Friday, June 6, 2008

Indiana Jones and The Last Collectible:

Grab your hat and bull whip! Your going to need it!

The hinges creek as you pry open the garage door. Nobody has ventured into that dark pit known as your garage in a long time. You can barely make out the form under all the boxes and junk that is piled on it, hiding the object of your desire from 20 plus years ago. There, covered in all its cob web glory is your old car.
Before you can get close, you twist your ankle tripping over a booby-trap, in the form of your child’s bike, that was lying on the ground. You bang your knee on the bumper as you try to move junk off your buried treasury. A mouse scurries away but thankfully, no snakes! After what seems like hours of digging, the car is ready to be driven out of the garage.

What are you going to do with this antique?

The first step is to determine if your vehicle really is a collectible. Old muscle cars built before 1970 are definitely collectible. A Yugo or AMC Gremlin with a quarter of a million miles on it is not. If that first car of yours turns out not to be a valuable classic, you will have to do some digging to find out the value of it. Look at Kelly Blue Book, Auto Trader and the Recycler Online to get a general idea of the value of your vehicle. Once you determine a price, make sure that you are up for entering the treacherous waters of selling a used vehicle.
· Selling an old car can be a hassle. The seller (you) is responsible to get the vehicle smog certified.
· People will call at all hours telling you they cannot live without buying your old car and then they never show up or call after you have spent half the day waiting for them.
· Be careful about letting people test drive your vehicle. You are responsible if they crash it on the test drive! (I’ve had a couple of scary drivers take my car for a test run.)
· After negotiating a price for your prized Ford Pinto accept only cash or a certified bank check that you verify is good, never ever accept a personal check.
· Get a photocopy of their drivers license. If they do not have a license, do not sell the car to them! Even if you fill out a release of liability form and that person does not register the vehicle in their name, you will be sent the $300.00 ticket when they run a red light and a camera records it. (I learned this lesson the hard way!)
· Instead of selling it, maybe that not-quite-collectible car could make a good starter car for that child of yours that leaves there bike lying around unused. As long as they are not embarrassed to be seen in a vehicle that was considered old before they were born, hand over the keys. What is the worst thing Junior can do to the car?
· One last option is to donate the car to charity or worthy cause. They will usually come pick it up at your house, as long as you have the DMV title.

Congratulations!!! You have navigated your way through the hazardous maze of selling a used car and come out alive. You are a true adventurer.

I hope this article helps you. I am Ken Levine, the owner of Ken’s Quality Auto Repair in Thousand Oaks, where we specialize in Lexus and Toyota vehicles. If you have any car questions please e-mail me at, visit or call 805-494-4344

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