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How to Sell a Car That Needs Work

If your car is damaged or needs repairs, but you are looking to sell it anyway, should you do the repairs before trying to sell it?

This is a problem that many car-owners struggle with. Owners often neglect small problems when they happen and drive on – but any prospective buyer will notice. Most likely they won’t want a car that needs repairing straight away, but they don’t expect a vehicle in perfect condition either.

So what should you do?

Get an assessment of the damage

Firstly do an assessment of the condition of the car yourself – clean it and assess the outside and inside for superficial damage. Rust, scratches, missing pieces of trim and broken lights are common problems that are easily fixed.

Next get a qualified mechanic to assess the damage and provide a quote for repairs; you may like to gather a few quotes to be sure.  Of course, qualified mechanics may identify other problems that have escaped your attention, but it’s better to go into a sale armed with full knowledge than to find out later.

Do the repairs add up?

The bottom line is this: the repairs are only worth doing if you recuperate the costs in the sale price of the vehicle. Will the money you spend increase the sale price by at least the amount spent, preferably more?

A qualified mechanic can advise you on this; you can also use online car buying guides to tell you approximately how much your car is worth – though many owners misjudge the condition of their car and do not get an accurate estimation. If your car is in poor condition then you will find it hard to receive a value from online guides as it will depend greatly on the cost of any repairs required. You will need an independent appraisal of your vehicle.

Repairing versus ‘as is’

Where a lot of damage needs repairing you can add significantly to the sale price – but the repairs themselves may well be costly. Again you will have to assess the cost benefits of making the repairs.

As a general rule, the older the car the less likely it is that repairs will be worth the cost; for older cars it may be best to sell ‘as is’, while new cars may be cheaper to fix and doing so will add significant value to the sale price.

If your vehicle is relatively new, it may still be under warranty for some repairs – in which case go ahead and get them fixed.

Where to repair?

Generally speaking, trying to fix problems yourself is not advisable as you may cause more harm than good; find a qualified and licensed mechanic with a good reputation by asking around, checking manufacturer-certified shops, or checking online. Make sure you communicate with your mechanic exactly what you need fixing, and check how much the work will cost and how long it will take; if he tries to up-sell you, then don’t be tempted unless it is going to increase the sale price of the car.

Show the buyer you care

If you’ve made mechanical repairs make sure that the prospective buyer knows about it by showing the repair records; this demonstrates that you have invested time and effort into the car and also keeps everything transparent. If no repairs were made, it’s better to be honest and upfront about it, rather than trying to hide the problems and running into disputes down the line.

Car Brisbane buys cars for cash. We will purchase any vehicle made after 1999 and send a mechanic to inspect your car before agreeing on a price. Call Jeff on 0414 669 007  to arrange an evaluation.