Craigslist Buyer Scams

When selling a personal vehicle, I like to post a listing on Craigslist. It is an easy and free way to advertise your vehicle to local people. With a few steps, I can post pictures of my car with a description and asking price. However, I am learning that when you are eager to sell your car, it is easy to be taken advantage of by Craigslist buyer scams.

I have personally experienced three types of online scams:

  1. Is your car still for sale?

    This question is usually accompanied by multiple requests to help you sell your car for a small fee. No doubt the fee will be paid and nothing will ever be done.

  2. Ship me the car because I am out of the country.

    This one has been out there for a while. The buyer is ready to make a deal but can’t see the vehicle because he is out of the country on business. He requests that you do the transaction online and then ship the car to a designated location. No doubt the payment will be revoked as soon as the car is shipped.

  3. Run this car report and I will buy your car.

    The buyer promises to buy the vehicle sight unseen as long as you run a car history report. The link does not go to a reputable company such as carfax but some unknown site. No doubt, the scammer uses your credit card payment for the report to empty your bank account.

Apparently, I am not the only one who has noted these problems. Car Buying Tips and DMV.org also have good articles on what to avoid when selling your car online.

The Beautiful Car

I was looking through old pictures and came across this reminder of how beautiful the Jaguar XJ-S was. It just makes me smile to see this old car looking so good in our driveway so many years ago. It was definitely a privilege to own such a unique vehicle.

QOTD #61: Does idling hurt your car’s engine?

During my time as a driver manager with a fleet of 40 vehicles, I have noticed that some of our vans have developed catalytic converter problems. The most recent was a 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan (with 123k miles) which developed a check engine light with a P0420 code. The local mechanic told me it was the bank one catalytic converter needing to be replaced. This expensive repair caused me to wonder why the unit went bad.

The company I work for transports railroad crew members from one place to another. However, there are times when the crew is not ready to go for up to three hours. As you can imagine, if it is hot, the driver will keep the van running with the AC on. Now that colder weather has arrived, our drivers keep the van running for the heat. While I don’t have a problem with our drivers being comfortable, I am wondering if the idling of their vehicles is causing problems to develop inside the engine or catalytic converter.

Search the internet and you will find forums arguing about this:

“Not true. 90% of all wear is done at start up. Once an engine is running it’s best to leave it running. Letting it idle will not harm a thing. Not back then and not today. As long as the engine has oil pressure you’re not hurting a thing. Sorry but dad was wrong.” 1

“The main problem with extended idling was the wasted fuel, fouled spark plugs, and carboned up combustion chambers from the carburetor delivered fuel system and lesser ignitions systems of the era. … But, the company my mom worked for at the time in the mid-1960’s used a fleet of Corvairs, including the van version, and without any particular problems for all of the extended idling that the delivery units were subjected to.” 2

So… who is right? And how about with newer, fuel-injected engines today? Does idling cause your vehicle’s engine to foul spark plugs, wear out quicker, and mess up your catalytic converter? Instead of relying on the forums, I decided to visit the Car Talk website to find the answer:

These days, with fuel injection and computer engine management, cars and trucks can idle until they run out of gas without doing any extra damage to the engine (assuming the cooling system is working properly). Idling does add wear and tear to the engine –anytime the engine is running, you’re decreasing the useful life of the oil and slowly wearing out parts. But it’s no more harmful than driving. 3

What do you think? Is Car Talk right about this?

Five Rental Cars

During my recent business trip, I drove five rental cars in five days. I have mixed emotions about that experience. On one hand, I enjoy driving different vehicles as it gives me the opportunity to test drive new cars. On the other hand, not all those cars were comfortable. Even after several visits to the chiropractor, my lower back is still complaining. But that is to be expected … I suppose.

During the trip, I drove a KIA Sportage, a new Infiniti QX30, a Ford Fusion, a new Chrysler Pacifica, and a Dodge Dart. I had limited time in the Ford and Chrysler but they were both comfortable and luxurious. I don’t remember much about the KIA. But the other two were memorable in different ways.

When I got to Baltimore’s airport, the lines were long, I was tired, and nobody was cooperating. Even being a preferred member of Enterprise didn’t help me to walk in and get a car. However, I finally made a reservation through Enterprise’s website and found that all the cars were the same price … $270 for a one way trip to Syracuse. Yikes!

Instead of paying that much for an economy car, I chose luxury. Why not? I ended up getting the 2017 Infiniti QX30. It is a small SUV with a 2.0 turbo four and AWD. I received several compliments on the vehicle. It was stylish and interesting. But for my body size, it was too small to be comfortable. I think the combination of driving this and sleeping in a cheap hotel caused my back trouble.

However… there were some interesting things about this snazzy ride. The first thing I noticed was the interior’s use of Mercedes-Benz components. The power seat controls were on the door. The steering wheel controls were the same. And the cruise control was exactly like MB. No complaints about that as they were familiar and worked well. It was just strange to see them in an Infiniti.

The last car I rented was a 2015 Dodge Dart with 30k miles on the odometer. Even though it was a small car, the cloth/mesh seats were very comfortable. The Bluetooth system was also easy to use and allowed me to play audio from my phone. Nice. The performance, however, was lacking. The little engine could rev up to almost 6000 rpm but it made more noise than speed. Of course, this was after driving the turbo charged Infiniti so it probably is not a fair comparison.

Overall, I enjoyed driving the different vehicles. The Pacifica’s touch screen was the best looking HD quality unit I have ever seen. The Ford was very comfortable and luxurious. But with my back issues, I will be especially careful with the next car I choose … especially at $270 per day.