Sell Car that Needs Repairs

Sell Car That Needs Repairs – Evaluate Condition, Choosing a Seller, Alternative Options

Struggling to sell a car that needs repairs? Don’t worry, we’re here to help. This blog post guides you through the process of how to sell such a car, maximizing its value, and navigating the challenges that come with it. With our expert advice, you’ll be well-equipped to make the best decision, whether it’s fixing up your car for a higher price or exploring the alternatives like donating it to charity.

First, let’s start by evaluating your car’s condition and identifying the extent of repairs needed. This will help you decide if selling or repairing your car is the most viable option. Buckle up and let’s get started on how to sell a car that needs repairs!

Evaluating Your Car’s Condition

Assessing your car’s condition is key before making any decisions as to what to do with it. Start by determining if your car requires minor or major repairs and estimating its remaining lifespan based on factors like its age and mileage. This information will help you decide if selling is the right move.

It’s crucial to weigh the potential cost of repairs against the car’s worth. Although dealerships and online retailers often offer cost-effective repair services that’ll extend your car’s life, sometimes repairs just aren’t worth it because the vehicle is not worth keeping. Even if you cannot afford a new or used car, consider other options like applying for an auto loan.

Minor vs. Major Repairs

Understanding whether your car needs minor or major repairs will be vital in deciding whether to repair or sell it. Consider its age and mileage to estimate whether your car has much useful life left.

It helps to address minor issues before a dealership appraisal because it typically improves trade-in-value. Replacing a broken taillight or fixing cosmetic damage will help you sell the car for a higher price. However, if the car has major mechanical problems, repairing it would typically not be wise. Repairing the transmission or replacing the head gasket, for instance, wouldn’t be worth the investment because the costs are often prohibitive.

In case of a car needed major repairs, explore alternatives like selling the car as-is.

Longevity Considerations

When estimating a car’s remaining lifespan, you must consider its age and mileage. Most modern gasoline cars begin to sputter after 200,000 miles, while electric ones are typically considered well-used after 300,000 miles. Keep these figures in mind when deciding if repairs are worth the investment.

With dealership trade-ins, the cost of needed repairs is factored into the trade-in value. But if your car’s age and mileage suggest limited remaining lifespan, selling it without repairing would be more reasonable.

Choosing the Right Selling Option for Your Needs

It’s time to explore the various selling options for your car after having gauged its condition: private sales, dealership trade-ins, and online platforms. Each option has its pros and cons, so choose one that best fits your needs and maximizes your car’s value.

Factors like speed of sale, your desired profit margin, and the required effort will ultimately influence your choice. Let’s dive into the specifics of these selling options to help you decide.

Private Sales

Selling your car privately typically yields the highest value, but it demands more time and effort. You’ll need to do all the work: advertise your vehicle, screen potential buyers, and safeguard against scams.

It does offer more flexibility and control in the selling process though, because you’re not bound by dealership restrictions. If you’re prepared to put in the work, private sales are a lucrative option for you. If you want a quicker, more convenient option, dealership trade-ins are a better fit.

Dealership Trade-Ins

Dealership trade-ins offer convenience and potential negotiation benefits for car buyers. Many dealerships accept cars with problems and sometimes even offer better prices than private buyers. However, expect lower offers in general, as dealers need to turn a profit when reselling the car.

When trading in a car with issues, disclose all relevant information to the dealership. Also, it will help to increase the dealership’s interest in your problematic vehicle if the fluids are at their optimal levels, at least.

Online Platforms

Online platforms like Sell My Car Online and CarBrain specialize in buying damaged cars and offer fast transactions, fair market value, and free towing services. These platforms are ideal for quick sales, especially of cars that need repairs, because they offer instant or guaranteed offers based on the vehicle details you provide.

With this option, however, there is little room for negotiation. It’s even possible to have a lower offer once the car has been inspected. But if speed and convenience are your priorities, online platforms will be a great choice for selling your damaged car.

Preparing Your Car for Sale

Preparing your car for sale is an important step before selling it. You’ll increase its value and appeal, plus enjoy a smoother process, by cleaning the car, getting repair estimates, and gathering relevant documents.

Cleaning and Detailing

A clean and well-presented car attracts more buyers and has higher potential value. Here are some steps to follow.

  1. Clean the interior and exterior of your car.
  2. Vacuum the carpets and upholstery.
  3. Polish the paint to remove any scratches or imperfections.
  4. Ensure the windows are spotless.
  5. Check the tires and make sure they are in optimal condition.

Maintaining your car’s cleanliness also helps preserve its appearance over time. Here are some tips to keep your car looking its best.

