Cars to sell. How?
February 9, 2017 7:21 PM   Subscribe

I have three cars in a driveway that haven’t been driven for at least 18 months. All three won't start. I’ve inherited them from deceased relatives. Once I get the title for the third, I want to unload them. I’d like to sell them without being totally ripped off. A little ripped off is fine, I’m not looking to make money, just not be a rube. How do you tell the value of a car that’s been sitting for that long? They've been parked outside in Wisconsin.
posted by quarterinmyshoe to Grab Bag (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Why not give them to charity? Various charities are happy to take them off your hands, running or not, do all the paperwork, then use whatever money they can get for them.
posted by lhauser at 7:24 PM on February 9, 2017 [3 favorites]

The first thing I'd do is look up their likely value if they were running and drivable, based just on the make, model, year, mileage and cosmetic appearance. If they're worth very little even if running, then don't waste your time; donate or sell super-cheap. If KBB / Edmunds / etc. suggests they could have some significant value then try jump-starting them (to compensate for the undoubtedly dead batteries) and see whether they roar to life. Or, hire a local mechanic to come by and do a quick assessment.
posted by jon1270 at 7:39 PM on February 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

I should have mentioned the cars: 2013 Chevy Malibu, 22,000 miles, looks nice :: 2000 Chrysler. Sedan? I dunno. Miles unknown, looks like a goner :: 2003 Honda CRV, under recall for airbags. So, the Malibu might be the only car worth resurrecting?
posted by quarterinmyshoe at 7:43 PM on February 9, 2017

Someone will buy the CRV too, if it's AWD. Super cheap but it if you put in on Craigslist and low ball it it'll be gone in a day. The Chrysler is a junker I'd imagine.
posted by fshgrl at 7:50 PM on February 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

The batteries will have been drained and frozen. They may seem ok when you jump them but they won't last long.
posted by H21 at 8:18 PM on February 9, 2017

Fix the Malibu to sell for around 10K.
The others (2-3K) I'd donate to charity, rather than dealing with craigslist & lowballers.
In WI I'd recommend to donate to.
posted by artdrectr at 11:36 PM on February 9, 2017 [3 favorites]

I have had success selling boat-anchor vehicles on Craigslist -- one was even sold on the Milwaukee Craigslist. I got $200 for a minivan with a messed up transmission, and $300 for a vintage motorcycle with electrical problems, both of which are better prices than at the junk yard. Some backyard mechanic will put the time and effort into them and resell them for $1000, or give to their kid or something.

Be honest with their status, emphasize that the buyer bring a trailer, and when you put photos up take pics of all sides because the assumption is if there's not a picture of a side, that's the side that was t-boned. Also, when they sell, write up a bill of sale and make sure you have the title to sign over.
posted by AzraelBrown at 4:26 AM on February 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Malibu is definitely worth looking at.

After 18 months sitting outside in Wisconsin, however, cars develop lots of problems. The biggest problems will be the dead batteries, and it is very likely that you may have brakes rusted stuck to the rotors, low tire pressure, and maybe low engine fluids if there were any that were a little leaky, all on top of any problems that existed when the cars rolled onto your driveway, because they are not likely to have arrived in perfect condition.

I sidelined a 2002 Mazda Protege5 that we'd gotten very cheaply as a beater car when it developed some undiagnosed engine trouble that even the local dealer couldn't figure out how to fix (good way to convince me never to buy a Mazda). Sat in our driveway for over a year while I was halfheartedly thinking about what to do with it. One day a guy walked up to our door and offered some cash for it, because apparently it's a hot car with a certain kind of enthusiast, and he didn't seem to care that it had been sitting. It was quite the scene, though, as he and a few other guys worked to unfreeze the wheels. Left a mark on the driveway where they tried dragging it for a bit, etc.

Your best bet is probably to try Craigslist for the two older vehicles, and see if anyone wants to come haul them away for a cheap price. There are people who enjoy a challenge, and that's great. It probably isn't economical for you to try to have them repaired, unless they're in very good condition. The price you'd get selling them may be less than you'd put into the repairs. Even a lowball offer from some guy who is willing to come by and make your problem vanish is a pretty good result.

The Malibu, on the other hand, you should definitely have that evaluated, unless it's in really bad condition.
posted by jgreco at 4:36 AM on February 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've had luck selling cars in Milwaukee on Craigslist that didn't start. You could also try a mechanic that might buy them and fix them up and sell for a profit. I have a recommendation in Milwaukee if you are interested. Donating might be the easiest though.
posted by sulaine at 5:36 AM on February 10, 2017

You could see if you could find someone who advertises themselves as a "mobile" or "on-site" mechanic (craigslist), for a couple hundred dollars they could get them going and check them out a little. This could mean thousands of dollars extra when you go to sell. Priced low enough, they will sell quickly on CR.
posted by 445supermag at 7:05 AM on February 10, 2017

Craigslist for the 2 older cars and super cheap. I recently sold a 97 honda CRV with 220k miles on it for 900$ (though it was running and we cleaned it up).
posted by WeekendJen at 10:36 AM on February 10, 2017

Thank you for all the answers! I'll look over them again and deal with it later this month. Ugh, cars. Thank you!!!
posted by quarterinmyshoe at 6:30 PM on February 10, 2017

nthing charity. Refugee resettlement programs, in my experience, can always use cars.
posted by 4ster at 7:25 PM on February 10, 2017

To follow up: The house junkers I hired offered $3,500 to haul all three. That was way low, but at least I had an easy option. I live an hour from where the cars were parked, so Craigslist was going to be a pain. I told the junkers I would sleep on the offer and I scrambled into action and contacted the local auto mechanic. He was super helpful, took the time to jump start and evaluate them, and offered $9,000. Problem solved! Thanks again!!!
posted by quarterinmyshoe at 8:24 AM on February 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

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