Sell my car, your options.
How to sell your car quickly, or for the highest price.
Whilst garnering my motor trade skills as a teenager in the mid 1990’s there were few options for private owners to sell their car. Mainly on offer was the Autotrader publication, your local newspaper or perhaps a local car dealership where part exchange was available.
The platforms to sell your car
Twenty Years on and there are a plethora of car selling options to choose from including:
- Car buyer’s services
- Autotrader online
- Car auctions
- Dealerships (for those with a desired car type)
- From the roadside
- And more….
Before heading into the pros and cons of each type it’s worth noting that Autotrader now offers free car ads to anyone whose sale price is under £1,000. This is one of the ways in which the car selling giants tackle a losing market share to firms like We Want Any Car and Trusted Car Buyers. To get your free car advert visit this link.
Autotrader also recently introduced new pricing for cars between £1,000 and £10,000 and further options for vehicles over £10,000. Find out more here.
Deciding how to sell my car. A round up for the private car seller
I use car buyer’s services for one specific purpose; to sell my car (any car I own) that has a mechanic problem that’s uneconomical to repair. Usually, I’ll calculate the difference between their online valuation, my potential retail price and what it will cost to repair the car. When cost-effective, I tend to use We Want Any Car to sell my car fast.
As you probably know, the price offered to sell your car will be around 55% of its true retail value. If you do sell your car on to such a service your old car will end up in a BCA auction somewhere across the country (British Car Auctions also owns We Buy Any Car). It’s a nice arrangement where the cars that arrive via their buying service end up being sold as categorised vehicles in one of their many auctions across the country.) Click here to get your own online valuation
My preferred and recommend method to sell your car is Autotrader Online. Provided you price your motor correctly you are likely to sell it for a chunk more money than you would using any of the other methods listed above. I’ve got a comprehensive guide on how I sell my car (s) via their website.
Always underused, car auctions are great if your car is something that car dealers want to own. So, if you have a white Vauxhall Vectra 2.2 with 130k miles on the clock this method is not recommended. But, if you should own a Volkswagen Gold 2.0 GT TDI 5 door with 20k miles, you might want to consider an auction sale. Find out more here.
Motors Online (motors.co.uk) is the nearest comparative competitor to Autotrader but they don’t yield nearly as much site traffic and nor are you as likely to sell your car with them. If you take the private sellers route it should be with Autotrader online.
Can I sell my car to a dealership for any reasonable amount of money? Answer, probably not. The price you get will be like a buyer’s service such as We Want Any Car. However, if you own a late, low mileage car that’s in pristine condition it’s worth getting it valued at a supplying dealer. For example, should you own a Skoda Fabia that’s a couple of years old, low miles and great condition with full (franchised) service history you may have some luck selling with them. Find more information here.
Dealers and Sale or Return (SOR)
Some dealers offer to put your car up for sale on their forecourt and pay you after. The dealer has a chance to fetch retail money for your car, take a slice from the sale price and give you the difference. Hopefully I don’t need to explain why this method is such a bad idea not needless to say, you’ll be without your car for the duration, have no idea when or if they will even sell it.
Generally, I am not a fan of selling a car with eBay, with one exception. If you have a non-runner (one with major mechanic issues) eBay is often the best place. Example: I owned a 10-year-old BMW Touring Estate with 150k miles on the clock. The engine had blown up but I was still able to sell my car as a non-runner (for a surprisingly high price) via eBay. Importantly, you should declare as a non-runner and ‘sold for spares’ to safeguard yourself.
It’s worth popping this final method in as it is very effective for cars under £1,000. The risks with selling my car from the roadside are that it can be damaged/vandalised, plus you might also get your car clamped. Years ago, a roadside sale was common place but local authorities have stamped out much of this actively. Noteworthy is that some unscrupulous car dealers will use a roadside sale to sell problematic cars whilst escaping legal responsibility (acting as a private owner or using the sold as seen slogan. Of course, this is all quite illegal and I discuss it in more detail here.
Used Car Guy