed that IF I was in the market for a new sedan that I’d seriously consider it. What I got wasn’t quite the leathered-up “Titanium” trim package, but IF I’d wanted that trim that bad, it was at least five grand more for a gas-only version, and that dealer had none but the hybrids, as Ford hadn’t yet (this was last October) sent anything but hybrids in that trim level to CA, and THEY were TWELVE GRAND more. No thanks, the numbers fuel-economy wise just don’t come close, even IF I qualified for tax credits, never mind ever MORE gadgetry and unneeded mechanical complexity. I got the “SE” trim, which had cloth seats, but everything else I wanted. For about a grand, I can get them covered in leather if I must have it that bad.

    • Forgot to mention that if you have a kid or nephew/niece that needs transportation and there’s some useful life left in your old sled, just GIVE it to them. Most states allow transfer to a relative (check with your DMV for what THEY define as a “relative”) w/o payment of sales tax or, in areas requiring the smog check, to do that as ordinarily is required to effect legal transfer. This is a useful tactic if the recipient is some kid good at working on cars whom can spend his time and effort to get the thing smog-compliant for less trouble than you could, and keeps an otherwise useful old sled on the roads rather than junk it for a rather nebulous “compliance” issue.

      Help the upcoming generation out, ya cheap “bah-studs”! Or, if some “widder woman” in your local LDS ward or Church congregation is likewise in need of an economical ride, especially to just get to the grocery store and Church, “sell” it to her for $10 (in most states, the legal minimum for “valuable consideration”), giving the Bishop or Pastor the sawbuck, of course, with a written disclaimer of warranty, on condition that you get a photocopy of the new registration in her name for your records.

  2. Re: discussing the price of the new car and a trade in value at the same time. This is a corollary to making change at the till during a transaction. Quite fun and lucrative when dealing with a drunk bartender or high school/college students working the registers in the 5 and dime/ liquor store, etc.

    I learned the scam when I was quite young, and was surprised to see how many times people would try to pull it when I was working a register.

  3. I always enjoy reading your articles because they usually make a lot of sense, and this one is no exception. Poker players, fantasy football, insurance companies, and car companies…all have their own set of sharks looking to take a bite out of the unsuspecting.

    • Good article indeed and yet many owners are still fall under the dealership trade of their old car which is eventually a gem.

        • eric, it’s been over 2 decades since I found out there are at least 2 versions of the NADA book. A friend who’s a banker turned me on to this. It’s the reason if you buy your own NADA book and then compare what it says to what the dealer says and will show you in HIS book, there will be a considerable difference.

          When buying or selling a car, it’s good to go to someone in the bidness and have a look at their book.

      • People who trade ‘er in are either stupid, or just don’t give a damn.

        To this day, I remember when I was young, my uncle had a pristine Honda Accordion -he owner it since new; drove it lightly; and treated it like a fine watch. He was in the market for a new car- why? He was married.

        I didn’t own a car at the time, and would have desperately loved to have that car…but it was worth at least $3500…which I didn’t have at the time- so I didn’t say anything to my uncle, ’cause knowing him, he would have sold me the car for a few hundred bucks if need be- and I didn’t want him losing money just to be nice to me.

        Well….he pulls up one day in his new Toyota, and we’re all gawking and ooooo-ing and ahhh-ing over it, as someone asks “What’d ya do with your Honda?”.

        “The dealer gave me $700 for it”!!!!!!!!!!!!

        I’m still sick over that! That car, for $700 would have changed my life at the time…..if only I had known- by uncle’s charity would have been better spent on me, than the sleazy stealership. So much for trying to ensure that uncle didn’t get done out of money…….

        I’m still mad at myself over that one!

        • Nunaio, that’s definitely one of those “do over again” regrets. The whole trade in scam is getting pretty desperate now though. I keep getting these flyers in the mail where they’re practically offering me what I paid for my car I suspect they’ll just drop the price way down if I were to show up on their lots, but that doesn’t seem all that profitable of a business plan, unless maybe there are a lot of people like your uncle still around. I checked nada on my car and it says it’s only worth about $3500.00. With what I’ve put into it (e.g. rims, exhaust system), it’s probably worth an additional $2500.00, but the dealers are offering me $12k to $15k, and telling me I can buy one of their brand new Challengers for $15k. I can see how some people might find that tempting. They couldn’t pay me to do a straight trade.

