In days gone by, when the time came to sell your car, your options may have been limited beyond sticking a ‘for sale’ sign in the window and perhaps taking out a listing.
But things have changed significantly over the years and there are now a host of different ways to sell your old vehicle.
But with so many sites to choose from, it can be tricky to know which one to go for.
Getting the best price
No matter which route you choose, keeping the car in the best possible condition is obviously going to be a big help (just getting started? Head this way for more tips on getting your car ready to sell).
If you're selling to a dealer then they will factor in the costs of fixing anything that’s not quite right when deciding what to offer you, while private buyers will also look for any blemishes or reasons to lower the price they will pay.
Taking the best possible photos of the car will also improve your chances of getting a significant price.
Just as when selling a home, you want to present the car in its best possible light. So, take some time to get those pictures just right.
Another important factor is its service history.
According to Tom Leathes, CEO of Motorway, where you get the car serviced can make a big difference to the price dealers are willing to pay for it.
“In the first five years of its life, make sure it’s serviced regularly and by a franchised dealer rather than independent services.
“Some franchised dealers can only buy cars with a full service history from franchised outlets.
“So, if you go somewhere else, you are reducing the buying pool when you come to sell it. It’s worth the extra £100 or whatever to get it serviced somewhere franchised.”
Both AutoTrader and Exchange & Mart started life as magazines sold in newsagents, and now have websites with visits from millions of drivers keen to check out their listings.
Let’s look closer at AutoTrader, which offers four different packages if you want to list your car on the site. The basic listing, which runs for two weeks and covers cars valued between £1,000 and £10,000, includes up to 20 photos and costs £36.95.
The next tier is a standard listing, which runs for three weeks, includes the option for certain photos to appear in searches, and pushes your listing higher up on mobile searches. This package costs £46.95.
The premium listing runs for six weeks, and offers everything from the standard package, plus your listing will appear in the ‘featured’ section at the top of relevant searches. It costs £58.95.
And finally, there’s the ultimate tier, where your listing remains until the car is sold. This includes all the above, as well as pushes your listing higher on desktop searches as well. It costs £74.95.
It’s worth noting these costs can be slightly higher or lower depending on the value of your car. Exchange & Mart can offer a more competitive price, but it also has a smaller audience.
While selling your car yourself online is potentially the most lucrative, it’s important to recognise there will be plenty of work involved.
It’s up to you to come up with the most attractive ‒ and accurate ‒ way of describing your car in the ad, as well as taking photos. You’ll also have to handle all the discussions with interested parties, and any haggling over price.
There’s also the fact that it can drag on. There’s no guarantee of generating any interest in your vehicle, so you may end up with it sat on your driveway for months.
It’s worth doing your research on how much your ad is going to cost, how much work you’re willing to put in, and how long you are happy to hold out for the best possible price before going ahead with an online listing.
The fastest and easiest way to get rid of your car is by making use of one of the many car comparison sites, which promise to buy any vehicle.
You put in your car registration, and some information about the vehicle into the site, such as the mileage, number of previous owners, and service history. You’ll then be sent a quote for how much the firm is willing to pay you for the vehicle.
Importantly, this figure is not set in stone ‒ the firm will make an updated offer once they see it in person. The big plus point to these sites is that you can be virtually certain of selling your car relatively quickly.
There’s no need to spend weeks or even months hoping to generate interest in the vehicle and having people over to give it a closer look, only to opt against buying it.
There is an obvious downside though. These firms look to pick up cars cheaply before selling them on themselves. As a result, they are never going to offer you the same amount that you could conceivably get by selling the car to another driver yourself.
That’s the trade-off that you need to consider ‒ are you willing to take a bit of a hit on the money paid for your car, in exchange for getting it sold swiftly?
There are plenty of different firms operating in this market. Let’s look at a handful of them and how they operate in closer detail.
One of the best-known of all the car buying websites is Webuyanycar.com. You enter your registration plate and some details about the motor, and then get an automated quote for what the firm thinks they will pay for your car.
This quote is guaranteed for four days, but you need to arrange an appointment for the firm to see the car in person and make an updated offer. You aren’t obliged to go through with this sale though, should you change your mind.
There is a transaction fee to consider. There’s no fee for cars valued at less than £100, a fee of £49.99 for those valued between £100 and £3,999.99 or £59.99 for those valued between £4,000 and £4,999.99.
If your car is valued at over £5,000, you’ll have to pay £74.99.
Payment is made into your bank account within four working days. Alternatively, you can get payment on the next working day, for a fee of £24.75, or same-day payment for selected customers for £29.75.
This same day ‘premier payment’ service is only available when further validation checks aren’t needed, so you can’t take advantage if you are settling finance or selling the car on behalf of someone else.
Going through various car buying websites and comparing quotes can be a seriously time-consuming and stressful process.
That’s where Motorway comes in. It will find the dealer in its nationwide network that'll pay the most for your car.
You only need to enter your reg to get an instant valuation. Dealers will then compete to buy your car and the highest offer from 5,000 verified car dealers will be presented back to you.
Motorway adds that it's possible to sell your car as little as 24 hours using its service.
