Selling a Used Car
July 13, 2004 6:03 PM   Subscribe

SellMyCarFilter: Okay, so I'm looking to sell my car. I've never done this before and I was courious if anyone would have some advice/experiences/etc. [yes, there will be more inside]

So, I have a 92 camry with 105k miles. It runs fine (had an accident that required some parts to be replaced so i know that lowers the overall price). I'm looking for an easy way to get rid of it but I want to make some money. I was thinking of trying Ebay since I've used it before (but not to sell cars) or drive it to a used car dealership. I'm pretty sure I could get more money on ebay than at the dealership but I'm not sure if the hassle would be worth it.

Also, I'm based in NYC and I'm not sure how hard it is to sell cars around here (should be pretty simple right?)
posted by Stynxno to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total)
You could try Craigslist NY if you've got a price in mind. OTOH, maybe someone will read this thread and email you an offer.
posted by boaz at 6:31 PM on July 13, 2004

Be careful of the car buying scammers that frequent local boards and papers.

I got a few coming to see me when I sold my CRX back in 2000. They'll check out the engine, maybe wipe oil on their hands and claim it's a problem with your car, maybe give you a sob story about their brother/wife/cousin/sister that just lost their car and will lose their job unless they get her/him a new car asap, and hey, would you take 50% of your asking price? They'll say that the figure is due to the obvious engine trouble they discovered and their family emergency, but they're lying. I suspect the guys I ran into were pros that did this several times a day, flipping cars a few weeks later for 2x the price they got it.

It's not a big deal and you're in no danger, but just know that there's a chance some folks will show up and waste your time trying to buy your car for much, much less than you want. They'll fan the cash out and try to talk you into it with tales of how hard it is to find buyers and hey, I have the cash right here, we can finish it up right now and you won't have to fool with it. When I refused offers, the guys called me back everyday for a couple days then again a week later, posing as someone else (complete with a fake australian accent).

Try watching a few ebay auctions end for a car similar to yours and check craigslist or an autotrader to see if your asking price is right, then stick to it.
posted by mathowie at 7:00 PM on July 13, 2004

You might already be aware of this, but if you end up using something like ebay or autotrader, beware of scams involving phony cashier's checks. Typically, someone posing as an interested foreign buyer will send a very good looking counterfeit for $5k-$10k more than your asking price, and will then request that you wire the extra funds to their "shipping agent" to arrange delivery.

Of course, about a week later, the check is returned as counterfeit, and you're left holding the bag.

Here are a couple links from a quick google.
posted by Hlewagast at 7:24 PM on July 13, 2004

One unconvential hint for selling your car.. don't lie! I, er, 'twisted the truth' when I sold my car and I got called out on it.

Oh, another one.. if you've got someone coming round to check the car out, don't start the car or have it running for a few hours beforehand. Turning up and finding a hot engine is a very bad sign (a warm engine is more likely to start, it may be masking some problem or another).
posted by wackybrit at 10:35 PM on July 13, 2004

It sounds lame, but replace the floor mats. It's nothing too expensive, but it really makes the car look better, and (should you sell it offline) it can probably get you a bit more for it.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 1:36 AM on July 14, 2004

To make the car look its best, make sure it is cleaner than it has ever been, particularly the windows. Get the engine cleaned or do it yourself at a CarLovers or similar (don't forget underneath the engine). You could easily add 20% or more to the value of the car just by making it sparkle. Have a look at the way used car dealers present their vehicles and copy them they know what they are doing.

I recently helped my eldest daughter buy a car and was amazed at the number of private sellers who made no real effort to present their cars well. She ended up buying a car for at least $500 less than the sellers could have asked for it if they had at least washed it and cleaned the rubbish out of the interior.
posted by dg at 1:58 AM on July 14, 2004

Clean it like you've never cleaned it, make it shine, remove everything from the car (papers, maps, cd's, etc.), and if the floor mats are used, buy new ones or just take them out (the floor underneath will look shiny and pretty!).

Whatever you do, don't sell to a professional. A car dealer offered us something like 1900 $ for our car a few years ago ("Hmm, is that door a different colour? It seems to me that it was replaced, hmm, that will obviously lower the value". "Oh, is that a scratch I see?"....). We decided to sell it privately and got 3200 $.
posted by NekulturnY at 3:50 AM on July 14, 2004

If you are in NYC, why not bring the car over to CarCash? I've heard decent things about them and I think they are in midtown somewhere. Plus this removes the hassle of private sale and having to deal with the public at large.
posted by archimago at 6:08 AM on July 14, 2004

dg has the ticket: clean the engine. My grandfather, in his retired, bored years, would very regularly go out and purchase cars for $3-$5k, hose off the engines and clean the windows, and sell them for almost double.
posted by Hankins at 7:34 AM on July 14, 2004

Nobody's mentioned this, but when selling a nice vehicle (particularly motorcycles, but probably cars too) you should arrange a meeting somewhere other than your garage. Particularly if you have other nice vehicles (or other items) in there. Not that every person who comes by to look is necessarily scoping out your house for a subsequent visit, but you never know. Buyers don't need to know where you live.
posted by spacewrench at 10:08 AM on July 14, 2004

dg has the ticket: clean the engine.

This runs very contrary to what I've been advised over the years. That said, the ordinary guy is likely to fall for this "It's a clean engine, so it must be a great car!".. but this can set alarm bells ringing to a savvy car buyer. Anything that looks like you've been tampering with the engine too much, or trying to cover up some other fault, is quickly noticed.
posted by wackybrit at 5:44 PM on July 14, 2004

That is why you hav to remember to clean under the engine, wackybrit. A clean engine with the underside covered in oil is the sign of a cover-up. A clean engine top and bottom can convince people that you have looked after it.
posted by dg at 7:08 PM on July 14, 2004

"To make the car look its best, make sure it is cleaner than it has ever been, particularly the windows." - I've sold more cars than I care to think about, and I'd take dg's point, in particular about the interior and the windows, and underscore with thick indelible magic marker.
posted by troutfishing at 7:36 PM on July 14, 2004

« Older How can I play .asf files on my Mac?   |   What is this short film or show about a place... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.