OK, so you have this car you’ve been driving for a while, and you can’t help but notice that it’s getting a little bit long in the tooth. You’ve long since finished paying it off, or maybe you bought it used, at any rate it’s beginning to show its age. There are three main ways to deal with this vehicle issue:
Sell It Off:
Selling a used car is easier than you think. And what may be just a pain for you, could be the perfect fixer-upper for someone who’s mechanically inclined. Even if the car becomes un-drivable, most people ask themselves how to get cash for junk cars. If you can drive it, even easier.
If you do sell the car as-is to someone, make sure that they understand the meaning of “as-is” and get it in writing. The last thing you want are legal problems due to a silly misunderstanding. The risk they take of buying your car is the same risk you take by buying any used car, but this has to be clearly understood by both parties. It’s probably not a good idea for you as an independent seller to offer any kind of guarantee, because you may not be able to back it up so easily!
Trade It In:
Out of all the options, this one is the most convenient, for sure. The downside to this option is that you are probably not exactly going to get top dollar for your car, but under certain circumstances you can get the car’s Blue Book value or close to it, especially if you know how to haggle.
There are two equal and opposite errors here in which people always tend to fall: They either trade in for a brand new car and eat all that depreciation (it’s even worse if you are paying over time!), or they trade in for something that’s honestly not any better than what they are currently driving. Do your homework and don’t be afraid to walk from any deal. Take your time, get second and third opinions if you have to.
Fix It Up:
This one can be the best option, or it can be a colossal mistake. You have to assess the situation very accurately to know whether a car is worth major repairs or not, especially an older model. Ask yourself the following questions:
-Is the engine still running smoothly? Does the car idle and accelerate well? Does the oil get dark rapidly (<3000 miles) or does the car burn oil excessively?
-Assuming the car has an automatic transmission, does the transmission fluid stay clean? Does it burn transmission fluid?
-Is the car’s chassis badly affected by rust? Has it ever been compromised in any way by an accident or something similar? Some rust damage can be cut out and the missing material replaced, but this is a potential deal breaker.
-In what shape is the car’s suspension? Some suspensions last for years and years and can even outlast the engine, some cars literally need replacing every last piece of the suspension, front and back. This will almost always make keeping the car not cost-effective.
If the answer is “no” to all of these important questions, and, assuming you have access to a good mechanic who doesn’t overcharge (or are capable of doing the work yourself), the car is probably worth keeping and fixing up.
Part It Out:
Another option if you are so inclined, and capable, is to simply dismantle the car yourself, and save all the good parts to sell them individually. This is obviously no small task, but it can tremendously increase your profit.