Guide for Selling a Car with Mechanical Problems

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Edgar Moulton.


Edgar Moulton. Car Expert

It is usually apparent that you should trade in a car with mechanical problems. At the very least, consider trading in your damaged or broken car because to trade in a vehicle with mechanical issues is sometimes more cost-effective than trying to repair it.

This is especially true for insurance reasons and the cost of repairs, which could total more than the car is worth for parts. When you try trading in a vehicle in bad condition, you may not fill your pocket with cash, but it can save you a big hassle trying to fix a car that just isn't worth it. 

If you have considered trading in a car that needs repairs, this article can help you. Here we will give you the starting place you need for dealing with your vehicle that is damaged by: 

  • finding out what the most common ways to sell or trade-in your junk car is,
  • giving you details about the types of damages to your vehicle and what that means for trade-in or sales value, and,
  • offering you the advice on who to go about finding and working with dealerships or wholesalers of junk cars.

Read on to find out how to sell a car with mechanical problems!

Trading in a Car With Problems: How It Works

Selling your car that needs repairs may not be your best bet. You may want to consider the path of least resistance and trade in a car with the bad transmission or other severe damage and problems to a professional car dealer. Dealerships are not fun to work with, but they can be less hassle than trying to find a buyer on your own or even repairing your car with your own time and money.

When you go to a car dealer, there are several things that you and they will need to agree on before trading in a car that needs repairs. Be sure to have your homework done and know the amount you are looking to get out of your car.

Calculations about car value and repair costs need to make sense in order for a dealer to give you a reasonable price on your car. Remember, they need to make a small profit margin off of your car and the transaction with you as well. 

The bottom line is that dealerships are out to make a profit, not help you. Have your bottom dollar amount that you need to get out of the car set before you walk into the dealership and get out of there if they cannot meet it. 

How Can I Get the Best Value When Trading in a Car With Problems?

When trading in a car with engine problems, you need to do some calculations to know if there is any money to be made from the car or if this is a total loss car. A total loss car is when the repairs for the damage of the car are more than what the car is actually worth. To calculate if you have a total loss car, use the checklist below:

  • Know the value of your car without damage: Knowing the base value for your car if it were running correctly is a great place to start your calculations. Kelly Blue Book is a great website for finding out the exact value range of your car in good condition based on mileage, year, make, and model. 
  • Know what the cost of the repairs would be: If you are trying to trade in a damaged car, you need to know the cost of those repairs to fix those damages. This can be subtracted from the total value of the car in good condition and give you a pretty good estimate of how much a dealership is willing to allow for trade-in value. 
  • Have a reasonable bottom dollar: Even if you start out by shooting for more money from trading in a car with engine problems, you should have a base dollar amount that will make it, so you do not lose money on your car. Obviously, you don't want to lose money on your car, so if the numbers aren't making sense, regroup and look at other options. 
  • Will you lose money?: If the car is worth less than the cost of the repair, the dealership will probably know this too. Don't be surprised if they reject your offer or want it dirt-cheap. Donation may be the way to go. Some of the best donation companies for cars will give you a tax credit of up to $1000, so this option can really be worth it if you are at the end of your rope of possibilities. Most of these companies offer hassle-free same-day pickup and can leave you with a lot less anxiety. 

Ways to Sell a Car with Mechanical Problems

There are several options for you to sell a car with mechanical problems. If one option gives you a calculated total loss, you may want to consider another. If you don’t feel that trading in your car to a dealership is the best option for your car with mechanical problems, you may want to consider one of the four ways listed here to sell a car with mechanical issues.

Repair the Car Yourself 

If you can, fixing a car with mechanical problems so you can sell it later is the most cost-effective solution. Doing the repairs on your own is an excellent option if you are a mechanic and can get the job done. You may even be able to make some good money from fixing up and then selling a car that needs repairs

Auction Your Car Off 

Auctions are available everywhere, and there is no condition minimum that your car has to be in to be put up for sale. Many of these auctions are attended by mechanics looking for cheap junk cars to fix up and resell or salvage parts from. You can truly auction a car in any condition, which takes the stress out of feeling like you have to get the car repaired before selling it.

Sell the Car Online

Call us now at (855) 547-1550
or email us at

Receive a guaranteed highest-priced quote for your junk car from the best junk car buyer by filling out the form online.

We’re open Mon-Fri: 8 am - 8 pm, Sat: 8 am - 3 pm

If you feel that you can get your bottom dollar on your own, you can consider using a car sales site. The best free car sales site where selling a car with mechanical problems can get you your bottom dollar are listed below: 

    • Facebook marketplace: A good place to integrate social media, likes, sharing, and your friends with the sale of your car. The Facebook marketplace allows you to reach millions of people and can offer your car to people within a certain mileage radius for easy deal-making. 
    • Craigslist: Craigslist offers free posting of text and pictures for your car sale. Make sure to find a public place to meet, show the car and(hopefully) sell it. 
    • It is a well-known car selling site on the internet, and they even have a free option for selling cars. Of course, this listing only lasts about two weeks. You will want to pay $20 or more for the posting to stay up longer and attract buyers with advertisements for your car.
    • eBay Motors Classified: eBay offers a car classified section to its users to post car sales and even offers to buy back and security guarantees.
    • our website offers the highest price guarantee for your car with mechanical problems. Advertise your car to thousands of buyers, or have us pick it up the same day for free.

