Frequently asked questions
We’ve put together answers to the most common questions from Motorway customers looking to sell their car. If you can’t find the information you’re after here, feel free to contact us at any time.
- How much is my car worth?
- How do you calculate the online valuation for my car?
- What information do I need to get a free car valuation?
- How do I know if I am offered a fair price for my car?
- How long is my online valuation valid?
- What happens to my contact details when I use Motorway?
- Can I sell any make of car?
- Can I sell a damaged car?
- My car is financed. Can I still sell it through Motorway?
- What does ‘subject to inspection’ mean?
- Do I need to drop my car off at a collection point?
- Where in the UK can my car be collected from?
- Can my car be collected on evenings or weekends
- How much does car collection cost?
- How will I be paid for my car?
- Can I be paid in cash?
- What do you mean by ‘instant, same-day payment’?
- Is there a transaction fee if I sell my car?
- What do I do I need to have ready when my car is collected or dropped off?
- What do I do if I have lost my V5(C) document?
- What happens to the value of my remaining road tax?
- What is Motorway TruePrice?
How much is my car worth?
Motorway gives you a free online car valuation from multiple car buyers. When you provide us with your registration number and mileage, we instantly retrieve valuations from our car buying partners, and display them in a handy table. It’s then simple to see what your car is worth online.
The valuations provided are instant quotes from our various car buying partners, and represent the price they’re willing to buy your car for, assuming it’s in good condition. They’ll provide these valuations based on their own valuation systems. What your car is worth is down to a huge variety of factors (in fact, it can be up to 200+ factors). As well as using information about your specific car’s history, our partners will also use car industry trade valuation guides for cars of your type, data from the current used car market and their own trading history to provide an indicative price. You can read everything you need to know about valuing your car in our car valuation guide.
However, here are the main things that will affect your car’s value:
- Car mileage
Cars that have lower mileage are typically more valuable because its the best indication of how much the car has been used, and therefore the likely condition of engine, interior and exterior of the vehicle. The average UK car driver drives between 5,000 to 15,000 miles per year for commuting and leisure purposes combined. However mileage varies wildly depending on the car and owner’s behaviour and work / lifestyle. Mileage is is the biggest factor linked to the value of your car.
Buyers will look at the condition of your car before they can agree a final price with you. Unfortunately any dents, cosmetic imperfections, scratches or any visible or quickly-identifiable problems they spot (and were not aware of) may affect the final price you’re able to achieve. Our car buying partners all aim to give you as close to the price quoted online wherever possible, but it may change if the car has damage or parts not working.
- Your car’s service history
Cars that have recently had a service are more valuable as they will have been checked and maintained by a qualified mechanic or engineer. Therefore, if your service history is full and up to date, then a buyer can assume the car is of good quality and is ready to drive. The value of a car with a full service history will be higher than the same car with a partial or missing service history.
- MOT status
The longer the MOT is valid on your car, the more valuable it is as the buyer will not need to pay to get an MOT for that time period before it expires. If your car has failed an MOT recently, the buyer will need to spend on work to make your car roadworthy again which will be reflected in your final valuation before your vehicle is purchased.
- Previous owners of your car
Typically, the lower the previous number of owners, the better it is for your valuation. If your car has only been owned by you, then that is the best situation, however it is not uncommon for a car to have had 1-3 owners over a 10 year period and we will find online valuations irrespective of the number of car owners. You should see the number of owners of cars in your V5C document.
- Car colour
Colour can play a small part in the valuation of your car as some colours are more desirable than others and this will reflect the price of your car. Neutral or standard colours such as blue, grey, or black are popular and sell in high numbers in the used car market – pink or orange cars may not be, and that might affect their value!
Your car’s location might impact the valuation – vechicles in remote locations have higher costs for the buyer to collect and subsequently move around the country to their next point of sale.
- Insurance Write Off
If your car has been involved in an accident, then it may be classed as being a ‘write off’ by your insurance company. What this means is that your car cannot be fixed economically and so repairs are not worthwhile. The car may be worth more as parts or by selling it for scrap metal.
How do you calculate the online valuation for my car?
