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Selling a High-Mileage Vehicle

If you're lucky enough to have a car that has served you well, you may find that by the time you're ready to sell it, the mileage is fairly high. It's quite possible that your high-mileage vehicle still has many more years of life in it, but if you're ready to sell, it's important to keep a few things in mind.

View of the digital mileage meter

Where to Sell

With a high-mileage car, you may find that selling to a dealership isn't always the best option. If you're purchasing a new car, they may offer you a good deal for trading in. However, if you're only planning to sell, you may not get an offer at all — or the offer may be lower than the vehicle is worth.

Check with local laws, but many states allow you to sell one car or your own privately owned vehicle without registering as a dealer, so selling through classifieds or on an auto sales site may be an option. Additionally, if your car is in poor condition, you may consider selling to a company that purchases junk cars for scrap.

What to Consider

If you decide to sell privately, many buyers will be concerned about the condition of the vehicle. Consider having a tune-up and oil change done and be prepared to share repair records or a CARFAX report, if applicable. Keep in mind, you might need to provide the title and other information so that the new buyer can register their car. The exact requirements vary from state to state, so it's vital to check with your local government to make sure you have the needed information.

Tips to Get the Best Price

While a high-mileage car may not net you as much as a newer car, you can do a few things to get the best price possible. A few ideas include:

  • Clean It. Wash the outside and clean the inside as much as possible. Buyers are often swayed by the look, smell and feel of a vehicle, so showing up with a neat, clean vehicle can help you impress a potential buyer.
  • Focus on the Features. You will likely find that if your vehicle has desirable features, it will still be in demand despite the mileage. When you create your ad, make sure you focus on features such as a sunroof, working A/C or any audio upgrades.
  • Remember the Lower Costs. Remind potential buyers that a high-mileage car may come with lower overall costs. Insurance, for example, may come with less expense on an older car, plus some states offer a high-mileage discount on taxes.

One of the most important things to remember about high-mileage cars is that insurance is still vital. There are state-mandated minimums when it comes to liability insurance, and you may wish to add additional coverages to make sure you're protected from unexpected problems before you sell your car. Reach out to your local independent insurance agent for more information.

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