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Important Factors To Consider Before Selling Your Old Vehicle

Mitch Avatar By: Mitch | Last updated February 27, 2023

Older VW beetle parked around some leaves


No matter how well it has served you and how many memories you have embedded in each of the cushions, your old vehicle eventually has to go. Of course, it's never that easy, and selling it might take a bit of time and effort—more than you initially thought. But, thankfully, in the text below, we’ll discuss a few things you should consider and help you navigate through the whole process much easier. black audi r8 parked beside a house

Think of its condition

The first thing to have in mind while trying to sell it is the overall condition of the vehicle. In short, you’ll have to look at things such as the replacement of spare parts, the changing of oil and filters, and maybe tightening a screw here and there. It’s hard to sell the car if the condition is poor and you haven’t invested one dollar all these years. So, before putting it up for sale, pay a mechanic to give it a thorough inspection up and down and look at all the angles. That way, you’ll be sure everything is functioning and working just fine. The better the condition, the better your chances of selling it for the best possible price. Furthermore, you’ll have a clear conscience as some of these repairs can become safety issues. So, instead of just selling it as it is, repair a few things, invest a few dollars, have it inspected, and then determine the final price. 

Look at the current market value

We know your old-timer has a certain sentimental value beyond any price, but a smart move before putting it up for sale is to look at the market value and current prices. This way, you’ll save yourself from two possible scenarios: 

  • Overestimating the value, which will make the sale almost impossible and you’ll have to put up with the comments of potential buyers, and even get into an argument with some. As said, the sentimental value does not affect its current market price. 
  • Underestimating the value, because although your vehicle has a few extra miles it doesn’t mean you should just give it away for “free”. If the condition is good, and there is a demand for your model, you can still earn a few dollars and reduce the costs of buying a new one. 

So make sure to have realistic expectations and be objective while evaluating the condition and thereby the price.

Think of the ways you can dispense of it

There are a few methods regarding the sale. First, there are local dealers but the chance of striking a good deal varies, as every car dealer looks to lower your price in order to make a profit. Then again, there is the chance of selling it privately to a friend, family member, or stranger on the Internet. But, some people may require the car’s title (a legal document the state government issues to demonstrate who owns the vehicle) and if you don’t have it, chances are the deal is probably off. In this case, you can sell it to a local junkyard and save yourself a lot of trouble. Just look up if there is a way to sell a junk car without a title in Tampa or anywhere else, and you’ll find a few places on the map. It’s a great and convenient way to get rid of the car while making a few extra dollars. Each of the methods really depends on how eager you are to sell it. A local dealership often agrees to even trade it for a newer model (you’ll have to pay the difference in price) which spares you a lot of time and trouble. So, look carefully at all the options and go for the one you feel most comfortable with. 

Loans and liens

Yes, if you happen to have a loan or liens on your car, you cannot simply sell it before paying off the loan or lien. You cannot hope that selling the car will somehow just erase the money you owe, and if you are selling with the intent to return the money, make sure to get the best possible deal. If you happen to sell it as it is, we assure you there can be certain legal consequences you’d rather skip and spare yourself. It’s better to pay it off and then sell it for a profit than to face a lawsuit by the buyer or the lien company. 


The issue of paperwork is another thing to consider before selling your beloved car. Every buyer, including dealerships, prefers that you gather all necessary documents in a pile and keep them on hand at all times, including the title, registration, and even maintenance records. It shows a sense of responsibility and can be a true selling point, adding value to the vehicle. Failure to provide the paperwork will make selling the car just a lot harder than you thought. car on a highway speeding

Sometimes it’s all about timing

Yes, after you’ve taken all the necessary steps, from making sure everything on the car works just fine to find the right selling method, it comes down to timing. For example, the season or time of the year can affect the price, and again, there are market trends and a number of external factors that can impact the demand. People tend to buy cars near spring or the upcoming summer seasons as autumn and winter bring a number of unexpected expenses due to the many holidays coming. Also, maybe currently your model is not in demand, but that does not mean it won’t be in a year or two. So, all in all, it really comes down to finding the right moment. 


The final item on the list is any potential tax implications you should be aware of. Whether you will owe taxes on the profit from the sale is a matter of your own circumstances. There is a chance you might have to pay an income tax, and before making the sale, make sure to consult a tax professional on the laws in your area to determine if selling is the right move to make. 

The number of things you’ll have to keep in mind can amount to quite a lot, but if you follow the right steps, this shouldn’t present much of an issue. We hope you’ll negotiate the best possible deal.