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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone:

My 2003 Passat with 226k miles still running, but I'm thinking about buying a low milage, clean-used passat. I plan to buy it from a dealership to avoid potential issues from buying direct.

So, I checked with the dealership that services my car and actually, I bought my current passat from them and the sales person said, they'll buy it back from me for $500.00 (trade-in price).

I said that the tires (almost new) and 6 CD changers on my Passat worth a lot more than that, brakes have ton of life left in them, 2nd timing belt good until 275K. The interior and exterior both looks great, except for the ABS module not working. He said that they'll sell it to a wholesaler to avoid problems and that what's worth.

I looked up my car on Kelley Blue Book and suggested sale price is $1600.00 (direct sale).

I'm thinking hanging on to my car for a little longer, but concern that other things might pop up that could be super expensive to take care of. I've taken care of all the required services so far.

Any advice you can provide, I'd be very grateful.

Thank you,
Ellie
 

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A machine can be made to last pretty much forever, if you wanted it to. But if you've gotten to 226K with common maintenance expenses, consider yourself fortunate. So you can advertise it and perhaps get $1K more than the trade-in, or donate to charity if you prefer that, which I've done. Maybe there is a consignment car lot where someone else deals with the public, for a percentage of the sale.


By the way, scotts13 here usually answers such a question as 'how long does it last' with; "How long is a piece of string?"
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you ylwagon.

My question is - has any of you guys had a Passat with high milage such as mine? What are some of the things might go wrong at this stage? Just want to get some idea so that I can decide if I should keep on driving it or should I trade it in? Hard to depart with my car after all these years, it has been like my best friend :).
 

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My 1996 Audi A4, mechanically the same car in many respects, was at 275,000 when I sold it, and running like a champ. So 226K is up there but by no means unusual. If your car is still running well and doing its job, might as well keep driving it until something expensive comes up (transmission trouble, accident, etc.) at which tine you can call the Salvation Army to come get it. You will only "loose" the $500 which the dealer offered, which will be offset by whatever extra use you get out of it between now and then.
 

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How much longer does it last in terms of years or how many more miles left in it? Depends how much you drive it and how willing you are to part with money to keep it going.

I was planning on making almost a similar thread on how to assess a car like this, and to ask which systems tend to fail and which systems are well built and shouldn't be a problem.

Historically speaking, I've thought of cars as: if the body is good, and if it has a good transmission, and a good engine; then you probably have a decent car.
But cars are getting more and more complex...there are many components that can make you throw in the towel as they may be more than the car is worth.

If your engine--you mentioned high miles--concerns you, you can do a compression test which will give you a sense of its health.
Then if you wanted to analyze bad results, you can do a leak down test or a wet compression test.

I parted out a car and got thousands for the parts, but that also takes time, a place...and is somewhat of a project as well. I'd probably do that before selling it for $500 though! heheh

I'd post it on craigslist and sell it to someone to avoid getting next to nothing ($500). Any car that runs and can pass an inspection in my state should be worth X, and X is definitely worth more than $500.

As I'm thinking of it, assessing a car...that alone can be a project. I'm actually still doing that. I have to look at my transmission and differentials soon and look at the fluids. No matter what, if you want to call it luck, to some degree, you will still be in the dark and luck still has a say.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you so much ylwagon and TONY!. Appreciate your helpful and informational responses. My car is running fine. I've taken care of all the services, fixed everything that needed to be fixed (90% of all services done at the dealership). My only concern is that I've to do a smog check and concern about passing the test, b/c I've heard that high milage car may not pass the smog check, although, my car exhaust is just fine, no smoke, odor or anything, but I worry I may have to change the catalyst converter and that's not cheap. Although, it might worth doing it if I can drive my car another few thousands miles b/c right now I am saving money 1st for my property tax, then to buy a clean-used Passat. Is there something I can do to make sure my car will pass the smog test before I get the test done? I want to avoid any issues with DMV, plus make sure my car is meeting the CA standard for smog.

BTW - does Techron really works? Is it worth using is since my car has high milage?

Thank you and once again I'm so grateful for Passat Forum and all of you.
Ellie
 

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First, is the yellow check-engine light (CEL) on? If so, there is something not right related to emissions and the technician won't attempt to run the smog test. Since you must be familiar with the folks at the dealership, ask them to check the fault code(s) if that light is on, then report back here what was found. If the light is not on, then chances are the smog test will be fine. If you have access to an OBDll code reader, that will tell you the 'rediness' condition of the emission control system, and if everything is good to go.

Techron; from what I've read, it does work, unlike other additives that just don't. Audi had recommend it, and maybe still does. I use it periodically (perhaps once per year) in my cars.

There isn't much else to prepare for, but keep in mind that if you know it won't pass, pay the registration anyway. If you are going to get another car in a few months, I wouldn't worry a lot about not having the current tag.
 

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Command performance - "How long is a piece of string?"

