Category Archives: Vehicle Maintenance

Is It Hard To Sell A Car Privately?

If the purchaser of a new or used vehicle has a trade in, he must decide whether to sell it privately or trade it into the new or used car dealer. While the majority of customers will decide, for several good reasons, to trade their vehicle in, there are a number of people who will opt to sell privately. The subject of trade ins is a large and complicated one. This blog will address some of the difficulties to be expected in a private sale. The benefits of trading in the old vehicle are detailed in a blog entitled “Advantages of Trading In Your car” at Trust Auto in Sykesville, MD.

In order to conduct a successful sale of his old vehicle, there are several things that should be handled. The first challenge to the private seller is to try to determine the market value of his current vehicle – what is a reasonable asking price? For this he must perform some diligent research, looking at similar vehicles listed at dealer websites and third-party searchers like Google or CarGurus.  From the average asking prices he must subtract what it will cost to fully recondition the vehicle, both mechanically and cosmetically. A professional detailing job will take about four hours and cost $150 or more. 

Next he will need to prepare a VDP, or vehicle detail page, a full description of every aspect of his vehicle. The more information that is provided the better. Help the prospective buyer to better visualize the car or truck. Several good photos of the inside and the outside will be needed. If the seller is going to find a buyer, he will need to place a classified ad with one or more of the classified automotive listing services such as Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, TrueCar and many others. These services cost money, and a prime location that offers better visibility can be expensive. The objective is to help a buyer looking for a particular vehicle be able to find the sellers car or truck, click on that vehicle, read about it, see the photos, and be interested enough to call or email the seller for more information. If and when they do communicate, the buyer will ask all the usual questions that he would ask a dealer. And, he will need to be satisfied with the answers, to the point that he is willing to visit, inspect and drive the vehicle. 

If the vehicle passes the buyers inspection and he wants to buy it, the parties must agree on the price and how it will be paid. In almost all cases, the seller should require payment in cash or certified check. The seller should limit his future liability by selling the vehicle “As Is”, with no written representation about the condition of the vehicle. Private buyers are notorious for failing to show up for an appointment. If they want to buy it, their first offer will usually be much lower than the asking price, so the seller must be prepared to negotiate. 

If and when agreement is reached, the seller will need to produce the ownership title. If there is a bank lien on the title, he must call the bank, request a payoff amount and instructions for processing the payoff and getting the title. This will take several days, and maybe longer. When the seller receives the title from the bank, he should complete the assignment, including the buyer’s information, and take the title to the DMV to complete the transfer. Until the DMV processes the name change, the seller remains liable for any loss caused by the vehicle. Therefore, all insurance coverage must be kept until the transfer is complete. Any delays will extend the sellers legal liability. 

If the seller has an extended warranty or vehicle service contract on his car or truck, this could greatly facilitate the sale. Most warranties and service contracts are transferable for a small fee, and this will give the buyer much more confidence in completing the purchase. This is one of the many benefits of buying a service contract from a dealer when the seller makes his new purchase. There are many reputable service contract providers today, and Trust Auto in Sykesville, MD, works with several of the leading companies.

4 Car Maintenance Repairs You Can Do At Home

With colder weather quickly approaching,  taking necessary precautions to prepare your car for snow, bad roads, and the change of seasons is an important step to keeping your car running smoothly.

Instead of taking your car to a costly mechanic, save a buck by doing some general maintenance repairs at home. You don’t have to be a car expert or even mechanically inclined to know how to  do basic repairs on your vehicle.

1. Oil ChangeImage result for car oil change illustration

Tools: Ratchet, oil pan, funnel, oil filter wrench

Time: 30-45 minutes

You’re supposed to change your oil every 5,000 miles, but before you start, take a few safety precautions:

  • Never change the oil while your car is still hot. Driving around the block may loosen up the oil and make it easier to change, but park, wait for your engine to cool down, then get to work.
  • You will most likely need to use a jack to get under your vehicle, so be sure you are comfortable using a jack.

Changing your vehicle’s oil is the messiest job on this list, so be prepared to get a little dirty!

  1. Using a jack, get under your car and find the vehicle’s oil pan. It should be easy to find.
  2. Unscrew the drain plug and drain all of the old oil into the oil pan.
  3. When all the oil is drained, put the drain plug back in place.
  4. Under your car’s hood, locate the oil filter and remove using your oil filter wrench (there will be some oil on the filter, so be careful).
  5. Lubricate the rubber gasket on the new oil filter and fill the new oil filter 2/3 of the way with new motor oil
  6. Screw in the new oil filter and tighten by hand.
  7. Using your funnel, fill the engine with new oil.
  8. Double check your oil levels to be sure you’ve added enough by using a dip-stick.
  9. Discard the old oil filter.

Most gas stations will recycle old motor oil, so check the gas station closest to you.

2. Changing Your Wiper Blades

Tools: None

Time: 5-10 minutes

This is very important as we enter colder months and start getting frost on our vehicle’s overnight and even some ice! Wiper blades are rubber, so they experience wear and tear a lot more frequently than other external parts.  Keeping your blades fresh and new for winter months will increase your visibility and make you a safer driver.

Changing your wiper blades varies between cars, so if you are unsure how to do this, always check your owner’s manual first.  But for the most part, this is a pretty simple task.

  1. Lift your windshield wipers and carefully remove the blades.
  2. While doing this, pay attention to how the blades were attached.
  3. On most vehicles, there’s a tab on the bottom of the wipers – push to remove the blade.
  4. Attach the new blades, being careful not to bend the metal frame of the wipers, and make sure they are secure.

(If you can’t figure out how to do this, most wiper blades packaging come with installation instructions.)

3. Topping Off Your Fluids

Tools: Funnel

Time: 15-20 minutes (for all levels)

One of the easiest maintenance tasks to perform on your vehicle is topping off your fluid levels – windshield washer fluid and antifreeze especially for winter.

Windshield washer fluid is as simple as lifting the hood of your car and locating the container and using a funnel, pouring windshield washer fluid into the container until it reaches the “fill” line. If there is no clear indicator, leave a few inches at the top.

Antifreeze is important for your engine so it doesn’t overheat. Locate the reservoir and loosen the cap. Allow the pressure to release before fully unscrewing the cap. If the coolant level is low, add the correct coolant to the reservoir (not the radiator itself).

Image result for oil change car

4. Replacing Your Vehicle’s Air Filter

Tools: None

Time: 10-15 minutes

It’s recommended that you change your vehicle’s air filter once a year, or every 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. This only takes about 10 minutes to do by yourself, making it a quick fix that shouldn’t go overlooked.

  1. Find your filter under the hood of your car. It is a rectangular box with metal clips on the side (if you can’t locate it, check your owner’s manual).
  2. Open the cover and remove the old air filter, taking note of how the filter fits inside the casing.
  3. Replace with the new filter and close the cover using the metal clips.

These 4 tasks can be done easily in your own driveway and will save you a boatload of money (auto mechanic costs can add up!). If ever you are unsure or uncomfortable working on your vehicle, read through the owner’s manual or call your local mechanic.  Most auto shops will be able to help you determine the best brands and types of fluids for your vehicle, what wiper blades fit your make and model, and what size air filter you need.