How-To Craigslist: Market and Sell a Vehicle on Craigslist

Have you ever heard of bedliner? If you have not yet heard a coworker or family member mention shopping through Craigslist, then you have done yourself a favor by reading this article. is a website that is designed much like the classifieds section in your local newspaper, except that covers all seven continents and 70 countries across the world. This website is a grouping of local classified ads that cover many different items, from clothing to electronics, from pets to lawn equipment, and from jobs to automobiles. This last item is what this article focuses on – successfully selling an automobile on

HAVE PICTURES AND MAKE SURE THEY ARE GOOD. All too often, automobile For Sale ads are places on Craigslist and do not feature pictures, but feature a small line stating “contact me for pictures.” Not only is this inconvenient for you, but it is also an extra step that some people who are willing buyers may not be willing to take to purchase your vehicle. Your job as the seller of your vehicle is to facilitate the buying of your vehicle so that an interested party has the easiest time possible purchasing your vehicle. That is your sole purpose as the seller of your automobile. To facilitate selling your vehicle, you need pictures of your vehicle, but not just any pictures. You need pictures that are:

  • When you take pictures of your vehicle, they should show all aspects of the vehicle. Show all sides of the outside of the vehicle from different angles and be sure to show pictures of the interior as well. Taking a picture of the dash and gauge cluster to show the mileage is a good idea, as it shows buyers exactly the mileage on the car.
  • If there are any trouble areas on the vehicle, be straightforward with them and be sure to post pictures to inform the buyers in advance. Buyers will appreciate the honesty if you are up front with them.
  • Be sure to take extra pictures that are more detailed. We will come back to this point later in the article.
  • It is no secret that as we age, our eyesight gets worse and worse. Instead of alienating all potential buyers over the age of 50, post large pictures to help maximize the effect of the pictures you’ve taken. This will enhance the viewing experience of all buyers and will make small details on the car more readily seen.
  • Mobile devices such as cell phones and tablets have become ever more popular, and many people use them for browsing Craigslist as a convenience. Larger pictures are better for these mobile users, as they allow ample picture quality, even on screens of reduced size.

High Quality

  • Make sure that your pictures are taken during the day and feature a well-lit vehicle. Also, be sure to take pictures that are not blurry. Blurry pictures do not sell vehicles.
  • Pictures should be taken on a sunny day, with the sun at your back. Focusing on details up front saves you time down the road. Make sure that the car is visible and that the condition is readily apparent from your pictures. You do not want to have to field phone calls asking about how the interior looks when you can just have great pictures of the interior from the beginning.

POST DETAILED INFORMATION ABOUT THE VEHICLE. This is very important if you want to minimize phone calls asking simple questions about your vehicle. When posting your vehicle on Craigslist, be sure to include:

  • It is very important to include engine and transmission information on the car. This information alone can make some buyers really want to buy, or can turn them away, so giving them the information in advance can really work in your favor. Be sure to mention what engine the car has. Many cars have several different available engines; an inline four-cylinder might be the standard engine, but the V6 is an option. Buyers interested in fuel economy might be very interested in the four cylinder, but the mother of three wants more power for hauling the kids and their gear around town and might like the added power of the refined V6. This information can make or break a purchase decision, so let buyers know.
  • Just as important as engine information is transmission information. Many people cannot drive manual transmissions, or just prefer to have an automatic for convenience’s sake. Others prefer the fun and control of changing their own gears. For all of the preferences out there, you want to be sure to find the right buyer for your car. Make sure to mention the transmission type in your posting to help eliminate the inevitable calls or emails asking what transmission is in the vehicle.
  • Do you drive mostly on the highway on a long commute? Or are you constantly stuck in traffic in a busy commute downtown? Do you drive the car only on the weekends? Or does the family take this vehicle on road trips? All of these questions should be used to determine how you drive the vehicle.
  • What most buyers pay attention to the most, though, is the vehicle’s mileage. Mileage alone, however, does not tell the complete story. Be honest and upfront about the mileage, even with a vehicle that has higher mileage. More important than mileage, though, is MAINTENANCE. A properly maintained vehicle with more miles is a much better buy than a vehicle with a shoddy maintenance history and low miles. Be sure to include all of the maintenance information that you have for the car. Service interval receipts would be great to have and pass along to the new owner. Receipts for timing belt and water pump service, new sets of tires, oil changes, and wheel alignments all go a long way to show that you have properly maintained the vehicle throughout your ownership.
  • Be sure to highlight the areas of your car that are in the best condition. Do not do so with the intent to mislead potential buyers, but pointing out the best parts of your car will help them decide if the merits of your vehicle meet their criteria for a vehicle that they would like to purchase.
  • Again, always be completely honest and up front with people. People will forgive that the carpet has some stains, but neglecting to mention that the gauges in the dash do not work is unforgivable at best, and only wastes your time in the long run.

HOW TO HANDLE BUYER RESPONSES. This is the area that most people dislike about Craigslist; most people do not want to interact with complete strangers. However, by focusing on a few key points, you can minimize wasted time and really hone in on buyers that are ready to do business. Once you have followed the above steps and have posted your vehicle ad, you should focus on the following to seal the deal:

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