You can’t beat the thrill of buying a new car, from the test drive to the moment the car arrives on your driveway and you get to show it off.
But before you think about buying a new vehicle, you need to consider getting rid of your old one.
Depending on the age and condition of your vehicle, there could be thousands of dollars tied-up in that hunk of metal.
And even if it’s old, rusted, and/or severely damaged, it’s still worth something to someone.
If you’re selling your car, it’s important to get the best price, and that’s what we’ll help you with here.
Table of Contents
Step One: How Much is Your Car Worth?
One of the biggest mistakes that drivers make is to let the buyer set the value.
Don’t simply rock up to a dealership, ask them how much your car is worth, and then take the asking price.
They might give you a decent price, but will it be fair? Will it be the best offer that you can get?
Before selling your car to a private party or dealership, make sure you actually know how much it is worth.
You can use Kelley Blue Book to see what your vehicle is worth.
Just enter the make and model, along with your zip code, and then submit.
Kelley Blue Book will also ask you to trade or sell your vehicle through the site, but you’re not obligated to do so. Just get the quote and use it to set your asking price going forward.
There is a good appraisal feature on Edmunds, as well. If you’re going to be selling your car to a dealership, it’ll help to print off these quotes.
That way, if they try to lowball you, just whip out the quote.
Step Two: Salvage, Scrap, Private Car Buyer, or Trade-In?
All vehicles have an inherent value. It’s not like a computer or item of clothing in that it becomes worthless as soon as it is damaged or obsolete.
Even if your car was flooded, struck by lightning, and then spent the next 20 years sitting on your front lawn, it should still have some value.
It might not be much, but at the very least it’ll be enough to warrant making a few phone calls.
It’ll also allow you to get rid of the vehicle without paying for the pleasure.
And if the car is fairly new and still able to get from A to Z, even better, as you have a few more options:
Selling Your Car Privately
Sites like Craigslist and Facebook are full of car dealers and private buyers looking to snap-up bargain vehicles.
Many of these car shoppers will drive a hard bargain, and if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands and hate haggling, it’s not the best option.
But if you’re steadfast, know what you’re talking about, and are willing to put the hours in, it’s the best way to sell your car.
Craigslist, in particular, is full of vehicle listings.
Of course, it’s equally full of weirdos and scammers, so you will need to remain vigilant, but most buyers are friendly and honest.
And because you’re selling directly to a private party, one that will actually use your car and not simply sell it on, you should get the most money.
This option is not just for new and valuable cars, either.
The United States is full of car enthusiasts and budding entrepreneurs who don’t mind getting their hands dirty to repair old and nearly-worthless vehicles.
Whether it’s just past its best or has a salvage title, these handy car buyers will give you cash for your vehicle.
Sell to Car Dealers
A car dealer won’t give you as much as a private party on Craigslist, but they will remove some of the hassle from the process.
They are experienced in car sales, so they know how to drive a good bargain, but if you have a price in your head and remain steadfast in your negotiations, you’ll get what you want eventually.
It just means that you might have to shop around and check many different dealerships in your area.
Trading it In
You won’t get the best price for your car if you trade it in, but it’s an easy way to offload an old vehicle and make a saving on a new one.
There is also a lot of wiggle room, as you have the purchase price for the new car to think about as well.
Scraping Your Junk Car
If your car isn’t running or is severely damaged, and you want a quick sale, just go through a junkyard.
You can call them for a quote, they will give you an instant cash offer, and if it’s what you were looking for, you can sell your car in under 24 hours.
Most junk car buyers will send a tow truck to pick up your vehicle and the driver will give you the cash that was agreed upon.
It’s a simple and legitimate way to sell your car and it’s also arguably the best option for cars that only have salvage and scrap value.
Step Three: Sell Your Car
You have learned the market value of your car, discovered the best way to sell, and you have the offers lined up.
The only thing left to do is accept, take the money, and sell your car!
Step Four: Additional Questions
Whether you’re selling your car through Craigslist or to a car dealership, it’s important to understand the process, know how much your car is worth, and be patient.
If you still have a few questions about how to sell your car using these methods, take a look at these quick FAQs:
Where Can I Sell My Car Fast?
The quickest way to sell your car is to go through a dealer like CarMax.
You should get an instant cash offer and the selling process is very quick and easy.
You might not get the best price, but if it’s speed you want, it’s a great option.
What is the Best Site to Sell a Car?
You can use Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or even Autotrader.
There are several sites out there where you can list and sell a car, but some of them charge fees so keep this in mind.
How Can a Private Party Pay for a Car?
It’s up to you.
Cash is one of the best options as it won’t bounce like a check and it can’t be reversed like PayPal.
However, if it’s easier for you to use a web wallet or alternative payment service, then go for it.
Just make sure you have the funds before you sell the car.