Top 9 Best Online Car Buying Sites
Selling your car can feel like a daunting prospect. The process seems full of twists and turns, with potential potholes at every corner, but it doesn’t have to be a hazardous journey with online car buying sites.
Ready to sell your car now? Compare prices from online car buyers or read on to find out more…
Traditionally, selling your used car has involved time-consuming paperwork, the stress of showing your car to strangers, and the fear that by the end of it, you’re going to end up with a lot less money than you first expected.
In recent years, the simplicity of the selling process offered by a growing number of online car buying services has made it far easier if you want to sell quickly. It’s this speedy route to a sale that this guide focuses on.
Car buying sites explained:
- What is a car buying site?
- How do car buying sites work?
- How to sell your car on a car buying website
- Are car buying sites a good option for selling your car?
- The top 9 best car buying sites of 2020
What is a car buying website?
Sell a car yourself and you may well end up with a good price. However the actual process can be time-consuming and you’ll have to wade through the complexities of a private sale at every stage yourself.
From advertising the car, showing it to strangers, dealing with time-wasters and – when you’ve finally found a buyer – haggling over the price. Selling your car privately is likely to be both a long and arduous process.
This process might be a lot easier than selling it privately. However, dealers will be very unwilling to negotiate on price, and you may end up receiving a lot less for your car than you expected.
There’s also the option of selling it online at Auto Trader or eBay, or even auctioning it offline (if you have the right contacts) through companies such as British Car Auctions (BCA), Manheim or at local car auctions.
Yet here the price won’t be fixed, and you can easily end up going through a lot of trouble only to end up with less than you’d hoped to receive for your car.
However, a third option does exist. There are now numerous instant online car buyers.
In fact, the number of car buying websites has been continuously on the rise for the last decade or so.
As a result, many different buyers now offer a comprehensive, hassle-free alternative to the more traditional methods of selling your car with an online car valuation. Car buying sites have become the favoured method for many wanting to sell their used cars quickly.
These online companies offer to take much of the legwork out of the process of selling your car.
Yet what exactly is an online car buying website? What sort of service are these sites actually offering? And how does the process of selling your car through them work?
How do car buying websites work?
For the purpose of this explanation, an online car buying service is not the same as Auto Trader, motors.co.uk, Gumtree or eBay motors where you usually list your car for sale in a classified ad format.
While these sites do allow you to sell your car online, they work in a very different way to online car buying services.
Selling your car online through the likes of Gumtree or Auto Trader can be very time-consuming as you have to wait for customers to respond to your adverts and there is no guarantee they will at all.
Though it may end with you getting the best possible deal for your vehicle, there are no guarantees of attracting a buyer. You might end up frustrated and still in possession of your car after the whole admin-heavy affair.
Online car buying services are very different. These are companies that bulk-buy used cars for cash – they buy of all makes, brands and types in order to sell them off for a profit (usually at an auction or through a network of partner car dealers).
As a result, these companies aren’t fussy and are always looking to buy cars of any age, make or model.
Using an online car buying site removes a lot of the pressure and stress involved in selling your vehicle privately.
Rather than needing to appeal to a private buyer, online car buying sites offer you quick cash for your vehicle.
How to sell a car through online car buying sites
Many online car buying services claim to be able to buy any car out there.
All you have to do, is enter your car registration number, along with a some other details depending on which company you choose, and they’ll usually provide you with an instant free online valuation.
If that valuation is to your liking, you can choose to proceed, and arrange either a collection or drop off date.
Most companies will inspect your used car before providing a final offer, whereas others will provide a guaranteed offer over the phone as long as you give an accurate description of the car’s condition.
Some online car buying sites will also charge transaction fees, taking this off the final amount you receive for your car.
You can read more about the process of using an online car buying site by clicking here.
Are online car buying sites the best option for you?
Online car buying services are great if you’re looking to sell a car quickly and get the cash as soon as possible.
However, though that sounds great, the downside is often the price you’ll be offered.
The way online car buyers make their profit is by selling the cars on to other traders (whether at auction or direct to dealers).
As a result, this does mean that they rarely offer the vehicle’s full retail value.
If you have the time and the energy to sell your vehicle privately, you may be able to achieve a higher price.
If you just want to sell your car quickly and don’t want the hassle involved in selling either privately, through a dealer or an auction, then these online car buyers offer a fast and easy solution.
Though the options when it comes to online car buying sites can be overwhelming, they all aim to make the process of selling quick.
As a result, they can free you up from many of the stresses involved in selling your car. It’s usually just a case of comparing prices and offers!
In the rest of this guide, we look at some of the most popular online car buying services…
Note: Some of the companies listed below are commercial partners of Motorway, some are not. For transparency we have clearly noted whether or not we have a commercial relationship with them.
Top 9 online car buying websites
1. We Buy Any Car
WeBuyAnyCar is not a commercial partner of Motorway.
WeBuyAnyCar.com created the instant online car buying model in the UK and was founded in 2006. Years later and several catchy ad jingles mean they remain one of the most popular online car buying brands.
