How to Sell an Old Car That is in Bad Condition

2019-12-11 By Legend Auto Sales Blog

When it comes time to replace your car, it’s easy to start dreaming about your next ride. However, before you can get too excited about a new vehicle, you have to figure out how to get rid of the old one. 

But if you have an old car in bad condition, this may be easier said than done. There’s not a huge market out there for cars that need extensive work.

Fortunately, though, it’s not impossible. There are a lot of ways to sell an old car, even if it’s seen better days. Keep reading to find out how.

How to Sell an Old Car in Bad Condition

Learning how to sell an old car in bad condition is about targeting the right audience. You can’t advertise your car as a “reliable family vehicle” if it’s on its last leg. It’s also about learning what you can and can’t do to make the process smoother. 

1. Decide What’s Worth Repairing

First, take a good hard look at your old car and make a list of what needs to be repaired. Organize the list from the most relevant to the least relevant problems. For example, a shot transmission would be near the top and a minor crack on the windshield would be near the bottom. 

Once you have a list, you can determine what’s worth repairing and what isn’t. Trying to sell an old car that needs a new transmission is easier than trying to sell a car that needs a new transmission, tires, brakes, and a reupholstered interior. 

However, it also comes down to how much you want to spend versus how much return on interest you’ll get out of the repairs. When all is said and done, it may be better to sell it as-is for a lower price.

2. Give the Car a Thorough Cleaning

Taking the time to detail the car and make it like clean and shiny may be one of the best ways to sell it, regardless of its condition. Although we’re taught not to, everyone judges a book by its cover. 

While cleaning the car isn’t intended to hide its problems, it will go a long way towards making it more appealing to potential buyers. Detailing the car helps people who want to fix it up envision its true potential.

Do a thorough job with the interior as well. People don’t want to see melted M&Ms, crumbs, or dirty and debris inside the car.

3. Use Multiple Advertising Strategies

Next, make sure you’re taking advantage of multiple marketing platforms. For example, you can use Craigslist, Facebook, and flyers to get your message across. However, be warned that advertising through Craigslist will come with a lot of scammers. 

Use local community pages on Facebook designed for buying, selling, and trading. This is a great way to shout out what you have to thousands of people who subscribe to those pages. Remember to price it reasonably and note that you’ll accept reasonable offers.

4. Make Sure You Have the Vehicle History Report

Whenever you sell an old car, regardless of its condition, people are going to want to see the official history report. The history report should tell potential buyers everything they need to know about the car’s past.

This includes the number of owners before you, if it was ever used as a rental or leased car, major repairs/accidents, and if it had any manufacturer recalls.

5. Be Honest

Even after you’ve produced the vehicle history report, people are going to want as much information about the car as possible. To avoid lawsuits or even a guilty conscious, make sure your completely upfront about everything that’s going on with the car.

From your advertisement, potential buyers should be under no illusion about what you’re selling and why. If you plan to keep things out of the ads it will only end up wasting your time, as many buyers will walk when they discover the true condition of the car.

6. Check Junkyards for Parts

If you think you might want to do some repairs or replacements on the car, check your local junkyards for parts before shopping anywhere else. More often than not, you can replace review mirrors, door panels, fenders, bumpers and more by going through junkyards and looking for parts.

However, there’s a slim chance that exterior colors will match when replacing body parts, so be prepared to paint or sell an old car that looks like Frankenstein’s monster.

7. Be Prepared to Compromise

Next, when you sell an old car, especially one that needs work, you’re going to deal with a lot of hagglers. It’s annoying, frustrating, and even insulting sometimes, but it comes with the territory. 

Try not to get emotionally involved when negotiating with strangers. Remember that they too are just trying to get the most for their money. However, feel free to completely dismiss low-ballers who significantly undercut your car’s worth. 

If time isn’t a factor, avoid rushing the sale or making other car-selling mistakes.

8. Consider a Trade-In with the Right Dealer

Finally, you should never discount the option of trading your car in to a dealer. While they may not sell old cars on their lot, they’ll likely auction it off. Either way, they can take it off your hands for you and the money will go towards your next vehicle. 

However, this does mean you’ll have to get your next car through them — which probably isn’t a bad thing. You may even be surprised how much they offer you for trade-in value. Try to take advantage of any deals or specials going on to get the most bang for your buck.

Looking to Replace Your Car?

If you’re looking for a new vehicle but aren’t sure how to sell an old car in bad condition, bring it to us. We’ll take a look at what you’ve got to see if we can make a deal. We offer the best trade-in values around and would love to give you a chance to go home with some new wheels.

Contact us today for more details!

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