After selling my Land Cruiser and S60, I decided that I was missing something I’d already owned. You may remember the accident in my 07 4Runner; I had wanted another one, but was just never able to find one. I had kept my search open, but either the ones I found had too many miles, or were too rough around the edges. One day I stumbled across this 1-owner 2006 Limited with the V8. It had everything that my old one had, and lower miles than my 07. The seller was a Toyota dealer in Missouri, who had it marked down considerably.
Now, before I get too ahead here, readers of the COAL on the 2007 seemed a little upset that I bought it thinking I had expected it to be trouble free. As with any car, I knew that there is the potential for problems to arise, after all it is a car, and it had high miles (183,000). We joked that the 2007 was a fickle bitch, because of the check engine light that would pop up just as soon as I fixed it. As with the 07, I made my way up to the Toyota dealer in Missouri equipped with a OBDII scanner to take a look at this 2006 4Runner.
The dealer was a small dealer really in the middle of nowhere Missouri. It had recently been “facelifted” and looked really nice. I met the salesman that I had called earlier to make sure it was still there, and he directed me to an indoor delivery area. I took a look at the car, and agreed it was what I was looking for, I just wanted to take it on a test drive. He gave me the keys, and said take as long as you want (I guess this is an appeal of living in a small town). I took the 4Runner for a decently long test drive, even stopping a few times to walk around it, and check under the car for leaks once it got up to operating temp. Once I was satisfied that it was the car I was looking for, I made a deal, and went on my way.
I usually am a little hesitant about buying cars of this age from dealers like this because, the salesmen don’t always know the back story behind the car, or have any types of service records. Sometimes cars of this age are taken in on trade, and tossed to the side of the lot waiting for auction. One thing I have learned is Toyota dealers are not so quick to shy away from keeping older 4Runners or Land Cruisers, because they usually are taken care of, last for a long time, and have a cult following. Like I mentioned above, this one was marked down considerably, because it had been at the dealer for awhile, and no one in the small down was biting. Also, the dealer was able to provide me with every service record since the car was new, showing it had always been serviced there. The salesman was also able to provide me a back story on the car, saying it was the dealer owner’s son-in-law that had it since new. He recently traded it in on a new 4Runner. After hearing all of this, I felt confident in buying this car.
The car was incredibly clean, and extremely well take care of. The previous owner never skimped out on service; I guess when you get your maintenance done cheap or free, why not? It did not look like there had been anyone ever in the back seat, and it was definitely not abused. Like my other 4Runner, this Limited was top of the line with leather, navigation, 4WD, and back up camera. The V8 was about the only must that I wanted when I was looking. It really makes it peppy in terms of SUV standards. The 4WD was really great, with the V8 it is always in 4WD, but you get the option to shift into 4-LOW. Of course this didn’t help with gas mileage, but if you are getting the V8, I doubt you care about gas mileage.
Nothing really happened during my ownership of this car, so you are probably thinking why I even bothered to post about this car. Well, everything happened after I sold the car. The ownership of this car was actually great. I had really enjoyed my 2007, and missed the power and ride of the Limited V8. Unlike the 07, the 06 never gave me one ounce of trouble. I had known I was going to sell it one day; 4Runners like this usually sell quickly in my area. It’s another car that is often seen roaming around in Fayetteville.
Before we go into the big mistake I made, I realize that it was very stupid of me, so don’t roast me too hard. So, after owning it for a while I decided I was ready to move it on. I listed it for sale at right in the middle of what market value was. I always figure that gives me some negotiation room, and if I don’t sell it, no big deal. I am never in any rush to sell, and just let things happen. Surprisingly it took 3 weeks to find a buyer who was willing to show some interest. He stated that he was from Dallas and was looking to come up on a Friday during the day. I told the potential buyer what the lowest I was going to take for the car, just as a heads up. I did not want him to drive 6 hours one way for him to be surprised that he wasn’t going home with the car. He agreed, and told me that he had been in an accident recently and insurance just paid him out for his old 4Runner (this is a key part later in the story).
