Car Selling Tips

Your Guide to Writing a Great Car Ad

Selling your ride, are ya'? Great stuff. Soon, you’ll have a pocket full of cash, be rid of an old friend, and possibly, be shopping for a new one.

In the same way that many relationships today aren’t official until they’re Facebook official, the process of selling your ride is confirmed by the presence of that all-important FOR SALE ad on the internet.

Like many things in life, there’s a right and a wrong way to do a used car ad – and below, we’ll look at a few tips to keep in mind when making it internet-official that your used ride is up for grabs.

Take Lots of Good Photos

Photos are often vital to starting a relationship in online dating, and they’re always vital in ending your relationship with your ride in its FOR SALE ad. Photos answer questions. Does the vehicle have the rims the shoppers like? A spoiler? Is the interior clean? Is there any damage to the carpeting? Take lots of photos, with the highest-quality camera you’ve got – and never with a flip-phone from 2002. Stand back a little to include some background with the image. Get all four sides of the exterior, a few angle shots, and don’t forget details like the headlamps, wheels and tires, exhaust, badge decals, and the box, if it’s a pickup truck. Also, when uploading the photos, make sure they are right side up, rather than upside down or sideways.

2007 Honda Element

On board, zoom out to get the widest possible angle, and take several wide shots, and close ups, too. Shoppers are often interested in the stereo, the condition of the seats, and the overall cleanliness of the cabin. Take photos, close and wide, that show these attributes. Don’t forget a few photos of the engine, too. Finally, here’s a Pro Tip: photos of your ride’s interior are best taken on a cloudy day, where they won’t be affected by shadows and glare.

Offer Added Value

Can you scan and send service records upon request? Can you do a Skype walkaround of your ride for an interested out-of-town shopper? Do you have all your service records and safety certification, as well as information packages required in some provinces? Are you available by phone to answer more detailed questions, if the shopper isn’t an email user? Can you meet a shopper at the shop of their choosing for a pre-purchase inspection, if requested? All of the above can help provide prospective shoppers with answers to their questions more quickly and easily, which will help you sell your ride faster.

You Need a Description

You want to make life easier on the shopper considering your ride – so listing the year, make, model and price, and then entering ‘call for more information’ under the description is never a good idea. You NEED to give a simple but informative description of your ride. Shoppers don’t like more work – and that’s exactly what a description-less car ad amounts to.

Price it Properly

Check out listings of cars like yours with similar mileage, in similar condition, and in the same locale as a guide to pricing your used car. Remember: your car is not worth thousands more than someone else’s identical unit, no matter how much it means to you, and even if you’ve just waxed it and changed the windshield. Translation? Be sure to keep the pricing honest and reasonable. Set the price too high, and you and your car will likely remain friends for a long time.


In most cases, the dope-ass wheels, colored tinting, cat-back exhaust and custom fog lamps you installed to customize your ride don’t add much, if anything, to its selling price. You may find these modifications great, but they may scare most shoppers away. Remember that vehicle modifications are usually a terrible investment when it comes time to sell, as they don’t typically add value, and may even reduce it. Where feasible, consider returning your ride back to stock before putting it up for sale.

Be Clear and Concise

Nobody wants a life story, but they do want to know the important stuff about your ride, quickly, as it's likely not the only used car they’re considering. Be clear and up front with your price, mileage, known issues, recent work or new parts and service history. Include any extras that you’re throwing in to sweeten the deal, like winter tires and rims, for instance. An organized point-form listing of attributes, with clear headings, can go a long way to providing quick and effective information to prospective shoppers.