When you enter your registration and mileage into Motorway, we pass this information instantly to our car buying partners. They will use their own valuation algorithms to instantly generate a valuation they’re willing to offer, and these are then all displayed on our website for you to compare.
They will use data sources like the DVLA database (to provide all the details about the make, model and engine of your car), and may also use third-party market data providers to provide indicative market values. They’ll also have their own trading history of buying and selling cars. All this will feed into a final price they are willing to offer, and these are the prices we display on Motorway.
As well as asking you to enter your registration number, we ask for your mileage details to make our online estimate more accurate.
As a price comparison site, the offers shown on Motorway are provided by our partner car buying sites, so we don’t have control over the prices. Our goal is to find you the best possible instant offers from companies of this type.
Online car buyers often offer lower prices than you might find via a private sale. However, the process is instant, hassle free, and you can complete the sale within 24 hours with free collection and same day payment.
It is likely that you can achieve a higher price for your car by selling it privately (such as on Auto Trader or eBay), or through part-exchange for a new car. But that process takes longer, and has no guarantee of success.
It’s worth noting during your research that the prices you might see on sites like Auto Trader for similar cars to yours are often sold by car dealers, not private individuals. Dealers can achieve much higher prices than an individual can, because cars are verified, guaranteed and they often offer the buyer finance deals, free servicing, condition warranties and so on, which private sellers cannot offer.
We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to selling your car here, this guide outlines the options for private sales and part exchange as well as other options.
What information do I need to get a free car valuation?
To get an instant online car valuation, all you need to give us is your car registration plate, your vehicle’s mileage and your contact information.
With this data, our car buying partners can generate vehicle information from the Government’s DVLA database, for example (your car’s make, model, colour and age). This will be queried alongside data from the current car market to give you an online valuation.
The price quoted by car buying partners is always the price they will aim to pay subject to a check in-person or over the phone from one of their team.
For further, general info about car valuations, we also offer a full car valuation guide which has more info about online, part exchange and car dealer valuations.
How do I know you will offer me a fair price for my car?
It is in the interest of our car buying partners to offer you the best possible price they can for your car so you want to sell it to them. Since many of them will need to sell on to a further dealer before final purchase by a new owner, they need to leave room to make a margin on your car. For that reason, the valuation offered is not likely to be quite as high as what you may see on private sale websites like AutoTrader, Motors.co.uk or eBay. However, our partners will offer to buy your car instantly for cash. Selling privately will take much longer, and may involve a lot more hassle.
In all cases, you are under no obligations to sell your car at the valuations provided, and you’re free to explore other methods of sale (such as selling privately or directly to a local dealer) and you can always come back to our buying partners at a later date if these routes don’t work out.
You can find out more about the different options you have for selling your car in our Top 10 Car Selling Tips Guide and (if you have a little more time on your hands) our Ultimate Guide to Selling Your Car
How long is my online valuation valid?
Each of our partners have different policies on how long your valuation is valid. In general, most valuations are valid for a 7 day period. Even though there may be price fluctuations in the car market from the time, your quote should not be amended during this window.
Once this period has expired, you’ll need to do a new valuation before completing your car sale, so it pays to move quickly if you want to accept an offer presented.
What happens to my contact details when I use Motorway?
We immediately pass your contact details to the car buyer you select if you choose to continue, and they may be in contact with you to discuss the sale of your car – either via email or over the phone.
Some of our partners may also call you with an offer 24 hours after you value your car on Motorway if they are interested in purchasing your vehicle.
You are free to unsubscribe from receiving Motorway emails at any time. We provide an ‘Unsubscribe’ link in all our marketing emails.
Can I sell any make of car?
We aim to help you sell any make, model or value of car. Our partners will buy nearly-new cars, cars aged 1-3 years with a few thousand miles on the clock right up to older models aged 5-15 years with 50,000+ miles behind them.
However, if your car is at all unusual or potentially of high value or at all ‘out of the ordinary’, we may not be able to give you an instant valuation online. In these instances, we will let you know after you enter your car details online and we will then give you a number to call to discuss your car sale with one of our buying partners, who may have further questions for you before a price can be quoted.
