How to Sell a Car: 10 Tips to Get the Most Value Out of Your Old Car

how to sell a car

On average, around 17 million people purchase cars in the United States every year. Figuring out how to sell your old vehicle to one of these buyers for the top dollar can often be a difficult task.



Putting a little extra effort and time into your car before selling can get you more money for your vehicle.

Here are 10 tips on how to sell a car for the most value.

1. Offer to Show Your Receipts

It’s important to keep all the receipts from all the work from over the years that you’ve had done if you can. When you go to sell your car, it will help the new potential owners have confidence in how well you have maintained the car.

This trick can help justify your price so that you can get the most money for the car.



Definitely make sure you present all receipts and paperwork for the big work that you have had on the car. It isn’t as important to keep all receipts from smaller upkeep jobs like oil changes.

2. Spend More Time Taking Quality Pictures

More than likely, you won’t take the perfect picture of your call on the first attempt.

Some basic photography tips and your smartphone is all you need to take some great pictures that you can use to sell your car online.

Remember to don’t stand too far away when taking the pictures. Get just enough back so that you can fill the frame with the car when the camera is rotated 90 degrees.

Using flash isn’t a great decision and can result in bright reflections from the car in pictures.

3. How to Sell a Car by Selling to a Dealer

Selling your car to a dealership can often be the most hassle-free option if you have a newer car. They will offer a good price for a car that has been well maintained over the years.

Consider going around town to a few different local dealerships to get prices from all the different options. This will give you a good idea of what your car is worth then you can choose whoever gave you the best offer.

4. Allowing a Pre-Purchase Inspection

People may be more inclined to purchase your car if you allow them to get the car inspected before they take it home.

This will give them either give the buyer confidence that the car is as good on the inside as it is on the outside, or it brings up any issues.

Whether or not you do this for them out of your own pocket, or you choose to have them pay for it is completely up to you. A mechanic may charge around $100-$200 for the inspection.

5. Get the Inside of Your Car Detailed

Having a dirty interior is a quick way to decrease the price of your car. Getting all the trash out and the car thoroughly vacuumed will make your car a lot easier to sell for more money.

This means throwing out all those fast food wrappers, cups, and anything else that’s cluttering up the inside of the car.

You can even choose to have your car professionally detailed. This will probably result in a deeper clean. Having your car cleaned will help it sell faster.

6. Yes, Have the Exterior Detailed Too

If you don’t have a lot of money to spend on getting it professionally detailed, take your car through a quick car wash.

Get the most out of your money so choose the package that comes with a hot wax treatment, tire cleaning, and undercarriage cleaning as well.

You can always get similar if not the same results from washing your car at home in the driveway. Your local automotive store will have some inexpensive car washing soap. All you need is that, a bucket, and some water to get the job done.

7. Show Them Comparable Cars

Just like real estate, having comparable deals on cars can be helpful in getting the best price possible.

One place to look for comps is on eBay. You can use the advanced search option in order to find a completed sale on a car that’s similar to the one you want to sell.

Make sure to look for a car made in the same year with the same make and model. Take this information along with how much it sold for to potential buyers.

8. Sell it Privately Yourself

While selling a car privately yourself could require you to put in more work, you might be able to get the best price for the car that way.

This is probably one of the better options if your car is an older model with over 100,000 miles because a dealer won’t be able to easily put that out to sell, and they won’t be able to offer you what you want for the car.

You can use sites like eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook to list the car online. Another way to advertise locally is to put a for sale sign in your front yard or to write in the windows that the car is for sale.

It probably won’t sell as quickly as it would be if you traded a car in; however, you could get more money for your time.

9. Spend Time Advertising

If you are selling your car yourself, make sure that you consider all your avenues to sell and advertise the car.

Try listing the cars on these free sites:

  • Cars.com
  • eBay Classifieds
  • AutoTrader.com
  • Craigslist

Also, make sure to use Twitter and Facebook for all your social media contacts. The more people who know about the car, the faster your sale will go.

10. If You’re Scrapping Your Car Consider This

If you intend to scrap your car for money, you will get the best price for it by not taking out any remaining parts because they add value.

In some cases, the car parts individually can be worth more than the car itself. You may want to consider selling just the parts if you know how much they cost in comparison to the whole car.

Silverlake Garage has parts for sale and vehicle auctions.

Get the Top Dollar

Knowing how to sell a car with the right steps can get you the top dollar for your vehicle. Take time to take quality pictures, make sure your car looks pristine, and that you have all the necessary paperwork. These small tasks can add to a lot of money earned.

You Fix Cars is an online resource for automotive manuals and other DIY repair information.

Take a look at our blog for more automotive tips and advice.