Van Nuys Auto Repair & Service Center

How To Guides: Selling Your Used Car

Have you decided that it’s time to part ways with your beloved (or not so beloved) used car?

Perhaps you are ready to get into something better or maybe you’re moving and you just can’t take it with you. Whatever your reason, there are a few things you’ll want to know as you’re getting ready to sell your car.
Value and Specifics

The first thing that you’ll want to know about your car is its value. To you, it might be worth a great deal, but finding someone to pay that “great deal” might not be so easy. Various websites publish objective, industry-standard values for used cars. Pricing your car appropriately will help ensure you get fair value while avoiding excessive haggling. The condition of and specifics about your vehicle will guide you to get its value and you’ll need to gather some information before you start.

With regard to your car’s condition, consider the following:

  • Does it have dents and scrapes?
  • Is the inside worn?
  • Are the tires and brakes in good condition?
  • Has it been in an accident?
  • Is there any rust?

This is not a comprehensive list, by any means, but it should give you a good idea of the types of items you’ll want to look at. Next, let’s get into some of your car’s specifics. Simply knowing make and model is not enough.

  • What is the trim? (Mazda CX-3, CX-5, CX-9)
  • Does it have a sunroof or touch screen infotainment system?
  • Did you make after-factory modifications?

Again, this isn’t a comprehensive list, just a good start.

Now that you have all the needed information about your car do some research online and gather objective data about its value. Different sites provide different values, so using the median is a good solution.
Trade-In versus Private Sale

There are a number of factors to consider when deciding whether to trade your car in to a dealer or sell it to a private party:

  • Ownership – Do you own your car outright? If you don’t, what do you owe? Are you leasing?
  • Taxation ­– Selling to a private buyer might mean having to raise the price to wrap the tax into it (check sales tax in your local area for more info), while selling to a dealership might take care of the tax.
  • Time – Selling to a private party will invariably take more time. You’ll have to spruce up your ride, get some nice pictures, find places to post the car, and then go through the process of meeting buyers, having them obsess over the condition of it, etc. Trading in your car typically means much less hassle. But
  • Price – Private sales often offer more flexibility for the seller.

If you have a car that has good value (a model that’s in demand, low mileage, good condition, etc.) and you have the time and patience to handle buyers, selling to a private party might be the way to go. If you have a car of lesser value and don’t want the hassle, you may want to just trade it in to a dealer and be done with it.
Consider Increasing the Value of the Car

If you’re going with a private buyer, you may want to spend a bit of time and money to clean up some scrapes or dings on the exterior, and get an interior/exterior detail so that the car looks its best.

Gather the Paperwork

Again, if you’re choosing to sell to a private party, you’ll want to make sure that you have all the necessary paperwork. This includes warranty information, bill of sale, an “as is” statement, and a release of liability form (check with your nearest DMV or you can also contact AAA if you’re a member). Also, you might consider making available all of your maintenance records.

If you want to forego the trek from dealership to dealership trying to find the best price, or haggling with private sellers, try the What’s My Car Worth app. It’s available on both iPhone and Android devices. After completing a short questionnaire, What’s My Car Worth lets area dealers bid on your car, providing you with the highest offer and making it exceptionally easy to sell your car!

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