With today’s technologies and new resources, disposing of your vehicle can be easier than ever.

WITH the auto industry on the upswing, Americans are buying new cars again. The National Automobile Dealers Association estimates new car sales to reach 12.9 million in 2011, an increase of nearly 12 percent over 2010. Rising gas prices may also spur folks to look for a newer, more fuel-efficient car. According to a recent AutoTrader.com survey, 53 percent of car shoppers said they would consider a more fuel-efficient car than the one they are currently driving. But before slipping into that new ride, most drivers need to unload an existing vehicle.

Fortunately, with today’s technologies and new resources, disposing of a car is easier than ever. No longer is it necessary to put a sign in the car window and hope for the best. From online tools to get your car the most exposure to instant price quotes taking the mystery out of the trade-in process, new options for selling a car help drivers get the best price with the least hassle.

Experts at AutoTrader.com offer six tips on how to prepare that old car for sale or trade-in to make room for a new one:

1. Do online research before posting an ad to understand the market and determine a reasonable sale price for the car in its current condition.

2. Get the car professionally cleaned before posting it for sale or visiting a dealer and fix easy items such as broken tail lights, chipped paint or small dents. These won’t cost you a lot and if the car doesn’t look clean and well maintained, buyers will wonder what bigger surprises might be under the hood.

3. Once the car is presentation-ready, include multiple photos in an online ad. Get exterior and interior shots, plus detail shots like tires, stereo, sunroof—whatever makes the car special. Create a virtual walk-around for the people viewing the ad, so they’ll want to see the car in person.

4. Write a descriptive listing. The mileage, model and color are givens but highlight what makes your car stand out. Does it have a great stereo system? Were the tires just replaced? Does it have ample cargo room? Emphasizing these features will separate the vehicle from competition.

5. Use AutoTrader.com’s new Trade-In Marketplace service to take the guesswork and hassle out of the trade-in process. Entering the vehicle’s information at http://tradein.autotrader.com will result in an instant value that can be redeemed at a participating dealer for trade-in or cash.

6. To dispose of a used car quickly, consider donating it to charity. A quick online search will turn up charities that take car donations. This provides the person donating the car a tax deduction, but be sure to research prices for similar cars and take an appropriate tax deduction to avoid tangles with the IRS.

For more information and tips about disposing of any car fast, check out AutoTrader.com’s “Sell Your Car” center. (NAPSI) ■