Safe & Legal Private Car Sale

Give Me The Facts

Autotrader Advert & Prices

Start My Autotrader Advert

Value My Car With Autotrader

Valuing any used car, correctly.

Click here to use the free Autotrader valuation tool.

Preparing your car for sale is much the same whether you’re a car dealer or a private owner. This counter-intuitive approach to trade and private car sales has proven itself year on year and stems from a rock solid car valuation that boosts the likelyhood of selling a car.


how to value my car accurately and manually with Used Car Guy


Let’s value your car quickly and accuately

If you’re looking for a quick sale at a dramatically undervalued price head over to your nearest car dealership or car buyers service (read my full article for more information). You can expect a quick payment but at around 50% of Autotrader’s genuine car value.


Part One – The Car

What type of car do you own?

Is it a sought after make and model?


This can determine how quickly you’ll make a sale.

Example: If you have a 2016 Kia Sorento 2.0 petrol 4 door saloon, white in colour, beige interior, 93,000 miles and little service history, you’d have to realise that your car is reasonably undesirable. The number of people looking for a car such as this is limited.

The 2.0 (or 1.8 or 2.3, you get the idea) litre petrol engine equals “expensive to run”. 4 door saloon also limits the saleability of the car because the majority of mainstream car buyers prefer a hatchback or an estate. Beige interior and a lack of service history only compound the difficulties you’re likely to face when selling a car like this.

But all is not lost


If you deem your car to be an undesirable make or model you’ll need to reflect this fact in your valuation and asking price.

Desireable – If you own a 2016 VW Golf 2.0 TDI Sport, 5 doors, metallic grey, 39,000 and full-service history (FSH), you are sitting pretty. Certain cars such as Golf diesels (and many other makes and models) are very popular. These types of cars are renowned for reliability, economy and holding their value. This type of motor has a natural appeal you just don’t get with certain makes and models.

So, step one is to be honest with yourself about what you own. Regardless of your car type, you will still be able to sell it if you position your Autotrader car valuation correctly from the beginning.


Work out your asking price


estimation graph for car values indicating the common range price of a used car


There are multiple ways of finding a true valuation (the price you’ll sell for,) but the most convenient is to use the platform where you’ll get the highest price, Autotrader.


Head over to their website, use their options panel and you’ve got two choices to get a valuation.

Preferred method – Using their control panel, enter the details of your car including make, model, age, mileage, the number of doors, engine type (petrol or diesel) and transmission type. This will give you enough information to get an approximate valuation for your car. Enter a distance of up to 100 miles and take a look at the results.


how to used Autotrader to value a used car in the UK


You’ll most likely find scores of cars for sale just like yours. Some will appear very cheap and some will appear expensive.

Here’s what you need to do – Scroll through the first 5 pages and you’ll find some of the cheaper cars are insurance write-offs, some have been around the world twice (high mileage) and others will have damage.

From about page 5 glance through each ad . Here is where the more legitimate cars are offered that don’t have any major faults (as far as we know).


The price point

When you put your car up for sale you will ideally have it positioned somewhere in the next couple of pages (5-9 depending on how many of your car type are for sale); this gives you an indication of the real value of your car and what you’re actually going to fetch for it shoud you choose to sell on Autotrader.


To sell your car quickly you’ll need it to be priced in the cheapest third of all the comparative cars for sale within a 100 mile radius of your home.

Visit the Autotrader website

Account for your mileage, quality of service history and the general condition of your car. Use common sense to find the price point and use the ads in front of you as a measuring stick. If you take a little time you’ll know how much your car is really worth, and what you’re likely to actually sell for.

When you get to advertising your car it needs to be competitively priced. There are likely to be hundreds of the same make and model for sale so something about your vehicle needs to stand out if you’re going to sell it.

Appealing sales points may include:

  • Low mileage
  • Great service history
  • Unusual factory colour
  • High specifciations

but in the majority of cases a competitve price wins the day.

A second route to finding your Autotrader car value is their free tool. You simply enter your registration number , mileage and click go. You will need to hand over your email address and you can expect some follow up promotional emails in the coming days. The price they give you is somewhere near retail.

The tools offers trade and retail valuations.


free car valuation tool online with Auto Trader UK


I’ve never found automated tools to provide great acuracy as they don’t factor the disirability of your car.

My preferred option is to manually search out similar cars to yours, account for mileage, quality of service history and actual car condition. Remember to advertise in the cheapest third of all comparative cars.


