Can you sell a damaged car?
Can you sell a damaged car?
Posted on November 9, 2021
It may seem an obvious question but it is one we were asked the other day by a customer. They had some modest body damage from reversing in a parking lot and never got it repaired, hence the question.
As it isn’t the first time we have heard this, we thought we would write a post about it.
The short answer is yes, you can sell a damaged car to a dealership or privately. The more pertinent question is, should you?
Selling a car with damage
There are a couple of issues with selling damaged cars.
One, you need to be 100% accurate with your description of the damage in the ad or when presenting the car. Otherwise, you could be liable for misrepresentation or worse.
Two, you know you’ll take a big hit on the value. While we may be able to see exactly what damage is where, there is always the thought in a buyer’s mind about what else is damaged they cannot see.
So, while you could accurately portray the damage to the best of your knowledge, there’s always the unknown. And, as we know, as a species, many people don’t like the unknown.
You may be able to sell the car if it’s damaged but you won’t get much for it and your target market will be a lot smaller than if you got it repaired.
Insurance, damage and selling cars
Then there’s the thorny subject of insurance. If the damage was just a bump in a parking lot and insurance wasn’t informed, that’s fine.
If the damage was more serious and insurance got involved, that’s another level of complication. We would need to check to make sure the car wasn’t written off or marked as salvage before buying it.
Car checks tend to flag that anyway but we would need to pay particular attention to that.
Cost to repair
Next is cost to repair. When a dealership values a car for trade in or when selling your car to us, we need to take into account how long and how much it would cost to recondition it ready for sale.
Bringing us a damaged car to appraise means spending a lot more time inspecting the car, assessing the damage as well as the general condition.
We may then need to get estimates from a body shop or specialist, depending on the nature of the damage.
Repairing the damage will cost us money, which we will have to deduct from the valuation. The more the car would cost to repair, the less we could offer.
It would be exactly the same in a private sale too, if you could find a buyer willing to risk it.
The best thing you could do is arrange the repair yourself. Get some quotes, check the quotes against how much the car would be worth damaged versus in good condition.
If the numbers work, get the car repaired before selling it. You’ll drastically increase the potential market and may be able to make a little extra money as well.
If you don’t have the time or money to make repairs, we could provide a fair price for the car. Contact one of our team for more information.