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Selling Your Car: Get More Money with These Top Tips

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Updated February 20, 2023

Are you thinking of selling your car and need some top tips to help you get the best buck for your car? You’ve come to the right place.

Millions of cars are bought and sold in the U.S. every year. Old cars, junk cars, and used cars are often traded in or sold to recycling yards for cash. Whether you’re thinking of how to get the most money for your junk car, you’re going to need tips on how to get the best deal. Armed with the following top six tips, you’ll be able to walk into any junk yard or dealership and negotiate a fair price for your car.

1. Know the Car’s Value

How will you know that you have been offered a good price if you don’t know the car’s value? There are scores of free online car evaluation tools that you can use to determine the shape your car is in. These tools should be able to factor in the car’s condition and mileage to give you an approximate estimation of how much you should expect your car to sell for. Another way to check what the current buying price for cars similar to your own is to check the classifieds.

2. Prepare Car History Papers

Being able to provide car history papers that show how the car has been treated and handled gives you an edge when it comes to negotiating a good price. You’ll be able to prove that the car has either never been in an accident, isn’t a flood-damaged car, and hasn’t been stolen. It puts you in good standing with a buyer and gives you the confidence to be able to name a fair asking price. 

3. Quote a High Asking Price then Negotiate

If your asking price is low, you’re not giving yourself enough room to negotiate. More often than not, the dealer is going to try and negotiate a lower buying price. It’s for this reason that your initial asking price should be at least 5 to 10 percent above the money you’re willing to settle for. For example, if the final price you’re prepared to settle for is $10,000 and no less, propose an initial asking price of $11,000.

4. Ask Yourself If You Need the Money Immediately

If you have an emergency on your hands and need the money urgently, you might have to compromise and sell the car a few hundred dollars lower than the market price. For example, sell your car for $9,500 if it's priced at $10,000 by the local dealer.

If you need cash quickly, Google ‘junkyards near me’ to find local buyers. Wait market conditions out and sell the car for what it’s really worth if you are not in a rush to sell the car.

5. Clean the Car before Taking It to the Dealer

Car cleanliness, both interior and exterior, plays a significant role on the price a buyer will quote you.  Car buyers won’t tell you ahead of time to clean the car because they’ll make deductions and justify the price they quote you based on the cleanliness of the car. If you can’t clean the car yourself, get a professional to detail the car.

However, weigh the cost of car detailing carefully and factor it into the profit you hope to make. If it ends up taking too much of the profit when you sell the car, then it might be best to really make time in your schedule to clean the car yourself.

6. Fix Any Obvious Faults

Are the turn lights not working? Get them fixed. Is the sound system not working? You might want to consider having it replaced. Small things can make or break your chances of getting a fair price for your car. All minor obvious defects must be rectified before you take the car to the junkyard.

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Final Tip

Finding the right dealer is also another thing that you need to factor in when thinking of getting cash for junk cars. Not all car buyers are honest. Make sure you get referrals from friends and family who’ve sold cars before. Working with reputable dealers gives you peace of mind and means that you won’t likely have any future problems. We hope these tips have been helpful and given you some ideas on how to approach selling your car.

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