The appointment was made, and the Golf was in the shop for the headliner fixes and trim panel repairs after a most irritating morning appointment to trade keys. The same thoughts kept returning to mind continually, forcing me to consider a salient point: Did I want to continue with this sort of ownership experience years into the future?
Short answer? No.
Everyone’s been saying it’s the best time to sell a used car and the worst time to buy one. Over the past five or six months, anybody who’s approached to ask “What about buying a car now?” received a firm “That’s a bad idea.” response from me. The only people who should be buying into the scarce (used or new), overpriced car market are those who absolutely must have a new(er) car. As I thought about it more, I leaned more into the idea that I was a part of the first group of people described above: Have a used car, don’t especially need it.
You may recall I purchased the Golf at the end of December 2019, when the working world for a lot of people looked different than it does today. Once March 2020 rolled around, the office at my day job closed down; my commute was deleted. Suddenly I found myself with two cars that mostly sat idle, and I mentally kept track of which I’d not driven for the past two weeks. This persisted for the next, you know, year. Just this week the office opened back up for business, but my job will not see me return to a regular commute. I’ll be mostly working from home, with only occasional important meetings requiring an in-office presence. In a year and a half, I’d put less than 6,000 miles on the Golf, and that included some driving around for no reason at all except Lockdown Entertainment Reasons.
Given driving would not return to The Before Times, the seemingly stupid prices consumers are willing to pay for used cars these days, and the irritation I experience every single time the dealer got hold of the Golf, it was maybe time to sell. The dealer’s GM reached out previously to say hello after seeing an article here (hello there!) and said he was interested in buying the Golf. At the time I’d said I liked having two cars (which I really do) and didn’t want to sell. But I came around, as one does when an idea plants itself Inception-like in one’s mind.
That’s what generated the investigation last week into the used car buying services. I checked out those five first, and then when I saw the figures I was getting (or not getting in some cases), I reached out to the dealer and asked for an offer. Easy enough since the car was just outside the office in the service bay, probably in pieces at the time. The reply came back the next day: $22,000. I hadn’t planned on any hardball negotiation on this, and that offer was nearly enough to sound acceptable. There’s something to be said when you don’t have to deal with morons on Facebook who really don’t have the scratch for a $10,000 car, but really want to waste your time on a $24,000 car anyway.
I asked “Any wiggle room?” Received a response the next day, with an attached screenshot of comparable cars for sale (I love seeing comps). He could come up to $22,500. I went to grab my title and check the purchase price, as that’s one of those figures you forget. $22,678, plus $1,587 to the Ohio government. That’ll do, I said. The date was this past Thursday, July 1st. The manager replied that I should come by the next day with the title and to sign forms, and I picked 10:30. The next morning I was there promptly with keys and title in hand.
The manager greeted me at the door. The paperwork was ready, which consisted of two or three different forms for me to sign. In a two-minute process, I handed over the title and key, and was informed the check would be in the mail. Then I went off to the service bay to get the registration and plate off the Golf, and my stack of car napkins – can’t lose those. It was unlocked with the keys in it, parked off to the side. I hopped in and gave it a once-over for old time’s sake.
The headliner issues I’d pointed out were fixed, though there were new oily smudge marks on the headliner here and there (gah). The trim panel by the door was replaced and scratch-free, but all was not well. I checked the cargo area and found multiple pieces of bright yellow masking tape marking all the panel scratches I’d identified in photos. Remember the assurance that my pictures were viewed, understood, and they were prepared to replace the damaged panels? They weren’t, they hadn’t, and they didn’t. Those two weeks of waiting for a part to arrive were indeed for a part and not the necessary parts. The Golf would’ve been in there another week or two, or three, presumably, as it waited for all the parts they should’ve ordered after receiving the photos, but didn’t.
As I sat in the passenger seat to grab the registration and other papers I’d left in in the glove box, I had this overwhelming feeling of relief. That very warm feeling you get when you can say “This isn’t my problem anymore.” I snapped a couple of pictures for the memories and then said goodbye to Volkswagen. They kindly dropped me off at home so I didn’t have to grab an Uber, though it took about 15 or 20 minutes to find the dealer’s driver, who was elsewhere.
The Golf’s already listed for sale, at an ask of $26,000. No pictures, because the inside isn’t finished! That’d mean a $3,500 profit assuming it sells at ask. I already paid for a synthetic oil change, and it didn’t need much cleanup aside from a wash and vacuum. The CarFax details all the headliner issues it’s had, which I wonder what effect that might have on any potential buyer’s decision. Maybe they’ll see these articles! Probably not though, the Golf’s about as clean as possible. In general, it’s already a unicorn if one desires an interior other than black. One interesting point of note: The dealer’s site does not provide the CarFax for this vehicle in particular, not the case with other Sportwagens they have. Hmm.
And there you have it. For the first time since 2011, your author’s without a secondary vehicle. The Golf was the latest in a string since way back: ’97 Impreza wagon, ’93 DeVille, ’03 Tahoe, ’12 Outback. The GS isn’t going anywhere and is due for an oil change. I learned a lesson here, and that lesson is I’ve not the patience for dealing with even a fairly simple modern Volkswagen product. Until next time.
[Images: Corey Lewis / The Truth About Cars, Volkswagen, CarFax, VAuto]