Sunday, February 16, 2020

Adventures in buying a new truck

To cut to the chase, no, I do not have a new truck.

The truck we looked at Saturday is a good example in the frustration.

I found a vehicle that fell within the basket of age, miles and price.

We drove to Grand Rapids, an eighty minute drive.

The woman selling the truck was waiting for us in a running vehicle. Clearly, she did not live where the truck was parked.

She admitted that she did not own the truck. It was her husband's. I didn't think any more about it. Her voice had slight traces of eastern European around the edges.

The truck was super clean. Very little rust.

It also had six inches of snow on it and it did not want to start.

Oil was newly changed and over filled.

I took it for a drive. The steering was heavy and the steering wheel was positioned 90 degrees from factory setting.

I was not able to verify the mileage because the DIC (get your mind out of the gutter, it means Driver Information Center) would not stop scrolling error messages.

The price was about $1400 less than Kelly Blue Book.

I told the woman I was interested.

I got back home AND....various VIN checkers told me the VIN was invalid.

I asked the woman to take a picture of the VIN. An hour later she sent me a crappy, almost unreadable picture. Fortunately, I have several sets of young, confident eyes.

That VIN checked out. The vehicle had been totaled out in 2019.

So...maybe there was a reason for all of the air-bag codes.

I called the lady back and said "Thanks, but no thanks."

She suggested that maybe I could have it for a lower price.

Again, "Thanks but no thanks."

I felt a huge sense of relief. The "unavailability" of her husband bothered me.

Was he in prison? Deported? On Deployment? Had they split up? Was she a cleaning lady who worked for a senile, old woman and selling a vehicle that REALLY was not hers?

The hunt continues.


  1. Her husband probably buys wrecks, slaps on some bondo, and has her sell them to the unwary. If they're also scamming welfare, he's probably an ex-husband for official purposes.

    1. The VIN that looks authentic but is non-existent was a neat trick, if that is what they are doing.

  2. I've been buying my vehicles south of the mason dixon line.

    I, too, live in the rust belt, and I refuse to take the depreciation hit and dealer profit on a new car.

    I buy from individuals, with currency in hand. I won't buy rust, I travel to avoid rust. I like to get at least 8 years out of a vehicle and the target budget is $1K per year.

    I drag a car hauler trailer with me because I've had enough "adventures" in my life, and I prefer to discover a malfunction locally vs on the open road.

    I spend a lotta time on craigslist, so I have plans to look at trucks A,B,C and D when I head out, and I keep looking as I travel If I have a companion.

    I've had good luck so far. Next one will be a crew cab 3/4 ton truck, preferably with 4WD.

    Lotsa luck on the hunt!


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