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Prepping a 20 year old car to sell

We have finally convinced our father who is 98 years old that he should not be driving anymore, and to sell his old car. The car is a 1996 Dodge Neon which runs ok, but has some rust issues and looks like a 20 year old car with about 100,000 miles on it. My sisters say just stick it in the yard and sell as it pricing it at around $500-600 dollars, I want to clean it up a bit and make sure all the fluids are good and such. The car has sat now almost a year without being drivin except for me starting it and driving it a couple times around the block every couple of months. What is the best way to sell a car that is as old as this one is and is in okay, but not great shape. I would have no issue driving it around the city, but wouldn’t get it up on the interstate at all.

Check under the car to see if the undercarriage is rusted badly. If there are any rust holes, especially in the floorboards or undercarriage, put a sign on it or haul it to the junk yard.

If you have a trusted mechanic who will do a prepurchase inspection, run this car by him/her. He/she will probably come up with a list of parts to be renewed and repairs that could be done. At least get an evaluation of the tires, brakes, and suspension. Ask his/her opinion of whether the cost of doing the work right now would raise the offer price enough to cover or exceed the cost of repair. Otherwise, show the list to the prospective buyer and negotiate from there.

Good luck on this.

I’d go with your sister, the more you do, the more problems you’ll find. Maybe wash and vacuum it, but that’s all. $600 “AS-IS, WHERE IS”, and the the first $500 (cash) takes it away. Just make absolutely sure that the title transfer is handled correctly.

But if major rust, junk it, like @jtsanders says.

That car is very nearly worthless. It bluebooks at $1,000, but I wouldn’t pay that much for that car no matter how desperate I was.

I wouldn’t put a dime into the mechanicals or fluids. Give it a wash and clean the interior well - but do it yourself because if you get it detailed professionally you’ll probably spend 20% or more of what you eventually sell it for even assuming you find someone who agrees with the bluebook value.

I also wouldn’t get a pre-purchase inspection. Let the buyer get one if he wants. You don’t need to be spending $100 to have a pro look at a car that you’ll be very lucky to get $1,000 out of. It’s the buyer’s responsibility to determine if the car is in good enough shape to meet his needs.

Agree with @jtsanders Clean it up and take it for a long enough drive to make sure it runs smoothly. Check the fluids as well. I’ve sold a number of cars that age and the most I got for them was $1400 for a fully equipped Chevy Caprice, but only asked $750 for our Nissan Sentra. A 1976 Ford Granada also went for $750.

Make sure you sell it “as is and where is”, and have the buyer sign it!

I think you are on the right track. Wash the car and vacuum the interior. First impressions count. Top off the fluids, inflate the tires to the recommended pressure. You won’t have any problem selling the car. There is a big market for “transportation specials” meaning cars under $1000. At one point in my life, I would have been interested in a car like this.

In this case Sister knows best.

Those old Neons really don’t hold up well and have low resale value. Just make sure the fluid levels are OK for short test drives. Clean the interior and exterior a and hang a “for sale” on it. The selling price for the car will be the same whether you change the fluids or not.

I plan on sneaking the car over to the local gas station that has an air pump and vaccum, since there is no insurance on it and the plates have expired I have to be very careful, it’s only about a 3 block drive but need to get it over there early in the morning. Dad left me the title as he is living with older sister now so I just have to sign it over to the new buyer I guess. Car needs a good cleaning out, as for the rust its on the front of the hood and around where you put the gas in, overall rest of the body is pretty sound. It runs okay, but could use new tires.

Do what you want, but I wouldn’t drive it on the street without insurance. One accident = financial disaster. And check with your DMV, usually there’s more to it than just signing it over if you want to be 100% sure nothing comes back to bite you or your dad.

Whose name is on the title?

Read the post by texases twice . Especially the part about one accident = financial disaster. The state I live in will let you send a 10 year old vehicle to salvage without a title change. Just dispose of this vehicle , it does not sound like it should be on the road.

My plan is to do it on a Sunday morning around 7am, in my area there is almost no cars out then, I don’t have to drive far and not outside of my housing division except for less then a block. I have never sold a car before so will see what is all involved with that here in Indiana.

Doing a quick search it appears that all I need is:

In most cases, you will only need the following documents to sell your car in Indiana:
•Vehicle certificate of title.
•Application for Certificate of Title (Form 44049).
•Bill of Sale (Form 44237).
•Odometer Disclosure Statement (Form 43230).
•Mechanic’s Lien Bill of Sale (Form 23104).

I have the title so I can just print off the other forms on line.

Without insurance and plates, how do you plan to let prospective buyers test-drive the car? This is a bad plan. Either get insurance and plates or just junk the car.

Do get insurance and a current plate on the car. Even on a Sunday morning something may happen. Two weeks ago, a woman backed into me in the WalMart parking lot. We did have the police make a report. A week later, I got a notice from the BMV that I wasn’t insured and in three weeks my driving privileges would be suspended. I was insured and showed the insurance card to the police. I called my insurance carrier and the company made contact with the BMV and the BMV rescinded its order to revoke my license. Without insurance, I would have been in trouble even though the other person was at fault. The,estimate to repair my vehicle is over $1400 and this was all cosmetic damage. Add to that the cost of a rental vehicle from yesterday until next Monday when my,vehicle is supposed to be ready and the cost is probably three times the value of your Neon.
Transfer the title,to your name and call your insurance company and put it on your insurance. As soon as the Neon is sold and the title is transferred to the new owner, cancel insurance on the vehicle. You will be out only a few dollars.
You should check with the BMV about the license plate. You may be able to turn it back in after you sell the vehicle and get some cash back. Don’t take a,chance driving an uninsured, unlicensed vehicle on the public streets. It isn’t worth the risk.

Dad and sis won’t let me just “junk” it, already suggested that, they think it will bring big money like $600+. I would rather just call a junker to come get it, but not my decision. Prospective can start it and see how it runs. Getting plates and insurance not an option. My father and passed away mother on the title.

Car runs fine, I have see far worse on the roads around here. It just should be on the interstate doing 70+ which is aveage speed around here on the interstate, but to get around town it’s fine. It’s sat for a long time now and starts right up and runs just fine, sis had a lot of things done on it back about 3 years ago and dad had breaks all fixed about 2 years ago. Dad drove it all the time up till about this time last year when his health stoped him.

If your father will not properly insure and plate the car, then he must not want to sell it. Why are you trying to sell it?

I’ll say this - you’d be getting an earful and then some from me if I test drove your car and got a ticket because you hadn’t registered it. And if you didn’t let me drive it, I wouldn’t even consider giving you any money at all for the car.