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darkscout January 9th, 2008 22:46

Buying & Selling TDIs? Read this first!!
So there seem to be more threads than usual lately in the "Bad" thread category. Both on the buying and selling side. Usually these threads get quickly thread jacked. TDI club has a IRC Chat Channel. There are a good number of us that sit round and BS about life, politics and occasionally TDIs. We always get a good laugh out of these threads.

I'm creating this post to hopefully help people on BOTH sides.

TDIs and Diesels in general are in High Demand. Edmunds, KBB and other price sites usually price low. If you're looking to pick up a TDI for what KBB says good luck. Good deals do exist but they are rare. You are unlikely to find them on TDI Club (But sometimes they do happen). You might search Craigslist or Crazed List, other sites to check are and you might even have luck on

You have to CONSTANTLY keep looking. Set up an RSS Feed or bookmark it and check it hourly. (Firefox has plug-ins to check for changes to pages).
Good deals like $3000 Mk4 Golfs and $2000 Mk3 Jettas do come along but if you're not in the right place at the right time, you're not going to get it. Sometimes someone doesn't know what they have. Grandpa selling grandma's car. Children selling off estates. People who just have no clue what they have. Broken cars.. Things literally come down to the minute.

Be prepared to travel. I know this may be hard to fit into your work schedule. Finding exactly what you want, where you want it when you want it is going to be no small feat, most especially if you live in a rural area or less populous areas of the country. Personally I flew to LA from IN. The seller was more concerned with the money than getting rid of the car. I had the money in hand within a few days and flew out a few weeks later.

Hesitation = deals lost. The guy that e-mails the seller with money in hand will get the car before the guy that e-mails with a list of questions. HOWEVER. If you are looking for a daily driver with 0 problems, this may not be the best course of action. Some of the "Collectors" on the forums (And you know who you are) will do this. They know exactly what they're getting themselves into. If you are an expert mechanic and have another vehicle then you may be able to do this. Sometimes these cars are perfect, sometimes these cars need everything done to them. "You get what you pay for". If I walked across a Mk4 TDI in craigslist selling for 1500$ and the body looked good I'd get it in a second.

Ask questions. This is contradictory to getting the deal of a lifetime, but if you are a first time TDI owner, new car buyer or looking for your primary vehicle you want to make sure you get the best VEHICLE possible. Timing belt, oil change interval, oil, general maintenance, these are all things you want to know about. Not knowing these things can lead to a bad buying experience. You can blame VW, blame diesels, TDIs in general when the real problem is the maintenance by the Previous Owner, things which could have been discovered by adequately discovered by a good round of questioning.

Do the math. There are numerous "Are TDIs for me?" threads and you can find them on the search page. These cars last a long time but they aren't appliances. If you spend $5000 extra to get an extra 20 MPG you're saving yourself 133 gallons over 10,000 miles. $400 at todays prices. Break even is a far time in the distance. Look at the last 4 cars you bought, how long did they last. Did you drive them until the DMV said they were no longer suitable for road travel or did you 'trade up' when the high gloss wax wore off? TDIs are not for everyone. VWs are not for everyone. I've owned a Mk3 and 4 Mk2s. They will 'nickel and dime you', if you can perform your own maintenance you'll save a bundle. If you plan on driving this car into the ground without as much as checking air pressure, the car won't last and you'll end up frustrated and mad. More importantly, you could be 'stealing' a buy from some body who does want to invest 200,000 miles into this car and really is in it for the long haul. No thread can tell you if you are 'right' for a TDI but don't forget common sense when you see "50 MPG". Real life, most people get into the 40s and even into the 30s... Do your research.

While posting WTB threads are fine, be reasonable. Take into consideration everything above and everything below. You are not going to find a 2006 Jetta with <50,000 miles for $8,000. We're going to laugh at you, either publicly or on the side. State where you are (or fill in your dang profile location) what you are looking for and be reasonable on what you expect to spend. Most of the time WTB ads are filled by someone saying "Hey I'm selling my car in this thread". Spend 10 seconds to READ the posts. Don't register and post a WTB thread 30 seconds after joining and don't expect US to do YOUR work for you. If you want your $2000 mint condition one owner car that was only used to go to Church on Sunday don't expect us to tell you about it. Find it yourself because if we see it first, it's ours.

