If you have decided that it is time to sell your old car, either because it’s not working anymore, you want an upgrade, or you just need some cash in a pinch, it can seem like a monumental task. What is the best way to sell a car yourself?
Even a simple Google search on how to sell your old car is going to turn up thousands upon thousands of results. You’ll find junk dealers, local dealers, plus literally dozens of other venues and services that could buy a car from you or you can use to get the information out about what you have for sale.
If the process seems a little overwhelming for you, we can help. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular ways to sell a car yourself and figure out what the best way is going to be for you.
What is My Car Worth?
The first thing you need to do before selling your car is figuring out what your car is worth. The best way to do this is to make use of sites like Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds.com. Both of these sites are relied on by industry professionals to get an idea for the value of just about any car you can think of.
When you head to their sites, you can get an estimate for the make, model, and year of the vehicle you drive regardless of what condition it’s in. You can even narrow it down to a more accurate estimate by including things like the trim package and the paint colour.
The numbers you get from Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds are just estimates, but they’re based on nationwide sales figures and many people will look at these before making an offer on your vehicle.
Popular Ways to Sell a Car Yourself
Back in the day, selling a car was a pretty simple process. You could put a sign in the window of the car and leave it on your driveway, head to the local dealer and see if they wanted it as a trade in or put an ad in your newspaper’s classified section. The world has changed a lot since then.
- Craigslist. The local newspaper classifieds have been replaced, for the most part, by Craigslist. If you live in a big enough city, you could probably find hundreds of cars for sale on Craigslist in your area right now.
If you want to sell your car on Craigslist, it’s a simple matter of taking some pictures and writing a detailed but enticing description to get people to click on it. And that is the big challenge you need to overcome when selling on Craigslist. How do you get people to read your ad?
There’s a lot of competition on Craigslist, so it may take some time before you get any replies to your ad. In a big city, people are placing ads for cars all the time so yours can quickly get pushed to the second page and beyond.
On the upside, a big city means there are probably a lot of people who are looking for cars as well, so you have a decent-sized customer base. If your car is in good enough condition, then there’s a chance you’ll get some replies pretty quickly.
The big thing you need to worry about with Craigslist is dealers and other buyers who are going to try to lowball you. Many dealers actually use Craigslist to find cars that they can buy at very low prices and then turn around and sell high elsewhere.
Another issue on Craigslist is reliability. Many buyers have issues with people who seem to be interested in buying, and then eventually just cease communication or, if you arrange a time to meet for the sale, they simply don’t show up and you never hear from them again.
- eBay. eBay has a popular and easy-to-use site for auctioning cars. You’re less likely to be ghosted by a seller here than you would be on Craigslist. But there are still a couple of issues when dealing with eBay.
To start with, most eBay buyers aren’t local to your area. There’s a chance of someone’s interested in your car you’re going to have to work out a way to ship it to them. The other issue is that eBay takes a percentage when it comes to sales, so you won’t get your full asking price.
- CarMax. CarMax is the largest buyer of used cars in the country, so they’re definitely a good choice since many people have had good experiences with the company. If you’re interested in selling your car to CarMax, you just need to head to their website and fill out a bit of information about what you have.
An appraiser will come to see your car, take it for a test drive, and give it an assessment based on its condition to determine what kind of offer the company is going to make. If they do want your car, they pay you in a bank draft which you can deposit at your bank like a check. Typically, this will take a few days to clear.
- Scrap Yards. This is usually an option when your car is in pretty rough condition. If it doesn’t run anymore, and you don’t think there’s any hope of even getting trade in value from a dealer, you may want to just find out what you can get for the car as a junker.
You can head to the website iscrapp.com and get an up-to-date figure for what scrap metal is worth right now. This will tell you, based on the weight of your car, the absolute lowest value your car has in terms of scrap metal. This is what you know you could get for your car at a bare minimum.
The only thing you need to remember about scrap dealers is that they’re in the business of making money. They’ll offer you the scrap value of your car, but don’t expect any more than that. They’re trying to make a profit, too.
The other thing you need to consider is, if your car is not able to drive, how are you getting it to the scrap yard? You’re going to have to pay for a tow truck to get it there which will eat into any profits you might make.
- Car Classifieds. While Craigslist deals in all kinds of merchandise, there are some sites that exclusively deal with cars. Sites like Cars.com operate with Kelley Blue Book and MSN Autos. You could also head to Autotrader.com. These sites are popular and well trafficked, so you can expect that a lot of eyes are going to end up on your ad.
The big problem with placing an ad on these sites is that they aren’t free to use. You’ll need to decide if the bigger audience is worth it to you to pay money to place an ad. For instance, Autotrader.com is going to charge you $49 for a listing.
- Private Sales. Aside from Craigslist, there are other ways you could try to manage a private sale in town. This could literally be that sign in the window of your car that we mention. It’s always possible someone will drive by and see it, and you make it some bites.
The big problem with most private sales, whether it’s just a for sale sign in the window of the car, or posting something on a bulletin board, is that they’re likely to take a long time. These don’t take full advantage of the technology that we have available today, so they’re less likely to work with any kind of speed.
- Online Car Buyers. If you were to Google something like “who buys used cars in my town” right now, you would probably get a few thousand results at the very least. There are numerous businesses that claim to buy used or junk cars for cash.
Many of these companies offer quick cash for your car, but you do need to make sure you’re doing your homework. Has the company been in business for a long time? Are there any reviews to prove their reliability? And how much are they going to offer you for your car?
- Cash Cars Buyer. Unlike the competition, Cash Cars Buyer has the history to back up our claims. We’ve been buying cars for over 10 years now. We have a long list of satisfied customers who can speak to the level of service we offer.
We pride ourselves on making you a fair offer for your used car. And best of all, when you choose Cash Cars Buyer, we can get you cash in hand within 24 hours. That means you don’t need to wait for online payments to process or any checks to clear.
We can even come to your home to pick up your car free of charge, if that’s what you’d like. We’re the best in the business because we make the fairest offers and provide you the easiest service to sell your used car.