Faults and Damage

You’re the one that’s driven the car and you know if anything is wrong with it. Most used cars have one snag or another. A broken glove box, hole in the carpet, dent along the seal, doesn’t start well when warm, the list can go on and on. Whatever the issues are, you need to make a mental note of them or get them down on a piece of paper.


Do the faults affect the value of the car?

Example: A hole in the seat, curbed alloy wheel, stone chips on the bonnet or spare key that’s not working are all examples of faults that don’t really affect the value of your car. They come with age and mileage, deemed as wear and tear. These items shouldn’t impact on your asking price (unless they are significant and/or there are lots of these types of issues around the vehicle.)

However, I’d recommend listing them down on a piece of paper as we’re gonna use them later on.


Does the car have major faults?

Example: The car doesn’t start well, there’s a nasty dent in the roof, the screen is cracked, the engine sounds noisy, it leaks oil, or the management light stays on. These are classed as major faults that certainly affect a car valuation. If it were me I’d consider repairing a major fault. But you need to weigh it up for yourself.


How much will it cost to get the car repaired?

Will the repair bill be more or less than the difference I am likely to get when I sell?

Example 1

  • An engine management light that remains on all of the time is enough to stop most people from buying a car. Those that are still interested will likely want at least £500 off of the asking price. But the engine light staying on could easily be a sensor issue that’s gonna cost £125 to get repaired. In cases like these, you’ll be better off making the repair.

Example 2

  • If the clutch is completely worn out and slipping you’d be fortunate to sell the car for anything like its true value. The potential buyer will be looking for a tonne of money off. But a clutch replacement can cost as little as £200. It would be better to fit a new clutch and use it as a selling point.


New MOT?

If your vehicle has less than 5 months MOT I advise you get it retested before trying to sell. It makes the sales process much easier as it provides peace of mind for the buyer and a selling point for you.


Why are you selling?

List down a fantastic reason for selling up. Buyers want to know why and a good reason can clinch a deal. I prefer more than one reason. I need the money. I’m upgrading to a newer model. My husband hates it.

Make a mental note of your best reasons as you can use them on sale day.

If you have the car mechanically ready (or you’re confident that you can sell your car for the price you want, with its existing faults,) it’s time to make the car clean.


Valeting increases the value of a car

Here’s one insider tip from a lifetime of buying and selling used cars.

A car that is valeted perfectly can increase its value more than any other aspect, and make the car simple to sell.

It sounds strange but the key to a clean car is to make it look as though it has never been cleaned. This means it should look like it’s been kept in great condition all year round and never needed a clean.

So, super shiny tyres and dashboards, or suffocating amounts of air freshener are a big no. This can give the impression that the car is a little fake and “buffed up,” just for the sale.

In contrast, a car that is simply clean and tidy sells the car all by itself. Seriously, I don’t really have to sell my cars, I let them sell themselves through the appearance of looking natural, original and reliable. It’s a recipe for success.

Note: If your car has been smoked in or had dogs you certainly need to get this treated. It will inhibit your sale again and again if you don’t. Get dog hair completely removed and get the car smelling natural again.


Secret tip – car valets and dirty cars

Car cleaners hate really dirty cars because it means more work than it otherwise could be. The cleaner will look for shortcuts. One is to get the inside of a car seriously wet. I have seen car cleaners use a power wash on the inside of cars, power washing with an almost boiling hot steam cleaning gun right into the carpet and seats!

There are times when you can’t clean a car properly unless you get it wet, but inexperienced or careless car cleaners can soak your car because they are lazy, careless and inexperienced.

The problems arise when all of that dirty water can’t be completely removed.

Under your carpets is an inch thick felt lining that absorbs water. Once this water getsfelt underlay under a cars carpet inside the felt it’s virtually impossible to remove. Trapped and filthy water inside the foot wells of your car will begin to smell badly within 48 hours and you’ll never get rid of that odour…And you’ll begin to get water or condensation building up on the inside of the windows. It’s a nightmare to deal with and you should avoid it at all costs.

So if your car is really dirty and needs shampooing, make sure you tell the valet centre your concerns. They are NOT to soak your car.

I hope we’re agreed that a clean car is one that is dry and looks original without any buffing up. It’s the secret sauce and I sell my car (s) repeatedly using this method).

This manual approach to your Autotrader Valuation is a proven way to sell most cars in just a few days. Use the options below to start your advert whilst staying safe and within the law.

Safe & Legal Private Car Sale

Give Me The Facts

Autotrader Advert & Prices

Start My Autotrader Advert

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This