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Sell as-is, fix & sell or donate?

I need help deciding what to do with my 2000 Volvo V40 red station wagon. I just moved back from being working overseas and received this 2000 Volvo V40 from my mother as she just bought a new car. I am moving to a city so I do not want to keep this car. I have decided to sell or donate it but I’m unsure of what to do. It has necessary repairs: fixing a problem with the switch/lock cylinder assembly, needs a new right front axel and new brake pads …the latter two problems totaling $1500 for parts and labor at my local Volvo dealership.

The question is, should I sell the car AS-IS, should I repair it and sell it for average amount a 2000 Volvo V40 in decent shape goes for or, lastly, should I donate it? I am in my 20s and could really use the money to help pay off my student loans so donating it is my last choice. Any suggestions or any more information needed? Thank you again for all your help; I need it!

I would probably try to sell as-is, with full disclosure of the issues. Since the estimate is from a dealer, consider getting an estimate from an independent mechanic first, to see if the costs are more affordable. Set your sales price after considering the cost to repair, because if you don’t, the buyer will.

Get a couple more opinions from private garages. Tell them you want to sell the car and ask what it needs. If there is a safely inspection before the new owner can register the car, then have it done, fix whatever is needed, and get the certificate. Maybe Mom will float a loan until the car sells. And do make sure to pay Mom off first. She won’t love you any less if you don’t pay, but she’ll like you a lot more if you do. Do not donate the car. The donee will sell it and you will get a receipt from them. That’s what you declare. And if you don’t itemize taxes, you get nothing. My guess is that you couldn’t possibly qualify for the deduction, so anything you get through a sale is more than through donation.

I’d also check some local garages, they may be half the price of the dealer. Use the Cartalk mechanic finder: http://www.cartalk.com/content/mechx/find.html

You also might fix the most necessary items, see what the mechanic says. 2000 V40s seem to have asking prices of $5000-$7000 if they’re clean and around 100k miles.

I would recommend talking to the used car manager at the Volvo dealer. Dealerships have several departments: 1) new car sales; 2) used car sales; 3) service; 4) parts and sometimes 5) body shop. Each department has its own manager. Often, used car managers know cheaper repair places than the dealership’s service department and send out used cars to these outside repair places rather than using the in-house service. Why? Each department is expected to maximize its profits. I had a colleague who bought a used Chevrolet Cavalier from a new car dealer (Oldsmobile/Cadillac) that was sold with the dealer’s warranty. The car had a transmission problem and was sent to an independent transmission shop rather than have the dealer’s own service department do the repair.

The used car sales manager might even want to buy the car and have it reparied for resale on his lot. I’ve found most of these managers friendly people and willing to talk. It couldn’t hurt to ask.

I would first like to thank everyone for their very useful comments. I used the car talk car mechanic finder and found a good one. The problem with the car not starting is the result of the tumbler. The other repairs are replacing the rotor and brake pads. My question now is in order to sell the car in the next 2 weeks, I will fix the tumbler and rotor/brake pads for a total of $625. My state inspection ends at the end of October-- the garage suggested I sell the car with the inspection for the coming year. In order to have an ‘ok’ on the inspection, I need to replace right front and rear marker light ($80), replace the right inner taillight bulb($2), replace windshield wipers (I have some at home), and lube service (not sure about the cost of that one). My question is: if I plan to sell this car before the end of the month, do I need to get an inspection done? Is it worth the extra cost? Will it be easier to sell the car/ recup the costs (again this is a 2000 Volvo V40 with 121 K)? Thanks again for all your help!