Selling a car in the pandemic: test drives

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DoubleClick
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Selling a car in the pandemic: test drives

Post by DoubleClick »

I'd like to sell my car. It's sub-$5000 probably, and is too old to be sold to a dealer. So I'll be selling it to a private party.

Question is, how does one handle test drives in the pandemic? I'd prefer not to sit next to the test driver. How safe is it to give the keys to anyone who shows up at my frontdoor via a Craigslist ad? Is there any kind of collateral I can retain during the test drive? Get a copy of their driver's license?

This thread is about this specific question around test driving. I did take a look at older threads around:
- What platform to sell the car in
- one more
Tingting1013
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Re: Selling a car in the pandemic: test drives

Post by Tingting1013 »

Are you sure it’s too old to be sold to a dealer? Have you tried CarMax?
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RickBoglehead
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Re: Selling a car in the pandemic: test drives

Post by RickBoglehead »

Picture of license. Proof of vaccination. Then go with.

Or copy of registration of the car they leave during drive so you know it's theirs?
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair, etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.
poker27
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Re: Selling a car in the pandemic: test drives

Post by poker27 »

I just sold my car yesterday, but was comfortable riding next to someone.

If you don’t want to go with them, I would ask for the cash, give them the unsigned title and keys. If the car shows back undamaged, exchange.

Or maybe find a friend that’s comfortable driving with them?
exigent
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Re: Selling a car in the pandemic: test drives

Post by exigent »

If you're vaccinated, then I wouldn't worry too much about it. Wear a mask and ask them to do the same if you makes you more comfortable.

Aside from that, ask for the keys to the car they arrived in (plus have them let you see the title if you'd like) and a pic of their driver's license. Maybe schedule the test drive to leave from the parking lot of the local police station or sheriff's office which is likely to have video surveillance, at least near the main entrance. This would probably scare off the majority of the troublemakers.
Last edited by exigent on Wed Jun 09, 2021 8:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
DoubleComma
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Re: Selling a car in the pandemic: test drives

Post by DoubleComma »

Last June, I simply traded keys to a guy who showed up from a Craigslist add. Figured holding the keys to his car was sufficient incentive for his return with my vehicle….he promptly bought it when he returned.

Now the flip side, a decade ago, my cousin handed the keys to someone who took his vehicle on a test drive. They didn’t purchase it, rather came back and stole it that night. Police recovered the partially stripped car, determined while on the test drive they had a duplicate key made at the local hardware store. Insurance made him whole, so the sting was reduced.
exigent
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Re: Selling a car in the pandemic: test drives

Post by exigent »

DoubleComma wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 8:52 pm Now the flip side, a decade ago, my cousin handed the keys to someone who took his vehicle on a test drive. They didn’t purchase it, rather came back and stole it that night. Police recovered the partially stripped car, determined while on the test drive they had a duplicate key made at the local hardware store. Insurance made him whole, so the sting was reduced.
Smart thieves. Heh.
runner3081
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Re: Selling a car in the pandemic: test drives

Post by runner3081 »

I have never, ever, sat shotgun for a private-party test drive.

I make sure the title is not in the car and let them take it for a spin.
UpperNwGuy
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Re: Selling a car in the pandemic: test drives

Post by UpperNwGuy »

Hopefully both you and the potential purchaser have been vaccinated, thereby making it safe to sit next to each other on a test drive.
fyre4ce
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Re: Selling a car in the pandemic: test drives

Post by fyre4ce »

I test-drove a car during the pandemic, and just left the keys to my own car with the seller, and actually this was my suggestion; he would have let me take it without.
coastalhiker
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Re: Selling a car in the pandemic: test drives

Post by coastalhiker »

Where I live, there is a consignment lot that charges sellers a flat fee. They take care of advertising (photos, postings to multiple sites), and they take responsibility for the test drives. During the pandemic, they've been cleaning the cars between test drives. Sellers negotiate directly with potential buyers, they don't manage the sales part of the process. It's great, perhaps you can find something similar near you. If not, I think Carmax might be a whole lot easier than direct sales.
jojay
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Re: Selling a car in the pandemic: test drives

Post by jojay »

Hi,
I recently sold my 2007 Highlander to Carvana.
The suggested price shown in KBB were about $3300 for a private sale. Carvana gave us $2700. Absolutely zero hassle, no test drives, they came and picked it up and gave me the check. I had done everything online.
Did I lose out on a couple of hundred? I suppose so but I also lost ALL of the hassle.
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RickBoglehead
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Re: Selling a car in the pandemic: test drives

