Top tips for selling your car online

Call this ‘Almigo’s grand search for what he’ll be parking at his house next’ (still working on that list), call it a public service announcement after wading through an ocean of strange car ads, call it what you will. But if you’re planning to sell your ride and you’re advertising the fact online, here’s a few things that will undoubtedly help you out.*

*May or may not sell your car any quicker but at least you’ll stand out from the strange.

So without any further ado, today Drive Another Day presents:

Top tips for selling your car online!

(Especially for Facebook and Gumtree ads where you’re left to your own devices. Sites like Carsales aren’t too bad because they have forms to fill in

  1. It’s all about the details baby!

You’ll be amazed at how much gets missed in the rush to get your car up and out into the hungry (potentially) car buying market. Right up until the point when someone sends you a text/facebook message/smoke signal asking ‘So how many kms?’

So to avoid all confusion and possible embarrassment, lets start with the basics:

MAKE – Toyota, Ford, Ferrari maybe?

MODEL – Is it a Corolla, Exige or perhaps an Autech 260RS? (Don’t forget any important numbers letters: AT-X, SV6, GTR for example)

YEAR – When was it all shiny and new originally?

ENGINE – Is it the 2.5 liter V6 or the 3.0 version? 12A or 13B? Is there something in there that never came that way from factory? (LS crowd I’m looking at you). Turbo or non turbo version? Rare race spec block with overnight parts from Japan? If you know these details, put them in.

MILEAGE – You’d be amazed at how many ads don’t include this little tidbit but it’s vital. A picture of your odometer is good but listed in the ad where everyone can read it is even better.

TRANSMISSION – Manual, auto? Semi-auto, sports shift, CVT etc. Listing it in the ad helps with search filters too and could get your car on someone’s shortlist.

MODIFICATIONS – Turbo when there wasn’t one originally? Supercharger you bolted on one weekend? Lowered springs, air/pod filter, some kind of additional engine management unit, mags, exhaust. The more detailed the better.

TELL ME WHAT ELSE I MIGHT LIKE IN YOUR CAR – Working ice cold air conditioner, full service history, big back of receipts for all the work you’ve had done, leather seats all round, sat nav, apple car play, heated seats, towel rack, dvd player, big speakers, roof rack etc. What’s in there that’s a selling point? (Just a quick note on this one, please don’t go overboard with this. Comfortable leather seats is much better than supple leather seats that will wile away the work day stresses on your journey back home after work. It’s a car ad not a prose competition.)


DOES IT COME WITH A ROAD WORTHY CERTFICATE/SAFETY CERTIFICATE? Or are we up for possible surprises when we take the car to get inspected ourselves?

WHERE IS THE CAR LOCATED? Please considering the buyers (and there are a few out there) who believe they know where everything is in the world, organise a time to inspect your car and then at the last minute realize you’re in a completely different state. It happens when areas and towns have similar names to others in the country. List the area and the state in your ad. If someone then asks which country, you can assume they’re either taking the piss or are a complete idiot and best avoided.

BEST WAY TO CONTACT YOU? Email or text? Call on the mobile or at work? What are you most likely to answer and what time is best to call?


PRICE! How much for it then? How much do you want? Dollars or in Valiant parts? Are you firm on that price or open to realistic negotiation? Would you swap it for something? (If so what are you really hoping to swap it for?)

2. If you already know, don’t make me discover what’s wrong when I come around to have a look (as this just wastes both of our time ultimately.)

Okay so some things are self explanatory – air con not working/air con not cold for example. However last night I came across ‘Crack in windscreen’ on one ad…but no picture of it and no mention of the size. Is it a cheap fix? Is it spiderwebed right across the windscreen rendering it completely unrepairable? No idea. A picture would tell the story but there wasn’t one.

Likewise ‘clear coat peeling on spoiler’ but no picture again and no indication if it was the size of a fifty cent piece or there wasn’t a inch of clear coat left on it.

List any potential problems in your ad. Yes some people will be put off by them (but you’ve saved yourself some time) while others might not worry about them/know someone who can fix it once they buy the car/will fix it themselves.

(This also includes anything leaking/dripping or weeping that shouldn’t be, noises that are noticeable at speed, busted switches, things that need to be replaced pretty soon like brake pads and rotors, dash warning lights, strange behaviors when driving – the car, not the driver – peeling paint, panel damage, decent scratches, broken fittings etc)

3. One picture does not a car ad make

At first I thought this had literally been driven into the ground! But on closer inspection it’s the trees behind the person holding the camera, reflected on the paintwork. Still, at first look it’s not a great look..

Look it’s 2020, almost 2021. Your phone has a camera and if not, you’re sure to know someone who has a phone that can take photos. You have space on your phone device for more than one pic yes? Then please for the love of all things automotive, go hog wild on the photos.  The front, the rear, both sides, an engine bay shot, interior front, interior rear, interior front from the rear, in the boot/trunk, odometer and there you go, that’s covered the basics. People can now see the mileage in case you missed putting it in the ad. Buyers can now answer the age old question ‘Manual or Automatic?’ with just a glance.

Any panel damage? Put it up in a photo too so people can see what repair they might be up for. Same goes for wrecked paint.

(Even if you’re selling your car cheap, throw out all the trash from the passenger footwell before you take the photos. Sorry but nobody is really that keen on your mobile McDonalds wrapper dump and throwing that stuff out takes what? A minute?)

3A. Don’t take pictures with a potato

The world famous half car, half tarp shot

I’m not sure which is worse – a car ad with one photo or a car ad with a few photos, all of them slightly blurry, at strange angles or taken at midnight. If I have to squint to try and work out what’s going on in your car photos then it’s a no from me. I mean you’re not a vampire are you? You’re not planning on having people around for a test drive at midnight? Get some nice snaps of the car in natural light, even if it is a right royal shit heap. The car buying public will thank you.

Finally…a must when it comes to selling your car online..

4. Spell check!

selling a car online
You could always search for FROD if you want to..

‘But it’s not important if people are keen on the car!’ you moan! Well it could be if your ad is a garbled mess that requires three liters of rough vodka to translate (and not having the correct spelling makes it very difficult to find in a search). Google is there to help. Friends who are better spellers are also there to help. Hell, copy some words from a similar car ad to yours if that helps (but don’t just copy ALL the words.) I’m not being picky when I say that people gloss over confusing ads without punctuation, ALL CAPS YELLING AT ME and basic stuff completely missed. Take the time to get your ad right (or grab a mate to give it a look over.) It could be the difference between you selling it within a week to hanging onto it when finally everything else around it gets sold..


Anything else I’ve missed that you’ve come across in the wonderful world of selling your car online? Let us know below and we’ll add it to the list!

(Also anyone want to buy a Stagea? Pics and details on request :P)

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