Sell to a Used Car Lot

Used car lots will typically have a wholesaler who they deal with. However, if you can make them the right offer and they are low on inventory, you may be able to sell your car that needs repairs to a used car lot. 

It is also a great idea if you are in the market to buy a new car. You may be able to negotiate more trade-in value than you would have received for the cash value of your car. Just make sure that you have done your homework on a total loss car and know how much the repairs should cost, how much the car is worth, and the bottom dollar that you need to receive from your trade or sale. 

Can You Trade in a Car That Needs Repairs?

To trade in a car that needs repairs, you must consider the specific type of damage to the car. Every kind of repair influences whether or not the dealer will take it as a trade-in and how much they will give you for the trade-in. 

Trading in a car with problems is difficult, but this list will help you to know what your specific junk car may be up against. 

Engine Problems

A check engine light is a dead giveaway that something is wrong with your car. If you have this light showing, you can guarantee that the diagnostic will be run, and the readout will tell precisely what is wrong with your car. 

Most engine problems deal with oil or air intake, which are reasonably inexpensive. However, if the engine combustion is harmful, overheated, or the head gasket is blown, the cost of repair can be in the thousands. 

Body Damage

When you trade in a car, you want it to look great. However, the fact that the vehicle is running is much more critical. Body damage can be fixed by the dealership body shop relatively quickly, and the fact that the car is running means it could be turned around and sold without the bodywork done. You have a high chance of making some money from a car that you trade-in, which only has body damage. 

Car Doesn’t Run

A car that doesn't run is not an excellent option for dealerships to invest in. Some trade-ins for a car that doesn't run are chop shops that will buy the car for parts. These shops specialize in parting out cars and are your best bet to get the top dollar you can with the least amount of effort for your car that won't start. 

Bad Transmission

Transmission repairs are some of the most costly repairs you can do in a car. This is because the repairs on a transmission require you to take out many components to get access to the transmission parts. If you have a transmission problem, expect to spend quite a bit on repairs and get less trade-in value. 

If you are a mechanic, you may want to consider trying to fix the transmission on your own. The fix is not easy, but you would be saving the many hours in labor that would be taken out of the trade-in value for your car. Most cars with severe transmission problems become total loss cars and are sold or traded in for parts. 

Car Has Bad Tires

Tires are an essential part of the car that actually makes contact with the road. However, there is a broad spectrum of tires that are available for anyone's specific car. If your car has bad tires and needs them repaired or replaced, you can probably find very cheap new tires or even used tires that can get the car to the dealership so that you can present a running car for sale or trade-in. A car having bad tires is one of the least expensive issues that your car can have and are relatively easy to fix. 

Trade-in Your Vehicle with Mechanical Problems to is one of the best places to get eyes from buyers in your car. Selling a car with a bad transmission or selling a car that needs repairs is done easier on because this is where the buyers come looking and expecting to find value cars with problems. For those in Philadelphia facing similar challenges, there's a straightforward solution: services that offer cash for junk cars in Philadelphia can provide a hassle-free transaction. Our inventory is made up of cars just like yours, and our buyers are paying top dollar for these cars. 

The advantages of choosing include:

  • Same day service: give us a call or contact us and our team can be out to your location for the same day pick up, estimate, or trade-in service.
  • Free pickup: our trade-in service includes free pickup of your car, making the whole process of trading in your car a whole lot easier.
  • 30 years of experience: Our team of highly qualified professionals have 30 years of experience making a valuation of cars, transporting, and working with customers on trade in.
  • Highest price guarantee: When you deal with you can rest assured that you will be getting the best deal for your car trade-in. Our guarantee to you is the highest price cash value for your junk car.

Our site has tons of junk cars that need repairs for sale and attract buyers from all over the internet looking for projects, parts, or value. Make easy money by posting your car that has engine problems on!


How can I sell a car with mechanical problems?

The answer to this question depends on the type and severity of these mechanical issues. One option is to fix it and sell it to the dealer or online as a running car, or you can auction it — this way, you can sell the car in almost any condition, but it takes a considerable amount of time. Or you can contact us, and we will give you top cash for your vehicle with the same-day pick-up. 

Is it possible to sell a vehicle that doesn't run?

You can always take your vehicle apart and sell its parts to chop shops. However, you can break something while doing it or lose your money without knowing the details' real cost. It is better to get in touch with a trusted partner with transparent prices and high-quality services.

What are the most common mechanical problems with a car?

Some problems with the car occur more often than others:

  • Engine problems caused by overheating or improper oil and air intake;
  • Body damage after an accident or some natural causes;
  • Transmission problems caused by overheating, slipping, or outside factors;

Bad tires. Usually, the problem simply occurs over time or after an accident.

Edgar Moulton.


Edgar Moulton. Car Expert

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