I Found My Car… On Craigslist

On Thursday, just for fun and because I was still on my lunch break, I decided to take a quick peek to see if any vehicles fitting my wishlist had been posted to Craigslist.

And just like that, I found my car.  Don’t ask me how I knew it was my car, I just had a feeling it was my new car. The price was right, the mileage wasn’t too bad, the fuel economy was not as much as I’d been hoping for and it was a little older than I’d been counting on, but it just felt right.

1992-1999 Pontiac Bonneville photographed in U...

1992-1999 Pontiac Bonneville photographed in USA. Category:Pontiac Bonneville (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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I checked the vehicle on CARFAX, using one of the five I bought earlier this month.  Everything looked good according to CARFAX.

The seller stated he was selling the car for his sister-in-law who had moved back east to care for their elderly mother and listed some features of the car as well as a couple of problems it was having.  He said he worked until 7pm and could show the car after that.

I finally got Mr. A on the phone and we agreed to meet in that area around 7pm.  I stopped by the bank and withdrew the cash in case we decided to make the purchase.  I told Mr. A, “Don’t let my emotions or female intuition get in the way of logic.“  I told him if he suspected the car would be a problem that I would be more than happy to go with his final decision.

Mr. A called the man who gave us instructions to his home.  We carefully looked over the car and Mr. A looked under the hood.  The guy handed us the keys and told us to go ahead and take it for a test drive.  I was surprised by that, surprised that you can still find people with that much trust.  It almost seems naive or irresponsible.  We drove a few miles down the road, and the seller lives in a neighborhood with some streets on an incline and the car didn’t hesitate going up the incline (the lemon car I bought had this obvious problem when I test drove it).  We drove to a grocery store in the area, stopped in the parking lot and just let it idle for a while and Mr. A looked under the hood again and checked the oil and transmission fluid.

When we returned to the seller’s home Mr. A pointed out a problem he’d noticed which the seller had not disclosed and the seller offered to reduce the price by $100. We decided to buy the car.

Going back to my original wish list on a vehicle, let’s see how I did.

  • I would like to get a vehicle with at least 30 miles per gallon on the highway. FAIL
  • I feel unsafe driving tiny vehicles so I would prefer a somewhat larger vehicle.  SUCCESS
  • I prefer four doors.  SUCCESS
  • I need air conditioning.  SUCCESS
  • I won’t be buying anything newer than six years old.  SUCCESS
  • I am okay with 100,000 miles, maybe even 140,000. FAIL
  • I’m not particular about color, but I wouldn’t want a black car.  SUCCESS
  • I prefer automatic transmission.  SUCCESS

I failed on the fuel economy.  Fuel Economy.gov says this vehicle is estimated to get 26mpg highway, 20mpg combined and 17mpg city.  As I’ve mentioned before, most of my driving is highway miles.   I typically get the highest mileage or better on a regular basis for the vehicles I’ve driven.  For example, my 1996 Nissan Pathfinder, according to Fuel Economy.gov should have gotten 14mpg city, 15mpg combined and 17mpg highway. I calculated nearly every time I filled up (which was weekly) and I always got between 18 and 19mpg.

Mr. A and I regularly calculate the mileage we are getting because it can be a trouble indicator. If your mpg suddenly drops, something is wrong.  I will be very curious to see what kind of mileage I can get from this car.  If I can get 26mpg, with the current cost for fuel being $3.55, my daily commute will cost me $13.63.  Right now, driving my employer’s van has been costing me $23.64 per day. That is a $10 savings right there.  *Happy dance*

The car has 144,899 miles on the odometer. I missed my goal by just under 5000 miles.  From what I could see on the CARFAX, the lady who owned it (2nd owner, she bought it in 1991 when it had 36,000 miles on it)  put just under 10,000 miles a year on it, which is less than average.  CARFAX reports the car was serviced at a dealer in Arizona at 84,000 miles and I plan to put a call in to see if I can learn what services were performed at that time.

The owner’s manual was in the dashboard and has many references to features which may be optional.  I found this site DECODETHIS.com which can help you to figure out the options for your vehicle so I will be going through that list.  I will also be reading the owner’s manual to learn all I can about this vehicle and we’ll be buying a Chilton’s manual, that book is invaluable for troubleshooting.

