The How to Guide for Preparing and Selling on Craigslist Cars for Sale

Craigslist Cars is one of the best websites for purchasing used cars. The reason for this is because of the variety and simplicity with which one can use the website.  The free market allows used car prices to be cheaper than dealership prices.

Step 1. Tools for Researching Your Car Value. 

First, you’ll need to determine the value of the car by going to valuation websites like and  These trusted sites can give you an approximate benchmark to sell your vehicle at.  Most used cars do not fall in the “excellent” category and the majority of used cars tend to fall in the “good” category.

Make sure to add on any extra features that you have personally added onto the vehicle.  In my experience, adding on a personal security bumped the car up $500.  Other features such as car navigation, customized rims, body work, and sound systems can bump up the cars value considerably.

Step 2. Preparing the Vehicle for Sale 

There are two options that you have when selling your car on Craigslist cars for sale.  The first option is to sell your car, “as-is”, or perform repairs on your car before selling it.  I personally, am lazy so I would just sell the car as-is.  However, honest is the best policy and if there are any problems with the vehicle, make sure to write them within your Craigslist cars post.  The more upfront you are with your post, the less you’ll have to worry about buyer’s remorse, trust, and having to answer customer questions such as, “you didn’t tell me there was a small dent on the bumper.”
Many people like to fix up their vehicles before selling them.  Repairing the vehicle can be beneficial as it adds a lot of value back onto the car.  However, the negative side is that you have to put more money into the car as well as time.  Both options (repairing/not repairing) are equally successful when selling your car; however, make sure to price your car accordingly.

Cleaning the car is of utmost important as people will tend to make a decision whether they are interested in a vehicle within 5 minutes of looking at it.  Wash your car, get it detailed, and try to fix any minor cosmetic damage to the exterior.  If your car has small scratches, you can purchase car retouch paint online to paint over the scratches.

Make sure to take many pictures of your car and also take pictures of any damage that your car has.  You can post up to 6 pictures of your car.

Check your local DMV for legal laws and gather your title, emissions report, as well as bill of sale.

The next step is to post onto Craigslist cars for sale by owner.

How to Post an Ad on Craigslist Cars

Go to your city, or the city most approximate to your city.  Click on “Post to Classifieds” and follow the instructions on the screen.  You will need to register with Craigslist and sometimes you will have to have a working landline phone number to post.


Make sure that your ad stands out and add your car’s key selling points, such as any additional features, low gas mileage, condition, and any other information that will get the buyer’s attention. Most buyer’s will close over an ad’s title, so it’s important that you catch their information right from the start.  Some other tricks that you can use to catch a buyer’s eye is by using symbols in your post title. Go to this website to look at symbols.  Add one symbol to the front of your title to make your title stand out.  Do not go overboard with this strategy as it could get your “ghosted” from the Craigslist cars system.


If the title is the most important part of selling your car on Craigslist autos, then writing the description is the second most important part.  The more information you can write about the car, the better.  Make sure to add information about any car damage, any extras you have personally added, and of course the basic information such as mileage, color, make, model, gas mileage, and maintenance.


When pricing your car, try to price it 10% ABOVE the price that you want.  The reason for this is that you can negotiate down to your desire price.

Contact/Reply to Email Address

Personally, I would just add my phone number and tell people to text me.  There are so many spammer’s that mine for e-mails and will waste your time trying to sell you junk.


Stumped for ideas on how to prepare your ad?  Here is a terrific ad that captures people’s attention.

best craigslist cars ad ever

*photo was taken from

Also, you can make simple, click-able image ads by using free tools such as:‎

All you need to do is write your information as you would a regular ad, and the website will create a click-able image file.  Image files are amazing (as seen above) because it engages your audience and they will be able to click on your image ad and you will be able to navigate to where you want your customer to go.

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