Home » What’s The Lowest Price You’ll Sell Your Car For?

What’s The Lowest Price You’ll Sell Your Car For?

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We like to ask questions at The Autopian. We wanna know about your favorite cars, or the challenges you’ve had keeping your fleet on the road. Normally, we throw out friendly questions to learn about the automotive lives of our readers. But not today!

I’m here to ask you an altogether rude and more pointed question. What’s the cheapest price you’ll sell your car for, mate?

Vidframe Min Top
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I’m intimately acquainted with how annoying this question can be. I just spent the better part of a fortnight trying to sell my old Mercedes.

Merc1
Yes, I’m a cliche. I took my sale photos at the car wash. In fairness, you have no idea how busy us journalists are!

I didn’t have high hopes for the sale from the outset. I threw it on Facebook for $2,500, which was quite a bit less than I paid for it three years ago. When used car prices were at their hottest, you were lucky to get a runner for under $2,000. Given my Merc was not just working, but also relatively clean, I figured scoring two stacks shouldn’t be too hard.

I sat and waited, hearing from none but the crickets. After a day, I dropped my price to two large, and the offers started to trickle in. Not inquiries to see the car, not questions about its condition. Just crude mouth breathers that saw fit to dispense with any respectful pleasantries whatsoever.

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Merc2

Merc3
Can you believe I couldn’t even get $2,000 with these shadowy photos of a largely unblemished interior?

“last price” said the first drongo. They weren’t interested in inspecting the car, or even talking to me like a fellow human being. They didn’t have time for pesky things like greetings or question marks. They just wanted to see how much they could screw out of me before they got off the couch.

Shortly enough, I met an even cruder customer. They weren’t asking, they were telling. “1100” came the message. Just a number! I suppose I was expected to beg this person to come relieve me of my car for such a princely offer.

Merc4
This buyer didn’t know much about cars.

I made the mistake of interacting with one of these people. I responded to “Last price” indicating I was firm at $2000. They offered $1,400, and I figured I might as well try and deal. It had been a week and the car was still here, after all. I countered with $1,500 and they agreed. I figured I was well on my way to selling this thing. “Done dell,” they said. I figured they meant deal, but whatever.

Of course, that wasn’t the case. They failed to show up to our morning meeting despite promising they had $1,500 cash to exchange for the car. They eventually rolled up two hours late, looked over the car, and seemed disappointed. They offered “1100 my best brother” and as you might imagine, I sent them packing. They had the gall to keep pestering me the rest of the day, still refusing to meet the $1,500 we’d agreed upon. I elected that I’d sell the car to a wrecker for $500 before this philistine would ever touch my Mercedes again.

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Merc555
While it gave me some trouble at the end, my experience with my Mercedes-Benz was largely a good one.

I abandoned Facebook Marketplace entirely. Two weeks had netted no serious inquiries—just a continual parade of feckless jagaloons.

Instead, I paid $19 to list on Gumtree at $1,800. The next day, somebody rang and asked to see the car. They came down within two hours, liked the car, and didn’t even haggle. They wired me $1,800, I signed the papers, and off they went with their shiny Mercedes-Benz. Everyone left happy.

Ultimately, though, this isn’t Lewin Bitches, this is Autopian Asks. So I ask you, what is the lowest price you’ll take for your car? You can answer honestly, telling us what you reckon your car is worth on the used market. Or, you can respond as if I’m a crude, disrespectful chancer from Facebook. Tell me off for asking you to haggle against yourself to satisfy my own selfish goals.

Bottom line? It’s hell out there. Be nice and deal well, and the world will be a better place. Lewin out.

Image credits: Lewinous Bergatron The First

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Saul Goodman
Saul Goodman
2 months ago

Eventually I will grow out of my 350z and will need to sell it, so seeing all these FB marketplace nightmares have me worried. Probably 4-5 grand, it does have 250,000~ miles but we put a lot of work into it so it is in nice shape and non modified.

Donovan King
Donovan King
2 months ago

I’ve mostly sold cars for really cheap because I usually have utter crap or have sold after something went catastrophically wrong.

I recently sold my beloved 1999 Ford Explorer XLT for $500. It ran great, but lots of little issues had cropped up (brittle plastic, ripped seats, door handles breaking off, windows not rolling down, weird noises from the heater, etc.). I sold it cheap because we had a 2022 Tiguan that needed our rented parking space and no need for a second car. So, $500 and gone.