          • What they do Shnark, is just raise the price of your new car to make up the difference; that, and hide some of it in the paperwork and financing- so you’re essentially financing that extra nine grand extra that they’re “giving you” for your trade; and on paper, still getting the new car at a good price.

            The only way ya really know what you’re actually paying for your new car, is to go in with no trade (sell it yourself), and have your own financing. (Or better yet, people shouldn’t buy cars that they can’t afford to pay cash for. It’s easy to accept all of the BS on these cars…but if ya had to go in and peel off 400 actual $100 bills to get the car, I’ll bet a lot of people would start saying “Why do I need all of these beeping things and flashing lights and electronic doo-dads?”- but when all ya need is your signature….hey, just throw in everything! 🙂 )

            • That sounds about right Nunz, They would probably just tell me that they can’t do the deal because I never finance anything. I think at that point, they would just tell me that they can’t give me more than $2k for my car as a trade in.

  4. A good friend’s father used to sometimes triple his money on a car with a through detail job. Every Saturday morning the news paper had ads that were free to run but 99 bucks was the price limit. He’s buy cars for 50-99 bucks that ran and moved. He’s just spend the day cleaning them up real well. He was never able to have a regular job. His wife would run off for a couple of weeks at a time on a bender leaving him home with 7 kids.

    • Wife an alcoholic…runs away frequently, but managed to bear seven kids…and this joker never considered a paternity test? He might have been wise re: buying and selling old iron but was CLUELESS as to his woman!

      • It probably sounds insane to many of us, but there are some fathers who legitimately don’t care. Obviously, they aren’t thrilled that their wife is out philandering around, but if they view the kids as “theirs”, genetic material isn’t super important. When my uncle found out his wife had been unfaithful (and it drew into question one of his kids that looked like none of the others and tied in really nicely to when she was out being a tart), I expected him to get a DNA test. He refused, even though it ultimately resulted in him paying child support for a kid that most likely wasn’t his. I’m not sure if people like this are just cucks, or if they’re more advanced than the rest of us. Personally, I have no interest in raising some other dude’s kids, but to each his own…

        • Hi Jershie,

          Of course, it’s not the kid’s fault. I would be furious with the wife – but try hard not to take it out on the kid. Assuming, of course, that the wife is still in the home (mutually agreed) or the kid’s paternity comes into question long after his birth (again, assuming the family remains intact).

          Now, if the wife finds herself knocked up by another man – and her husband discovers it before birth – I would not blame him for kicking her to the curb – and expected the guy who knocked her up to be responsible for his kid.

      • The first 2 weren’t his. The other 5 there is no doubt. He’s Irish. She’s German and Chippewa Indian. You don’t see many native’s with red facial hair. God help you if you’re around them when they’re drinking. Thankfully the boys have given up the alcohol. He said he prefers girls with fire. Forget that crap, not worth the trouble.

  5. Hello Eric. This article is a good highlight of what to do or not do when selling or buying cars. I spent decades selling new and used cars in the US, and for almost the last 20 years I have sent every customer that did not buy a vehicle from me on the spot to Jeff Ostroff’s excellent site, It provides for free, everything anyone would want to know about buying, selling, or financing any new or used vehicle – so that each person can maximize their financial experience when doing so. I highly recommend his site.

    • Anyone reading the last 4 responses would have no idea that this is a car site. Eric, I always enjoy the responses you get. I learn about human nature and cars in one place.

  6. In the used airplane business, the service records are incredibly important to the value of a plane. If they get lost, bye bye to probably half the value of the plane. They are that important!

  7. Great article!

    Service Records are key because hardly anyone actually keeps 10+ years of receipts. Nothing gives a buyer more peace of mind than pulling out a neatly organized binder detailing the work and receipts. It’s especially effective if they just looked at a similar car with absolutely nothing and a rebuilt title.

    Also, “show” it and do test drives in a safe neighborhood. It all takes time, but it’s literally worth thousands of dollars.

  8. Recently sold my Ford Ranger, but AFTER buying a Toyota Hilux. Both the same age but the Hilux has all the off-road goodies already fitted, and I know what a long-winded pain that can be, so happy to get one someone else went through the hassles with.

    Thing is I know that round here (Borneo) people love their Toyotas, and don’t overly rate Fords. Well my Ford was fine, low miles, well-maintained, never gave any trouble and looked nice too. 3 different dealers all offered to pay just enough to cover the current finance, ie 21k. Finally found one willing to go to 25k, yet that exact same model and year truck was selling in the local classifieds for around 35k?

