- Whether a car is barely off the showroom floor or looks like it was dragged in from a junk yard, the basics of preparation for advertising are pretty much the same. The car has to look as good as it can. That means elbow grease and everything that goes into cleaning a car, from sanding surface rust, compounding and polishing the exterior to emptying the ash trays and spraying a finish on the tires to make the rubber look as new as it can. Items such as new oil for when a prospective buyer does a dipstick test to a tune-up and charged battery so the car starts immediately are musts before a "for sale" sign is put in the windshield.
- Typical newspaper ads, local broadsheets and Internet sales sites can cost enough to eat into the profit realized by the car sale. Percentage of sale sites such as eBay will keep the overhead under control, but there are free venues you might try first. After going to a site such as Kelley Blue Book for the proper pricing for the car, always ask slightly more than retail so you have room to maneuver. Make sure the title is handy and any recorded liens have been stamped paid.
- The placement of the vehicle in a high-traffic location will get more immediate response than putting it in front of your house on a dead-end street. If you have a friendly mechanic who will allow it to be placed at his business or even a friend who happens to live on a well-trafficked street is better than in front of your garage. A flier with photo, asking price and vehicle details placed on the message board at the local mall, post office, diner, garage or dealership are all possibilities. Try not to leave any possibility out. A used car dealer might be willing to place your car on his lot for a negotiated percentage of the sale price.
- Anything to make your car stand out in the crowd of cars for sale will help. Extra tires, snow tires, recent engine work, unusually low mileage, limited edition and options such as air conditioning should all be noted. If anything stands out like an extra removable top for a convertible, spare parts such as an alternator or wheel covers can all be pluses. Noting in your information that the car spent most of its life in the South without salt on the roads can be a boost to buyer interest.
- Don't neglect any affordable avenue of advertising. Fliers posted in parking lots and garages, e-mailed ads to your personal and business e-mail list and driving the car with a "for sale" sign prominently displayed to car shows, shopping or to a restaurant yields free viewing and the opportunity to answer potential buyer questions.