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Selling a used pick-up truck in the present market

Over the last 6 months I’ve occasionally put a truck up for sale for a few weeks at a time with few interested parties. Craig’s List and Truck Trader. I live in a small town in the Sierra foothills of N. Calif. 60 miles from Sacramento, so it’s not real surprising. The truck gets about 15 mpg.

A week ago I thought I’d try again. So far one interested party came to look at it. My guess is that generally the last many months of sale attempts were impacted by our recession. Now I would think it’s the price of gasoline. It may be a time to take a loss on the price and get this over with for the possibility of even higher prices on gasoline. Perhaps big pick-ups around the US are struggling to be sold too. Comments?

Full size PU’s are selling, but not like a few years back. Tundra’s are considered good trucks. You will have to be ready to deal on price. The market for PU’s has shifted away from guys wanting a macho truck as a second family vehicle back to traditional PU buyers; such as contractors, farmers, and others who need work trucks. There should be a market in your locale, but you’ll have to find the price that fits the market - which is likely lower than you have hoped to get for the truck.

It is due for a timing belt, which is major service and a knowledgeable buyer will know it. You also have some surface rust, but otherwise the truck looks and drives good. Go to and find out the TMV (true market value) for a trade-in. Be realistic, the truck is not in outstanding condition, it is average at best, and possibly below even that. Price it somewhere above the trade-in value and the private sale value and you should get some interest.

Yes, what you say is likely the way to go on price and what buyers are out there. In my search on pricing information, I happened to discover several organizations that have varying views of a fair price to what I considered strangely low. Maybe they are actually more realistic. I think Edmunds was one I hit upon. TMV. I think I noticed that somewhere but didn’t notice what it means. I’ve been using Kelley BB as a price guide.

One of the interesting asides on trying to sell the truck is the distance to a potential buyer. I’d get an enthusiastic reply, and they would say they will be up our way on the weekend and would like to take a look. By the time they got on the road, they’d check out similar vehicles along the way, and buy one. Then of course there are some of the “buyers” on Craig’s List. More like scam artists.

After my last potential buyer a few days ago, I thought, “time to lower the price and get flexible.” Also time to move on and buy a Tacoma with 4WD.

Well, that was an interesting exercise. I priced the truck out at both Edmunds and Kelley. Edmunds was significantly lower. Significantly. Strangely though I didn’t find on Edmunds check boxes for power windows, brakes, steering or A/C. Rated it avg on Ed and fair on KBB. In fact, the Ed price gets lower if I add some of the limited options listed. Very odd.

Year, Mileage, asking price??

  1. 4WD, power windows, brakes, steering. V8, SR5, double cab. am/fm radio, A/C. rear windows tinted. tilted steering wheel, fabric interior, ABS, DVD player, hitch insert with combo lock, power side mirrors. power locks. steel wheels. 95000 miles.

Again, how much are you asking for it though?

Not available to you on this site. Are you in my area of the world?

edmunds lists it at about 10k for a trade in. Realistically, you’d probably be lucky to get 7 or 8k on trade in

There seems to be a big gap between what owners THINK they are worth and what buyers are willing to pay…eBay list several completed auctions but no sales. The bidding stopped at $9000 but that did not meet the reserve price…Sellers seem to think they are worth $12,000-$13,000 but no buyers are willing to pay that much…

I asked about price not because I’m interested in the truck myself; only to try and gauge if the reason for it not selling is because it’s overpriced.

Like Caddyman, I took a look at eBay and that site can give you a pretty good indication of what the market will bear in most cases.

Nine and ten top retail is about it and if I remember correctly you had referenced rust issues in another post. Even if the rust is light and actually meaningless, many buyers would take it as a sign to walk away or refuse to give the price that is being asked.

Well, as always, it’s about what buyers are willing to pay. Nothing new about that.

Over a considerable amount of time, I’ve found KBB to be a good guide to buy or sell a vehicle. Only once have I ever traded in a vehicle for a new car. That was when I was in my twenties. My rule of thumb is to keep a car for at least 10 years. I kept a Toyota Camry for 18 years once.

Why would KBB prices be so much higher than Edmunds? Is there something devious going on?

I’ve had several offers that I’ve turned down that were well above the Edmunds TMV. The first offer some months ago was quite in line with the KBB, but the family couldn’t arrange the finances with a bank.

Do me a favor, which basically what I was asking above, what do you think Edmunds would estimate as a fair price. I’m curious if I made a mistake somehow. I supplied all the data you need above.

It varies by area, but edmunds lists it here (Texas, trucks sell well down here) at $8,666 private sale, average condition, no options checked.

If I go and check the DVD entertainment system (I think that’s what you mean by “DVD Player”) then it jumps to $9,140, private sale.

The only options that matter on those sites are the factory options. If you check something that’s supposed to be factory standard for that model, it uses that as an aftermarket addon, and will drop the price some. Be sure you only check the factory options (as opposed to factory standard), and nothing that you’ve done to it since then, for the highest price.

It will be roughly what your market will bear. It may have no relation to what you think it’s actually worth. Your easiest way out is to simply trade it in, but it’s not necessarily the most valuable option (they have to try and sell it, too). In a private sale, you can list all those things in the ad, as many won’t know what all those standard options are.

Blue Book private party for my 2004 F-150 4.2 2WD fair condition 90K is only 5300.00. This actualy went up a bit from last year (about 200.00).Gas mileage is only so/so but why sell it for this little? It is fair condition as there are some paint scratch issues and a dent in the bed the old man put dumping rocks into it, jack***.

Anybody that got this truck for 5300.00 would be getting a great deal (or so I think).Boy there sure are a lot of people with 4wd wanting to get rid of their trucks.

Ok, if you can select area code for Edmunds 95959 that should do it. BTW, I looked in Consumer Reports 2010 car edition (2004 is too old for 2011 issue), it was among the best buys for used trucks, and Tundra ranged from $10-12K for '03-'04, and no particular model. We are talking California here. Buyer interests are likely very different than elsewhere.

No takers? Ah, well.

By accident, I just noticed this Car Talk site shows KBB as the means to price vehicles. Interesting.

The key word in these things is price GUIDE. That means a ballpark figure only that is subject to any whim and which can vary daily.
One can take a vehicle that every guide in the world states is easily worth 15 grand and it may not bring 12 grand even on the best of days.

Flat rate labor manuals are the same way. They’re labor GUIDES and will even state that in the foreword along with the statement that other factors are to be considered.