Friday came around, and like he said he made it up to Arkansas. I had told him to meet me at my work, and I was going to only have an hour for him to look at the car, and make a deal as it was the middle of the work day. So when he showed up at my work, we met, and he wanted to take it for a test drive. I jumped in the car with him, and off we went. He took it around the block and pulled over to take a better look (the car was parked in a parking lot where there was not much room to really look at the car). He agreed it what was what he wanted, and asked if I would take $100 off what the lowest I told him was. A little aggravated I asked why, and he said “for gas up here, usually people negotiate off the lowest they would take”. At this point I had wasted 30 minutes of my hour, and said “no thank you, but that really was the lowest I was taking”. He rolled his eyes and said “ok, but I will need to go to the bank”, so he jumped back in the car and proceeded to go to a bank. My first thought was “why would you ever drive 6 hours without the cash to buy the car?” After all, I knew he had the money because he told me that he just got an insurance pay out. I felt trapped at this point because I did not want him to take my car alone, and we were far enough away from my work where his car was that he assured me it wouldn’t take long. On the way there I asked where he banked and he said “Wells Fargo”. Now around here we do not have any Wells Fargo banks, just financial advisors. I tried to tell him this, but he just kept pointing to his phone saying “it shows one”. Once we got there, of course they said they do not have money there, so I asked to be taken back to work while he figures it out. He basically drove 6 hours planning to buy a car without cash, and without calling ahead to places to see if he could get cash. Keep in mind, this guy was in his mid 50s and should have known better at this point.
So the buyer returned to my work at almost 5 with a cashier’s check somehow. He was able to get a local bank write him one by showing funds at his Wells Fargo. I made sure to call this local bank and verify the check he gave me, and get a picture of his driver’s license. It all checked out, I signed the title, and washed my hands of it all. Or so I thought.
I realized that night in all the mess that I forgot to get the license plate off the car before he left. How could I be so stupid? I called the buyer and asked him to please send me the license plate once he got home; no problem he assured me. Well, weeks came and went and nothing. Until I got a letter in the mail. It was from the city of Garland with a red light ticket in the mail. Great, he was still roaming Dallas with my license plate AND running red lights. I called the number on the letter and explained my issue, and they told me it happens all the time I just needed to provide the bill of sale, and any other documentation I had. Luckily, I also had a picture of his driver’s license to send them as well. They cleared me immediately. Another week went by, and I got another red light letter, this time from Dallas, then another, and then another. After seven total traffic violation tickets, and numerous calls to the buyer, I was furious. Not at the buyer, but at myself for being so stupid. I called every department to see if I can get the license plate expunged off my record, and as expected there was nothing that could be done. I finally took matters into my own hands; let’s just say you can make it to Dallas in one day and back to retrieve a license plate.
After this entire ordeal, I learned a very important lesson, take the stupid license plate. From this day on that is the first thing that I do. It will save a lot of headaches in the future. Needless to say, I was done with my 4Runners for a long time. It was a great car, great learning experience, but bad seller.
Reminds me of the time I took a car in trade and didn’t bother to transfer the title back to myself before selling it. I did make a bill of sale. Long story short, the buyer abandoned the car about two months later and the person I got it from got the impound notice and citation for towing. He got it cleared once I gave him the bill of sale. I always transferred the title to myself after that.
Seems like the buyer wanted to “stick it” to you for not offering an additional discount.
And that’s why in Portugal, the license plate belongs to the car, and not to the owner. On the moment the documents get transferred, it’s not your problem anymore
Same in Oregon. And in California. You just need to notify the DMV that you’ve sold the vehicle, and you’re off the hook.
Actually in Oregon you can chose to leave the plates on the sold vehicle, or remove them and register them to your new car.
In Washington they used to stay with the vehicle until recently when they decided they could make more money if they cancel existing registration on transfer of title and require you to buy new plates. So yeah if the seller renewed the license yesterday the state just got a nice windfall.
I wonder if the buyer maintains the car as badly as he drives it. But not your circus, not your monkeys.
My “other son” had a similar problem when he sold his Cherokee. In our state they collect sales tax for a private party sale at the licensing agency. They value the vehicle at what their data base says and will charge you based on that if you try and say you purchased it for less than 90% of that value. The guy went in there and tried to say he payed something like $1,000. When they told him they were going to charge sales tax based on their number he was not happy. The one out is if the seller signs a sworn affidavit form they have stating that it was the true purchase price and that it is low because the car has work needed, IE something like an engine and transmission.
My “son” said no, since it wasn’t true and the real price was much higher.
So the buyer decided that he wouldn’t transfer the title and also wouldn’t pay for parking at city of Seattle parking spots. So the tickets started rolling in.
Now the title dose have a form to send it noting a transfer but he let that go with the title. (Why he didn’t ask me anything about that before he did the sale I don’t know) But you can also report the sale online which I did have him do, thankfully before the deadline.
Unfortunately the city of Seattle is lame so every ticket that came in he had to call them and say I sold the vehicle on xx/xx and reported the sale on xx/xx, they would then look that up in the system and remove his name.
The tickets did eventually stop comming, I’ve guessing that the city finally impounded it, since this went on for several weeks with 8-10 unpaid tickets showing up.
If it was towed I have to wonder if he was able to get it back, lacking proof of ownership. Plus those tickets, late charges, towing and the fine for not transferring the tittle had to be much higher than the few hundred bucks he was trying to save on sales tax.
I wonder what might’ve happened if you’d called the buyer’s local police station and advised them someone in their jurisdiction is driving around with a stolen licence plate, specifically yours. Something along the lines of this.
V8’s are always a plus, however the third gen 3.4 is a non-interference engine, which are extremely hard to come by in this day and age. Even with the change of most manufacturers to timing chains, other components fail and still ruin the engine…….the 2000 4Runner is the best you can get and will literally go anywhere
It’s mentioned in a couple comments above, but I’m confused as to what this gentleman was supposed to do if you did take the plates off. How does he drive off with it then? He’s from out of state so he’s not registering it there so I don’t understand I guess?
A few options:
1) Go to local Motor vehicle agency and get temporary transit tags
2) Leave the car somewhere, get it registered and come back with the tags
3) Attach another license plate belonging to the buyer (if he has one). Drive the car home and get it registered.
4) Drive home without plates but with the title handy in case he gets stopped
4) Drive home without plates but with the title handy in case he gets stopped
And a dated bill of sale. Very simple.
How does one “date” a bill of sale within an hour on a lunch break. If it’s not notarized it’s worthless, right? This is why I’m so confused. Why are they not doing this transfer at the DMV? They notarize the title here? None of this makes sense…
Worthless? Of course not. Anything agreed to between two consenting adults (that’s legal) is perfectly valid without a notary, unless there’s some very clearly stated law that says otherwise.
You just hand write a Bill of Sale. And date it and sign it. I’ve done it for every vehicle I’ve ever bought or sold. Notarize a bill of sale? Never heard of such a thing. Do you get your receipts from the store notarized?
There’s very few things that actually need to be notarized. You and I can sign a contract for you to buy Mars from me, and it doesn’t need to be notarized to be legally valid, as long as I own Mars.
I’ve been buying real estate and all kind of things for decades. I just did a real estate transaction this past week, with notes (loans) trust deed, etc.. All electronic signatures, no notary.
A contract or bill of sale or note or trust deed or any other legal agreement between two consenting adults is legally enforceable in court if both sign it. That can be on the back of a napkin, if need be.
A Bill of Sale isn’t technically necessary. But it’s just good cheap insurance if anything goes wrong.
Here’s the one from when I bought my ’66 Ford back in 1987. I had the seller write it at my request. I assure you it’s a perfectly legal document, especially since it was written on a legal pad. 🙂
Thanks Paul, I am legitimately new to this apparently. I’ve always had my old title notarized the day “I said bye” and gave the keys up. Wow, so that was a massive waste of time, then?
Here in CT this is a bit annoying. Buy it from a dealer they will give a temp tag or a full one. Buy it private party and you either need to tow it or get a new reg from the DMV before you can drive it. Plenty of people fudge this but I have seen people get a ticket and the car impounded by driving a car home before it was registered. Really annoying if your driving any distance to get a car because without a trailer it almost always means two trips. but the car get title go to DMV go back actually get car.
I know I sound real dumb asking that, but it never occurred to me how this is a legit concern if you buy from out of state. I’ve never heard of “temp” registration outside of new vehicle registration so that’s good? Outside of that though, it’s like you have to trailer a vehicle otherwise. Can’t get insurance without a plate where I live (And that makes sense).