There is a trend:

1988 Crown Vic? Gave it to a friend of my little sister’s mom who needed a car.

1997 Isuzu Rodeo? $400 and gone because it was taking up space.

1992 Lincoln Town Car? Junk yard took it for $250 with a blown transmission.

1994 Mitsubishi Eclipse? Junk yard took it for $200 with a blown engine.

1995 Ford Escort? A run in with a barn after the accelerator stuck resulted in an $850 sale.

2016 Ford Focus? $1,500 trade-in value at the VW dealership because it was involved in a couple of fender benders on 285 in Atlanta. Also, it was a 2016 Focus.

2005 Sport Trac? $800 from a kid in Alabama who was going to fix it up after the transmission died on me.

Living in apartments and working full time/being in school has meant I don’t have time to waste haggling on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. Get it gone and move along. I only regret losing the Sport Trac and the Crown Vic.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
2 months ago

I bought my 2020 Voyager for 21k a year ago with 60k on it. I did something I never do, and bought an extended warranty for it through the dealer for an additional 2k, to cover it bumper to bumper up to the 105k mark. This was the peace of mind required to take a risk on a Chrysler transmission.

It now has 75k on it, and because of the warranty and because the price to replace it with something similar is freaking outrageous, the van is worth way more to me than probably anyone else. I would need a minimum of 25k for it, maybe more.

Nobody should give me that, and that’s fine. I intend to keep it.

Lockleaf
Lockleaf
2 months ago

Double check the contract details of that extended warranty. If it is not a direct Chrysler product, there is a near 100% chance that it is NOT bumper to bumper, though it may still be quite extensive in coverage. I spent some time in related industries, and I am familiar with TONS of FI guys who sell even the lowest coverage garbage as “bumper to bumper”.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
1 month ago
Reply to  Lockleaf

I did a lot of research on this one. I made the FI woman hand me a comprehensive list of everything that’s covered, as I was also skeptical of the term “bumper to bumper”. In general, it covers everything I would want it to.

Really what I cared about was coverage for the potentially glass Chrysler transmission, the rest of the coverage above the powertrain wasn’t a whole lot more money, so I sprang for it.

Curtis Loew
Curtis Loew
2 months ago

I paid $14,500 for my Nova 2 years ago. I would not sell it for less now. 60 year old cars don’t depriciate.

Noticket
Noticket
2 months ago

I love that you’ve just turned this entire comment section into people offering their cars for sale.

Anyway, you can have my ’96 Honda Helix for $1,300 or my ’08 CRV for five large. No tire kickers.

TheDrunkenWrench
TheDrunkenWrench
2 months ago

I bake my expected price in to my list price. the Kijiji tax as it were (or craigslist if you’re not from Canada).

Example: I listed my 2011 Crown Vic a few years back for $1800obo, fully expecting to get $1200-1500 out of it. One of the best ones I got was “If it doesn’t sell, I’ll buy it for $500”.
I responded by saying “I’ll light it on fire in my driveway before I sell it for $500”. They never responded.

Everyone was flaky as all get-out, then finally a guy that lived 2.5hrs away offered $1200 so long as it ran well. He showed, I popped the positive cable on to the battery and prayed that it’d start after sitting for several months.
It fired right away. He handed me $1200 and told me to write the bill of sale while he loaded it on the trailer. If every sale could go like that I’d sell cars professionally.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
2 months ago

Yeah I went through that a little while ago with selling my mom’s low-mileage Toyota Yaris which was in excellent mechanical condition, but had a bunch of minor dings and scratches on the body.

And thus, I priced it for a reasonable price compared to others selling for more, but in nicer condition, and for more compared to others selling for less, but older, in worse condition and with way more mileage.

And I had to deal with a number of jackasses and lowballers.

Most of the Jackasses and lowballers I would just provide links to other Yarii that were within their low-ball price range. Of course they were in much worse condition… LOL.

Doing that would get some of them worked up… not that I cared. And I would wish them luck and politely tell them to pound sand.

But that’s how it goes when trying to sell something on Kijiji, Craigslist, FB or most other marketplaces.

But you know what’s even harder to sell online than cars?

Used furniture.

I was trying to sell a large sectional couch that would normally cost CAD$1500 new… and I was only asking $100 for it.

And I still had low ballers

In that case, I got fed up and when I found out a buddy of mine who is getting divorced needed a couch, I offered him mine for free.

Would rather help out a friend and give him the couch for free than sell it for $50-$100 to a low-balling asshole.

So what’s the lowest I’d sell a car for? It really depends on the situation. But I would go as low as $1 to help out a friend/family If the car I’m getting rid of isn’t worth much to begin with.

But for non-family/non-friends, the lowest I have gone was $50… and that was for a 1987 Honda Civic Wagovan that had a lot of rust which I didn’t want to see scrapped. I wanted to see it go to a person who would either fix the rust or go to someone who could use the parts to keep another wagovan going.

