How should I sell my car, which needs a replacement door?
August 30, 2016 9:41 AM   Subscribe

[UK used car filter] I'm selling a car with some cosmetic but not-cheap-to-fix damage and would like advice on the best way to sell it.

I have a 5 year old Volvo estate. A while ago it had an extremely-low-speed crunch with a brick wall, resulting in a dent in one of the rear doors. The dent penetrates the metal and so we were quoted £1,000 by a reputable body shop to replace and respray the door. We never got the fix done because of the cost & it wasn't necessary (the car drives fine, the door works OK, etc). Now we are looking to change cars, I want to know the best way to go about selling this one.

Should I:
1) Sell the car privately on Autotrader or eBay as is (obviously with full photos of the damage etc). Have sold a car on eBay before and got more than expected despite many problems with the car. Note I'm in the UK so Craigslist is not an option.
1a) Should I include the quote I was given as a ballpark figure?
1b) How should I price the car? The correct price for its model/age/mileage/etc minus £1,000? Less? More? How does damage like this affect a used car's price? Should I make it an auction instead of a fixed-price ad?
2) Get the door fixed, then sell privately? Presumably would fetch highest price but would have spent a grand on the door so overall would only make the same amount.
3) Use the car as a trade-in, with the damage?
3a) Is damage like this more hassle than it's worth for a dealer, meaning I'd get a worse deal?
4) Get the door fixed and use as a trade-in. Probably wouldn't bother with this as I assume I wouldn't make my money back on the fix?.

- I realise a trade-in is generally not the best option, but it has its value to me in less hassle overall (e.g. if the choice is "get door fixed & sell privately" vs "trade-in with damage" I'd be very tempted not to have to deal with the fix or selling privately).

- As far as I'm aware, the model is reasonably popular, the car is mechanically and cosmetically in good condition (door aside), and the mileage is OK for its age (~60k/5 years). It is a diesel - not from a manufacturer caught in the emissions scandal but I'm not sure how that whole thing has affected diesel prices generally.
posted by EndsOfInvention to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total)
In the US here, but what I would do is first check with some salvage yards to see if they have the door in good condition regardless of the color. If the price is low enough, I would put on the replacement door and have it sprayed.

Pricing it is all subjective and based on your negotiating style, but I would price it as proper for the model/age/etc less 400 or 500 or about half. That gives you so wiggle room to "give in" when the damage is noted (assuming you have not replaced the door). Again, it is me here in the States, but I would not get it fixed and then trade in with a dealer. The dealer can fix it themselves for less than you can so they can actually price it with the expectation that they will spend x fixing it and add x+y to the car price when selling it. They make money on the sale and the repair.

If selling privately, I would not add the estimate unless asked and even then, because the estimate is so specfic to both the body shop and to the level of craftsmanship you are willing to accept it is only meaningful in a very limited context.
posted by AugustWest at 9:53 AM on August 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

winterhill is absolutely correct. The best way to address this cheaply is to find a door that fits in the same color. If it's from a car made the same year, even better. Research the years that will work, then go to work on local salvage yards.
posted by ivanthenotsoterrible at 8:33 PM on August 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I did consider getting a replacement door myself but forgot to mention that in the post. To be honest it seems like more hassle than I can be bothered with. At the moment I am leaning towards selling it as is - if the consensus is that finding a scrap door to use is good value, then hopefully a buyer would see it that way too and I'll still get an OK price for the car with the damage.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:59 AM on August 31, 2016

A different car, but my daughter had a 1998 Ford Contour whose rear passenger door had a non-working window mechanism. I bought a replacement door at a junkyard for $20. It was two bolts and a hour to swap the replacement in [not counting travel time to the junkyard]. It was honestly far more trouble to get rid of the old door than it was to swap the doors.
posted by chazlarson at 8:57 AM on August 31, 2016

Best answer: Update: I put the car on eBay, as-is. Some research led me to believe I'd get between £4,000 and £6,000, but it was hard to get a firm idea given this model with a low mileage is relatively rare even before you consider the damaged door. The auction had a reserve of £4k - with 1 day to go the auction was at £2k, but one of the bidders came over for a test drive and we eventually negotiated a price of just over £5,000. Not as much as I'd hoped but enough above the reserve that I was happy to take it over an unknown final auction price.
So I went with option 1, with plenty of description of the damage, and a starting price of 99p.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:37 AM on October 12, 2016

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