Trade-in or sell privately


Should I sell my car privately or trade it in? My car’s transmission needs replacing too. Its loud and anyone who drives it will know its bad. I can probably replace it and the clutch for around $400 if I do it myself. Its a 1998 Subaru Legacy AWD 5 spd, not the Outback ed. if any of that helps. Thanks.


I don’t think you will get much of anything at a dealer. I’ve had two experiences that confirm this:

  1. In 1973, I decided to replace my 1965 Rambler that had gone about 100,000 miles. There was nothing terribly wrong with the car. I found a 1971 Maverick Grabber that met our needs. The asking price at the dealer was $2295. I pointed to the Rambler and asked what the difference would be on a trade. $2150 the salesman replied. I made a face and the sales manager intervened. You can have the car outright for $2000, but take your old car with you. I took the deal and sold the Rambler in less than a day for $250.

  2. In December of 1995, I needed to replace a car that was totaled in an accident. I found a really nice 1993 Oldsmobile that had less than 20,000 miles. The price was set at $14,995. I asked what the difference would be between this car and my 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass that had 180,000 miles. "I’ll trade for $14,500, but you can have the '93 straight out for $14,200. I took the deal and kept the old Oldsmobile which I still have.

The point is this: most dealers don’t want an old car. In your case, I would suggest you either sell it “as is” and let the next owner fix it, or, if you have the time and want to repair it yourself, you may come out ahead by a little bit. You have to decide if it is worth your time. I think you would lose by paying a garage to make the repairs.


You can usually do better selling it yourself if you don;t mind the hassle. The hassle means having strange people come to your house, test drive the car, take it to their mechanics, try to haggle the price down…then walk away without buying.

Personally, I prefer trading them in. I don’t like strangers. My last time, in 2005, I gave them away…my pickup to my daughter and my Camry to my son.

  • mountainbike


With the bad transmission, the car has no value. If you think you can replace the clutch and tranny yourself for $400, go for it, and good luck…Then sell it yourself or drive it until it dies…


Another option is to fix it and have a local used car lot sell it on consignment. They will get a percentage of the sale price, but you won’t have the hassle. I would find out if any lots are interested and how much they would recommend selling it for prior to putting any money into repairs.


You would be surprised by Subaru’s with broken tranny’s or AWD still run about $500-$1000 at least in the New England area.


The car is not worth fixing to try to trade in,or trying to sell privately. Too much fix for $400.