  • Regularly wash and wax your car’s exterior
  • Vacuum the interior to remove dirt and debris
  • Use a leather cleaner to maintain the interior
  • Consider using a car cover when your vehicle is not in use to protect it from environmental elements.

Repair Estimates

Get repair estimates to determine if doing repairs on the car before selling will be worthwhile. It’ll help you decide if it’s better to sell the car as-is or invest in the repairs first to increase its selling price significantly.

Repair estimates also provide transparency to potential buyers, helping them make an informed decision regarding the purchase of your car.

Gather Necessary Paperwork

Having all necessary paperwork makes the selling process smoother and more efficient. Gather the following documents:

  • Title
  • Registration
  • Any other relevant documents pertaining to your car
  • Bill of sale
  • Documents related to the car’s history

Store the paperwork in a secure location, such as a filing cabinet or safe deposit box. Having all the necessary documents also provides peace of mind to both you and the buyer.

Negotiating a Fair Price

It’s time to negotiate a fair price once the car is ready for sale. Simply follow the steps below to determine the fair price for your vehicle.

Research Comparable Vehicles

Knowing the market value of similar vehicles will help you set a realistic asking price and strengthen your negotiating position. Use online resources like Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, and NADA Guides to determine the market value of comparable vehicles.

When comparing your car to other vehicles, take into account factors such as the make, model, year, trim level, mileage, and condition.

Factor in Repair Costs

Consider the cost of repairs when setting your asking price, as potential buyers will likely factor this into their offers or use it as a bargaining chip to negotiate a lower price.

Be transparent about the repair estimates you’ve obtained and adjust your asking price accordingly. This transparency will help you reach a fair agreement that benefits both you and the buyer.

Be Open to Negotiation

Being open to negotiation and willing to compromise is key to reaching a mutually beneficial agreement. Begin with a reasonable offer and be prepared to discuss the repair estimates. By being flexible and open to compromise on the price, you’ll soon reach a fair deal.

Alternative Options for Unsellable Cars


There are alternative options to consider if your car is unsellable or not worth repairing. These alternatives include donating to charity and selling to a junkyard.

Donating to Charity

Donating your car to charity will allow you to give back to the community, support a cause, and gain potential tax benefits. Many non-profit organizations accept car donations.

However, be aware of potential risks such as fraud and misrepresentation in the car donation industry and liability for tickets and fines if ownership is not properly transferred. Conduct thorough research and exercise caution before donating your car to ensure a safe transaction.

Selling to a Junkyard

Selling your car to a junkyard is another option to recoup some value and dispose of your vehicle responsibly. Junkyards typically offer immediate sales, though in most cases they only offer a fixed rate or the scrap metal value of your car. To ensure the best price when selling to a junkyard, research the going rate for scrap metal, negotiate the price, and be prepared to leave if the offers disappoint.


Selling a car that needs repairs isn’t daunting when you’re armed with some knowledge and preparation. Evaluating your car’s condition, choosing the right selling option, preparing your car for sale, and negotiating a fair price will help you maximize your car’s value for the sale. If your car is unsellable or not worth repairing, consider alternative options like donating it to charity or selling it to a junkyard to recoup some value and dispose of the vehicle responsibly.

Following the advice outlined in this blog post will empower you to navigate the challenges that come with selling a car in need of repair work and make the most of your situation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Sell My Car Online buy a car with engine problems?

Yes, Sell My Car Online will buy cars with engine problems. They purchase vehicles of all kinds and conditions, from transmission trouble to blown head gaskets.

How do I sell my car with a broken transmission?

Selling your car to Sell My Car Online is the best way to responsibly recycle and repurpose a vehicle with a broken transmission. Scrapyards buy damaged cars for their valuable components, which they salvage and sell to individuals or repair shops in need of affordable replacements.

These components are typically used to repair other vehicles, or in other cases they are recycled and repurposed into new products. This helps to reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills, and it also helps to reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills.

Does Sell My Car Online buy cars with problems?

Yes, Sell My Car Online buys cars with issues, though their offer is adjusted to reflect necessary repairs.

How much is my car worth with a blown engine?

A car with a blown engine is typically worth between $500-$5,000 in 2023, with an average market value of $1,000-$1,100.

How do you sell a car that doesn’t run well?

Selling a car that doesn’t run well is best done by placing an ad online labeled as “For Parts Only” or trading it in at a dealership. Additionally, selling to hobbyists, mechanics, scrapyards, or online buyers like Sell My car Online are good options for getting the most money out of your non-running car.

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