    Happily I was in the position of being able to buy my Hilux with cash, and then sold the Ford privately. Got 3 calls the day it went online and sold it within 3 days to one of the very first callers, for 30K instant bank transfer. That’s 9K the dealers would have in their pocket for doing nothing, as the truck needed nothing doing to it.

    Regarding the wife leaving, look into MGTOW and realize that in the long-term, it’s for the best for you. I know it hurts and you’ll beat yourself up, and suffer from “but she was The One, and…” etc etc. But you know what? You don’t need her, and never really did.

    Go your own way.

    • Thank you for introducing me to the term MGTOW. Even without asking him, I can probably safely say my husband’s not a member; let’s hope it stays that way.

      • “This too shall pass,” my younger brother tells me when the daily news does its best to depress me. Unfortunately, I tell him, when good times are here those too shall pass.

        There–feel better? Hang in there.

        P.S. I never sell a car until it’s unfixable, I mean really unfixable. Then I scrap it or park it by the trees (the glory of rural living).

      • My recollection is that your wife left some time ago. This is a bit heart wrenching to say the least. I don’t know how long you were married, but I know the longer the time, the bigger the emptiness when they’re gone.

        My fiancé died from complications from chemo/radiation treatments. We were together for six years, and I was reduced to a blithering idiot for well over a couple years. It was incredibly difficult for me to walk out the door without losing it for the first six months, but I eventually began to see that all the people we come into contact with for any extended period of time leave a mark, or an imprint on us. This is seen at an atomic level as well. Einstein referred to it as “spooky action at a distance”. So it’s not really the absence of her presence, but the presence of her absence. Ultimately, it’s the presence of God’s absence.

        Over the years of stumbling into one relationship after another, I discovered that I didn’t really need to be in a loving relationship with a woman to be in love with the world. That’s how we feel when we’re in love with that special someone, right? For some reason, we get this idea into our heads that they complete us, or that it is the love we have for them that enables us to be in love with the world. A friend of mine puts it this way: “if you’re not getting it from God, you got nothing to give.” Women just seem to be an easy way for us to tap into what’s always been there waiting to be released.

        The point is that we hold on to these ideas when we should just let go of them. They’re just thoughts in our heads preventing us from getting on with our lives. There’s a fool proof way to do this. I know this because it worked for me. Someone suggested this to me about a decade ago, and I didn’t implement it for quite some time afterwards because it is tediously boring. The results are nothing less than spectacular.

        Their suggestion was to simply sit quietly for 20 minutes twice a day, and just monitor my thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc., basically anything that I was aware of, and as soon as I became aware of a thought, just to let it go. The thing about this is that sometimes I can start thinking about something, and I forget that I’m supposed to just let it go. In other words, I’m not actually even conscious of all the thoughts that are running through my head. This is one of the biggest predicaments facing us today. We literally live in a world of unconscious zombies, ourselves included.

        What happens is that after a while, those thoughts of depression, despair, fear, resentment, etc. are seen for what they truly are; thoughts. And we cease from identifying with them. They’re not who we really are, and they cease to control or constrain our lives.

        • Hi Schnarkle,

          Thank you for that; very well said. I try your method. I need to try something. Feeling exhausted/overwhelmed and sad is no fun, for me or my friends – including all of you here.

          I will start today.

          • What Ya Say, Eric!

            Eric, you probably are aware of this already- but don’t discount the benefits of a nice walk (for an hour or so) if you have a quiet place where you can just amble and let the thoughts and emotions flow!

            I like to walk at night, when it’s quiet and still, and the darkness (bathed sometimes in moonlight) minimizes visual stimulation. It’s the closest one can come to replicating what it might be like to be a disembodied spirit! The physical is minimalized.

            Don’t set any goals or have any purpose- just walk, and let happen what will. Whether your thoughts on a particular walk tend toward the purely physical and mundane (In which case, it can be great for problem-solving!) or towards contemplation and analysis of deeper things, doesn’t matter- just let it come naturally.

            I took a walk last night- not for any ‘reason’, but just because I enjoy it; and I ‘need’ it when I haven’t walked a lot lately. As is often the case, I started out thinking of some spiritual things and analyzing some things of the past (Reminiscing is also wonderful!)…and ended up after a while thinking of something totally mundane and physical- as is often the case; and it’s all good.

