How not to sell a car

As an auto enthusiast since my teens who long ago lost count of the number of used cars I’ve bought and sold, I look at used car ads for fun. And boy, have I been having fun looking at cars for sale on CraigsList. For an education in how not to sell a car, it’s hard to top. Some of the listings are hilarious—or baffling. For (unedited) proof, read on…

“I have this great car for sale. I don’t have any problems with it. Just bought 4 New tires. Comes with 18″ runs with tires. I don’t think none of the glasses is broke. I kept doing everything on time as far as oil change. Gas. And topping all my liquids. Please text me if you want to know more. Serious buyers only!! And no lights is on.. The pictures is on because I did not turn the car on all the way .. Great first car.”

“Iam sale my bmw wagon 165 mille the bmw need change heat gasket the wagon over heat the car run good only heat iam no time for repare the price is 2500 obo tex or call for more inf”

“No Ties,No Seats,No Motor,No Transmission”

“this 87 Brougham is Highway ready, full tune up already done rebuilt carburetor, new brakes all the way around 4 Brand new thick white wall tires, interior is Brand new peanut butter guts, brand new peanut butter ragtop, 4 pack pioneer 4 ways with Pioneer CD player wood grain wheel the whole car has been ran through no problems!!! no low ballin hit me with a good offer and you can get it!!!! hmu my name is Big Chad”

“Everything’s in good condition. My grandpa is selling it at this one time price because he is out of town and he needs the money.”

“Really super nice truck rebuilt engine only 60,000 miles . dual glass tail pipes and runs like a champ however it needs a transmission. The one for this truck is the 4L60E.they have one at I pull it for 80.00 dollars so as is 1000,00 o.o if I go by the transmission and stabb it myself 2000,00 and please only serious inqueries as we have has three deaths in the family and I need to sell it asap or trade it for something else”

Unfortunately, such descriptions are not usually offset by great photos. In fact, the photos are often comically defective. For example…

Bad car photo 1

The old vaseline-on-the-lens photographer’s trick may work for making high-mileage people look younger, but it’s not as useful for cars.

Bad car photo 2

Considering that the first part of the word “photography” means “light,” perhaps the presence of more of it would have helped.

Bad car photo 3

This “effect” turns up on CL with surprising frequency. For reasons that escape me, it’s an attempt to mask the license plate. Why, say, a piece of paper would not work better also escapes me.

Bad car photo 4

One hopes more effort went into maintaining the truck than the yard.


CarMax isn’t nearly this entertaining. If you have the nerve to cast off the security blanket of corporate capitalism and plunge into the automotive flea market for your next ride, give CL a look. At the least, you’ll laugh more than you ever did at the local MegaMotors dealership.


Leave a Reply