Your elderly mother still lives alone but can’t drive anymore because of her declining health. As a result, mom has asked you to help sell her car. Helping an elderly parent sell their car can be challenging and stressful if you haven’t done it before. There are several steps that will need to be taken to ensure that the selling process goes smoothly, and that you’re getting mom a fair price for her vehicle. To help you develop a more effective car selling strategy, use these tips from the pros.

  1. Look the Car Over

    If you’re unfamiliar with mom’s car, walk around it first and look for any signs of rust or body damage. While putting yourself in the shoes of a prospective buyer, also check the vehicle’s interior. Take it for a test drive and listen for suspicious noises, and note how it accelerates, brakes and handles. Check the tire tread, look for fluid leaks and test all the gadgets and systems while noting anything that might need repairs.

  2. Have a Pro Inspect it

    Next, take mom’s car to a trusted mechanic so they can give it the “once over” by inspecting the engine, brakes, lights and all other mechanical systems. If it’s cost effective, have the necessary repairs done. Studies have found that the biggest turnoffs to car buyers are:

    • Worn tires
    • Squeaky brakes
    • Check engine lights that are on
    • Burned out light bulbs
    • Cloudy headlights
  3. Compile Vehicle History and Maintenance Records

    If your mom’s like most seniors, she’s kept her car well maintained over the years. Ask her for all those maintenance records and put them in a folder for potential buyers to view. The better prepared you are, the more likely a prospective buyer will trust you. In addition, make available these documents:

    • Vehicle history report through Carfax or AutoCheck
    • Any accident records and collision repairs
    • The title if mom owns it outright, as it will show that there are no liens or salvage records
  4. Clean it Up

    Nobody likes to test drive a dirty vehicle. Make mom’s shine with a good washing and fresh wax job. Vacuum out the interior and shampoo the carpets and upholstery. Don’t forget to use some detailing products and “elbow grease” on the trim and tires. You can also have it professionally detailed at a local auto body shop.

  5. Get All Sale Documents Ready

    Depending on your state, when selling a vehicle outright there are documents that you’ll need to get ready, which may include:

    • The vehicle’s title, if it’s paid off
    • A current vehicle registration card
    • A bill of sale
    • Proof of a recent safety or smog inspection, if applicable

    Based on your state, you may also have to supply a Notice of Transfer or Release of Liability. If you have questions about your state’s requirements, contact the DMV.

  6. Decide How to Sell the Car

    While there are many options for selling your car, none are easier than selling the vehicle to us at CarNation. You have the choice to either have us come pick up your vehicle or you can bring it to us. Either way, we'll do most of the paperwork so you don't have to spend the time doing it yourself.