Anyway, while you can keep a machine going forever, at some point you get tired of it, or get tired of fixing it. For my VW's, that's usually somewhere upwards of 250,000 miles. My much-beloved 2000 B5 I kept to 255,000; the current owner has over 300,000 (I get Christmas cards). That car still has the original engine, transmission, and even turbocharger. For a car with so little resale value, I'd probably keep it until something too expensive to fix - say, a transmission - gives up the ghost.

My mileage champ was a 1978 Peugeot 504D. 369,000 miles on that car when it went to the scrapyard with a rusted-out frame.
 

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The KBB, wholesale (trade in) values are well documented.

[mild rant]
There are also considerations of what a vehicle is worth to the owner and whether or not available newer vehicles come any where close to a '98-'05 Passat in terms of handling, ride quality, maintenance requirements (TFSI engine PCV system design that requires [mmm dealer$hip gravy] intake port/valve cleaning due to lack of low pressure fuel injector in intake runner [to wash down the "crud"] as on all Passats), etc.
[/mild rant]

Go find any VW/Audi product less than 18 months old without some dash-mounted infotainment screen (which will be obsolete within ~24 months [Moore's Law]).
 

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...
My only concern is that I've to do a smog check and concern about passing the test, b/c I've heard that high milage car may not pass the smog check
...
If I'm interpreting what you heard correctly, older cars burn oil and so they'll fail a smog test.
You can get a sense of whether your car burns oil from running your finger in the tail pipe/pipes and see how gunky it is....although one sort of has to have a feel for such a thing. I test cars that way when I look at them. A car that burns oil will have a build up in the tail pipe. Tail pipes are kind of like spark plugs in that they have clues as to how the engine is burning the fuel and if there is oil in there. Now that I mentioned it, spark plugs too can be something that gives you a sense of things.
If you have no oil leaks, and don't go through oil (don't have to keep adding oil) you should be OK.
Another sign I like is seeing clean oil when I pull the dipstick. A worn engine will show darker oil than a tight engine. But you can have darker oil for other reasons than a worn out engine.

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no smoke, odor or anything
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That sounds good. So maybe don't be such an alarmist. But if you can and want to investigate further, do what I first wrote in this post.

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...but I worry I may have to change the catalyst converter and that's not cheap
...
It can be very expensive or it can be not too bad depending on how you go about things. If you go to the dealer, you will get taken. If you know how to shop and have assess to tools or can work out a deal with a place or friend, then it won't be so painful and is only a "what if" scenarios.
What if scenarios can be infinite: what if this, what if that.
 

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Anyway, while you can keep a machine going forever, at some point you get tired of it, or get tired of fixing it. For my VW's, that's usually somewhere upwards of 250,000 miles.
I'll bet Scott has saved a lot of money too.

I once attended financial seminars put on by an investment bank, and one point they made was the huge expense new cars often are, over a lifetime of driving. Lots of people buy, or lease, a new car every few years of their car-driving life. The upshot was that if you make a habit of buying vehicles a few years old, after the majority of depreciation had occurred, then keep them say ten years or more, you could expect to a retire sooner or have much more savings or other tangible property. That's been our plan, except for the Passat wagon, which we bought new but paid off as soon as possible. Now that we've had it 19 years, I think we got our money's worth.
 

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Frankly, it horrifies me what people do to themselves financially with cars - even though it makes me a living. I'll put people into 84-month loans, knowing full well they'll be looking for a new car in 36. Not by their choice or mine, simply because they're carrying so much negative equity from prior vehicle changes that seven years is the only way to keep the payment affordable.

I have people with $60k loans on $40k cars... I had someone in today wanting to trade out of a two-year-old Jeep that she paid $25k for, is now worth $16k, and she owes $31k!
 

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Frankly, it horrifies me what people do to themselves financially with cars - even though it makes me a living. I'll put people into 84-month loans, knowing full well they'll be looking for a new car in 36. Not by their choice or mine, simply because they're carrying so much negative equity from prior vehicle changes that seven years is the only way to keep the payment affordable.

I have people with $60k loans on $40k cars... I had someone in today wanting to trade out of a two-year-old Jeep that she paid $25k for, is now worth $16k, and she owes $31k!
You know, average people are not that smart... they want things they cannot afford and they do not have the brain power to even grasp on possible consequences of taking a 84 month loan.

What is your employer doing, btw, in terms of teaching you how to deal with people hurting themselves like this? Do they teach you some integrity and ethics to try to convey to the customer that if the only way to afford this car is to take a 7 years loan it simply means you cannot afford it? Or they teach that own corporate profits are the only thing which counts?


Pszemol
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2004 Passat GLX, V6 2.8l
 

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What is your employer doing, btw, in terms of teaching you how to deal with people hurting themselves like this? Do they teach you some integrity and ethics to try to convey to the customer that if the only way to afford this car is to take a 7 years loan it simply means you cannot afford it? Or they teach that own corporate profits are the only thing which counts?
That response is completely unfair to Scott- implying that he doesn't have integrity and ethics. He said that it "horrifies" him to see what people do to themselves financially with cars- there was your first clue. Believe it or not, it's not his responsibility to educate people about how borrowing money works; that's what schools are for. Furthermore, neither Scott nor his dealership loan the customers money, that is done by a finance company. And by the way, every purchase contract I've see has the finance cost clearly spelled out, so it's no ones fault except the buyer's if they will end up owing more than the car is worth. And finally...if it wasn't for corporate profits, there wouldn't be any cars for you to drive, unless you could design and build one yourself.
 

