Do I keep the Junker, or sell it!
Selling your car in this post-pandemic Market!
So everything is starting to settle down after a couple of rough years and you have a situation where you think you might want to trade your car, or sell your car and have a tough time deciding which way to go.
Having been like a mini dealer for many years, this was one of the most asked questions that my clients asked me when their car was going to come in for repair and whether it was worth putting the money into it or buying another used car.
If they were going to buy new, I would tell them not to spend any money and sell their vehicle for whatever they could get, being a trade-in or a private sale. Then use the money to put towards the new car purchase. It could them drop their payments, or add a few extras if they wanted to upgrade.
On the other hand, if they were thinking of buying a used car and were not sure if they should fix theirs or just sell it and put the money towards a used car, would that be the best way to go?
The best answer is this:
Have your car assessed, and see what the cost would be to bring it up to all safety standards and running right. Check the body for corrosion and include that in the price as well. You want as much information as you can. A vehicle inspection can save you a ton of money if it is done right and give you all the facts you need to make an informed decision.
Okay so now that you have the estimate of bringing your car up to snuff, now what? The next step is to see what your car would sell as is without doing any repairs to it. You can use the local paper, online vehicle apps, blue book appraisals, etc. Don’t forget that your car is only worth what someone is willing to pay you for it! It does not necessarily sell for top dollar in blue book or vehicle appraisal apps. Another thing to take into consideration is the type of vehicle you are selling, and the location you are selling from.
For example: If you’re in the city, people will tend to look for smaller commuter cars that are easier to deal with, is good on gas, and are easy to park. If you try to sell a truck in the city it may be better to advertise it rurally, where trucks are handier and most likely will get offered more money. Vice versa if you have a small car and live out of town, you may want to consider advertising in town, again where you can get a better dollar for it.
The next step is to put the numbers together. Here is the validation you need to make the right decision for you.
The vehicle is worth as is: $2500.00
Cost to make it great again: $1960.00
The total worth of the car to you: $4460.00
Take this dollar amount of $4460.00 shopping to see if you can get a better car than you currently have, for this price!
Remember that the used car you buy should put you in a better position than the car you are leaving.
Below is a list that my customers asked for when shopping for a used car. This list is what you can check without going to a garage where they can look at all the mechanical structures and see if they are in good condition and meet all safety standards.
I have found that in inspecting cars where my clients have followed this list, it usually means the car is worth what they are willing to pay for it. Check it out:
1. All doors and windows open and close properly!
2. The tires are in better condition than the vehicle you are leaving.
3. The body has less corrosion or dents, scratches, etc. than the vehicle you are leaving.
4. Lift the hood and check if the car looks like it has been maintained properly. Check to see how clean the engine oil is. Pull the dipstick and see what level the oil is at.
5. Check the transmission oil and smell it. Does it smell burnt? When I say burnt, don’t worry about identifying it, you will know immediately when it smells burnt!
6. Start the motor and see if it runs evenly and not shaking all over the place.
7. Does the engine sound smooth? There are some sounds that are normal for different engines and manufacturers, but unless you are a professional, just use your common sense. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
8. Sit inside and with your foot on the brake, shift through all the gears. Even the 1,2,3, D, R, and back to park. Do it slowly and see if the vehicle responds to the different shifts.
9. When you are inside the vehicle and the motor is running, try all the ventilation settings, heat, air conditioning, defrost, and all stages of the fan speed if possible. Some cars have automatic temperature settings and are more difficult to check. All fan speeds should work.
10. Check for smells coming through the vents. You should not get any fowl or sweet smells, or anything else through the vents. Some people use deodorizers to mask car smells so be attentive.
11. Check that there are no warning lights on in the dash like check engine, or something that looks like a partially deflated tire, or a car with skid marks lit up. These could indicate problems from minor to major, so be on the lookout. Specifically with digital dashes.
12. At this point if you feel comfortable take the vehicle for a test drive and see what the drivability feels like. Does it pull from one side or the other? How do the brakes feel? Soft, mushy, or firm? Park the vehicle and turn the engine off. Wait 25 seconds or longer than start it back up and drive again. If possible shift through the gears from low to high. Is it smooth-shifting? Does it clunk into gear? How does the vehicle accelerate from a dead stop?
Finally, if possible get it up to highway speeds so that you get a feel of how it drives at higher speeds.
In conclusion, taking all this into consideration. You should end up making a somewhat informed decision. Of course, an automotive professional will do all these for you, if you decide to pay someone to check the vehicle out. But some things have to be checked out by you, to have the most satisfaction with your purchase. In the end, you will feel good about the choice you made, whether you decided to keep your car or not!