When I decided to sell my 1999 Dodge Dakota pickup with 160,000 miles on it, I thought.. I’d had it for ten years and in 2008 I had received a handsome inheritance from my Ohio Uncle, so why not splurge and buy a brand new truck. I knew what I wanted and I had not purchased a new vehicle since that 1986 Plymouth Voyager Mini-van. Koons over in Easton was advertising a special deal: 1) Top dollar for your trade in 2) 0% interest on a new vehicle and 3) a $250 gas card. Well we went in and long story short we got blue book on the Dakota, nothing more, not the “$1000 over Blue Book!” they promised, we did not get the 0% interest either, they marked the new vehicle down so THAT was all they could do, and no gas card. I should have walked out that day, but I wanted that Tacoma, the color (red), with the tow package and fog lights and CD player, and extended cab so I was willing to sign and wait for delivery. They even came and dropped off my new truck (which they had to ship in from Columbia MD) and drove off in my Dakota.
I jumped in to find, no fog lights, no tow package, and no CD player. I pulled the truck into the garage. That would be the furthest I would drive it. I called to talk to the sales manager. I was NOT a happy camper. We went ROUND AND ROUND when he finally gave up arguing with this New Yorker. “I think the only way we are going to satisfy you is to let you back out of the deal.” I told him their vehicle was in my garage undriven and would remain there until they brought my truck back and took this one away which is what they did.
A few weeks later, in a driving rain storm, and in no mood to bargain, haggle, argue or dicker, Coletta and I stopped in to C.F. Swartz in Dover and bought the truck I wanted for the price I wanted. They took the Dakota in trade. That was June 2008.
So…12 years and 190,000 miles later, still in love with my truck which hauled tons of stuff to WV and beyond, still reliable and running well, was not eager to trade up for a $35,000 new model. I figured one more year and closing in on 200,000 miles would be time enough. Then I took it in for the WV Annual Inspection. It passed…but not without some concerns. Apparently the Recall for Frame Rust, one in which I had to return it to C.F. Swartz for inspection and spraying of the undercarriage did not bode well. Six years and three more recalls later the frame and gas tank support were significantly engaged in Rust. Not bad enough to fail the inspection, but another year or so… Time to move on.
But wait a minute…there was a recall, and I had all the papers and I did EVERYTHING they asked me to, they owed me a new frame! So I called a Toyota dealership in Morgantown and they said I had to call TOYOTA and gave me the toll free number. I talked with “Victor” at length, gave him all the information he asked for. Apparently they sent me a letter about needing an annual inspection of the frame. I never got it. Nobody ever told me about it. Thing is, though I have regular oil and filter changes and repairs of this and that, I relied on Wayne and then Lester and now Mike. The only work I have done at a Toyota dealer is for recalls. So not only did I fail to have an annual inspection of the frame, but….but…I missed the DEADLINE for the frame replacement. Ready for this? June 2020. Hmmm…what was I doing in June 2020? Getting ready to MOVE TO WEST VIRGINIA. In two weeks. So no, I did not look in my Tacoma File in my gray filing cabinet which might have already been packed up for the move. So eight months too late. So sorry. I even called back Victor to lay out why I thought they should reconsider since I had every recall notice except the one about the annual inspection. Nothing he could do. Time to move on.
I went to Car Guru, found a 2019 Tacoma with all the bells and whistles mine has (no fog lights, but tow package and CD player). Only 4400 miles and 77 minutes away in Johnstown, so I called then went up to see it. And let them see my Tacoma. Of course they wanted to drive it, and check it over top to bottom. I held my breath. These days they know EVERYTHING about your vehicle, my claim for repair when the deer tore up my front end and the claim for repair when Chantaye Taylor slammed into my back end claiming I was “DRUNK!” and hit her. I could feel their trade-in offer sinking lower and lower. With those incidents and the er….rust issue, I told Coletta I would accept any offer above $5000. Any less I would sell it outright being honest about its condition.
The sales guy called us back in his office. “I can’t figure out two things,” he said. “Why you want to get rid of that truck. It’s a great truck in great shape. The other thing is what it’s worth. I just can’t come up with a fair figure on computer. What do you want for it?”
I told him that with 12 years and 190,000 miles I was ready to move on with 200,000 on the horizon. I told him $8000. He said $6000. I said $6500. He then said this, “I looked under that truck and I was amazed at how RUST FREE it was. Here in Pennsylvania the trucks they all are completely rusted out. Yours was in very good shape.” You could have knocked me over with a feather. “Well, “ I said, “The truck has been in Maryland on the Eastern Shore and we don’t get a lot of snow there, so that is why it is such good shape.”
I counted my blessings and figured with his offer of $6000… $1000 over my bottom figure, and the rust being a “relative thing” I would sign the contract. We arranged to pick it up on the 12th, to give me time to get my funds together, paying cash and bringing the title to my Tacoma along for the last ride. So tomorrow if all goes well we will be returning with a new truck. Ain’t life grand?
Update April 2022
I did manage to trade my 2008 Tacoma for a newer 2019 Tacoma with only 4400 miles on her. I brought her home drove her for a few months then went to a birthday party of a young niece. My brother-in-law (it was his granddaughter’s birthday) arrived in a 2019 Tacoma similar to mine, but let’s say with a few more bells and whistles. Having driven my 2019 for several months I was noticing that it lacked a few of the amenities that my old 2008 truck had; like fog lights, mirrors on the sun visors, intermittent wipers (I mean my 47-year-old 280-Z has them). Uncle George’s had them all plus little things like electric rear window so you don’t have to throw you neck and back out opening or shutting it. Press a little button on the dash….zip zip. He noticed my envy and offered to trade me, but my 2019 only had 6500 miles on it compared to his 88,000. His was also a crew cab with a short bed, and mine was access cab with a full six foot bed. No deal.
Shortly thereafter I began to follow the market on new and used pickup trucks and discovered that my 2019 was now worth thousands more than I paid for it. Hmmmm, I thought, why not trade up for a BRAND NEW 2021? I managed to get $3000 more for my trade than I paid for it, and got to pay MSRP with no add-ons which is prevalent in this low inventory market. My new one was a crew cab, with comfortable seating for four or even five, with fog lights, lighted mirrors on the sun visors, the little toggle switch on the dash to open and close the rear window, updated technology for charging cell phones (just lay in on the pad) and a touch screen with all sorts of features, Sirius Radio and more. Plug your iPhone in and everything on your iPhone appears on the screen including all your map functions, blue tooth, hands free phone, Siri, Contacts, and…all my music. If someone sends you a text message, Siri reads it to you and allows you to dictate a reply and send it. So no more breaking the law having to put my reading glasses on to read my iPhone text messages while driving 70 mph. Love my new truck, even though it has a short bed. The new utility trailer preserves the truck bed. I also added a deer guard on front to protect it and now look for deer.