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Red flag? Looking for new car

Hi all,
I am looking for a new VW Bug after my trusty 2001 gave out after >220,000 miles. I found the perfect replacement through Craigslist: a 2006 model, no visible rust, priced around $4,000 with a clean Carfax.
However, when I called to inquire about the vehicle, the seller told me that there had been a break-in the night before, the car’s catalytic converter had been stolen, and they were taking it in to get a new one. I left my name and number and told him I’m still interested in seeing the car, and to call me after the repair is done to set up a test drive.

This raises two questions for me which I’m hoping to get your feedback on:

  1. Paranoid question: Is this some sort of scheme to justify inflating the car’s price? (sub question: if the seller raises the car’s price because of this repair, is that justified or should I push back? Could this be a red flag about the seller?)
  2. Less paranoid question: Will the theft and subsequent work to replace the catalytic converter in any way affect the future running of the car?

All best,

  1. I doubt it.
  2. I doubt this will adversely affect the value, and may enhance it a little. Since the loss was by theft, the owner will likely have it covered by insurance. They will only be out the deductible.

Make sure to get a prepurchase inspection by a shop you trust be for negotiating a price. Do this only if your personal inspection and test drive don’t deter your purchase.

Addendum: read the cautions on Craigslist concerning buying cars, and only meet the owner in a well traveled location, like a police station or big parking lot. The police near me have parking spots dedicated to car sales.

  1. It does not raise the value of the car. If they try that, say No and walk away. If you think it is a red flag, say “No thanks” and walk away.

  2. A proper cat replacement will have not affect on the car’s value or operation.


Thanks, that is great to hear!

Great, thanks so much

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The only thing I would add is that if you live in CA or in NY (and the car originally had CA compliant emissions) it is extremely important to verify that the replacement catalytic converter(s) are C.A.R.B. approved. Otherwise, you will not be able to pass an emissions inspection, even with the CEL off and normal pollutant levels. In all other states, you can use any cat which will fit, and keep the CEL off.

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Clean Carfax report means NOTHING. Carfax even admits they can only collect less then 10% of all repairs and accidents reported. Carfax is great if it finds something…but if it doesn’t…there still could be a problem.


@e.judgebecker_173805 I doubt if a 4000.00 15 year old vehicle will give you the same service as the one you had . You must have liked the New Beetle you had so why not look for the latest low mileage one you can find . Also I say anytime you have to go to a Forum asking about a used vehicle that you don’t feel good about just pass and find something else .

along those lines, you could ask for some specifics on the converter used, like brand and style (e.g., bolt-on or weld). If it’s an OEM converter (doubtful, given the price and age of the car), then it should be set for life. If it’s an aftermarket converter, depending on the brand, you may be looking at another replacement some years down the road. The main reason is that the aftermarket converters, especially the budget ones, use fewer precious metals in the catalyst, and so the converter efficiency drops much sooner (if it drops below a certain point your check engine light (CEL) will come on).

Alright, I’m brand-new to this platform so I can’t figure out how to delete this thread, but you guys have given me great advice, and I’m all set; thanks to everyone who commented.

I’m going to go ahead with the 2006 Beetle. I’ll also have it looked over by a mechanic to make sure everything is good-to-go. If the new catalytic converter is aftermarket, I’ll have them check the error codes to make sure nothing else is amiss (my old Bug had a constant CEL b/c of aftermarket parts).

Now to think of names for the new Bug: Buttercup or Pikachu? (obviously, this car is yellow)

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never delete an answered thread; someone might come here with the exact same question in the future :slight_smile:

I vote for ‘Helios’, but I also named my black Volvo ‘Bucephalus’, the great black stallion ridden by Alexander the Great


As long as the mechanic gives it a good report I think you’re on the right track, a cousin has a TDI in that Kermit green that he drove back to the northwest from Texas instead of the Brazilian VW that he flew down thinking it would be good enough to road trip back, but he’s his own VW mechanic who’s been playing with VW’s since the late 80’s.

Pikachu would certainly be an interesting name, we never knew why a friend of ours named her yellow 60’s bug Walter,

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I used to work with a guy who had bright yellow TDI Beetle he converted to accept recycled food industry oil… that beast had the name of “French Fry Mobile” :slight_smile:


Walter…Matthau? :smiley:

Anything’s possible!

Meyer. Short for Meyer Lemon. :wink:

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Betsy sounds nice to me!

I like Meyer, but short for Meyer Lansky

Who or what is a Meyer Lemon?

I never named a car or a truck but I did have a white 61 Dodge six passenger that my mother in law called Moby Dick.

One of my orchestra teachers drove a 1955 or 56 Chevy Bel Air 4dr that he called the black mariah, up until the "second child hood "in 1990 when a Mazda Miata became his daily driver. Still kept the Chevy for when he needed to haul instruments around town.