The Best Way to Sell Used Cars

by Mark Ivanko

You've just been to the dealership and asked for a trade-in appraisal for your used car. They want to give you $2,000 when you know your car is worth at least $10,000. All you need is a little bit of time and some information, and you can sell your car on your own and get what is is rightly worth.

Do Your Homework

Take a look at what your car is actually worth in your current market. Use websites such as Autotrader.com, Craigslist.com and KellyBlueBook.com. Check your local newspaper to see if similar models are located in your area. This will give you a fair assessment of the price you can ask for you car.

Give Your Car the Rock Star Treatment

It's always a good idea to give your car a full detail before beginning the selling process. A new coat of wax and some Armor All on the tires can transform your car for a very small amount of money. A thorough clean-out of the interior is also very important. Nothing says "No Sale" like someone finding your three-week-old half-eaten sandwich underneath the seat. Swap out the air filter in the air conditioning. This will help bring back that new car smell to a pre-owned vehicle.

Get All of Your Paperwork in Order

Find your title, registration and current insurance card. Make sure that you're ready to sell whenever someone is ready to buy. If your title is from out of state it might be a good idea to get your vehicle registered in the state where you are selling your car, so that the prospective buyer doesn't have to go through the hassle of getting the title from a different state.

Visit Your Mechanic

Have your vehicle thoroughly inspected to make sure there are no leaking hoses, squeaking brakes or anything else that would scare away a potential buyer.

Pricing and advertising

Make sure to price your vehicle competitively against other sellers in your area. Dropping your price a few hundred dollars compared to the next guy could save you a few weeks with your car on the market. Use the Internet to your advantage. List your car for free on sites like Craigslist.com and Carsonlinefree.com. You can also use pay sites like AutoTrader.com to get your listing out to thousands of potential buyers.

About the Author

Mark Ivanko is an experienced automotive and technical writer. He has been working in the automotive industry since 2005. He specializes in European automakers, but keeps his ear to the ground on anything and everything automotive. Ivanko attended New York University, where he got a bachelor's degree in mathematics.