Customers can value their used cars online, and drop them off at any of their 200 branches for an inspection, before receiving a final offer.
Some fees may apply if you choose to go ahead.
2. We Want Any Car
WeWantAnyCar is not a commercial partner of Motorway.
WeWantAnyCar has expanded over the last decade or so into one of the most popular online car buying sites in the UK, providing stiff competition to WeBuyAnyCar. It is part of Cox Automotive.
With an interactive “slider” on their website, they allow you to rate the condition your car when valuing it.
You can drop your car off at any of their branches, before receiving a final offer. Any additional fees will be taken out of the amount you receive.
3. The Car Buying Group
The Car Buying Group is a commercial partner of Motorway.
Having only been around since 2014, The Car Buying Group is a new, fast expanding company that’s now part of Aston Barclay.
Though they have drop off centres across the UK, they also offer free home collection.
The Car Buying Group guarantee offers over the phone, providing you give an accurate description of the vehicle.
There are no additional fees, and they provide instant payments for any used car.
4. We Buy Cars Today
We Buy Cars Today is not a commercial partner of Motorway.
This is a company without a branch network. Instead they provide home or work collections.
We Buy Cars Today has – since launching their website in 2011 – become an increasingly significant player in the online car buying service.
They will buy any vehicle, as long as it is valued above £450. They offer free payments but there is a collection fee dependent on the value of the vehicle.
5. Trusted Car Buyers
Trusted Car Buyers is a commercial partner of Motorway.
Offering a more unique service than most other online car buying services, Trusted Car Buyers (acquired by VTG in 2014) allows independent franchisee and multi-franchisee companies to purchase directly from the public.
As a result, the cars don’t go through the auction process, meaning they are able to offer potentially better prices than their rival car buying services.
Having valued it online, you can choose to either drop it off, or have it collected for a fee.
There’ll be a final physical inspection of the car, before you receive a final offer.
6. Best Car Buyer
Best Car Buyer is a commercial partner of Motorway.
Best Car buyer are an interesting online car buying company and their proposition is quite differentiated.
Unlike other options in the space, they actually buy used cars directly from UK car owners via dealerships in the Motor Depot portfolio group of companies.
Like with Trusted Car Buyers, any cars bought by Best Car Buyer do not go to auction, but end up on Motor Depot forecourts across the UK.
Motor Depot operate as a car supermarket and retail any cars they purchase from Best Car Buyer directly to the public.
For you as a seller, this only matters because it means that their prices can be significantly higher by cutting out the middleman.
It’s not a rule of thumb, but this writer has seen online valuations from Best Car Buyer up to 10% higher than other rival online car buyers. For pricing reasons alone, they’re worth considering as a primary option. The cherry on the cake is that their review scores are excellent too.
7. Money 4 Your Motors
Money 4 Your Motors is not a commercial partner of Motorway.
Operating as a car buying division of car retailing giant Cox Automotive (Manheim), Money 4 Your Motors buy any car throughout the UK and collect cars from home addresses.
Headquartered in Birkenhead, they were one of the first competitors to rival WeBuyAnyCar.
They differentiated their service early on by offering a sales consultation on the phone before the transaction is agreed, which can save the seller time driving to a drop-off point to complete the sale.
Money 4 Your Motors pride themselves on their free inspection service and fast payment. You’ll receive your money before the car is taken away, so you can effectively sell your car from the street, your doorstep or your driveway.
8. Car Converter
Car Converter is a commercial partner of Motorway.
Owned and operated by used car and salvage auction firm CoPart, Car Converter is a relatively new entrant to the online car buyer space.
Specialising in cars that are at the end of their life or have a level of damage which will limit their value to other traditional buyers, Car Converter will often buy cars that are difficult to sell elsewhere.
They will buy old, damaged and scrap cars and will collect from any UK home address. They’ll even buy motors that have failed their MOT or are ‘write-offs’ having been written off by insurance companies as unroadworthy.
Unlike most traditional online car buyers, they will buy cars that are classified by insurers as category A, B, C, D, S or N.
Potentially a ‘buyer of last resort’, they will nevertheless strive to offer a highly competitive price for cars that others will not want to purchase.
CarTakeBack is a commercial partner of Motorway.
CarTakeBack.com specialise in buying old, scrap and junk cars. The UK’s largest scrap network, they offer competitive prices for all types of cars that are better off being recycled or broken up for parts.
If your car is beyond repair or at the end of its life, they’re a good buyer for your vehicle. Unconcerned with getting ‘retail margin’ selling to dealers, they will buy cars that many online buyers don’t want to buy.
Like Car Converter, they don’t mind if the car you’re selling is damaged or faulty and they’ll buy vehicles that have been written off and given a status from across the insurance write-off category spectrum.
With instant quotes and fast pick up, their car buying service is quick and hassle free, and unlike many local scrap buyers, they’ll collect from any home address.
They also have over 300 branches across the UK if you would prefer to drive to a drop-off location to complete the sale.
Want to read more about car buying sites?
Take a look at some of our other popular used car selling guides here: