1966 Mustang as seen on eBay
1966 Mustang as seen on eBay

This article is the second in our “Selling Cars and Parts On The Internet” series. To review our first article on the subject, click here to read “The Options for Selling Your Car or Parts on the Internet, Part 1: Craigslist, eBay, Forums, and ClassifiedsThe Basics

The Basics

In this article we will cover some of the basics that apply to general selling of cars and parts on the Internet. These basics apply to any auction website or classifieds ad you may use. Specifically, these basics will be handy for selling on Craigslist, eBay, Internet Forums, and Internet Classifieds websites.


Bad Ad listing Craigslist example
No price, no year, no pictures, what it is I am buying?

You need to have details in order to successfully sell your items on the Internet. It is better if you have the information up front rather than scrambling and finding it later when someone asks for it.

Have you ever seen the classified ad, “For sale, pickup truck, phone 555-1212”? Obviously, that ad is worthless and is NOT going to generate any attention. Compare that to “1952 Chevrolet Five Window Half Ton Pickup for sale, Only $2500, Runs Great! Phone 555-1212”. Same truck, but a completely different mental picture, correct?

The magical difference here was in adding some information, and yet people everyday will post the first ad and wonder why they get no response. Think about what questions you would ask someone else about it, and make sure to cover at least those answers. The more information and details you can provide, the more targeted your ad becomes and the chances of finding the right buyer gets better.


Poor photo of wheels for sale
Poor photo of wheels for sale

If details make the ad, and a picture is worth a thousand words, it only makes sense to include a picture (or twenty three). Every form of Internet advertising allows some sort of picture uploading or referral but a big difference between an ok ad and a great ad is the quality of the pictures. No one wants to see a dirty car parked in front of a trashy garage and still pay top dollar for it.

The first thing you will need to do is to detail your subject. If it is a car then you should clean it, wax it. I’d suggest listening to one of our pst podcast episodes as well, TMCP Podcast #134 – You Will Be Judged, because everyone that looks at your car will be judging if they want to buy it or not!

Nice wheel ad picture
Example of a nice picture selling wheels

If you are selling parts, you will also want them clean and pretty. A quick trip through the parts washer makes a visible difference, and interior parts cleaned with a little soap and elbow grease sparkle in pictures.

Pay attention to the little details too, as the camera will show them good or bad. You may not think it shows, but the “aura” of the car will come through even if the viewer does not know why.

Framing Your Shot

You need to be cognizant of the details surrounding your subject matter. Other vehicles, bicycles, buildings, and just plain stuff all detract from looking at your subject.

Keep an eye on the background, watch for telephone poles, antennas, roof lines of buildings, and other eye distracting objects. Even if it is just a “parts car”, photograph it like it is going into a magazine. If you need to take it someplace else to get a nice picture, you should do so.

While you are at it, take more photos then you ever will use. With today’s digital cameras, taking extra pictures costs nothing, while not taking enough could cost a sale. When photographing parts, a simple white sheet as a background focuses your audience on the item you are selling and eliminates clutter.

Share Your Photos Online

Nice car sale picture
This is an example of a decent sale picture, as it’s a front 3/4 shot of the car and makes multiple sides of the car easy to see. The background is a little cluttered though….and the light pole appears to be growing from the drivers seat.

Storing your pictures in an online photo hosting service like Flickr is a great idea. I recommend opening an account specifically for your online sales, so you can share your photos without sharing your family vacation photos.

Some seemingly easy to use photo hosting services are not so easy to use later for your ads. Do a little research as to what other classifieds posters use and check them out before you invest hours uploading photos only to rip your hair out trying to use them in your ad.

Put all of the photos you took on the photo hosting site so if someone asks for a photo of something in particular it is easy to let them peruse your collection. More pictures in front of them equals less questions to you and less confusion as to what they are buying.


Hopefully this gives you some ideas of what you need to get started selling your cars and parts on the internet. Get out there, do some research, take lots of pictures, and check back here for our next installment where we will post your product to Craigslist.

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