Is Selling Damaged Car Online More Profitable Than Selling To A Dealer?

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If you’ve been in an accident or your car has simply reached the end of its road, your next step will likely be finding a way to get rid of it and move onto your next vehicle. Upgrading out of a damaged vehicle is a bit different from simply switching to a newer lease, and can present some challenges. 

Even the most rusty old clunker has some value as scrap, so if you’re wondering how to get the best value for your damaged car there are some things you should consider. Selling your car to a dealership, usually, as part of a trade-in, versus selling it online and taking the profit toward a new car transaction are both options with their own pros and cons, so you should consider if you value convenience or profit more in this process.

Before you go with either route, there are a couple steps you should take first. Remove any and all personal items from the car, and get the car as clean as you’re able to. 


If you’re looking to sell to a private buyer instead of selling it for junk, you can consider making minor repairs (i.e. broken tail lights or a bad battery) to raise the value to potential buyers. This can be especially helpful when selling to an individual rather than a business. Major repairs, however, are unlikely to be profitable. 

You’ll also need to make sure you have the title of your car available and signed for when it’s time to sign it over.

Selling to a Dealership

Selling or trading into a dealership is probably the easiest method, especially if you’re already looking into a new vehicle that they’ve got on offer. If your priority is getting into your new car as fast as possible and you’re less worried about getting a fair market price for your car, this is a great way to go. 

However it’s important to keep in mind that dealerships aren’t necessarily prepared to take in damaged vehicles, and depending on the extent of the damage may have nothing to do with them but sell them at auction. An ideal trade-in at a dealership makes less than market value, so those selling damaged cars tend to fare even worse.

As dealerships aren’t equipped to take on damaged cars, they also likely won’t include towing your vehicle if that’s necessary. Towing can be costly, and isn’t an expense you’ll want to take on unprepared. You should also remember selling to a dealership means your car’s value will be appraised through an in-person inspection, which has the potential to be more thorough and knock more from your valuation.


Selling Online

Buying and selling cars online has become much safer and more popular in recent years, and these days is often more convenient and profitable than navigating face-to-face transactions. 

To figure out how much you should be looking to make from your car, try looking up recent sales of damaged cars with similar makes and models in your area. If you have a mechanic diagnostic report or any other paperwork regarding maintenance to the vehicle, you should have that handy for potential buyers.

While honesty (and good, clear pictures) are the best policy when it comes to selling your car to an online business, the lack of an in-person appraisal means an aggressive salesperson won’t have the opportunity to ding you when it comes to things like minor cosmetic damage. 

If you’re looking to sell your car for scrap, you should be able to get a free and guaranteed quote quickly and easily with online car buying companies. The cost of towing your vehicle should also be included in your quote. 

While selling your car online may take longer if you decide to go sell to an individual buyer, you’re guaranteed to make more than you would trading in at a dealership. If you’re selling it for scrap, it may be just as quick and convenient as well. Selling your car for scrap this way also opens up the opportunity to sell individual parts from your car separately for additional profit if you’ve got the patience and know-how to do so. 

Whether you sell online or to a dealership, web-based tools have made it faster and easier than ever to get rid of a damaged vehicle and into a newer, safer car. 


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