I like to keep my cars as long as possible. My first car I sold when it had 225,000 miles on it. I picked up a used car that was four years newer and only had 80,000 miles on it. When she started having troubles, I got rid of her for another newer used car with 100,000 miles on it.
Now she is beginning to fall apart, so I am in the process of buying a new car. In all the scenarios, the car I was getting rid of was still in halfway decent condition that allowed me to sell it privately.
Fast forward to my car now, which I’m not sure who would buy it. The transmission is going, part of the exhaust system needs repair, it leaks oil, it needs new tires, and it needs a new chain tensioner.
All in, the repairs would cost me close to $3,000. The value of the car, in mint condition is only $2,000. So what are the options when selling an old car and getting the most money?
3 Options For Selling Your Car For Top Dollar
#1. The Trade-In
If you are buying new or used from a dealership, you have the option to trade-in your old car. Usually this option gives you the least amount of money.
If you are considering this route, don’t offer up the trade-in until after you have come to an agreement on the price of the new car. After that is set, then bring up the trade-in. Before you bring it in for an appraisal, be sure to wash and vacuum it out as well as clean out all of your stuff.
Make it look great, even if it is falling apart.
Also, know what the car is worth ahead of time. This will help stop you from accepting a low-ball offer from the dealership. Whatever price they come back with, ask for more. They will try to get your car for the lowest amount so they can either resell it for a profit or junk it for the least amount possible.
Remember when negotiating, the worst they can say is no.
I’m lumping Craigslist in with selling it privately. This option allows you the most money for your car. It also is the most work as well.
You need to take pictures of your car, list it, respond to emails and phone calls, as well as make time for the prospective buyer to come see and test drive the car. Plus, you will have to take your car to their mechanic for him to check it out as well, assuming the buyer is smart and requires this.
The same applies to a private party sale as the trade-in when it comes to cleaning your car. Again, make it look flawless. Think of it this way.