What You'll Need to Start an Ad

Before you start your ad, you'll want to have a few pieces of information handy. Some of the items below depend on the ad you select and any upgrades you may add to your package.

  Basic information about your car

You'll need the year, make, model, body style, mileage and price.

  Vehicle identification number, or VIN (optional)

The VIN is not required, but it helps us offer more information to potential buyers. The VIN is located on the driver's side of the dashboard by the window and on the driver's side doorjamb. It's also listed on your auto insurance card, and on your state vehicle registration form.

  A list of standard and optional equipment

Standard equipment is included in a car's base package. Typical examples include an AM/FM radio, air conditioner and airbags.

Optional equipment includes features added to the base package; it can be factory-installed and usually involves additional cost. Typical examples include a navigation system, security system and seat warmers.

If you're not sure which equipment you have on your car, a simple visual inspection will usually give you enough information for your ad. If you'd like to be more detailed, check your owner's manual, call a local dealer or go to the manufacturer's website. If you purchased your car from a dealer and still have the window sticker, you'll also find standard and optional equipment listed there.

  The best selling points about your car

Knowing your car's best features will help you create a detailed description. The more compelling information you provide, the easier it is to reach buyers looking for those options. To learn more about how to write a great ad and see examples, check out How to Create an Effective Car Ad.

  Your contact information

Choose a phone number and email where buyers can easily reach you.

  Photos (optional)

Photos give buyers their first impression of your car and often help them decide to take a test drive. In fact, ads with photos typically get twice the response of ads without.

You can add a single photo or up to 27, depending on the ad package you select. Having your photos ready before you start your ad will speed the ad creation process. If you want to learn more about photos that will help sell your car, see our photo tips.

  Payment method

We accept Visa, MasterCard or American Express. To protect the information you provide, our site is on a secure server.


Holly Day is a product manager at AutoTrader.com.