            Sometimes, you can even just find yourself wandering and suddenly realize that for the last nth minutes, you’d been thinking of nothing at all! That can be wonderful! I’ve also experienced, occasionally, a “walker’s high”.

            This is different than taking a walk with someone which I know you were accustomed to. This is quiet, contemplative alone time, and IMO opinion, is better than just sitting still (I hate to sit still! I like motion!)- Letting the juices flow seems to really add something which can not be duplicated by just sitting.

            It is one of those things which adds up to something far greater than the mere sum of it’s total parts.

            5 years ago, when my favorite dog of all time died, taking those walks really helped me mourn, and work through the grieving; and relive all of the memories- and while I love taking a good walk with a dog, what I’m speaking of here is different.

            • Hey Nunzio, When I first started meditating, I felt the same way, and even asked the people who were leading me through the whole process if I could simply do the same thing while walking. They said it couldn’t be done, but I’ve found that it most certainly can be done, and is a great way to live more intentionally. I still sit still with eyes closed for at least 20 minutes twice a day because it allows me to become more aware of the deeper thoughts that are subconsciously running my life. Being able to let everything go while I’m walking is also a great way to detach intentionally. I try to do it while I’m driving as well which has the added benefit of keeping me more focused on driving, and more aware of just how absent minded and unfocused I can become while driving.

              • That’s cool, Shnark! I couyld probably only do that if I had a sensory-deprivation chamber or something- and even then, I dunno.

                I think it’s like diet, and a lot else: One size does not fit all. I can also me meditative while driving…but I try not to be, as I’ve found that it can really detach me from seeing what’s in front of me.

                I think that’s why I love mowing so much! I can go out and mow a few acres on my Grasshopper, and the isolation that the diesel engine and ear muffs provide, coupled with the effortless motion of a zero-turn; and not having to pay much attention ‘cept to follow the edge of the cut rows, really can be meditative- but not in the same manner as walking at night.

                • Hey nunzio, I sit in a float tank two or three times a year, and what I’ve noticed is that my twenty minute sessions turn into 90 minute to two hour sessions. They’re highly conducive to moving the brain from the more active Beta, and Alpha waves to Theta waves. They trick your body and mind into an incredibly heightened state of relaxation. They say the salt is therapeutic, and this may be a factor, but I’m not convinced. I think a similar tank could be fabricated inexpensively with a tarp in a dug out hole in the ground, and some of those floating noodles strategically placed to keep you afloat. The trick is to get the water to the right temperature. Float tanks are pricey, and even an hour is usually around $50.00. I think everyone should try it at least once, and especially if you’ve done any extended periods of meditation.

                  • Shnark, that reminds me: Just flopping around in my above-ground pool is so conducive to thinking- it’s amazing- and very physically comforting too.

                    [‘Flopping around’ = just spinning rotisserie-style in a free-form manner]

                    6 days a week, for a good 6 months out of the year or more, every day when I’m done working around the place, I take a dip after I feed the animules and before I eat.

                    Last night I took a quick one just to tidy-up after my walk- it was c.11PM.

                    Sometimes I’ll go in to ‘tidy up’, intending only to stay for 10 or 15 minutes, and before I know, an hour’s gone by.

                    I do that instead of showering. Then, come the cold weather when I have to go back to showering, it feels really creepy getting in the shower!

                    Nice thing too with the pool: It’s rejuvenating- I can be hot and tired…and then after a dip, I’m raring to go again.

                • Most people tend to think of meditation as sort of equivalent to vegging out, but it’s really about becoming more aware of your thoughts. It’s actually quite difficult to become aware of all the thoughts that are constantly bombarding us all the time. For the most part, we’re completely unaware of 99% of the thoughts we have every day. Some people think they get to a point where they’re not thinking about anything, but what they’re really doing is sleeping. it’s not about trying to empty the mind at all, but simply becoming aware of all the subconscious thoughts we have. A lot of people become discouraged when they’re aware of all the thoughts they have, but that’s precisely what the goal is with meditation. It’s all about observing them as soon as we become aware of them, and then letting them go. The act of letting them go, strengthens our ability to let negative thoughts go, as well as retaining those we want to use.

              • Hi Schnarkle,

                I wanted to let you know I’ve done as you suggested; went outside and sat in my old wood chair and just . . . sat and let my mind wander. It did help. I feel better. After I get done today, I am going to do it again.

                Thank you – again!

