Flipping a car involves finding a good deal on a vehicle, buying it, and then reselling it at a higher price. The car may also need repairs to get the most money for it when you sell it.
While any car selling for $1,000 or less on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace might seem like a steal, some vehicles are easier to resell than others. You might have more success with a higher-priced car that’s still below fair market value and very desirable to buyers.
Below, we list some of the best cars to flip, regardless of their price. Some are inexpensive to buy and repair, while others might require you to pay a higher price up front. However, all are desirable to buyers and likely to be profitable flips.
The Best Cars To Flip
Japanese Economy Cars
Japanese economy cars are known for their reliability and hassle-free maintenance. If you’re a beginner at flipping cars, a Japanese economy car may be the best choice since they are continuously popular and tend to have few significant maintenance issues. The brands Subaru and Honda, in particular, are ranked among the manufacturers least likely to have “check engine” issues.
- Honda Civic and Accord: The Honda Civic and Accord are two of the 15 best-selling cars of all time, so they’re easy to find and remain in high demand.
- Toyota Camry and Corolla: Most model years of the Toyota Corolla and Camry earn between four and five stars on Kelley Blue Book’s Expert Rating scale. The Corolla is also one of the best-selling cars of all time, remaining a popular choice for its fuel efficiency and easy, inexpensive maintenance.
- Toyota Prius: Some sellers will list a Prius only because the hybrid battery is dead. If you find a Prius in this condition, you can replace the battery yourself with an aftermarket rebuild kit — at a much more affordable price than getting a replacement battery from the manufacturer.
Vans, SUVs, and Pickup Trucks
Minivans and SUVs can make for profitable flips because there’s a high demand for them, especially with families. Just as economy cars appeal to buyers looking for small, affordable options, minivans and SUVs appeal to those with a need for more seats or storage space.
Like flipping an economy car, you’ll want to look for vans or SUVs that are reliable, have low miles, and have minimal mechanical issues. Some model years of the Honda Odyssey, for example, are known to have major transmission problems which will cause some buyers to stay away.
Additionally, pickup trucks can be promising flips if there is a strong local market for them. In areas with small businesses like landscaping, pressure washing, or dog grooming, for example, you may find a higher demand for light-duty trucks.
- GMC Yukon: The GMC Yukon is among the longest-lasting SUVs, which will appeal to used buyers. Additionally, Yukon owners report that over half of the SUV’s necessary repairs cost under $500.
- Honda Odyssey: Buyers like the Honda Odyssey for its strong safety and performance ratings. It also has lower-than-average maintenance and repair costs.
- Toyota C-HR, Highlander, or 4Runner: These three Toyota SUVs are among the fastest-selling used vehicles, averaging around 55 days to sell, meaning it should be easy to find a buyer after making any necessary repairs.
- Toyota Sienna: The Toyota Sienna holds four of the top five spots in the U.S. News & World Report’s list of the best used minivans under $20,000, rating highly for both comfort and performance.
Some hobbyists have classic “project” cars that they’ve never finished or that they’ve put in long-term storage and would like to sell. Sometimes these cars only need a new battery, a set of tires, or a clean carburetor to get them running again, while others require extensive restoration. Still, some classic cars have vibrant collector communities.
Be aware that selling can be more difficult than for newer models since your buyer pool will be limited to collectors. You’ll want to consider the cost and hassle of finding new parts for some older cars, too.
- Chevrolet Bel Air (1950s): Reproduction parts and upgrades are affordable and easy to find, while used parts are readily available as well.
- Chevrolet Nova (1968 to 1970): Parts for Novas are easy to find since over one million of these cars were made. Note that the two-door Nova is more popular (and therefore easier to resell) than the four-door version.
- Ford Mustang (1964 to 1968): The Mustang is one of the most popular American cars, with consistent demand. Reproduction and replacement parts are readily available, so you should have no trouble finding what you need to repair/restore one — or finding a buyer.
Where to Buy and Sell
The following resources can connect you with local, inexpensive cars to flip, as well as potential buyers once you’re ready to sell:
Keep your eyes open while driving around your city, too. Often, car owners who wish to sell would rather deal with buyers in person than online and will put a “For Sale” sign in the car’s window. If you drive past a car that looks like it would flip easily, take down the number and try to work out something with the owner. You may also find options at local car shows, especially if you’re looking for classic cars.
When buying a car to flip, be sure to ask a lot of questions to get a clear picture of the car’s history, including any repairs or restorations that have already been made. It’s also a good idea to research the known issues associated with any model before buying it, even if you plan to repair it.
Before getting started, you should also note that there are a few catches to flipping cars. Depending on where you live, it may be illegal to buy and sell more than a certain amount of vehicles per year. It may also be unlawful or unwise to “float a title” — this is when the original seller signs the title and you sell the car to a new buyer without first transferring the title to your name. Check out our how-to guide on flipping cars for profit to get more detail about whether or not you can flip cars legally. You may also want to see our research on whether you can drive a car without plates and how many vehicles you can have in your name at once.