TDIs are in high demand. It is definitely a seller's market. You car is not made of gold. Asking 2x of KBB or $5k over the highest eBay auction you found will not move your car. It will draw hecklers and tire kickers.

Set a reasonable price. Check eBay auctions and "Sold" threads. Set it at or a bit higher than comparable sales. If you just bought your car 5k miles ago from the dealer and you're looking to break even, it most likely won't happen. If you know the TB needs to be done or you just blew a head because you didn't do the TB, knock that off the price. Use common sense.

If you want the MOST amount of money for your car, TDIClub is probably not your best place. Ebay is full of dumb buyers. Set a high reserve price and let it run its course. Sprinkle in terms like "up to 50 MPG" (or if you want to push it "Up to 60 MPG") and "Runs on BioDiesel, no War Needed." Tug at heart strings make make grandiose statements, 'exceptions rather than the rule' claims. Fill it with big red letters. You will sucker in some buyer. There have been a few that came here trying to get 4k+ for their 20ish year old car and we all laughed and asked him to keep moving but he eventually found a buyer on Ebay. Sellers are highballers and buyers are lowballers here, that's the way it's been since I joined. This forum is not the place for maximum money. But you will guarantee your car is going to someone who at least takes interest in your car.

Pictues Pictures Pictures Pictures. You're going to get requests for them. You might as well save yourself and us the time of requesting them. You can upload to TDIClub's own server, Image Shack, Photo Bucket, Flickr or any number of other websites. Post them and post them early. A picture is worth 1000 words. People are going to want to see them, especially if your price is in the upper sigma of prices for similar cars. If you're selling your car at KBB or under, you can probably get away without one.

Questions. Expect them. Maintenance history most especially. Timing belt and oil are going to be the first questions that everyone wants to know. Know when, where and how the timing belt was done. Receipts too. If you don't know SAY YOU DON'T KNOW (And knock down your asking price by 500-1000$). Same with oil. If you have been running full synthetic but you've only owned it for 3k out of 190k miles and you don't know what the PO ran, then state it. It's going to get asked. PDs require 505.01 oil. Earlier cars required full synthetic. There are 1000 oil threads and no need to rehash them in your FS ad, but if you decided to 'experiment' with Rotella-T in your 2006 and start a thread about it, see below.

Don't try and fool us. This forum is full of experts, mechanics and people who think they're experts. If you start a thread "How Mark and Spray TB change worked for me" don't be surprised if someone puts two and two together and asks about it or even posts a link to it in your FS thread. If you were having loud clicking and valve trouble 3 months ago and suddenly your car is for sale, we're going to ask about it. All it takes is an Advanced Search or clicking on your username and "Find More Posts by ...". Anything you post can help or hurt you. See Bleached Bora's thread (Linked below), he's been around long enough that people know what has gone into his car. His presence on the thread did nothing but help his sale. Newbies, don't think that you're going to get away by not having any of these threads. Someone is going to be even more suspect if you just joined this month and your first post is to sell your car. "Long time lurker" doesn't make it far.

Be descriptive. While I could fill my quota with examples of Bad FS threads, here are a few GOOD FS threads.
Bleached Bora Sells his Mk3
Mk3 for sale
And if you don't know much or haven't done much, you can still put what you know.

Your car is not perfect. There are some forum members cars who are, but they will never be for sale (and they don't need to read this post to know how to make a forsale thread). It has a ding, a dent, a rust patch, a leak, a tear, a smell, a shake, a rattle, a maintenance problem or a missing part. Tell us what it is. Some of the better threads I've seen are "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly" format. You'll get less questions and people will probably trust your sale more. Even if you consider your car perfect, close your eyes and run your hands along the exterior. "Small ding on rear door, no paint broken", etc. Sure you can lie, but you'll just upset the buyer down the road and you never know when Karma's looking.

