What's the best way to sell my car?

by ChooseMyCar Staff Writer

Whether you want to make a quick sale or get more bang for your buck, take a look at your selling options here. When it comes to selling your car on, you have a number of options. We've spelt out your choices and the pros and cons you might find with each one.

What's the best way to sell my car?

Sell your car to a dealer

Tired of your car and ready to buy a new one from a dealership? Trading in your old car when you purchase a new one is called part-exchange - and it's one of the easiest ways you can sell your car.

Because the value of your old car is probably less than the new model, you'll still have to cough up some cash. You might not receive the best possible price for it, as the dealer might not be willing to haggle or negotiate with you. On the other hand, it's a relatively low-hassle and simple way to sell your old car. 

Alternatively, you can sell your car to a dealership outright. That means you're selling your car to the dealership without trading it in. This is a good solution for people who aren't looking for a new set of wheels and want to make a quick and simple sale. The quote you receive will be based on the car's trade value and condition, so you might not get the best possible price for it. If you're looking to buy a used car from a dealer, read our guide on how to get the best price on a used car

Make sure you do your homework and know how much your car is worth, so you know what a dear is offering you is a fair price. We have some expert tips on how to get the best deal when you trade-in your car

POSITIVES: It's a quick and straightforward way to sell your car.

NEGATIVES: You might not receive the best price for your car. 

Sell your car privately 

You could take matters into your own hands and sell your car privately. This means you won't need to spend a penny on third-party sellers or commission. 

There are various ways you can sell your car privately. It could be that you know someone personally who is looking for a new car - like someone who has recently passed their driving test, for example. Or you could advertise your car locally, either by posting a listing on social media (like Facebook marketplace or Gumtree) or printing a physical advert to hang in a shop or on your car. 

This can help you save money, as you'll get to pocket the entire profit without paying any third parties. You can also set a price yourself instead of having to accept a dealership quote. 

However, selling your car privately can take time and requires effort. There are also other factors you need to consider, such as handing over all the necessary documents and tax details. 

POSITIVES: You could make more money by selling your car this way. 

NEGATIVES: Selling your car privately can be time-consuming. 

Sell your car on a car-buying site

Car-buying sites are websites specifically dedicated to buying and selling your car. They will pay you a chunk of money, depending on the value and state of your car, and keep a portion of the profit. An example of a car-buying site is We Buy Any Car.

Car seller sites are popular because it's a fast and easy way to sell your car. If you're in a rush to see the back of your car or want to receive money as soon as possible, using car sites like these allow you to quickly make a sale. 

However, it's well documented that you might not be getting the best deal if you sell your car this way. Consumer group Which? says: “You’re almost certain to get a better price selling the car, or even sending it straight to auction, yourself. In our undercover research, we found that five out of six of our mystery shoppers would have been better off selling to a dealer – in one case, by over £2,000.”

POSITIVES: You could receive the money quickly. 

NEGATIVES: You could make more money using other selling options. 

Sell your car at an auction

You could use an auction to flog your car. As you're showing your car to multiple potential buyers at the same time, an auction could be a good way to make a quick sale.

At an auction, you won't need to discuss prices or negotiate any terms and conditions. Instead, you'll set a reserve price (the minimum you're willing to accept) and watch the offers come in. The good news is you might receive more than your reserve price. Being able to set the reserve price means you can control the profit you make. 

However, many bidders attending auctions are car dealers - so they're going to be focusing on making a maximum profit when it comes to selling it on. That means you might not receive much higher than your reserve price. And, if your reserve price is too high, you might not make a sale at all. 

POSITIVES: You set the price - no need to negotiate.

NEGATIVES: There's no guarantee it will sell at your asking price.

So, what is the best way to sell your car?

We've put the pros and cons side by side, so you can see which car-selling option makes the most sense for you: 

Positives Negatives
At a dealership Simple and hassle-free You might receive less profit
Privately You keep 100% of the profit Time-consuming
On a car-buyer site Fast payouts and a quick sale You might receive less profit
At an auction Zero negotiating and easy No guarantee it will sell

It all comes down to balancing profit with your own time and resources. If you're only concerned about making the most money you can, selling your car privately is the better bet. However, if you'd rather lose a little extra profit by freeing up your time and energy, it might be worth doing a part-exchange or getting a quote on a car-buying site. Read our guide on getting the best price for your old car for more selling tips.

Author

ChooseMyCar Staff Writer

ChooseMyCar Staff Writer

Model reviews, buying guides, service tips, and auto news - straight from our team of car experts.

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