As much as you value your old car—it has seen better days—you know that it’s time to move on to a new and better car if your old unit has been chugging oil like there’s no tomorrow. If your old car spends more days at the mechanic’s than in your garage, you should think of buying a new one. But you don’t want to simply junk your old car or sell it to the first person who inquires. You want to “honor” it by finding it a good home and getting more money from it.
You can sell your old car to a dealer in exchange for a discount that will be applied to the new car. This is called a trade-in, and many auto dealerships accept old cars as a sort of “payment” for getting new ones. It is almost not possible to get cash or a check from a traded vehicle. Any discounts that you will earn from the trade will be deducted from the price of the new vehicle. If you want cash or a check, you can ask your dealer if that’s possible. Otherwise, sell your car privately.
Collect the Paperwork
Not many know this, but a person wants to buy a used car only when there are no issues with the paperwork. You need to prepare the car’s title (that little pink slip that allows you to put the car on the market), the forms for transfer of ownership, and a copy of the car’s repair history. You can get the latter from your mechanic. You can also have the car checked and “graded” by an authorized mechanic to show proof that it’s in good working condition.
Clean and Get the Car Detailed
You have to clean your car thoroughly, inside and out. One of the things that will convince prospective buyers to put an offer on your car is knowing that it’s well-maintained. Stained car seat covers, crumbs, and old matting will not help sell the car. You can have it detailed and remove minor scratches and bumps. That $200 you spend on the car will make it look new and shiny. You should also install a new car matting because it will spruce up your cabin.
Fix the Most Obvious Flaws
Take the car to the mechanic and have them fix the most obvious flaws—those that will stand out to a potential buyer. Change the engine oil and put more brake oil if that’s needed. While you don’t need to fix every issue as it will be expensive, you can fix the ones that will affect its overall value.
Set a Realistic Price
How do you price a car? You price it based on how much you’re also willing to pay for it if you’re the one going to buy it. You can check many sites, such as Cars.com and Craigslist, to have a feel of how much other people buy cars of the same model and specifications. Put in a couple of hundreds of dollars more on the base price to act as a buffer when buyers start to haggle with you.
Selling your car will also involve listing it on websites and social media pages that are dedicated to selling used cars. You have to give as many details as possible, including the model year, the car’s history, the mileage, and the reason you’re selling it. Don’t expect to sell a used car to be a breeze. It can be frustrating and annoying, but you just have to trust that you’re going to find a new home for your used car.