How to Sell a Car That Needs Work

by Barb Nefer

Most used car buyers want to find a car that is reasonably priced and in excellent condition. In reality, many used cars need work because they have been driven for years and are subject to having parts wear out or to developing mechanical issues. You can sell a car that needs work, and if you do it properly and ethically, you can end up with a satified buyer rather than someone who feels ripped off.

Get an honest assessment of the car's condition from a mechanic. You may already know that your car needs certain work, but there could be other problems that you don't know about. Have it examined by a mechanic so you will be able to provide an honest assessment to prospective buyers.

Set a fair price for the car based on its condition. Although most used car buyers want a vehicle in good condition, some are happy to buy a car that needs work in order to save money. They may be able to fix the car themselves or know someone who can do it cheap. They buy it at a lower price than they would pay for a car in good condition, then fix it and wind up with a good deal.

Advertise the car honestly. Technically, in most states you don't have to disclose the fact that your car needs work if you are selling it "as is." Ethically, you should tell the truth about the car's condition and show your mechanic's report to back it up.

Stress the car's good points to prospective buyers. Even if the car needs work, it most likely has parts and systems that are in good condition or that have been fixed or replaced recently. Be prepared to show receipts or other proof of its condition, recent repairs, and ongoing maintenance.

Allow prospective buyers to have their own mechanic examine the car if they so desire. Some buyers will believe your report. Others might be suspicious and want to do their own research. Just let them know that they will have to pay for that assessment themselves.

Warning

  • close Do not put any promises into writing unless you are prepared to back them up. Be honest about the vehicle's condition, but stress that it is an as-is sale and that you cannot be responsible for anything else that might go wrong. If you put any promises or guarantees in writing and a problem crops up, you will be liable for it. Instead, make sure that the contract says you are making an as-is sale.

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About the Author

Based in Kissimmee, Fla., Barb Nefer is a freelance writer with over 20 years of experience. She is a mental health counselor, finance coach and travel agency owner. Her work has appeared in such magazines as "The Writer" and "Grit" and she authored the book, "So You Want to Be a Counselor."

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Photo: freedigitalphotos.net