Help me sell my car (repair and selling choices)
July 24, 2007 5:00 PM   Subscribe

Selling my Car: Help me make wise repair/body/cleaning choices prior to selling my '99 Infintii i30

So I'm selling my car and wanted advice on how much work to do on it, who to try and sell it to, and any other advice on the subject. Without further ado, here's my car info:

1999 Infiniti i30, Silver
105,000 Miles. Selling in Los Angeles
Bluebook Value: "Fair" Condition = $6250, "Good" = $7000
Current condition: Probably Fair, given their
-Body: $1700 work estimate from high-quality body shops to fix damage to trunk (dented and plastic shattered from damage done by garbage truck). Front and rear bumpers are fairly ugly looking with dings and paint damage, but structurally sound. Car body is otherwise in fine condition for a 105,000 mile car (some dings and scratches, not much else). Interior and exterior both are fairly dirty and could use a good cleaning. Just got bumper repair estimate from a half-decent body shop that can use junkyard parts - $600.
-Other stuff: Car dealer mechanic says the car's doing well for its age. Brakes are >50%, struts are worn and a little rusty, drive belts are worn and should be replaced soon, engine/steering fluid should be flushed and replaced at some point soon, rear shocks have been leaky for the last 50,000 miles without any noticable problems.

So! How much work should I do on this car, and who should I sell it to? Seems like doing the junkyard bumper repair for $600 and a good detailing ($300?) would be a good call, and that would probably bump the car up to the "good" condition level and net me ~$7000. As for selling the car, I've heard recommendations for craigslist. Any others that are particularly useful nowadays?
posted by anonymoose to Travel & Transportation (1 answer total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Kelly Blue Book grades cars for Private Party purposes thusly:
"'Fair' condition means that the vehicle has some mechanical or cosmetic defects and needs servicing but is still in reasonable running condition. This vehicle has a clean title history, the paint, body and/or interior need work performed by a professional. The tires may need to be replaced. There may be some repairable rust damage."
" 'Good' condition means that the vehicle is free of any major defects. This vehicle has a clean title history, the paint, body and interior have only minor (if any) blemishes, and there are no major mechanical problems. There should be little or no rust on this vehicle. The tires match and have substantial tread wear left. A "good" vehicle will need some reconditioning to be sold at retail. Most consumer owned vehicles fall into this category."
Kelley says average mileage for your vehicle should be around 82,000, and yours has more than 20% more mileage. I'm not clear if your $600 bumper repair would fix the trunk problems you mention, but I'd guess not. A car with visible body and paint damage, mechanical problems, and excess mileage is going to be a low Fair, if that. In its current shape, your car would be rated Poor condition by most buyers, and I think you'd have trouble moving it to a private party even at a deep discount from Kelley's "Fair" price of $6235. But supposing you could get someone to offer you $5,000 for it, without you spending a penny on it, how much would it be worth to you to move it up to "Fair" condition? If you could get $5,000 for it as is, obviously, anything less than $1200 that you spend to get to fair condition would be worthwhile to you. You could probably leave the leaking rear shocks, the worn out front struts, the bad belts, and concentrate on getting your body work fixed for $1000 to $1100, and sell the car as Fair. But to get it to Good condition, you're going to be expected to fix those obvious mechanical problems, have a decent battery and tires on it, repair records, and have much better paint than it sounds like you have. Definitely not worth the cost to you to try to get the car to Good.

It's an 8 year old car in rough shape, not a restorable classic. Unless you're a mechanic who can do the work, and get good deals on parts, it won't be worth your time to do much more than clean it, and sell it as is.
posted by paulsc at 7:39 PM on July 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

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