Last edited 2 months ago by Manwich Sandwich
Harvey Firebirdman
Harvey Firebirdman
2 months ago

First time posting, hi all, long time lurker since the old site days. Currently own a few cars:

89 Firebird Formula has a 406 and a T56 magnum swapped into it. $20k? Maybe I don’t know to much time and money into it and I have owned it for 11 years now got it when I was 20 so my first fun and long time project car.

92 D250 Cummins 5 speed. A buddy has been asking me to sell it to him paid 7500 for it a few years ago so maybe that same price I would sell it for. But having a truck is nice though.

2013 Fj Cruiser: Has been beat to hell off road and starting to rust away (thanks Midwest) so maybe 15k.
2018 Tourx (the fiance car): paid about 25k for it a few years ago so if could get 20k for today that wouldn’t be bad but she would not be happy about selling it hah

Sold a 73 javelin a few years back that only owned for about a year though.

Diana Slyter
Diana Slyter
2 months ago

Sell? I’m 73 and most of the cars I bought new are still around- ’22 Transit Connect, ’15 Golf TDI, ’03 golf TDI, ’98 Ranger, but the ’86 Golf diesel was stolen. Given that most are no longer available in the land of Chicken Taxes and the EPA, none of them will leave my homestead alive. Restoring the ’66 Cooper S I bought in ’76 and most of the others bought used rusted away or suffered fatal mechanical maladies. Motorcycle fleet is even more of a horde with 7 of 10 built in the last millennia

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
2 months ago

I’m never selling my old Mercedes-Benz.

Even if I win the Billion-Dollar jackpot – I am never selling this car.

VanGuy
VanGuy
2 months ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

The question is whether you’d trade your MB for a billion dollars…

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
2 months ago
Reply to  VanGuy

Here’s the keys – Enjoy!

Bob Terwilliger
Bob Terwilliger
2 months ago

Ive had something like 30 cars and never once sold one to a private party I sold one to Carvana when prices were nuts but I usually trade them in to the dealer for the next one. That being said i will take $63k for my 17 GT350 I know that is high but its low miles and its what I need to make it worth it.

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
2 months ago

I’d take $20,000 for my Mazda3. It isn’t worth anything close to that, but I have no interest in selling it and starting the wonderful car payment process over again so you’d better come in with shock and awe.

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
2 months ago

I’ve sold several cars for zero pounds/dollars. So my lowest is zero. In all of those deals both parties were equally happy.

My current cars are worth about what I paid for them, but I don’t want to sell them, so 10k more than they’re worth? Just for the hassle of finding another car I like.

Musicman27
Musicman27
2 months ago

Minimum I’d sell the car I got for 600$?

Twelve grand, take it or leave it.

In reality, I would sell it for 3000-5000$ after the stuff I’ve done to it.

Last edited 2 months ago by Musicman27
Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
2 months ago

By the time I’m ready to let go of one? Free, but you have to take all of the spare parts and you’re not allowed to bring anything back.

Seaway
Seaway
2 months ago

I’d take $40,000 for my F-Type right now. It’s not worth that, but it would sure help me to afford an LC500.

VanGuy
VanGuy
2 months ago

Last I checked KBB’s formal process, they assessed my 2012 Prius v around $7.5k. I bought it for $11.5k in 2019.

But in that time I’ve installed fog lights, a subwoofer, dashcams, an Android Auto touchscreen, and a lift kit, with a few more projects on the way yet. So I think if someone really wanted it, I’d want at least $12k. No interest in selling in the short term.

Gubbin
Gubbin
2 months ago
Reply to  VanGuy

Dang, now I want a Prius V with a lift kit when our Subie Outback goes.

VanGuy
VanGuy
2 months ago
Reply to  Gubbin

Was $350 for the spacers from Prius Offroad, another ~$300 for a shop in Maryland to install, and then $100 for an alignment 100 miles after installation.

Mainly got it because of some particularly awful speed bumps in my friends’ development.

…I should clarify, it’s only a 1.5″ lift. I am looking into their skid plate, which should add another 1″ or so.

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
2 months ago
Reply to  VanGuy

I don’t think modifications work that way. Unless you’re a renowned tuner or shop, adding to it changing things about a vehicle subtracts value. If I was a buyer looking at your PriusV, I’d want the sub out, the lift kit off, the fog lights deleted, and if I don’t like the head unit, the stock one back in its place and now I’ve got to spend my time and money as buyer undoing what you did as a seller. Or suppose I even did want those things. I don’t know who did them or the quality of their work. Even if you as seller do know, I as buyer don’t, and won’t be paying the difference.

It is very very rare that aftermarket modification represents a direct boost to resale value. It almost always depreciates the vehicle further.