                • eric, I used to go out after the evening meal and sit in my wooden rocker on the breezeway to smoke a beer and drink a cigar so to speak. I smoked very little and cut my El Prsidente’s in half. They were about $2 each and the wife and I could get a little buzz with very little smoking. We didn’t do it every day but it was nice and soothing. Then one day I went to the smoke shop and my cigar days came to an end. Those $2 cigars were all of a sudden $20 cigars.

                  It’s amazed me that no matter what it is, such as fajitas we used to have and love and bought it for nearly nothing. Once the Yuppies discovered skirt steak it went from being $.29/lb to $4.

                  I’m glad they prefer wine and craft beer and leave my Miller and Shiner Black alone. So far they haven’t zeroed in on how good 100 proof Evan Williams bourbon is but I probably just spilled the beans so to speak.

                • Hey eric, When that gets old, then it’s recommended to close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. Take a few deep breaths, and then when your mind wanders, simply observe it as you become aware of it. It’s easy for the mind to wander off for minutes, or even hours at a time, but once you become aware of it wandering, then immediately return to focusing on your breathing, Eventually, what happens is you can focus on your breathing and think about other things, and observe yourself thinking about other things while you’re focusing on your breathing. It’s an exercise that not only allows one to become more aware of one’s thoughts, but also a way to let go of thoughts that are counterprocuctive. I was coming back from the Bahamas a few years ago, and as I was about to pull my boat out of the water, some guy pulled his trailer out and hyperextended the driver’s door on my van. After all was said and done, both he and his wife told me how amazed they were at my composure throughout the whole ordeal. Whatever thoughts were going through my head, both positive and negative, had practically no effect over my composure. I was quite calm. It was completely inconsequential. There is no doubt in my mind, that had I reacted in a negative way, the other party never would have paid for the damage to my van. I didn’t call law enforcement to take a report, and the guy didn’t have insurance. We exchanged personal information, and I sent him a few estimates. I didn’t expect him to pay for any of the damages. I didn’t even really care. I just went to the pic and pull and found another door for $50.00, and that was that until the check arrived. A pleasant surprise, and more than the van was worth.

        • Hey Nunzio, I can relate to jumping into some cool water on a hot summer night. I’ve been working on a boat I picked up a few months ago, and lately I’ve been taking a swim break about every 30 minutes. It’s quite refreshing since the spring water is a constant 74 degrees all year round. However, the combination of water, wind, and sun can wear me out pretty quickly by the time the sun goes down sometimes. Your flopping story reminded me of a friend of mine who was laying on an inflatable mattress at a pool in front of our apartment years ago. She started doing crunches on her back, and as the waves created from them began to build the pool water began to spill onto the patio. In no time that little pool looked like it was going to toss her and that mattress onto the cement. There were huge waves of water gushing onto the patio everywhere It was like she was out in the middle of a Nor’easter. It was one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen.

        • Handler, looks like everything is copacetic in the romance/sex novel industry. Doing a bit of research about this once I found out it was mainly women who bought these books.

          I thought of a new book yesterday while hauling rock. It’s a post-apocalyptic sci-fi book. I believe the name will be The Dick Snatchers.

          If I can get it written the sequel will be The Pussy Sealers. Stay tuned for more.

      • Work at home and let your cats ‘help’ you with your work. Also, you could take Little Stinker out more often. That’ll cheer you up!

        • I second ‘work at home’!

          To me, that’s THE best thing about self-employed and living in the sticks- to minimize contact with the outside world and the pile of steaming feces that this society has become. The world has gone collectively insane; who wants to be around residents of the asylum? It’s really just depressing to have to witness their behavior; and you don’t want to become desensitized to it, nor have it rub off on ya.

          Way I see it, why would I want to trade the pleasant environment I have here with my animals, and land and the sky, for phone-addicted media-deluded statists? I don’t go near their world unless absolutely necessary.

          • Nunz, it’s the reason I like to truck or operate dirt equipment. It’s just me and once I know what I’ll be doing it won’t be anyone else except the DOT if I’m unlucky. To be honest, these days I’d rather work in the field alone operating some machine that’s quiet and I can just listen to videos or podcasts or speak on the phone with friends(that’s getting right down to nothing).

  9. Eric – On service records, I perform routine maintenance and most repairs myself. I keep on-line receipts for parts, oils, etc… as well as anything non-trivial from the parts store, but obviously there’s no labor receipt. My “maintenance records” are some sheets of paper tacked to a door. Any thoughts on this?

