Tips For Using Photos to Sell Your Car

Beach setting not required

Beach setting not required

If you’ve shopped for a used car, you’re well aware of the difference good photos can make in a classified ad. CarGurus offers free listings, and to take full advantage, sellers should know exactly what buyers are looking for.

In addition to pricing the car right and writing a thorough and accurate description, your photos should tell potential buyers everything they need to know about the car.

Should you take photos in the afternoon sun or early in the morning? Should you show that door ding, or post photos that make the car look better than it is?

Keep reading for the answers.

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Is Your Used Car Worth What You Think?

BMW 328i

Not long ago the auto world panicked over the exceptionally high price of used cars. A perfect storm of unfortunate events contributed to a shortage of pre-owned vehicles.

Back in 2007–2008, the U.S. economy took a nosedive. Soon after, American automakers filed for bankruptcy. Then, in early 2011, an earthquake and devastating tsunami in Japan halted production there. Potential car buyers everywhere put purchases on hold. Car leases were all but eliminated, which of course caused a serious shortage of lease returns, typically a major source of quality used cars.

With new car sales at a halt and people holding on to their existing cars for much longer, the prices of late-model used cars were through the roof. In fact, sometimes it was more expensive to buy used than to buy new.

Finally, some 5 years later, things are getting back to normal.

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2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel or 2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI?

2014 Chevrolet Cruze diesel

It’s taken way more years than it should’ve, but Chevy has finally put an oil burner in a small sedan.

Diesel has been Europe’s choice for propulsion since, well, probably the time of King Charles. Because of a history of cheap gasoline prices and a public disdain for dirty diesel, it never caught on in the USA. With gas inching up in cost here every day, alternative fuels are seeing more demand. Electricity has been the focus for the last decade or so, but a new round of clean, efficient diesel engines is on the way.

Chevrolet has offered a small diesel in Europe for years and has finally adapted the engine to meet U.S. standards and put in on the options sheet for the 2014 Cruze. With this new American diesel in showrooms, does it make sense to add it to your shopping list, or are you better off looking for a used Jetta?

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Five Things I Learned at My Local Auto Show

2013 Porsche Boxster

While it’s nowhere near as exciting as the big U.S. auto shows in Detroit, Los Angeles and New York, the show in my quaint little part of the Pacific Northwest is enough to whet the automotive appetite of plenty of local aficionados.

I’d have to travel to the big shows to see some of the latest offerings from Ferrari, Lamborghini or Rolls-Royce. Heck, even cars like the all-new C7 Corvette don’t bother to make the trip out here. I guess that’s what happens, though, when the show is put on by the local dealers’ association rather than supported by the automakers.

Still, I enjoy attending, and this year I learned 5 very important things.

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88 Percent of Cars Have a Hidden History—Does Yours?

2004 Honda Pilot

Could you spot the $15,000 in damages?

If you knew the car you were about to buy was once melted by fire, would you still buy it?

I’m guessing the answer to that question is a resounding “No.”

However, someone out there owns a 2004 Honda Pilot that had the driver’s side melted away by a raging fire that burned a mere feet from the then-brand-new SUV. The windows shattered, the leather melted, the paint peeled, and every rubber piece of trim and sealant turned to a black mass of burned-out carbon.

That’s exactly what you want to see in a used-car ad, right? Oh, except this car was repaired and re-sold before the damage ever showed up on any reports. After some $15,000 and 12 weeks in a body shop, the car came out looking (if not smelling) completely new.

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Grandma’s Car: The Best Kind of Used Car Available?

2004 Subaru Outback Limited Wagon

A friend wanted to show me her new car.

“It’s a 2004 Subaru Outback,” she said, “and guess how many miles it has on it?”

I looked at the car, which appeared to be in pretty nice shape. No visible dings or dents, clean paint, newer tires. I figured anything under 100,000 miles on the clock would be acceptable. I assumed, since she asked me about the mileage, it must be low. So I guessed low.

“Sixty thousand,” I said confidently.

She shook her head and smiled.

“Nope. Just under 10,000.”

I gasped.

“It was my grandma’s.”

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The Exotic Used Car: Worth Dreaming About

2006 Ferrari F430

There’s a special moment all car enthusiasts experience at least once in their lives. However fleeting it may be, the moment is a little something called: possibility.

It’s when all scenarios in your head line up and something amazing seems possible: owning the exotic you’ve always dreamed of owning.

Maybe the moment is set off by seeing a car for sale and entertaining the brief thought of looking at it. Maybe the price is just a hair lower than you expected and you think of ways you could make it work. That’s usually followed by imagining your garage door slowly opening and exposing the freshly polished nose of your dream car.

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Kit Cars Make a Case, But Used Is Better Option

Ford GT40 kit car

I went to junior high school around the corner from a Lamborghini.

In 7th grade a friend pointed to a house with a closed garage door and said, “There’s a Lamborghini in that garage.” I didn’t believe him, because I never saw it. The garage door was always closed. Every day I’d look, hoping to catch a glimpse of a real Lamborghini. Then, one day…

A bright red, low-slung angular Lamborghini Countach sat in the driveway. I was in awe. It was the first Lamborghini I’d ever seen.

Or was it?

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Unintended Acceleration’s New Victim: Ford Taurus

2005 Ford Taurus

I’ve never been in a car that accelerated on its own. Well, this one time, I was in a Dodge Viper that leaped to 100 miles per hour faster than I could buckle my seat belt, but I was a passenger. The driver giggled in glee as I tried to hide my panic.

Yes, that was an episode of unintended acceleration from my point of view, but not one that would cause any worry to our friends at Dodge.

I’ve also driven plenty of Toyota, Lexus and Audi vehicles without any car ever going any faster than I wanted it to go. I attribute my driving success to the fact that I know which pedal is for “go” and which is for “stop,” something that people who suffer from “pedal misapplication” fail to understand.

A new rash of unintended acceleration cases, though, should cause some pause for people in the used sedan market.

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