One Too Many Cars...Most Hassle Free Way of Consolidating?
January 23, 2013 12:43 PM   Subscribe

I've got 2 Mini Coopers that I love: 2006 automatic with 35k miles and sunroof that I own outright, 2011 manual with 17k miles and a Thule kayak rack that I owe about $7k on. My older teens have moved out and I don't need to have both cars anymore, so I'm trying to figure out the quickest, most hassle-free way of having only one car. Because I work full-time and live with just my son, I really don't want to have people coming to my house as I try to sell a car on my own and I'm willing to lose a little cash if I can make some type of deal on the spot with a dealer. Again, I really do NOT want to do Craigslist and sell the car on my own. I have a good relationship with the Mini dealer where I bought both cars. A friend suggested I bring in both cars, explain the situation, and see what they come up with. Any other ideas about the easiest way to get me into one Mini? Ideas to make the cars more desirable to the dealer? What angles have I not considered?
posted by kinetic to Travel & Transportation (19 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Carmax is the best for this type of situation. Pick which one you want to sell, take it to carmax. They'll look it over and give you a price. The price is good for 7 days. Very simple.
posted by zug at 12:45 PM on January 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

Nth Carmax as well. There's a drive-thru appraiser site right down the street from us.

So get a price from them, a price from your dealer and go with the highest offer.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:46 PM on January 23, 2013

Definitely Carmax, but you could make it super easy and just give the Automatic one to me.
posted by Sara C. at 12:48 PM on January 23, 2013 [6 favorites]

Thirding Carmax. You could easily bring both cars and compare offers. They generally, in my experience, offer right around Blue Book and there are no shenanigans with the whole "if you apply our offer to a new car" bullshit.
posted by restless_nomad at 12:48 PM on January 23, 2013

Response by poster: Closest Carmax is over an hour away. Are they that good?
posted by kinetic at 12:54 PM on January 23, 2013

I've bought my last three cars from them, and sold two. They're simple, reliable, and no-hassle. Just don't forget to bring the title with you.
posted by restless_nomad at 12:57 PM on January 23, 2013

Closest Carmax is over an hour away. Are they that good?

How much time would you spend getting rid of one of them any other way? Give your local dealer a try, but I'd advise giving Carmax a try too.
posted by Etrigan at 12:57 PM on January 23, 2013

Carmax is quick and painless. You won't get the best price, but convenience has value. Before you spend that hour drive, you should get a quote from AutoTrader's Trade-In Marketplace (there's a button on their home page, top of right column.... linking directly to it doesn't seem to work). They will send you a price by email. If nothing else, it will give you something to compare Carmax's offer with. In my experience, they were about $300 apart.
posted by spilon at 12:58 PM on January 23, 2013

Nthing Carmax -- my BFF had an excellent experience selling her car to them last year. She got about $1500 more than she was hoping for.
posted by MeiraV at 1:03 PM on January 23, 2013

Yeah, nthing Carmax. I have sold a car to them and while it was about $500 less than the trade-in value on Edmunds, it was worth the lack of hassle.
posted by bedhead at 1:03 PM on January 23, 2013

Response by poster: Any tips to make the cars more appealing or nah?
posted by kinetic at 1:47 PM on January 23, 2013

I was very disappointed in the price that Carmax was willing to offer when we were getting rid of an older Honda, so I sold it myself and got much more. Since you don't want to go that route, I would definitely encourage you to check with your dealer to see what they'll offer. Checking online sites like Kelley Blue Book is also advisable so you've got a good idea of what each car is worth. If the one with the kayak rack is to be sold, recognize that the rack will have little to no bearing on the price they offer you, so you might want to save the rack for the other car.
posted by pappy at 2:07 PM on January 23, 2013

Carmax or your dealer, the only real consideration is which one do you prefer and how much will you accept for the other one. I would probably keep the 2011 because it has had it's steepest depreciation and is still in great shape (mileage wise). I prefer a standard too, but that is personal preference. Most people do not and it may be harder to sell for a reseller. The Thule rack does have some value too.

Go on edmunds or and at least get an idea what a trade-in is worth versus a private sale. Even the trade in numbers might be a little high since you are not actually trading it in and dealer cannot make it up on the other side (new car).

Fwiw, I also know a single woman who did not want to do a private sale for obvious security reasons etc, and she had been going to the same service station for years for gas and oil changes and small repairs. She worked it out so she left it at the gas station, put an ad in the paper or craigslist and had them deal with potential buyers. I think she paid them like a $100 - $200 commission for dealing with it. And, of course she continues to use them for her new car.

As for more appealing, make sure they are clean. No old Starbucks coffee cups, etc. Make them look like they were taken care of. If you are going to negotiate hard and you have done regular maintenance on the 04, I would bring your file folder of receipts for oil changes and maintenance, etc. A documented well maintained car is a plus.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 2:09 PM on January 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

There is no way you're going to get rid of a car in less than two hours some other way besides driving to Carmax. Well, you could list in on craigslist for $3000 below bluebook, but you don't want to do that.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 2:32 PM on January 23, 2013

If you want to get the best price out of Carmax, sell them your newer low mileage car. They'll buy any car, but they really want to re-sell what they buy on their lots, and they like having newer, low-mile cars. Everything else just goes to auction, and you'll get about $1k less than they think they'll get for it.

I've sold 3 cars to Carmax, because I hate dealing with private party sales. Two times I feel I got a not-so-great deal (a 5 year old Cooper S and a 10 year old minivan (though we were grateful to get anything for the van)), but the last car was a fantastic offer. Actually, it was more than I think I could have gotten on the private market. That was for a '10 model year car with 11k miles, last month.

Not sure if it made a difference, but I cleaned the heck out of the last car. The less work they have to do to get it ready for resale, the better off you'll be.
posted by hwyengr at 2:49 PM on January 23, 2013

Carmax is your best bet if you value convenience over price. Plus, it sets a bottom price, so if you do better than that at the dealer, you're good. Carmax first, then look at what they're selling 'em for at Carmax and many dealers, then roll over to the dealer and offer them the automatic one.

I say that, by the way, because long-term the automatics are unreliable in these cars, whereas the manual with the Peugeot engine (your 2011) is going to run a long time.
posted by davejay at 2:56 PM on January 23, 2013

If your only objection to private sales is not wanting people to come to your house, schedule the test drives during your lunch break at work.
posted by flimflam at 3:51 PM on January 23, 2013

Response by poster: I will Carmax tomorrow; I have KBB price ideas and I will mark this resolved upon return!
posted by kinetic at 5:17 AM on January 26, 2013

Response by poster: Went to Carmax, was offered 14k for 2011 car and 7k for 2006. Easy and painless; drove home with the 2006 model and 14k cash.
posted by kinetic at 3:53 AM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

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