As well as every manufacturer and every class of car, you can also sell vans via Motorway.
Can I sell a damaged car?
Yes, provided your car is not written off and the damage is light, it can be bought by any of our online car buyers.
If your car has dents or scratches it will affect the final price, but if the car is a ‘runner’ and is roadworthy and in re-sellable condition, then we will be able to find a price for it from our panel of online buyers.
Unfortunately, many of our car buying partners are not able to buy written off or ‘non running’ cars – i.e. cars that are not roadworthy and in very bad condition (typically these cars will be classed as SORN). Cars like this that are not roadworthy are typically described as ‘scrap’ or ‘junk’ cars. These cars can still be bought by our scrap and recycling buyers.
You can read more about selling scrap cars in our scrap my car guide.
My car is financed. Can I still sell it through Motorway?
Absolutely, our buyers buy cars on finance every day. That said, our partners cannot offer any additional loans to pay off existing finance. If you sell your car via Motorway, the car buying partner you select should be able to help you settle the car finance as part of the selling process (provided the amount owed is lower than the value of the car) and give you the remainder of the money straight into your bank account.
With a standard ‘HP’ or ‘PCP’ finance agreement, you will need to settle the finance on the car or end the agreement by paying off any money owed before you are able to sell the car on. There is a very simple process for this, and our car buying partner will guide you through everything you need to know.
Ending car finance involves getting a ‘settlement figure’ from your finance company so you have a stated amount that must be paid before the finance can be ended. If you request it, your car finance provider has to post a settlement figure to you within 12 days (however, the figure is usually given to you within 1-3 days).
Once you have received the figure, the number is usually valid for 10 days to pay it off. You would need to keep an eye on any Direct Debits set up so you do not overpay (you can cancel the direct debit when the settlement process is complete), however, even if you overpay for your finance via direct debit in error, your finance company is legally obligated to pay it back to you.
You can also read more about selling cars on finance in our dedicated guide.
What does ‘subject to inspection’ mean?
While our car buying partners do everything they can to honour online valuations or quotes they provide through Motorway (transparency is our number one priority), they will need to perform an actual physical inspection of your car before they drive away and transfer the money into your bank account. This usually happens on collection day.
All prices quoted are subject to a successful inspection – provided the details you’ve provided to the car buying company are full and complete, there should be minimal change to the quote provided online.
In all cases inspectors are experienced at checking cars over internally and externally, and will never look to ‘chip off’ money unnecessarily before you’re given a final price.
If you talk to them over the phone, some of our partners offer a price guarantee so the offer is guaranteed to be paid on collection day as long as the car was accurately described.
Can I sell a non-running car?
Yes! Motorway works with a number of scrap buyers who will buy broken down or old, non-running vehicles.
Unfortunately many of our partners do not buy non-running cars (cars that are not able or authorised to drive down the road) at present. If your car fits this profile, it may be worth considering scrapping your car – many scrap car firms will collect your vehicle.
Do I need to drop my car off at a collection point?
Motorway provides valuations and offers for your car from multiple car buying partners. Some of these partners require you to drop off your car, others offer a home or work collection service which is usually free.
If you need to drive your car to a drop-off location, most of our buyers have numerous locations around the country where you can deliver your car.
When you enter your reg to value your car at Motorway, in the comparison table results for your car valuation, you will be able to see the nearest drop-off point to you.
Depending on which car buyer you choose, you can book an appointment with the partner in question at one of their branches and drive your car to the drop-off location, or you can arrange your free collection.
We have detailed the differences between our partner car buyers in our guide to leading online car buying sites. This guide lists the various collection and drop off criteria of each car buying website.
Can my car be collected?
Many of our car buying partners have an option for your car to be collected from any home or work address.
If you do not want to have to drive to a drop off point, just select a buying partner offering a collection service. Collection is usually free and can be arranged within 24 hours.
Where in the UK can my car be collected from?
Partners which offer a collection option are generally able to collect your car from anywhere in the UK – whether that’s a residential address, a work address or other location.
You will be able to confirm this by contacting them on the phone to discuss the details of your sale before your appointment.
Can my car be collected on evenings or weekends?