If you list bare plain statistics you're going to do better than 1/2 the threads out there: Year, Model, Body Style (Wagon/Sedan/Hatchback), Miles, Color, Sunroof/NoSunroof, Tire Age/Tread condition, Mods and PRICE. Posting a 'feeler' thread is fine, but if you toss up that your car is for sale the first post is most likely going to be "Price?". "Car for sale. TDI. Located in Chicago, call me" says absolutely nothing.

It may seem stupid but why are you selling your car? Your wife just have another kid and you can't fit the car seats? Did your job just issue a company car for that 200 mile a day sales trip. Did you get a new car? Someone just trying to dump their car just seems suspicious.

When the car is sold, edit your first post. Put in Big Red 7 Size Font SOLD! There is nothing worse than some newbie coming in and seeing his ideal car, looking at the first post and then harassing you via PM or bringing the thread all the way back up to the top. Say the car has sold. Leave the pertinent information so people can do research on what prices are good, etc, but put that the car has sold.

Last but not least: TDI Club sold your car for 'free'. EBay, Cars, Auto trader, local newspapers all cost money to sell. If you sell your car via TDIClub consider a donation. At this moment "Currently Active Users: 957 (256 members and 701 guests)". Bandwidth is not free. Even if you only donate 1/2 of what it would have cost selling it on eBay it's more than nothing for Fred.

BoiseTDI January 10th, 2008 05:36

Great Post! This should be stickied!

tomo366 January 10th, 2008 08:07 you honestly believe the going to read this????
I have my doubts........

darkscout January 10th, 2008 08:14


Originally Posted by tomo366 you honestly believe the going to read this????
I have my doubts........

At least rather than flaming them we can just post a link to both sellers and buyers. Maybe I'll add a button in firefox "Newb in FS" and it'll automatically post a link to in anytime someone is looking for that $2000 rust free mint condition low miles grandma highway driven Toureg.

tomo366 January 10th, 2008 08:22

I have no intention of changing my posting habits........
I will try to protect unsuspecting folks from the person whose 1st post and last post is to "Dump" his creampuff on an unsuspecting member

Your intentions are good but the problems right now are twofold......
1st, no new TDI cars available! and 2nd, because of supply and demand, folks trying to make a quick buck!!
and the place is loaded with know-it-alls, tirekickers, and lowballers.......who just just don't get it....

Edgfld January 10th, 2008 18:20

I'm a newbie and I read it!! ;-)

VWBILL January 15th, 2008 08:17

I'm a Newbie (to this site) and I read it!


1963 VW Bug 135K
1969 VW Bug 164K
1973 VW Squareback 110K
1980 VW Rabbit 85K
1982 VW Rabbit Diesel 225K
2002 Jetta TDI 148K and climbing
Current restore project: 1972 Bug on 68 frame
Total VW mileage: over 100K on each above, you do the math! Been driving 'em since 1968!

Katesy_Daisy January 22nd, 2008 14:50

This is a fantastic thread and provided me with great knowledge on the dynamic of buying and selling TDIs. This information even gave me some great advice on other locations to post my car in order to sell. I just wanted to say thank you.

