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What Are the Best Options for Selling a Car?

Marc Skirvin
Marc Skirvin

What's in this Article

Even though the auto industry took a bit of a tumble in 2020 due to the global pandemic, industry experts believe it could have been way worse.

One of the key positives to come out of 2020 is the fact that the U.S. population chose to hit the open road and explore their home country, while also avoiding public transport where possible. This paved the way for a decent amount of car sales over the past year, allowing the industry to stay afloat.

If you’re looking to sell your car in 2021, there’s still a market for it. You just need to know where to look and how best to sell your car. Check out the rest of this blog for all the car selling tips you need to know. 

Figure Out What Your Car Is Worth 

Whether you’re looking to sell a new car for an even better model, a well-used car that needs an upgrade, or a junk car that no longer serves you, it’s important to know what your wheels are worth. 

If selling your car in today’s economic climate seems daunting — it doesn’t have to be. But your first and most important piece of information is knowing what to sell your car for. There are a few key factors that play into the worth of a car:

  • The model year of your vehicle 
  • The brand and model type 
  • Your overall mileage 
  • The overall condition of your car 

There are a number of free online resources that allow you to enter your car’s details and you deliver results based on price and value information. Most of the time you can gauge the rough, average, and clean trade-in value of your car, as well as the clean retail value and pre-owned value.

Otherwise, if your plan is to trade your car in, you should be offered an appropriate trade-in value, and the same goes for selling your car to a dealer. These prices are based on wholesale value, which allows for a certain amount of profit to the dealer, too. 

If you choose to sell your car privately, you can expect to fetch a price that is closer to the clean retail value. Just be 100 percent sure you know what this value is so that you cannot be duped into settling for less! 

Useful Car Selling Tips: Where to Sell 

In today’s day and age, there are numerous avenues in which to sell a car. The trick is finding the right platform and means of selling yours in order to bag the best price. Even if you just want to ”get rid” of an old jalopy, you never know what you could get for it by doing a little bit of homework.  

Here are some of the most popular car selling options to consider:

1. Trade Your Car in 

By trading your car in, you are making a trade-off with a car dealership. It doesn’t matter if you still owe money on a vehicle, you can still trade a car in, and continue paying off your new vehicle based on its value. However, you can also trade-in a car that’s been paid off for the best possible profit. 

It’s best to trade your car in with a dealer you already know — perhaps the same dealer you bought your car from originally. Bear in mind that some car trade-in deals are based on haggling. If you want to get the best price, haggling is your friend.  

2. Sell Your Car Privately 

Second in popularity to car trade-ins is selling your car to a private buyer. The best way to find the right buyer is to compile a great advertisement for your vehicle and post it to online resources, such as Craigslist and others.

It’s a good idea to allow potential buyers to take a look at your car in person and test drive it before they make an offer. This leads to the best profit/highest cash return when selling privately.

3. Sell Your Vehicle To an Established Dealer 

Then there’s the option of selling your car to a dealership. Some dealerships are linked to large auto-chain groups — bear in mind that you shouldn’t settle for this first offer you’re given from these types of dealerships.

An offer usually stands for a while, so take some time to shop around at other dealerships and see who offers the best price. There’s also the option of selling to a third-party dealer if your car is on the older side. They are not linked to large auto-makers and offer reasonable prices based on the age and quality of your vehicle. 

4. Junk Your Car for Cash

If your car is not sellable to a dealership or private buyer and has little trade-in value, then your best bet is to junk your car for cash. This process works by selling parts of your car to a junkyard. They then take steel, aluminum, copper, and other metals and sell it to scrap metal dealers. 

The amount of money you receive for your car parts depends on the current market rate of scrap metal. This ultimately determines how much money the scrap metal dealer pays the junkyard, who then pays you. 

Bear in mind that you’ll only be eligible to junk your car if you can produce a title for it. In order to maximize your profits when junking your car, here are some tips: 

  • If you can drive it to the junkyard, then do it — this way you save money on towing fees 
  • Clean the car thoroughly, especially the interior 
  • Save yourself time and money by emptying out your car’s fluids before taking it in
  • Remove as much rust from the exterior as possible beforehand 

It’s wise to get a few quotes on what a junkyard can offer you for your car. Don’t make the mistake of settling for your first offer, be smart and compare prices!  

How To Advertise Your Car and Bag the Best Deal 

Whether you choose to trade your car in, or sell to a private buyer or dealership, first impressions count. Advertising your car not only relates to media advertisement, but also the overall aesthetic car. Here a few tips to help you fetch the best deal:

1. Show Evidence of Car Maintenance 

The last thing you want is a potential buyer to think you’re selling a lemon, i.e. a car that is bound to present troubles down-the-line! A good way to reassure potential buyers to offer maintenance records of your car, detailing how you have invested time and money in keeping it in good condition. 

2. Detail Your Car 

Let’s face facts — a dirty, unkempt car will not sell for the best price, even if the car is fairly brand new. You have to put in the effort to present your car in its best possible condition. 

Take some time to fully detail your car before you create your online advertisement and have potential buyers look at it in person. Wash the exterior of your car, top to bottom. Rinse off the soap well to avoid streaking on the exterior and your windows. Clean your wheel rims and shine them up. 

Go through your interior and remove all rubbish, dirt, and debris. Thoroughly vacuum hard-to-reach areas like cup holders and the gear-stick area. Wipe away dust with a microfiber cloth and vacuum your car seats. Use a car fragrance/scent dispenser for that new car smell. 

3. Put Real Effort Into Your Car Advertisement

If you’re advertising your car online, you want to put maximum effort into how you display it and describe it to potential buyers. There are literally thousands of cars for sale online, so you have to ensure your advertisement makes its mark. 

Park your car with a neutral background, such as against a concrete or brick wall, or inside a clean garage. Make sure there is soft light when taking photographs of your car for the most flattering images. The best time to snap some photos is at dusk. 

Make sure to take photos of your car from all angles — from the front, sides, the rear, throughout the interior, inside the trunk, and engine house, too. Don’t make the mistake of posting cut-off images of your car — this could initiate buyer suspicion that you’re trying to hide something.

Then, write a detailed description of your car, highlighting its best features and other important information potential buyers need to know. 

Sell Your Wheels To Cash Auto Salvage 

Selling your car doesn’t have to be a difficult and stressful process. By taking your time, doing some research, price comparisons, and advertising your car properly, you should be able to secure the best price. One of the most important car selling tips to keep in mind is to never ”settle” on a buyer — do a background check and screen them before you commit to a sale. 

Otherwise, allow Cash Auto Salvage to buy your car from you! We can either sell or auction it for the best price, or junk recycle it for the best possible value. Get an instant offer based on your car, truck, van, or SUV model, today. 

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About the Author


Marc is the Co-Founder of Cash Auto Salvage and Director of daily operations. He retired from a leading Internet Marketing company in 2013 and has been involved in the automotive industry ever since.

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