Hot Topics: Selling a Used Car

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Original Post: Tips for selling my old car?

EdShnatter Member

I have other threads here about my 2010 honda civic LX with 150K miles. It had a front bumper accident years ago / one headlight housing is cracked / fair amount of dings / scuffs on the paint but runs fine other than the AC died recently (open clutch coil). My wife's making me sell it... I'll use my son's 2015 Civic.

Some questions:

1) What are ways to sell it these days? Ebay? Craigslist? Facebook marketplace? I could go to a dealer, but likely they don't want a car all dinged up like that so they'd give a LOW number.

2) How do you figure what you can get for a car? Looking on "recently sold" on Ebay, prices for that model and nearby years are 3K to 6K. But wide range of miles, conditions, etc. Not a science, right?

red car with digital circle around fender damage

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

I doubt a dealer would buy it off of you unless it was a trade in .... and even that can be iffy.

You can go to Kelly Blue Book and others to get a price for your vehicle. They'll have a bunch of questions to zero in on the worth. Pay close attention to how you answer, if you overstate the condition you won't get a good price estimate. Along with what you already mentioned, putting a for sale sign in the window might also work.

Shadeladie Super Moderator

I took the liberty of plugging in your car at Edmunds and it looks like you could get $1,400 to $2,000 privately.

You can try TrueCar online to see what you'd get.

Ebay and AutoTrader you'll pay a fee. Craigslist and I think Facebook will be free.

You might also consider donating it to your favorite charity. That way you'd get a tax write off and could probably put a higher amount than what you'll actually get for it.

EdShnatter Thread Starter

Shade - thanks... and OUCH!

I hate that math (and certainly not meaning to shoot the messenger!). It runs great. At that price, I kinda feel its 'not worth selling'... if something happens with one of our other cars, we have this one.

On the other hand, how likely is that? And insurance costs money even when it's sitting on the driveway. As my wife says... it runs great now. But next week, the trans could go. Then it's worth its weight in scrap, minus tow fee. : )

Shadeladie Super Moderator

Then again, that's not to say you can't get more. If you put it up for sale, just ask higher and wait and see. Someone may be willing to pay more. You never know!

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

The sad fact is most cars aren't worth what the owner thinks they are. I don't know what your car is worth but when a prospective buyer shows up be sure to point out all the good aspects of the car including how long you've had it and how you've repaired any mechanical issues as they arose.

alan73 Member

I would just price it where you want and be willing to come down, in as is condition its probably not worth much.

The most any used car dealer is going to do for repairs prior to selling is fix the AC and replace the headlight, and at least buff and touch up the paint and detail it. If repairs are going to cost too much, they will just send it to an auction and wont even try to sell it on their lot, so you're not likely to find a dealer to buy it. If you did, they probably would not want to give you much for it for the above reasons.

stickshift Group Moderator

What you need to keep in mind is that car has reached the point where it has very little value...

Except to you.

You are the one that knows the car and what it is capable of, to everyone else it is an old, worn-out crapshoot.

EdShnatter Thread Starter

Thank you all!

Stick - I agree on me overvaluing it. And at the same time....

My perception is that people need transportation. 'The train station car', 'the beater car'? But it's also supply and demand. Loads of cars come off lease—lots of supply pushes the value of older cars down. Likely for 'not much more' money, they can get a newer / more reliable car... that looks nicer too.

I do computer networking work. I guess i see it on the other side—I tell a client they need to replace the computer.... it works, but it's slow and if anything goes wrong with it, it's expensive for them to pay me to work on it. But these days, PCs made three to five years ago are still pretty powerful / I use their disposed of PC for different things / lab networking, etc. And actually for general office work... the PC I'm on now is five plus years old.

Not disputing anything anyone's saying. Just thinking out loud. It's interesting (and frustrating) to think about this stuff. : )

alan73 Member

Your perception is not really wrong, there are people out there looking for cheap transportation or a beater car with only 150k miles. It most likely will make someone a good car for just that purpose, you just cant really expect to get 4-5k out of it in the condition its in. No working AC is probably going to be a big turnoff to a lot of potential buyers, even more so than the dings and paint damage. But otherwise it still runs and drives, so I would expect it would sell for 2-3K.

Norm201 Member

Sell it cheap and get rid of it. Make sure you tell potential buyer everything. Sell AS IS. And sell it only to a stranger. No friends or family.

aka pedro Member

And the sooner you sell it the better. Tires, belts, bushings, etc. rot, seals get dry allowing fluids to leak, wires and connectors corrode, and on and on, and all of this happens while it is sitting perfectly still, waiting for you to decide what to do.

I know how disheartening it can be. I've been there several times myself, thinking "it has to be worth more than that." And fortunately I never fell into that trap with a vehicle, but I have seen others any number of times go through the same thing and think about it too long. Next thing you know, the battery is dead, so you mess around with that and most likely end up replacing it for another $50. Then there's a drip someplace, and when you bend over to look at that you see that the sidewalls are starting to crack. The gas gets stale causing fault codes to pop up, and it goes on from there.

Take the beating now because it's not going to get any better over time.

D.Rentals Member

My wife would say not to think of what you think it is worth, but to think that if you were in a market for a used car, what would YOU pay for a 2010 Honda with 150,000 miles, body damage and a non working AC system?

bambata Member

After having bought/sold a couple of cars off of craigslist I will chime in with my experience.

The first and simplest thing you can do is get on CL and search for your car or the closest equivalent. For about 10 cars, see what people are listing. From those values, work out how much a hit your car will take due to non working AC, dings, etc.

KBB etc. are great but if you are in the deep woods of Alaska, a Civic ain't gonna fetch the same mouth watering deal it would in the coasts of Cali. CL gives you the best barometer of what you are trying to sell. Ebay as well. I used KBB to guard against over/under paying/selling, but my prices MO came down to comparables. Look at OfferUp and Letgo as well.

If it's any help, you can visit a junk yard and get color-matching used parts. What is wrong with AC? Is it a major fix or does it just need a recharge? That would knock a serious value off of comparables in hot Texas, etc. Would all these be worth your time?

Finally you might get lucky and find a buyer who is seeking your car-make/model/mileage. These are like heat-seeking missiles. That's how I bought a low mileage 60k C240 from four hours away. Same way I sold a bare bone 22 year old 180K miles racer to a guy from three hours away. It had a faulty AC, but ok condition for its age, and the buyer's desired color... I couldn't convince him not to buy it. Good luck.

stickshift Group Moderator

I never said you overvalued the car; it's that it literally has more value to you than to probably anyone else who might be in the market to buy it.

I'm a believer in either trading cars before they get old or riding them to the junkyard when they're completely done. I've driven cars older and more used up than yours, but I would have sold it a long time ago if that had been the plan.

krishmunn Member

All the above are good advice ... I think I can add a few. I just sold my 12 year old Camry with 130K miles. It had an accident, but was repaired by Toyota approved bodyshop (dealer) and I disclosed that. Though you don't need to, it is always better to disclose.

Looks like your car need a good detailing—that will make buyers look at it. Plan to spend half a day for a good detailing and touch up paint job.

Bumper might be easier to fix than you think. There are basically a couple of clips that hold it. If you are handy, you might be able to fix it.

Also, I would suggest replacing the headlight. You can get a cheap used one or a new aftermarket one.

Craiglist is great. Make sure your listing price is a tad higher than what you are ready to accept. Buyers love to bargain.