How To Sell Car with Body Damage

Accidents happen. It’s just life’s way of keeping you on your toes. And when it comes to cars, and pretty much anything that we pay a lot of money for and rely upon, accidents seem to be a very common occurrence.

Maybe you’ve been in a minor fender bender. Maybe your ten-year-old hit that baseball a little too hard. Or maybe your vehicle is just old and has seen normal wear and tear over the years.

When it’s time to get a new car, you may be wondering how to sell a car with body damage. After all, not only will it free-up some space, but it’ll put some extra cash in your pocket, as well.

Don’t worry, as you can still get cash for your car, even if it’s seen better days. Here’s what you need to know about selling your damaged car.

Can I Sell a Damaged Car?

As you might imagine, a vehicle that’s been in an accident and has body damage will quickly depreciate. Even if you’ve spent thousands of dollars on repairs, your vehicle history report will reflect that the car has been in an accident; therefore, the amount buyers are willing to pay will decrease.

Not to worry, though, you can still find an interested buyer and sell your car. There are just a few things you’ll need to do before you post your vehicle for sale.

First, take your car to a mechanic. Make sure they itemize each repair that needs to be done and how much it will cost. Have them differentiate between cosmetic repairs and mechanical ones. This will give your buyer an idea of how much they’ll be investing in addition to the purchase price of the car.

Secondly, consider getting a safety and emissions inspection. In most states, you can do this even if your car isn’t due. This will let your buyer know that your car is still road-worthy and perfectly safe.

Third, take the time to clean your car! A dirty, damaged car is going to look like a hot mess to a potential buyer. A detailed, clean interior and exterior will make the damage appear less severe.

Finally, have your vehicle title in hand. Buyers will want to know that the car isn’t a salvage or flood vehicle and that there will be no additional titling fees. This will go a long way in making the selling process fast.

Who Buys Damaged Cars?

There are three types of people who will buy your car with body damage:

  • People who don’t care about cosmetic damage or who can fix it
  • Car dealerships
  • Scrap yards and junkyards

How you sell your car with body damage will vary depending on who you’re selling it to.

If you’re selling to private buyers, you’ll want to make sure you disclose all damage, provide the mechanic’s assessment and all other applicable documents, and set your price correctly. You can expect to get about half of what you list your car for when you sell to a private buyer.

If you’re selling a damaged car to a dealership or scrap yard, you don’t have to worry too much about the details. Make sure you have the title in hand, but don’t worry too much about detailing your car. In the case of a dealership, they’ll have their own mechanic inspect your car. A scrap yard will usually not inspect, but just tow away your car.

Selling to a private buyer will generally take longer than selling to a dealership or a scrap yard. You may also find that dealerships offer you more for your vehicle if you buy a replacement through them.

Do your research and consider how much money you need to get for your damaged car and how long you have to get it. Then, proceed accordingly.

Alternatives to Selling a Damaged Car

If you’re not having success selling your vehicle, if you just want it gone quickly, or if you think you’re not being offered what your car is worth, you have alternatives to selling. You can choose to donate or to part it out.

Donating your car is best if you just need the vehicle gone. A damaged car that’s taking up space in your driveway can be gifted to a charity that accepts vehicles, and you can take the tax deduction on your next return.

Conversely, if you have more time and want more money, you can salvage your damaged vehicle for parts. People will pay top dollar for transmissions, engines, and even windshields. You can list damaged cars “for parts” on online marketplaces or in the newspaper. Once it’s live, just wait for the offers to roll in!

Conclusion: Selling a Damaged Car Online and Offline

Even if your vehicle has seen better days, you can still sell a car with body damage. Sell to a dealership, to a scrap yard, or to private buyers to get the most for your car. You can sell a damaged car online to take away the hassle or you can offload it to salvage yards, in which case you’ll get a free cash quote (shop around to get the most money for your vehicle), free towing, and a cash payment.