One complaint I have is that unfortunately it reeks of cigarette smoke.   When I need to buy another used car I will be putting that criteria on my “wishlist”.  I am not sure how to rid the car of the cigarette smell without adding more chemicals to the mix.  Febreze is rank and full of chemicals and I try to avoid exposure to them as much as possible.

I am hoping it turns out to be a wise decision.  I realize I cannot expect total perfection for $1750 and a 14 year old vehicle.  If I want perfection, I should have gone through a dealer and bought a certified used car.  We decided to take our chances and only time will tell how successful we were.  And if my female intuition works at all.  ;-)

I think it will okay.

Have you ever bought a car from Craigslist?  Have you ever sold one?

 

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12 comments to I Found My Car… On Craigslist

  • Wow can’t believe you spend almost $24 a day on gas! And maybe try leaving the windows open to get rid of the smell? I’m not really sure what else could be done.
    Michelle recently posted..Spending, Life, Income and Food Updates…My Profile

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Michelle, I know. It’s awful. When I first started driving the van a few weeks ago it was $21 and I was not happy about that. Since then gasoline has gone up more than a quarter per gallon. I have left one window open — in Arizona we have a rainy season with frequent, sudden dust storms so I don’t want to leave all the windows open. It has nice leather seats, although they are a bit worn looking. I think I should probably buy a cover to protect them. I was also thinking I bet the smoke smell is probably clinging to the leather so I’ve wiped down the seats, hoping that will help some. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

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  • We found our car on craiglist and sold that same care on craigslist. I love craigslist! It’s great and it leads to finding great deals. Our car was used and we had no problems. It was an older car so less insurance and less money all around!

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Hi Jerry, cool. Yes, I definitely love that my insurance won’t cost much at all. In comparison to my other car it was about $90 for six months so I am sure this will be the same which isn’t bad at all.

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  • Congrats on the new car!! Try spraying the car with vinegar and essential oils diluted with water. :)
    Mrs. Money recently posted..What Baby Items Do I Need to Keep?My Profile

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Mrs. Money, that’s a great idea! I will have to look and see which essential oils I have on hand. My son was making soap a few years ago and he had several little bottles that he left here when he moved out. I don’t mind breathing in essential oils smell. :-) The vinegar idea sounds like it might really help. Thanks!

    [Reply]

  • lauren

    We just sold our car in Craigslist, and it was a great experience.

    For the smoke smell, put a bowl of charcoal under your seat. (The squares)

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Hi Lauren, good to hear you had a great experience selling on Craigslist. I didn’t realize charcoal would absorb odors, I will do that. You also reminded me that baking soda absorbs odors. I will try both of those. Thanks!

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  • I love the wish list. That’s exactly how I shopped for my last car, a 99 Honda Accord. I stuck with my list, found a car in my price range, went to the used car dealer where it was listed, and found that the price had dropped another $750! If I didn’t have the list, I never would have waited, and never would have found such a great deal.
    Kris recently posted..If your paycheck seems to run out BEFORE you pay all your bills, here are some ways to stretch your dollarsMy Profile

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Kris, awesome deal! I think a wish list can definitely help to cut down on impulse purchases. Thanks for sharing. Mrs. A
    Mrs. Accountability recently posted..Make Your Own Hidden Valley Ranch DressingMy Profile

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  • Yay! Good for you! I hope it runs for many more happy miles.

    If you don’t dislike the odor of Murphy’s Oil Soap, you could try wiping down the dashboard and the plastic and vinyl parts of the trim. That may get rid of some of the smoke odor. Also, try cleaning the leather seats with saddle soap or any other decent leather cleaner — that should help. It will spiff up tired leather, too. Unfortunately, the darn smoke gets into the AC system, so it can take a while to air out. Leave the recirc cycle off and have it pump in outside air for a few weeks…maybe that will speed things along.

    Do you have a garage with a door that can close? When my car has gotten stinky, I’ve found it helps to leave the windows open all night. Wouldn’t do that if I had to leave the chariot in a carport, tho’.

    Agreed: Febreeze is gross!!!!
    Funny about Money recently posted..Life Is Short. Eternity Is Long.My Profile

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Hi Funny, I don’t know if I have ever used Murphy’s Oil Soap. I will have to check that out. Thanks for the suggestion. We don’t have a garage but I have been leaving one window down at night. Your recent post sure has an interesting title. I’ll have to hop over and have a read. :-)

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