Finally, there’s no fee for using the site and, if you agree to sell, your car will be collected for free by a dealer with the funds paid into your bank account before it's taken away.
Enter your reg number in the box below to get a quote in minutes (note we may receive a small commission if you do sell your car, but this won't affect the price you're offered)
Similar to Webuyanycar.com, you enter your registration and a few details about the vehicle and get a price estimate. You then book in a meeting at one of the firm’s branches where the car is inspected, and the quote is updated.
Payment is made via a same day BACS transfer, and helpfully there are no fees to pay.
Money4YourMotors operates slightly differently to the other sites.
While you will be offered a quotation based on certain information provided initially, you will then get a call from a member of staff to get further details and arrange an inspection of the car.
Importantly, someone will come to you, so you don’t need to head to the firm’s branch to get an updated offer, making it more convenient.
It will consider purchasing non-runners and you are paid in full before the firm’s vehicle buyer leaves with your car, but you may have to pay an adminsitration fee up to £78.75 depending on the purchase price.
CarConverter specialises in picking up cars that are older or damaged, which you might struggle to sell either on the open market or even through one of these car-buying sites. In fact, the firm will even pick up cars that have been written off or which have failed their MOT.
You get an initial quote online and then confirm further details about your vehicle with a sales adviser. Someone will then come and collect your car from a convenient location, while there are no additional fees to consider.
The money is paid through a ‘Faster Payment’ bank transfer too, so you will have that cash swiftly.
The world’s biggest auction site, eBay, is not just a good way to sell those old electronics and clothes you no longer need. It’s also an option if you want to flog your car too.
You put together a listing in much the same way as for other items, where you detail the exact model you’re selling and information like its age, mileage and service history.
It’s a good idea to have a look at other car listings on the site. This will not only offer some pointers on the sorts of pictures and info to include but also gives an idea of what sort of asking prices attract interest for similar cars.
It’s important that you make clear the car is available on a ‘collection only’ basis unless you are happy to deliver it somewhere for your buyer.
What’s more, there are plenty of fees to bear in mind when selling on eBay. For starters, there’s a listing fee, although this can change depending on the style of listing you go for.
If you go for a classified ad listing, then the fee is £19.99, otherwise, it drops to £14.99.
There are then fees for having a gallery of pictures (£2.99), a subtitle (£49p), as well as buy it now (£5.99) and reserve fee (£9.99) charges if you go for an auction-style listing.
And lastly, there’s a final value fee if you go for an auction or fixed price listing of 1% of the final transaction price, capped at £45.
The best practices when it comes to selling on eBay doesn’t really change whether you’re selling a car or an old CD. Check out our comprehensive guide to selling successfully on eBay.
And don’t forget, eBay isn’t the only auction site in town, as eBid is also worth a look.
As with any auction site, there is always the danger that having gone through all the effort in putting together the best possible listing, you don’t actually find a buyer.
It may be that you must list the car several times, at ever declining asking prices, before you actually drum up any interest.
Gumtree is one of the UK’s most popular listing sites and is another cost-friendly way to try to sell your car.
The site offers a car price index, breaking down the most popular car models being listed on the site at any one time, as well as the average asking price.
This can be a useful resource in working out what you want to list your asking price at. Gumtree also has a useful video (below) on how to sell a secondhand car on its site.
While the listing itself is free, you can ‘promote’ your ad so that more people see it. Given the sheer number of car listings on the site, this may be a tempting option.
At the time of writing, you can have your ad labelled as urgent ‒ letting buyers know you want to sell quickly ‒ for a seven-day period for a fee of £11.99.
Alternatively, you can have your ad ‘featured’, which means it appears at the top of category listings for three, seven or 14 days.
The cost of this ranges from £11.99 to £17.99.
Finally, you can go for a ‘spotlight’ promotion, meaning your ad goes on the Gumtree homepage. This costs £24.95 for a seven-day period.
Interested parties can then get in touch and negotiate with you. From a safety perspective, it’s a good idea to meet at your property and only hand over the keys once you’ve been paid.
It’s up to you and your buyer to determine how you’ll be paid for your car. Gumtree doesn’t get involved in this side of the process but makes clear that it believes cash is generally the safest method.
Facebook Marketplace is also an option for selling your old car. You’ll be invited to include details such as the vehicle type, age, make, model and mileage in your ad, which is absolutely free.
You can also add up to 20 photos of the car in your ad, in a bid to increase interest.
Alongside the marketplace, you can list your car for sale in local Facebook groups too, which is also free.
It’s then up to you and any interested buyers to discuss when they can come and take a closer look and negotiate over the price. Again, using cash is a good way to ensure you don’t get ripped off.
We've given you a lot to think about, but if you want even more tips, read this dedicated piece to getting the best price for your car with the least possible effort.
Once you've managed to get rid of your old wheels, chances are you'll need to buy a new car to replace it.
If you can't pay for it upfront, it's vital you get the right finance deal or you'll end up paying far more than you need to.
As there are many options to choose from, we've put together this comprehensive guide to car finance to help you find the best finance deal.
*This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently.