Selling a car on Facebook

Last time I sold a car I used craiglist, and you can read about that adventure. I just sold another car, so here’s another story. It went much better this time.

I sold my 2005 Honda Element with almost no effort, but I think this is a rare thing, and I was lucky. See, a few years ago I guy I know who also owned an Element said “Hey, you need to join this Honda Element Facebook Group!” and since I’m already in a hundred groups I just joined another. Over the years the group was quite useful! Since the Element was made for a limited time they are all getting old, and they break, and people would share posts about fixing them.

So this time around when Dana and I talked about selling the Element she joked that she would hire someone to haul it away. I said “Let me post it to the group” and I did, with a “Hey, I might be selling this” post. I got people interested immediately. Now, my Element was in okay shape, but not great shape. It was seventeen years old, and broke a lot over the years. It had a cracked windshield caused by some rust on the roof. But hey, it ran, and it was AWD, and the body was in good shape.

I ended up connecting with a woman who lived about an hour away, and five days after she contacted me I had it cleaned up and she was test driving it. She made an offer which I was happy to accept and I sold it to her. No flim flam like when I sold the CR-V. Just straightforward “I want to sell it for this much” and “I am willing to pay this much” and we both agreed and walked away happy. Well, I walked, she drove!

I’ll admit, I was sad to see it go. I mean, I could fit so much in that car! I once put a Wienermobile in the back. I even made a DIY Roof Rack for about $30 USD. Anyway, I’m glad it’s going to someone who really appreciates it. The Honda Element is a special vehicle.


DIY Roof Rack


I’ve come to love my Honda Element more than any previous car I’ve owned. The fact that I can pull out the back seats and use it to haul all sorts of things is awesome, but sometimes things still don’t fit, and need to go on the roof. The one advantage my Honda CR-V had was a roof rack, but luckily the Element was designed with a roof rack option in mind, and a DIY version is pretty simple.


This forum post got me started in the right direction, and gave me a template to use. There were also a few useful YouTube videos on DIY roof racks that helped a bit…


I used the PDF template to create my own template in Inkscape and then printed it on paper, which I found to be less than ideal in getting the holes precisely lined up, so I did what I often do…


I turned to 3D printing. I took the SVG file and exported it to a DXF that I could pull into OpenSCAD and extruded into a 2.5D shape. From there I printed a nice (solid) template that I could use to drill the holes for the pieces that would hold up the rack.


The parts that hold up the rack are some scrap pieces of HDPE plastic, which is very solid and resistant to wear from the elements. The template worked great (with a drill press) for making the needed holes. There’s a 6mm bolt that holds everything in place. Yeah, I ended up just using one bolt instead of three on each piece, so in the end the template didn’t matter as much.

I didn’t use stainless steel bolts, so I expect they may rust out, and I might replace them. The main reason was I bought a bunch of bolts from Bolt Depot in various lengths because I didn’t know which I would use. Now that I know the length I should probably replace them. I also used Aluminum washers which are left over from using a hole saw to drill out button holes from guitar pedal enclosures. (Long story!)


The rack itself was just some square steel tube I got from Speedy Metals. It’s 1-1/4″ SQ x 1.084″ ID x .083″ Wall, BTW. (I ended up painting the tube black with an enamel paint, which was supposed to stand up to the elements but has done a terrible job and the metal has rusted quite a bit since these photos were taken.) I’ve been told grill paint or marine paint might work better. At this point I’d need to pull everything apart and sand off the rust if I want to make things look better. (Which means I probably won’t.) The other nice thing about getting the square tube from Speedy Metals was that I was able to just have them cut them to length, so I didn’t need to cut the metal precisely.


The other piece for the roof rack are the end pieces. Yes, they are green instead of orange or black, but that’s due to the filament I had loaded into the 3D printer at the time…


Amazingly enough, they are printed in PLA and have held up quite well through one winter and one summer. They didn’t melt in the summer or get destroyed by the cold and wetness of winter.


They are not held in place as securely as I’d like, and are easy to remove, but they’ve stayed in place without falling out for over a year now. I should really print some replacements in another color… though it does make it easy to spot my car when other orange Elements are nearby.

So how does it work? Well, it’s a roof rack, and it works fine. If anything, I’d consider raising it a bit higher, and to be honest, I think I use it a lot more frequently when I need to tie down the back window when hauling things that stick out the back, which is good enough for me. In total the cost with the square tube, hardware, and paint, was probably around $30, which is a lot cheaper than a roof rack purchased.


Selling a car on craigslist


I sold my car on craigslist. I’ve used craigslist before, but never to buy a big ticket item, and I’ve never sold a big ticket item until now… it was very interesting.

I posted the ad on a Sunday (not just any Sunday, but Super Bowl Sunday) and within an hour I had 7 people email me, 3 of whom decided to email me twice. I began to think that maybe we should have had a higher price, but no matter, the deed was done.

Here’s a few excepts from some of the great responses I got:

Do you still have car available i am really interested please let me no thanks

You can sand namber because i wants see you car thanks you

Crv if do I got money

hey i like to buy u car please call me for apoitment

Hi” U still have d cr v?

OK, so guy #1 (as in, the first person to respond via email) gets the call, and he says he can come out that night to check out the car. His email said he lived in Pewaukee, but somehow when I called him he was no where near Pewaukee and said it would take an hour to come over. He called me an hour later lost in Pewaukee, which was no good because the car was in Delafield. Anyway, he made it, we took the car for a drive, and he offered me less money than I asked for. Not great. We talked for a bit, and he really wanted it, but didn’t have enough cash, but said he could get it by the next day… I told him to return in 24 hours with the cash for the asking price, and I’d sell it to him.

The next day guy #1 calls and says he can’t get the rest of the money, and offers me less. I tell him I’ll have the second guy (guy #2) looking at it that night (who has already said he’d pay the asking price if the car ran good) and oh yeah, emails from ten other people interested, and if none of them panned out, I’d call him back… On to guy #2.

I set things up with guy #2 to come over around 6:30, and before it’s even 5:00 he calls and says he can’t make it. So yeah, back to guy #1 who explains now that he isn’t going to buy the car, but his friend (guy #3) wants to. Yeah, it’s still only been about 26 hours since I listed the car, if you’re keeping track.

So 6:30 rolls around and I get a call from guy #1 saying he and guy #3 are running late. No worries… They eventually arrive, and we look things over, and we do the paperwork, and there’s some money involved, and it’s done. My 1999 Honda CR-V is no longer my 1999 Honda CR-V. It’s weird, mainly because (if you know me) I’ve been saying I would never replace it. Well, I replaced it, but that’s a story for another time.

tl;dr: I sold my car on craigslist!


Gettin’ Hitched!

I’ve been looking for a trailer hitch for our Honda CR-V. I found a local shop that will install one for about $170, which sounds like a lot to a cheapskate like me, so I looked online…

I’ve found hitches ranging from $80 to $150. I’m not real concerned about towing weight, as we don’t plan on pulling anything, we just want to attach a 4-bike rack to haul the bikes around. (I believe we need to look at “tongue weight” which is what it can hold vertically, which should be the bikes plus the bike rack combined.)

All of the sites I’ve looked at ship the hitch to you with instructions, and say you can install it in well under an hour without drilling anything. A few have testimonials from people saying how easy it is, but I sort of feel lost… At least when researching technical stuff (computers, electronics, etc.) I have a comfort zone, but with this, I just feel like there’s a lot I don’t know. Maybe I’m over thinking it.

I’ll just have to do a bunch more research, and see if I can find people to answer some questions. The last thing I want to see is 4 bikes falling off the back of our vehicle while going 65 on the freeway.