Our partners generally collect cars during the working week from Monday to Friday and operate during office hours 9AM to 5.30PM.
How much does car collection cost?
This will depend on the car buying partner you select to sell your car with. Collection is usually free when offered, but any fees will be clearly outlined in the comparison table.
How will I be paid for my car?
You will be paid by instant bank transfer. The time it takes for your money to be received depends on the partner you’ve chosen to sell your car to and their payment options. Most offer a same day transfer option, either for free or with a transaction fee. Please refer to the comparison tables on your car valuation to confirm the options for the partner selected.
None of our buyers will be able to pay you in physical cash (i.e. in bank notes) as this practice is illegal for companies in the UK (see below).
Can I be paid in physical cash?
No, physical cash payments (i.e. bundles of notes) are not possible and are actually illegal for companies. And for security reasons our car buying partners never carry cash with them to buy your car, nor do they store any physical cash at collection points.
You will be paid for your car in cash via a bank transfer straight into your bank account after the successful purchase of your vehicle.
Payment is either immediate (on ‘collection day’) or can take 3-5 days, depending on who you have sold your car to and the service you have selected.
We sometimes use ‘cash’ in our website terminology in reference to money, to make it clear that we pay for your car outright (i.e. not part exchange), but physical cash is never suggested or offered via our platform. You can read more in our cash for cars guide.
What do you mean by ‘instant, same-day payment’?
Exactly that: this means your payment is instant and usually happens before our partner drives away with your car.
This instant payment is only be possible for UK-based current accounts (in £ sterling) that are able to accept online transfers.
Is there a transaction fee if I sell my car?
This depends on the car buying company you choose to sell your car to. Some have no fees, and others may charge a fee on successful purchase. These fees are clearly set out in the comparison tables shown on our website, and in the terms and conditions of the buyer you select.
What do I do I need to have ready when my car is collected or dropped off?
Our partners will need various documents in order to check the validity of your car, perform an instant bank transfer of your money into your bank account on sale day, and complete the transfer of ownership. Have these documents ready in advance:
If you are the registered keeper of the vehicle:
- V5C vehicle registration document (your log book) – more information is on the DVLA website
- MOT certificate (if your car has had one i.e. it is 3 years old or more)
- All spare keys for your car
- Personal ID – e.g. your driving licence (needs to be a photo version) or your passport
- Proof of address – a utility bill (gas, electricity or water), bank statement, council tax statement. Whichever you choose must match the address on the V5(C) document)
- Authority from Finance company – If you have any finance, we need a letter from the finance company confirming their settlement figure
- Service record book, car handbook, locking wheel nuts (if you have them), radio and key codes if you have them
- Your UK bank details (or that of the registered keeper)
- Fuel – car buyers don’t require a full tank of fuel, but please ensure there is enough in your car so that the fuel light is not on
If you are not the registered keeper of the vehicle:
- Written authorisation from the registered keeper that you are able to sell the car
- A photo ID (as per above) of the registered keeper at the same time
- All the other items listed above
What do I do if I have lost my V5(C) document?
It’s essential to have a record that the person selling the car is the owner of the car or the owner (or estate in the case of death) has authorised the sale of the car. For that reason, you’ll need to get a new V5(C) document before you can sell your car. For instructions on how to do that, please follow this link to the DVLA.
What happens to the value of my remaining road tax?
If you have more than one month of road tax left on your car, you can easily claim back money from the DVLA.
On selling your car, if you pay by Direct Debit, the Direct Debit will be cancelled automatically, otherwise you will get a refund cheque for any full months left. The refund is calculated from the date DVLA gets your information and the cheque is sent to the name and address on the vehicle’s log book.
More information on this can be found on the DVLA website.
What is TruePrice?
You may see us reference TruePrice throughout your car selling journey on Motorway.
Compare your best offers on Motorway with our TruePrice technology. We created TruePrice to improve the accuracy of the online offers you receive for your car. Your TruePrice offers are based on final prices received by 1000s of previous sellers on Motorway.
We calculate TruePrice by taking the guide price quoted by buyers and applying a percentage increase or decrease based on final sales price data from historic sales. You can read a full guide to TruePrice here.