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Used Car - What to do

My 1996 honda civic lx (manual) has 320,000 miles on it. I want to get rid of it, but I don’t know how. I’m pretty sure I could get $500+ if I posted it on a website, but my conscience won’t let me. The reason I’m getting rid of it is b/c it needs about $2000 worth of maintenance which includes tie rods which I think is safety issue. I would not want anyone to get hurt b/c they needed a cheap ride. That being said I have to imagine that the parts are worth something more than $100-$200 dollars. I’m thinking about just donating it and washing my hands of the issue, but I know that I’ll get a very small tax deduction if I do that. I would like to get some cash for it, but if I can’t get something somewhat substantial I’ll just donate it.

What do you guys think? If I could get $500+ for it without being shady I would be happy. If I’m being totally unreasonable please tell me that too! Thanks for reading.

I just sold a used car on Craigslist. I listed the car on Sunday, someone looked at it on Monday, and we transferred the title Wednesday.

As long as you advertise the car truthfully you have nothing to worry about. State the mileage and the condition, and say it needs work.

You could also list it as a “parts car.”

You can sell the car. One option is to have the safety issues; tie rod ends, fixed and show the invoice to prospective buyers. Simply add the repair costs to the amount you want for the car. The other option is to show the estimate for the tie rod ends to prospective buyers stating as far as you know this is the only “safety issue” with the car. Then settle on a price. Repair of just the tie rod ends is $100 to 200, not $2,000.

With current gas prices a Honda Civic that runs well will sell, even with the high miles.

I personally wouldn’t feel guilty about safety issues as long as I disclosed them to the buyer.

Out of curiosity, what needs to be fixed? Is this price from a dealer or an independent mechanic? Would you mind keeping the car if these things were fixed?

What someone does with the car after you sell it to them is not your concern. You don’t even have to estimate what it would cost to fix the problems. All you need to do is disclose them. If someone pays you for the car knowing the faults, you haven’t done anything immoral.

/agree with all of the above. As long as you use full disclosure - all the safety issues at least - you’ve done nothing legally nor morally wrong. I might go so far as to tell them of problems that may be coming soon, but that’s completely optional. Make sure it’s sold “As-Is”, too. Most private sales are, but I just thought I’d mention it.


Sell the car as is and don’t worry about it. Tie rods are not really a safety issue as the odds of one of them ever breaking are about slim and none. Tire wear, wandering on the roadway a bit, etc is about the worst case scenario for that.

A sane person who buys a 320k miles car should realize exactly what they’re getting into and I would also have them sign an AS IS disclaimer just like car dealers do just to stop that one yo-yo who thinks they’re getting a 10 year/100k miles warranty with their purchase.

If it were me and you could use the deduction, I’d donate the car to a charity that fixes older vehicles and resells them. You’d get a deduction for the value of the car and the piece of mind knowing it will be fixed before going to a new owner.

I would sell it “as is” for whatever I could get for it. In the past I have used supermarket bulletin boards and a free listing in the Bargain Finder for our area.

This is a good project car for a young guy who is mechanically inclined and $300-$500 sounds OK.

It’s too good to scrap, unless it has severe corrosion.

Good Luck!

supermarket bulletin boards? Really?! WHat is this, 1973?
You could do that , and reach the 20 or 30 peole looking for garage sales, or you could go on craiglist, also for free, and reach many times more people than that, all of whom were looking on craigslist for a car.

Thanks for all of your comments. That was extremely helpful.

Answering the above questions… the $2,000+ quote I got was from Honda Service… I don’t have the list with me, but I know it included tie rods and a distributor cap and a list of related items. I would maybe consider keeping the car if maintenance was not that high, but I would have to keep it at a family member’s house as where I live parking costs $160 a month.

AL5000; I sold a 1988 Caprice by placing it in a wide distribution (trading area of 1.5 million people) Bargain Finder (free), and also printed off a few color photos and pasted them on the local supermarket boards. Within a day I had a call from a young guy, who loved old style cars with chrome bumpers, and had seen the photo, and we sold it in 1/2 hour. I only got one call from a reader of the paper, a day later. The car was not valuable or special enough to post on the internet.

Selling a $350 car, like OP’s, cannot utilize wide area distribution, since it is not worth the gas to drive 100 miles to pick it up!

Have also sold washer & dryer, 2 lawnmowers, freezer, furniture, bikes, electronics, etc that way. Garage sales work well in spring and summer to get rid of cheap stuff.

Agree that, if you have a unique car, like my friend’s mint 1973 Mercedes 450SL with only 80,000 miles, you NEED a wide area to attract buyers.

Garage sales and bulletin boards worked in 1973, and STILL WORK for many low value items that people would shop for LOCALLY.

I am a strong believer in low tech and high tech business methods; whichever work best.

I Too Have Good Experiences With Free Grocery Store Bulletin Board Ads For The Reasons Given By Docnick.

We also have a free, local “Tradio” show that brings local sellers and local buyers together quite well.


I would put “needs work” in the advertisement and sell it with a clear conscience.

How about: “Requires a new loving owner…”


The main reason free bulletin boards still work is the fact that many Americans still do not have computers or use the internet. A $50 clothes dryer or a $350 car is usually bought by a non-computer user, and not a wealthy buyer.

CSA’s and my success with these means is that these ads get read, and a picture is worth 1000 words.

The more expensive and unusual the item, the wider market area you need to reach. And paid newspaper advertising gets expensive. I still see lots of ads in Road & Track magazine offering sports and specialty cars. This magazine has a niche readership and it’s a good way to sell that 1985 S Class Mercedes.