golden01 January 29th, 2008 09:28

bought my wagon in this manner.
Hi everyone.
After my daughter totaled a perfectly fine 2000TDI with 164K miles, I searched for the deal. Everyone wanted top dollar for used ones. Then, my dream car showed up at a dealership in Arkansas. Showed up? Yup. I looked and scoured the net for 2 weeks, then by pure accident it showed up. I was showing my wife a couple of diesel bugs that I was interested in when this beautiful red Jetta TDI wagon with 60,033 miles showed up with pics on Ebay, rated at excellent. In looking over the pics, it was missing the left and right bumper fillers, missing some wheel bolt caps and the engine cover caps. Outside of that, it looked excellent. It was on ebay all of one and 1/2 hours, the buy it now about 4-5K below what folks are asking here at the club. I HIT THE BUY IT NOW BUTTON after careful worry and quick debate with the wife.
I drove out there in my 2002 TDI and I drove the wagon back 700 miles with wife following me. The rear bearings were shot. Slight hesitation/delay when accerlerating, otherwise fine. No leaks, no oil usage. Car ride was fabulous. Missing three knobs from the radio---The prior owner had it serviced at a VW place in Litlle Rock and needed a bigger wagon for his family. I suspect one of the little fellers took the knobs and wheel bolt caps!
This past week, I replaced the bearings, changed the cabin filter(the old one was a mess), the oil and oil filter with synthetic 5W40, Airfilter was new, and I replaced the fuel filter. The fuel injector pump looked brand new. The EGR is not plugged. I have a new MAF ordered. Bolt covers found on this site.(thanks BMW-5power)New Bosch windshield wiper blade refills coming in as well--Thanks VW parts from Michigan.
Therefore, in times like these, one can get a car at a good price, you just have to be persistently looking!! I feel quite fortunate to get this wagon. Small town in Arkansas, outside of Little Rock. I spent all of five minutes before I hit the buy it now button. Ask my wife, I never buy anything unless I absolutely need it, or it is a very good deal.
Have a great day. By the way daughter is fine. Car cage protected her as she rolled the Jetta 150 feet!!! No doubt, the Jetta saved her that night; yes she wore her seatbelt.
golden 01--Frugal one:cool:

loneviking February 3rd, 2008 01:24

Luck and time. I've wanted a TDI for years but for so long the asking price even for a high mileage used one was more than I would pay.

Then I got a new job and also got lucky. A guy at work had a 96 Passat wagon that he didn't need anymore. It had 179,000 miles on it, but it had been well maintained. At $3,000 the price was right! I did wind spending $35 to get a new side mirror and drivers door lock tightned. Another $800 to fix the exhaust when the turbo and exhaust blew apart. So, for just under $4,000, I have a nice wagon with everything I wanted. All because of time, luck and always being on the lookout.

tooltalltim February 16th, 2008 10:54

Iam newbie considering buying 96 passat wagon with 264k miles . it has been gone thru with new bearing,axels , brakes/rotors, tires, fluids, filters , injector pump timed ,new tubo sensor, door handles, rad. flush,and clean buff paint.the price is $11,000. I know these cars are not that easy to find , in your opinions do you think this is worth it.Tooltalltim.....

darkscout February 16th, 2008 13:44


Originally Posted by tooltalltim
Iam newbie considering buying 96 passat wagon with 264k miles . it has been gone thru with new bearing,axels , brakes/rotors, tires, fluids, filters , injector pump timed ,new tubo sensor, door handles, rad. flush,and clean buff paint.the price is $11,000.

A 12 year old car with 264k on it (what's a turbo sensor?) for 11k is just absolutely stupid in my book, but if you want to, go for it.

For just a few thousand more Jason TDI has a Jetta for sale for around 12k, newer, already chipped, owned by a Guru etc.

highdesertgal February 18th, 2008 22:04

Well, I read the "read this first" and found it great, thanks. Now, do I have a snowballs chance in you know what of finding a wagon? I have no idea how to go about finding this car...would never buy one off of ebay, and is it really worth it to travel? I am 4 hours from everywhere, in Elko, Nevada...

dariod February 18th, 2008 22:51


Originally Posted by highdesertgal
Well, I read the "read this first" and found it great, thanks. Now, do I have a snowballs chance in you know what of finding a wagon? I have no idea how to go about finding this car...would never buy one off of ebay, and is it really worth it to travel? I am 4 hours from everywhere, in Elko, Nevada...

Well you don't want to travel to get one of the RARE wagons then you will not drive one of the RARE wagons.

SteveS February 25th, 2008 02:51

Thanks for a valuable post, and good reality check.
I know I'm ancient history, but still, my best purchase was a search all over North America, and eventually driving a new TDI home, half way across America. In addition to the actual search and discovery/purchase, I heard incredible "pitches" from sellers all across America. One dealer told me I'd never find the color I wanted, he said, since VW couldn't get that paint to stick to the car, but of course, I could buy a different color from him. The search can be an amazing experience that will last a lifetime.

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