Just about everywhere you can go to the local vehicle registrar (DMV or MVD or however it’s called) and buy a 3-, 7-, or 10-day temporary transit tag. I’ve done it many times. Then with that in hand you call your insurance agent and advise them make-model-year and off you go.
That’s good to know. Again I’ve never done it so it’s one of those “ohh, I get it” moments you feel in mid life that remind you “you really don’t know ish”, and this will reoccur yet again, lol. Thank you.
In NJ it’s the opposite. You can get insurance without a plate, but you can’t get a plate without insurance.
That sounds unsavory for various reasons…
One of the reasons it’s done that way in NJ is to attempt to eliminate the problem of uninsured motorists. You cannot register a car in NJ unless you have proof of insurance in order to protect the public in case of an accident.
That’s exactly how Colorado does it too. Insurance is VIN-based then when it comes time to register the car and assign plates to it, proof of insurance is required. We keep our plates and have a year to re-use them, after that the plate is stricken from circulation and no longer usable. Within that year if there are still licensing fees attached to the plate, that remainder portion (that diminishes as time passes) can be carried forward to the next car as long as it’s within the year. Works best for trade-in scenarios where a new car is ready and waiting to accept the plates. If the license fee runs out in the meantime before a new car is procured then the plate itself can still be reused and just save the $12 or whatever it is plate fee.
I did it when I bought a car in New Jersey, it was a $5 temp tag good for a certain amount of time purchased at the DMV there, no worries driving it home to CO. I would have felt fine with just the bill of sale and signed title but didn’t want the police to question a Porsche without any plates on it driving through half the country.
Insurance was handled via VIN, seems odd to ever be able to do that with a license plate given the ease of removal/switching those vs a VIN.
FWIW, just about every car insurance policy has retroactive coverage for a newly bought car, for a couple of days (I don’t remember the exact number). You just need to prove when you bought, with the bill of sale, if something were to happen. That’s another reason to have a bill of sale.
You’re somewhat fortunate that the jurisdictions in Texas were so accommodating to you. I know of someone to whom that happened here in Virginia — his car was stolen and driven through Washington, DC for a while accumulating camera tickets. The DC gov’t made him either pay the tickets or come and appeal them in person. It was a few hundred dollars worth of tickets, but not worth taking a vacation day off from work, and dealing with big-city DC hassles in order to get the fines waved. Totally ridiculous of course, but in some big cities, the whole camera-ticket thing has migrated far beyond safety and is simply revenue generation.
Good move on just driving down there and taking the tags… lesson learned, but made for a good story.
“in some big cities, the whole camera-ticket thing has migrated far beyond safety and is simply revenue generation”
Traffic cameras are far more effective at penalizing reckless drivers than flesh and blood police. IIHS research shows that red light cameras save lives by preventing collisions, and a AAA study from about 10 years ago found that just 8 percent of drivers in DC opposed them.
It’s true that traffic cameras tend to pay for themselves, but the “revenue generation” argument is usually propagated by people who feel laws shouldn’t apply to them. Unfortunately such accusations resonate with many teevee news folk, who amplify them as gospel, no evidence required.
It could have been worse:
I bought a “well maintained” car from out of state once. Seller left the tags on, with the promise I’d send them back.
The heater core exploded almost as soon as I got home. After a very expensive repair, the steering rack went and so did another very expensive system. Couldn’t afford to fix. Sent it to the wrecking yard for scrap.
I got about 1,500 miles out of the car, most of which were driving it home. I was so mad, I never did send the tags back.
Guy I bought my Honda off last year was a major bullshitter. Was selling the car under four different names on a facebook page and, when I insisited on seeing the registration document and ID card before I even bothered to come visit the car; he sent the documents via yet another fake name on the email address.
He expected me to hand over the cash before we changed the ownership into my name, but I insisited he attend with me; where we discovered he hadn’t even bothered to sign his name on the ownership document.
His claim that he needed to sell the car as he was “leaving next Thursday”, was more bullshit. He’s revealed himself as a flipper as he’s still in town, selling cars and using the photograph of my car as his profile picture.
I broke ever rule in the book of buying cars but, apart from badly neglected brakes and some weird overspray in places that was removed successfully with metal polish, it’s turned out to be a decent and reliable motor.