Post by RickBoglehead »

jojay wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 6:22 am Hi,
I recently sold my 2007 Highlander to Carvana.
The suggested price shown in KBB were about $3300 for a private sale. Carvana gave us $2700. Absolutely zero hassle, no test drives, they came and picked it up and gave me the check. I had done everything online.
Did I lose out on a couple of hundred? I suppose so but I also lost ALL of the hassle.
Yes, you lost a couple hundred. Let's look at it another way - you lost the ability to make 22% more profit. Had this been a discussion about investments, and you said "I kept $2,700 in a shoebox for a year, and the market went up 22%, what should I do now?" you would have been lambasted for keeping money out of the market...

Ease of selling is clearly of value to you. Our last vehicle was 9 years old, dealer offered me something like $5,500 right away, or $4,500 if we waited 5 months until our ordered car came in. I put it on CL for $9,000, above KBB and Edmunds private sale value, got 2 buyers right away. I had it sold for $9,000, but the buyer said "is there anyway you would take $8,500?". Given that they had just had their first child, I said "sure".

We will be selling our 2018 Fusion Energi shortly. KBB and Edmunds private sale puts it in the $24,000 - $25,500 range. Carvana just offered $23,574. I will probably list it for $25,000.
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair, etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.
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lthenderson
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Re: Selling a car in the pandemic: test drives

Post by lthenderson »

I never go with them. In the age of smart phones, I just snap a picture of their license and face and let them take it away. Car is cleaned out of paperwork before their drive.
rage_phish
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Re: Selling a car in the pandemic: test drives

Post by rage_phish »

I’m vax’d. I’d just go with them. Masks on and windows down would be plenty safe for me
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ClevrChico
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Re: Selling a car in the pandemic: test drives

Post by ClevrChico »

Regardless of the pandemic, I would not allow test drives unless I knew the person. I did test drives once, and it was shocking how bad the drivers treated the car. One pulled the e-brake while going 35 mph on a downhill curve!

I might not get top dollar, but it would be worth it for me. (That might be selling it to Carmax or on Ebay.)
realclemsongrad
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Re: Selling a car in the pandemic: test drives

Post by realclemsongrad »

I recently sold sienna. I let few mechanic friends know and they passed a referral to me. I held the keys to the buyers car when he went for a ride. He came back and made an offer 300$ less than I am hoping for. But I did not want to haggle or put myself through more test drives and accepted it.
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firebirdparts
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Re: Selling a car in the pandemic: test drives

Post by firebirdparts »

I sold one to Carmax, and FWIW they gave me more than I was planning to ask for it. I was thrilled. I like the idea of having them as a liability shield, and I would have paid a little something for that. I put my tag under my arm and took off walking down the road.

I was very concerned about the aggravation factor. I've always loved cars, and I had found over the years that buying and selling them is a pretty bad experience.

The car was insured, so having it stolen is about as good as selling it. FWIW. Not really concerned about that.
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Jack FFR1846
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Re: Selling a car in the pandemic: test drives

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

I sold our Fusion during the height of the pandemic. Had the buyer wanted to drive it, I'd have handed him the key and he could have taken it out. I had already gone to a dealer, where we were looking at buying a car. They offered me $900 for it. Car Max, $1500. I sold it via craigslist for $2500. Cash money.
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FIREchief
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Re: Selling a car in the pandemic: test drives

Post by FIREchief »

This is one area where I am absolutely non-bogelhead. I will never again sell a car to a private party. I do know a guy who deals cars as a side gig. I've sold four vehicles to him. I could have gotten more, but I just don't want the potential complications of a private sale to an unknown party.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.
hudson
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Re: Selling a car in the pandemic: test drives

Post by hudson »

FIREchief wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 2:28 pm This is one area where I am absolutely non-bogelhead. I will never again sell a car to a private party. I do know a guy who deals cars as a side gig. I've sold four vehicles to him. I could have gotten more, but I just don't want the potential complications of a private sale to an unknown party.
I also will sell old vehicles to a dealer, CarMax, or the equivalent.
I'll pass on private party sales.
If I was still working, I would put a for sale note on the company bulletin board; I'd let a co-worker go on a test drive.
Lately, I've passed older cars to family members if possible and appropriate.
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