December 03, 2007

#01-044: Used Car Ads - Part II: Buying from Private Parties

a beat-up old car
How much would you pay for this car?

Note: Let's find out the differences--and the risks--of buying a used car from a private party instead of a dealer.

Get Ready: Have you ever sold a used car? How would you write an ad for your car (real or imaginary)?

Last time we talked about a basic used car advertisement written by a car dealer. This time we'll look at a "private party" ad. Notice how much more information the seller tells you:

2002 Honda Accord EX   68,000 mi   $11,998
Coupe, at, ac, ps, pw, pdl, tilt, cc, am/fm cass, multi cd, lthr, priv glss, alloys, xtra cln

The first line--year, make, model, mileage, price--is the same as in the previous lesson. (This is a fixed format from the listing service.) But then the seller wants you to know how wonderful his or her car is. The body style (coupe) is given, and then the accessories package is described in detail:

  • at: automatic transmission
  • ac: air-conditioning
  • ps: power steering
  • pw: power windows
  • pdl: power door locks
  • tilt: tilt steering wheel (you can move it when you get in and out)
  • cc: cruise control, a kind of "auto pilot" for maintaining speed on the highway
  • am/fm cass: the car has an am/fm radio and a cassette player
  • multi cd: the car has a multiple-disc cd player. This was probably "after market"--installed by the owner after he purchased the car.
  • lthr: the seats and other upholstered interior (dashboard, maybe door panels) are genuine leather
  • priv glss: "privacy glass." It means the windows are tinted dark so people can't see into the car.
  • alloys: This is a special wheel, made from a metal alloy. People like them mainly because they look good.
  • xtra cln: "Extra clean," the car has been well taken care of, without a lot of visible wear.

Buying from a private party is usually a bit riskier, because they're not subject to as many strict regulations as dealers are. Warranties from private sellers are unheard-of, and a buyer who has been cheated will often have to take the seller to court. Still, the purchase is usually easier to make and the price easier to negotiate, because the seller wants to get rid of that car to get a new one!


Read more:

Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. ac
  2. am/fm cass
  3. at
  4. cc
  5. lthr
  6. ps
  7. pw
  8. tilt
  9. warranty
  10. xtra cln

  1. describes a high-quality interior
  2. a guarantee that any problems will be fixed
  3. the car is easy to steer
  4. you can set the car to a steady speed on the highway
  5. it is easy to shift gears
  6. it is easy to roll the windows up and down
  7. you can listen to good music
  8. the car is in very good condition
  9. you can move the steering wheel when you get in and out of the car
  10. you can make the car cool on a hot day

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for December 3, 2007

This lesson received 122 visits on my old site between January, 2012, and June, 2021.

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. j; . g; 3. e; 4. d; 5. a; 6. c; 7. f; 8. i; 9. b; 10. h