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What is your employer doing, btw, in terms of teaching you how to deal with people hurting themselves like this? Do they teach you some integrity and ethics to try to convey to the customer that if the only way to afford this car is to take a 7 years loan it simply means you cannot afford it?
Thanks for the support, ylwagon, but I'll answer that nonetheless. When I was in training for this job - training specific to the industry, but not this dealership - one of my concerns was "what if the customer simply can't afford the car?" The collective answer would be something like "We're not babysitters - let the banks worry about that."

I am in fact regularly criticized for excessive honesty - "What are you, some kind of consumer advocate?" If I don't slow them down, the average consumer will sign any damn piece of paper I put in front of them. That's so common there's industry slang for the reverse: "You've got a Reader!" I make sure my customers read and understand the contract, including the total cost of finance. If a lease, I make sure they see and understand the residual. On a service contract, I make sure they know the deductibles and coverage. What more can I do, especially when my livelihood depends on it?

The average auto loan, for the last year I have numbers for, was $551 for 66 months. When I was young, a $200 payment for 24 months was typical. Back then, you needed at least 10-15% down; like a mortgage. Today, I plead with people to put even $500 down - it gets them a better rate for the entire life of the loan - but they're addicted to zero down. It's like they're trying to destroy themselves financially. We don't do it, but there are dealers who will write 96 and even (I hear) 108 month loans.
 

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That response is completely unfair to Scott- implying that he doesn't have integrity and ethics. He said that it "horrifies" him to see what people do to themselves financially with cars- there was your first clue. Believe it or not, it's not his responsibility to educate people about how borrowing money works; that's what schools are for. Furthermore, neither Scott nor his dealership loan the customers money, that is done by a finance company. And by the way, every purchase contract I've see has the finance cost clearly spelled out, so it's no ones fault except the buyer's if they will end up owing more than the car is worth. And finally...if it wasn't for corporate profits, there wouldn't be any cars for you to drive, unless you could design and build one yourself.
I did not accuse Scott of lacking ethics or integrity.
I was just curiouse or the classes his employer is serving them.

My employer is pushing integrity courses for all of us and teaching us various of things to keep the personel on even level in terms of ethics.


Pszemol
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2004 Passat GLX, V6 2.8l
 

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Thanks for the support, ylwagon, but I'll answer that nonetheless. When I was in training for this job - training specific to the industry, but not this dealership - one of my concerns was "what if the customer simply can't afford the car?" The collective answer would be something like "We're not babysitters - let the banks worry about that."

I am in fact regularly criticized for excessive honesty - "What are you, some kind of consumer advocate?" If I don't slow them down, the average consumer will sign any damn piece of paper I put in front of them. That's so common there's industry slang for the reverse: "You've got a Reader!" I make sure my customers read and understand the contract, including the total cost of finance. If a lease, I make sure they see and understand the residual. On a service contract, I make sure they know the deductibles and coverage. What more can I do, especially when my livelihood depends on it?

The average auto loan, for the last year I have numbers for, was $551 for 66 months. When I was young, a $200 payment for 24 months was typical. Back then, you needed at least 10-15% down; like a mortgage. Today, I plead with people to put even $500 down - it gets them a better rate for the entire life of the loan - but they're addicted to zero down. It's like they're trying to destroy themselves financially. We don't do it, but there are dealers who will write 96 and even (I hear) 108 month loans.
Funny term a Reader :)

I was a Reader when I was buying my Accord Coupe and was trying to read conditions of extended warranty "Honda Care" I got for $500 down from $2500 initially offered. Now I understand why the agent was visibly annoyed and seem impatient.

Btw this paperwork is not designed to read before signing - this is multipage, fine print, lawyer talk - after spending 2-3 days at home you will maybe get 80% right... :)

I am glad to hear you have your humanity left in you - most of the blood suckers in the loan industry are soul-less robots with dollar signs in their eyes.

Cheers!


Pszemol
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I am a compulsive reader, not just of contracts, but of everything. I have found the car contracts quite easy to understand, but math is generally easy to me. They all have a simple to read cost breakdown showing initial cost, interest costs and overall costs. The problem is that people don't even glance over them, yet alone read them.

I have bought only 2 new cars in my lifetime (an 86 Golf and our 05 Golf) and two 1 year old cars (my 2000 Passat had 9K, our 87 Taurus had 19K). We kept the Taurus for about 17 years, still have the 05 Golf (now at 60K) and my 01 Passat that I have had for 12 years. My son's have a 00 and 01 Passats in good condition. Mine is the worst of the bunch, with a bad interior that I am supposed to fix this summer (new headliner and door cloth). Mechanically, it's pretty good, but I have many parts to install still. I am looking at a new car within the next year, as my wife would prefer a newer car to travel in. I am hoping that I will not have to finance the car, but that will depend on both my wife and son finding a job soon.
 
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