    • Hi Michael,

      I do the same (my own maintenance) and (like you) I keep receipts for the parts. I also keep a log – a notebook – for each vehicle, noting what was done and when. It seems to me that having this – along with the receipts for the parts to back it up – is as solid a record as a printout from the dealership.

      • I do the same but not for selling,,, only for my records. Others don’t appreciate the work put into maintaining a car in reasonable condition. Also if the car is 19 years and/or rode rough and put up wet it could break minutes, hours or days after a sale and the person comes back all red faced and mad thinking you screwed him. This is the main reason I trade them in rather than sell outright. The dealer screws you up front. A buyer will come back screaming in your face all pissed because the 15 year old car with 120,000 miles gave it up 6 months after purchase. I actually had a guy that wanted his money back…. Gave the idiot his money back,,, reseated the relay to the fuel pump that his ‘mechanic’ couldn’t locate and sold it for more than my original price,,, without the damn maintenance records. Car still running today, owner happy as a lark. Today,,, I’d rather take a loss at the dealer than have to deal with the idiots.

        Having logs only makes the buyer defensive. They think you just wrote it to sell it. Most I seen buying today wouldn’t know a carb from a brake cylinder and are looking for something free and runs like new. Let them go to the dealer and get screwed,,, dealers are used to dealing with losers.

        • I do same with vehicles I like. This Z 71 doesn’t fall into that category although I do have records for oil, filters and the like.

    • I don’t know if it’s just my luck, or what- but funny thing: Any vehicle I’ve ever looked at for which the owner had scrupulous service records/receipts, always ended up being the biggest piles of crap when I checked ’em out- and were ALWAYS seriously overpriced!

      I remember years ago, going to look at a pick’em-up which was advertised as having a rebuilt engine. Turned out, that engine was ready to blow again- though it had been rebuilt only months ago, and only had a few thousand miles on it. The seller pulls out a pile of receipts- “No, look- here’s all the work that’s been done- it’s all good!”.

      Turns out, the receipts showed the engine hadn’t been rebuilt per se- it had had multiple repairs over a short period of time- just replacing what ever part(s) was bad at the particular moment- i.e. rod bearings one time; head gasket another time; etc.

      And the kicker is, I usually avoid looking at vehicles that have recently had major work done to them- because if somneone put a lot of money into a vehicle, and then suddenly wants to sell it, it almost always means that everything else is breaking, and they are sick of dealing with it, and are trying to sell it to recoup the money they put into it.

      I looked ast a Lincoln once- Nice lady, had a pile of receipts; nice clean car, but had major issues not worth messing with- “But look; see all of the receipts? Any time something went wrong, we had it fixed; and we always took it to the stealership for maintenance!” -I was too polite to say “Yeah, well plan on taking it in for a new transmission real soon!”.

      That car, which she was asking >$3K for, I later would end up getting for $300- (This was in the mid 90’s), ’cause I had handed her my business card before leaving, telling her that if she couldn’t sell it, I’d give her $300 for it. She scoffed at the time…but a few weeks later my phone rang. I went and got the car, and sold it to a guy I’d often deal with who was always looking for cars to fix and flip- for $600.

      What I love to find, are the high-mileage ones, with no records/receipts/claims….but that you can tell by looking at ’em/listening to ’em/driving ’em, and sticking your finger up the tailpipe like an automotive proctologist , that they’ve been well-maintained and not abused- they speak for themselves. Such was the case with my old Ford van, which had 240K miles on it when I bought it. Drove it for 15 years….most reliable and trouble-free vehicle I’ve ever owned. It had been used commercially before I got it….and that’s the only bit of history known about it.

      • Eric, I went thru the same soul-shaking suicidal depressions when I divorced the first wife 22 years ago. Strangest thing is , after all that heartache and headache, when I chose that all I could do is focus on making yourself the best YOU that you can be, and when you’re at genuine peace with doing that, suddenly women seem to come out of the woodwork attracted to you. Within a year and half of divorcing, I had multiple women to pick from for deciding on a long term relationship.i got remarried to a great woman and we now have 3 kids. Also if you need a laugh, the site keeps me in stitches with his humor on women. I can’t tell when he’s or his fellow writers are kidding or not but thats the hilarity of it, I guess. But today is a day the Lord has made, let us rejoice in it. Trust me, it will get better, just keep on plugging away, and keep up with great writing and reviews. Thanks


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