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Q: Should I trade in my car, or try to sell it myself? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Should I trade in my car, or try to sell it myself?
Category: Sports and Recreation > Automotive
Asked by: andrew-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 23 Apr 2002 22:50 PDT
Expires: 30 Apr 2002 22:50 PDT
Question ID: 3302
I have a car that I'm currently thinking about replacing.  I'm trying to 
decide whether it would be best to trade in my car or try to sell it myself.  
What is the current price difference between the two?  What options are 
available to me in Mountain View, CA if I wanted to try and list it for sale 
myself?  Are there any expenses related to title transfer for cars in CA?

The car in question is:
'93 Ford Explorer
100,000 miles
Subject: Re: Should I trade in my car, or try to sell it myself?
Answered By: skis4jc-ga on 24 Apr 2002 11:45 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Dear Andrew,

Hello!  Thank you for your inquiry!

By using the Kelly Blue Book Used Car Values Program ( 
ttp:// ) I was able to 
determine the price difference of the two options to be: $1,685

Private Party Value (what you might expect to sell your car to a private party 
for) = $5,205
Trade-In Value (what you might expect to receive from a dealer) = $3,520

($5,205 - $3,520 = $1685)

To find this information out, I made the following assumptions:
4 Door
Power Steering
AM/FM Radio
“Good” Condition
Zip Code: 94043

If any of these assumptions are significantly off, visit the Kelly Blue Book 
page mentioned above and re-enter the more correct information.

Additionally, AutoWorld gave a range for the value of your car from $3,050 
(Below Average Condition, Actual Market Value) to $7,900 (Exceptional 
Condition, Suggested Retail).  I would recommend visiting this website for 
AutoWorld to view the entire range:
Car Search Results – 93 Explorer

Some options available to you in Mountain View, CA, if you want to try and sell 
it yourself include posting advertisements in the following:

1. AutoTrader – This is a nationally recognized publication and website, you 
would probably have the most exposure with this, but because it’s not specific 
to the Bay Area, CA, it might take longer to sell.

2. CraigsList – A San Francisco Bay Area website that includes selling vehicles.

3.The San Francisco Chronicle


5. Palo Alto Daily News

Make sure that you further research the value before you place a classified ad. 
Too high a price will scare people away.  Some things to take into 
consideration include the mileage, condition, and the records you have kept.  
People are generally more willing to buy a car if you kept good records of all 
Here is some more good advice on selling your car, taken from Auto Education ( ):

“When writing your ad, make sure to include the basics..... Make, model, Color, 
price, mileage, phone number and best time to contact you.  Adding OBO (Or Best 
Offer) after the selling price may get you a few more responses since the buyer 
will know you are flexible. 
Clean your car before anyone comes to see it. Make sure you sweep out the 
interior and clean any spots from the carpet and upholstery. Also a good coat 
of wax would not hurt. Consider going to a reputable detailing business to have 
the car cleaned. This can literally add 100's of dollars to the resale value.
If you have an extended warranty on your car, check if it's transferable. This 
can ease a seller's mind and possibly make the sale.
Print out a one page flyer and hang them outside supermarkets and other 
businesses with public bulletin boards. Also check out free classified papers 
which usually are distributed outside of supermarkets.”

According to the California DMV’s office ( ), here are the requirements 
and/or expenses related to title transfers after selling a vehicle:

“When selling a California registered vehicle, the registered owner of record 

* Release ownership by signing on line one of the title. 
If the vehicle is, or was financed, a name will be in the legal owner section 
and their releasing signature is required on line two. 

* Provide the purchaser with evidence of a valid smog certification. 
Smog certificates are good for 90 days from the date of inspection. The smog 
certification is not required if the owner or buyer sign a statement that a 
smog certificate was submitted with renewal fees within 60 days prior to the 
transfer date. 

* Provide the odometer mileage if the vehicle is less than 10 years old. 
If the title does not have a designated space for this information, an Odometer 
Disclosure Certification (REG 262) must be signed by both the seller and buyer. 
The REG 262 cannot be copied, an original must be submitted. You can call (800) 
777-0133 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and ask for one to be mailed to 
you, or pick one up from your local DMV. 

* Complete a Notice of Release of Liability (REG 138) and mail the notice to 
the DMV address on the form. The seller is responsible for reporting the change 
of ownership to DMV within 5 days from the date of sale. It is important to do 
this as soon as possible, because after DMV updates the information from the 
REG 138, you will be cleared from future liability on the vehicle. The 
purchaser is responsible for reporting the change of ownership to DMV within 10 
days from the date of purchase. 

Search Terms Used:
Selling a used car
Auto sales in California

Thank you and have a wonderful day!
Best Regards,

Request for Answer Clarification by andrew-ga on 24 Apr 2002 12:08 PDT
Can you also point me towards recently posted classified ads for
similar vehicles?


Clarification of Answer by skis4jc-ga on 24 Apr 2002 14:50 PDT
The links I've already given you above (for the Chronicle and Auto Trader
for example) should also provide you the specific new information you are
asking for.  You will have to fill in some search terms.

Hope this helps.
andrew-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thanks!  You did a great job.  :)

Subject: Re: Should I trade in my car, or try to sell it myself?
From: chiron-ga on 23 Apr 2002 23:13 PDT
Kelly Blue Book notes that for a 1993 Ford Explorer in good condition, absolute 
cash value favors a private sale versus a trade-in, those ratios being $5,205 
vs. $3,520, possibly somewhat higher in your area.  There are other items to 
consider, however, such as potential dealer incentives (some dealers offer as 
much as $2,000 incentives for customer loyalty) and the difficulties and costs 
of advertizing, answering the phone, etc.

Local publications, free and at cost, are available.  Fliers and internet ads 
(,,, may 
be low cost or free as well.  Expenses for title transfer in California mostly 
fall upon the consumer purchasing the vehicle, as exemplified at length on this 
web page:

Good luck!
Subject: Re: Should I trade in my car, or try to sell it myself?
From: sleighboy-ga on 09 May 2002 18:26 PDT
I have worked at a few large and small dealerships in Washington
state. And my advice is to sell it yourself, dealerships are horrible
and don't give you as much as you can get for the car to a private
party. Of course I think people sell their cars for too much usually,
but you'll find somebody. If its a fairly nice Explorer it shouldn't
be a problem. Just make sure it doesn't have Firestone Wilderness AT
tires on it, hehe.

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