If you wanted to sell a car in the past, your options weren’t exactly unlimited. Today, the ways in which we buy and sell cars are more varied than ever before. We’ll go over the many ways in which you can get rid of your unwanted hunk of metal, so you can pick the option that works best for you.
Option One: Trade It In
You know all those used car dealers that say they’ll give you a certain amount of money for a trade-in — even if you have to push it in with your bare hands? They are not always just blowing smoke: some car dealers will use this as a gimmick rather than putting their cars on sale. They get another car for their inventory (or to scrap), and you get a decent deal. But unless you find one of these fabled offers, you may not be offered very much. If you can afford to buy another vehicle from the dealer, it’s kind of a moot point anyway.
Option Two: Sell via Craigslist
If you want to advertise your car to the general public, you can certainly put a sign in the window and push it out to the lawn, driveway, or curb where people can see it. But this tactic might not get you very far. Instead, consider posting the car’s details on Craigslist so that many more people can see it. A lot of people buy cars that they have no intention of ever driving. Maybe someone needs a junk car for their low-budget movie, or for a high school to wreck to demonstrate the dangers of drunk driving.
Option Three: Autotrader
Autotrader is one of the largest and most trusted online car-buying sites. The service charges you a fee to list your car and photos, and they also partner with dealers to provide listers with trade-in offers. We recommend this option only if your car is on the newer side. If you’re trying to get rid of a junk car, the listing fee can very well end up being more than you’re offered for the car.
Option Four: Online Car Buying Services
There are plenty of cash for car services out there, many of which will offer removal services too. If your car is on the older side and not exactly in high demand, you can call one of these services or fill out an online form. All it takes is some basic information before you get an offer. If you want the cash, you can schedule a pick-up with them and then get a check right on the spot. As far as effort goes, this is definitely one of the easiest ways to get rid of a car that’s been taking up too much space in your life (and on your lawn).
Option Five: Facebook Marketplace
Social media can be a great place to open up your car search. With Craigslist, you may only end up appealing to those who are actively looking for a car. With Facebook, you might pique someone’s curiosity in what you’re selling. If the price is right, you can spark an impulse buyer. Maybe someone wants to teach their kid how cars work, and they need something to practice on, or maybe the buyer wants to restore your old beater.
Option Six: CarMax
Some people don’t want to take the chance of selling their car privately because it’s too unreliable. Maybe you have ten people set up appointments, three people show up on time, three people come and hour late, and four people don’t come at all. CarMax is a service where you can get your car appraised, consider the offer they give you for up to seven days, and then drop off the vehicle if you choose to sell. It’s convenient, there are more than 150 CarMax locations, and the offers tend to be on the fair side.
Tips for Selling
If you’re planning to sell your car privately, make sure you’re taking as many precautions as possible. Shopping malls, gas stations, coffee shops: most major locations will have some degree of surveillance just in case something happens on the premises. Or, just cut out the middleman and meet the person at a police station for good measure. Not only will the area be on camera, but there are far fewer chances of a mishap (or worse) occurring.
Like most things in life, it all comes down to your personal preferences for selling a car. You may end up getting a much better offer if you choose to sell privately, but the effort isn’t always worth the extra few bucks. Or you can sell to a trusted car buyer either online or off.
Todd Bialaszewski is the founder of CarScrappers.com. He writes regularly about the cash for cars industry.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.