VanGuy
VanGuy
2 months ago
Reply to  Mechjaz

I have receipts for the installers for all of that except the head unit, which I installed myself with an interface so that it retains all factory functions, and the subwoofer is a compact under-seat one, so it doesn’t take up particularly valuable space in the car.

The fog lights were installed such that they have totally factory operation and appearance–even pulled the steering wheel to replace the turn signal stalk with one that has the fog light switch.

At any rate, this whole article is on a hypothetical–I’m not trying to sell it, so any offer would need to exceed what I’d want rather than what I think the market would actually dictate.

Last edited 2 months ago by VanGuy
Usernametaken
Usernametaken
2 months ago

In B4 every commenter

Shitbox Showdown – “I wouldn’t pay $500 for this”

Selling The Same Car – “No lowballs I know what I got”

Anthony Henderson
Anthony Henderson
2 months ago

The ’82 Westfalia just sold to a guy from Puerto Rico for 10K (was asking 11). He didn’t speak English and I don’t speak Spanish, but we both spoke cash, the universal language! Yes, I could have gotten more for it, but an easy sale is worth a lot!

As to the rest of the fleet, it depends on how mad I currently am at it. The ’74 Alfa GTV? $35K, since I just had to R&R the tranny because the PO had left off the $10 throwout bearing clip. $7500 for the Chryslerati TC, which has been a joy. The tow vehicle, an E 350 7.3 Diesel is NFS, because I want to drive it the other 51K miles to 500,000!

Cheats McCheats
Cheats McCheats
2 months ago

Sorry, Car is already earmarked for my daughter, so free? I guess?

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
2 months ago

In general it’s about 20-30% under what I list the thing for. You’ve gotta leave a little room to negotiate. Nobody responds well to “firm” prices, in my experience.

Bracq P
Bracq P
2 months ago
Reply to  Shop-Teacher

This! Noone expects the…
Usually two questions; is it popular yes/no, is it in above average condition? So the easiest to sell is…and coming to the unpopular ones in bad condition…you may just have to wait for the right buyer to come around.

If you feel you are under a time constraint…you will have to offer the cheapest of it’s kind, that’s the only quality that helps in the short term (and also the only thing it has to be at the same time).

I personally have been happily paying full (or what the seller offered voluntarily while I was inspecting) if I found it to be worth it to me (so maybe that is a rare deviation from general expectation of a discount)

JShaawbaru
JShaawbaru
2 months ago

The only car in my fleet that I want to sell is my 2010 BMW 335d. There’s not even really anything wrong with it, I just haven’t wanted to drive it very much. I’m so unmotivated that it’s been sitting on jackstands for over a month waiting for me to take a sawzall to an alignment bolt that’s seized to the inside of one of the rear control arms.

If I get around to fixing it (I really should before someone calls in an ordinance violation for inoperable vehicle) I’d probably list it for $7500, but take as little as $6000 if the person wasn’t a complete scumbag about it. It runs and drives fine, but has 270k miles on it, and check engine light for some emissions stuff that was likely deleted by the previous owner, and cobbled back together when they traded it in to the dealership I bought it from

Citrus
Citrus
2 months ago

Right now the lowest I’d sell my car for is $40k.

“But your car is a 6 year old Hyundai that you bought for $22k”

Yes and if I’m going to sell it I’m going to have to replace it and there’s very little on the market I even like.

10001010
10001010
2 months ago

The last few cars I sold the first thing I did was go to CarMax and get one of their quotes, that sets my lowest price for me. I then post the car online closer to the KBB price and negotiate from there.

Outofstep
Outofstep
2 months ago
Reply to  10001010

Ooo this is clever. I might go this route next time I’m selling a car.

3WiperB
3WiperB
2 months ago
Reply to  10001010

Yeah, I did similar with my last trade-in. I got a Carvana quote (this was 3 years ago, so they were actually decent offers.. close to what I would get private party). When I got to the trade in part of negotiation, I just showed them the printout and said this is what I want or I’ll sell it to Carvana tomorrow. They still tried to offer lower. I just said, why would I accept lower. I can get this from Carvana tomorrow. They eventually matched it.

Luckily I haven’t had to sell a car since 2018. In that case, I found a buyer for my Astra and he showed up with a sack of $20 bills. I was glad to sell that, since it was a stick-shift Saturn Astra, so the market was very small when you find people who drive stick, need a cheap used car, and know what an Astra is.

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
2 months ago

My lowest price is pretty much what I list it for. I have better things to do and don’t get an ounce of enjoyment out of dickering.

My brother on the other hand will spend days of his life getting every penny out of what he is selling. To each his own.

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