That moment when your car breaks down is one that you won’t soon forget. One minute you are driving happily, and the next you are begging a friend for a ride to work. Anyone who has had an old car knows the stress of waiting to find out what the damage will cost, and hoping that this breakdown isn’t the one that means your car is out of commission altogether. Well it is. Your car is done, or at least done for you. Now you need to sell your car in order to buy a new one. 

Selling a car on Craigslist is a lot of work and can take some time. But, it’s a good way to sell a car if you want to do it yourself. Craigslist is not without its risks and dangers; however, when it comes to a used, older, wrecked, damaged or broken-down car, you’ll probably get the most money if you have the time to do it right.

There are other, faster and more convenient alternatives which we’ll mention later. If you’re set to sell your car on Craigslist, here are the 10 steps you need to follow.


Before you get started selling your car to craigslist, you need to see what your car is worth. The easiest way to go that is to click the button below. Just enter a few details about your car, and find out what your car is worth.

  1. Clean your car. Not just a quick trip through the carwash. Give your car a good detailing, inside and out. The better your car looks, the more likely someone will be to like it.
  2. Take good pictures. Make sure it’s a sunny day and there isn’t anything distracting in the background. You want photos of the outside and interior, trying to give a complete view of the car. You don’t want to leave a question as to whether there’s a huge scratch down the other side of the car. No one likes surprises.
  3. Go to Craigslist, find your local site and list your car. Pick the best few images, write a detailed, honest and straightforward description and add your contact info. You might want to make a new email address that’s dedicated to this car listing. That way, your main email won’t keep getting bombarded with spam. Be sure to be straightforward about the car’s condition. If it’s wrecked, detail it. If it has a salvage title, be sure to include that too. It may be much harder and take longer to sell the car, but at least you won’t have trouble later.
  4. Price your car. This is probably the hardest part. A lot of people head over to Kelley Blue Book and price their car according to whatever number pops up for the year, make, model, condition and location of the car. If you do that, it may take you a long, long, long time to sell your car on Craigslist. Remember, people come to Craigslist for a bargain. KBB prices are retail prices. If someone wanted to pay retail for a car, they’d go to a dealership, which is much more secure and safe. So, to price your car for Craigslist, take the KBB price for the honest condition of your car and take off 20% to 25%. Then, be ready to negotiate. You’ll get a lot of “flippers” who want to buy your car for as low as possible. Try and screen out anyone who isn’t serious before meeting with them. Keep relisting your car every time it moves too far down in on the listing pages.
  5. Eventually, you’ll get someone who’s genuinely interested in your car. Now it’s time to show it to them. Pick a safe, neutral location to meet your potential buyers.
  6. Time for a test drive. Handing your keys to someone you just met on the internet is nerve-inducing, to say the least. To reduce the chances of ending up carless and moneyless, write down or take a picture of the license plate of the car your customer came in. Also ask to see their driver’s license. At least note their real name and that the photo looks like the person you’re talking to. Maybe take a photo. There’s some split of opinion as to whether it’s better to go with them on the drive or just wait for them to return. The buyer is less likely to do anything too crazy with you in the car, but then you are going to a drive with a total stranger. It’s situations like that that make better alternatives for selling your car on Craigslist so attractive.
  7. Bring some documentation with you to the test drive, like a print-out of the KBB price (which is higher than your asking), two copies of a sales contract listing your info, the year, make, model, trim, color and VIN with a blank spot where you can fill in all of the buyer’s info (name, address, phone, email) and a PHOTOCOPY of your title. Do not bring the original title. You’ll give the buyer the title when they give you the money. If a deal struck, fill out the rest of the contract with the agreed upon price and schedule a time to close. You can ask for a deposit and this point to hold the car.
  8. To close, meet the buyer outside of a DMV. That way you can handle all of the DMV paperwork quickly. Make sure the buyer brings a cashier’s check. That way, you can call the bank listed and verify the validity of the check. NEVER ACCEPT A PERSONAL CHECK. It’s the easiest way to get ripped off.
  9. Once you’re absolutely sure the cashier’s check is legit, you can fill out and sign the title. Be careful some states have very strict requirements for filling out a title, even going to so far as to require a notary. Check our title info page to find your state’s requirements. If you make a mistake filling out the title, the whole thing may be voided. Hand over the keys and title to the car. Take the check and remove your license plates. Also let your insurance know you sold the car, immediately. You don’t want your insurance covering someone else’s car.
  10. Head into the DMV where your buyer can register the car in his name and you can fill out any official documents saying you’ve sold the car and any official releases of liability. Hand in your plates to the DMV, too. You might be able to get a refund on any time left in the registration.

After your check is deposited and cleared, that’s it. You’re done. You’ve successfully navigated the dangers, pitfalls and annoyances of Craigslist to sell your car.

Should I sell my Car with Craigslist? Or, Is There a Better Option?

Sell your car online The reason that Craigslist is such a successful resource for selling damaged and salvage vehicles is because there are people who will go on Craigslist specifically looking for vehicles in heavily worn and even wrecked condition. Most of the cars that are available for sale on Craigslist are not in great shape. In fact, it is almost rare that you will find someone selling a brand new vehicle on Craigslist. This can be helpful if you are trying to sell a car that has a lot of wear and tear, or is even permanently damaged. Some buyers on Craigslist are looking to purchase cars for parts, or will buy a car with the intent of putting major work into it themselves.

The downside to Craigslist is that the process of selling your car online can be quite time consuming. The process of posting your car to Craigslist, while it will put you in touch with potential buyers, will also provide your contact information to the internet at large. Many people who post ads on Craigslist find that they are contacted more by spam listings and solicitors than they are by genuine buyers. Plus, you need to meet with total strangers in order to sell them your car. This can be unsafe.

So, while there are benefits to posting your damaged car on Craigslist, it is not necessarily the safest or best method for selling your car online. As an alternative, many people turn to, an online resource that is specifically for the buying and selling of broken-down, damaged, wrecked or salvaged vehicles. will give you a guaranteed offer, fast, and can usually pick up your car and pay you within 48 hours. Click the “Get an Offer” button to get a fast, safe and guaranteed offer for your car from