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Selling your car during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis

The following guide to selling your car during the coronavirus outbreak is accurate as of 14th May 2020, it will be updated regularly.

With the UK now in lockdown due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the government has placed restrictions on travel within the UK that make selling your car more challenging than normal. This guide explains everything you need to know.

The government’s stringent travel restrictions reflect its current focus on containing any further transmission of the virus and implementing a nation-wide policy of ‘social distancing’ — instructing everyone to remain at home and in isolation, whenever possible.

Efforts to contain the coronavirus and relieve pressure on the country’s frontline services have brought many parts of the automotive industry to a near standstill – and, consequently, if you are looking to sell your car over the coming months, you may find it trickier than usual…

Selling your car coronavirus covid-19
Selling your car during the COVID-19 lockdown presents a number of challenges

For the safety of our customers, Motorway will be following the government’s guidelines for businesses in full and operating a limited service with buying partners who can offer a contact-free collection or drop-off service until restrictions are lifted.

If you are looking to sell your car during the lockdown period, we have put together this guide that will explain what you can and can’t do whilst the restrictions on movement and travel remain imposed.

COVID-19 travel, transport and movement restrictions explained

What you have to do during the COVID-19 lockdown

In order to stem the spread of the coronavirus, the government’s instruction is that you carry out social distancing.

This means staying within your home, and only leaving to buy necessities (such as food and medicines), to take exercise, or to attend work if you cannot work from home or are deemed an ‘essential worker’ — a term limited to government employees, health, education and social care workers, and those tasked with maintaining the country’s infrastructure.

You can also meet one person socially or professionally outside your home. The latest guidance from the government is here.

How can you limit your exposure to coronavirus?

The guidelines specify that, as well as practising strict social distancing, you should wash your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand sanitiser or with warm water and soap, in order to reduce exposure to the coronavirus.

Should you encounter people from outside your household whilst practising social distancing, it is critical that you endeavour to remain two metres (6ft) away from them at all times — and, to reduce any possibility of transmission of the COVID-19 virus, that you cover your mouth and nose if you sneeze or cough.

It is essential that you do not visit a retailer or dealership during the lockdown period unless they are open for vehicle collections or drop-offs.

If you are an essential worker and need to sell a car to buy a new one — so that you can travel to work, for example —you may wish to  find a dealership online that offers home delivery or a collection service for purchases and part-exchange.

The Consumer Rights Act will cover you if the new vehicle is faulty, the Misrepresentation Act will cover you if the vehicle is not as described, and the Consumer Contracts Regulations cover you if you want to cancel your online order within 14 days.

What are the restrictions on transport and travel during COVID-19?

The government’s guidelines stipulate that, during the period of lockdown, you must not leave your house without a valid reason, whether that is for work that cannot be done at home or for activities listed as being acceptable.

Barring medical emergencies and the purchase of necessary supplies or items, you are not permitted to travel — unless you cannot work from home, for example, if you work in construction, transport or for the NHS.

Only international and domestic freight transport, by air, ship, road and rail, is classified as essential transport activity. All other vehicle travel is only acceptable if it meets government guidelines.

As a consequence of the restrictions, many car retailers and dealerships are currently closed; with those that are remaining open only doing so to service vehicles or to complete transactions in a contact-free manner.

Selling your car during the COVID-19 outbreak explained

What will the impact of coronavirus be on car valuations and prices?

According to car valuation specialists Cap HPI, in March this year used car values fell by 2.2% as a direct consequence of the coronavirus outbreak.

As retail and trade demand declined in the latter half of the month, there was an average drop in value of 2.2% (£275), based on three-year-old cars, with 60,000 miles on the clock. Whereas, newer models — one-year-old used cars, at the 20,000 point — saw a drop of 1.8% (£425).

valuing cars coronavirus
Valuing expensive cars may get tricky after the COVID-19 lockdown ends

Though short-term valuation forecasts are predicting no change to values in the next three months, if government-imposed travel restrictions keep motor dealerships closed for a prolonged period, it will lead inevitably to used car depreciation.

However, Cap HPI has also stated that when the restrictions are lifted, and the car industry returns to normal practice, the sector is liable to experience a surge based on ‘pent-up demand.’ If this does occur, the shortage of new cars on the market could well prove to be positive in terms of used car prices.

Can you sell your car online during the lockdown?

The internet is still at your disposal during the coronavirus lockdown, so you will be able to sell your car online on some private sale listing websites like Auto Trader and Gumtree, though buyers will not be able to physically view your vehicle — or pick it up — whilst government restrictions on movement and non-essential travel remain in place.

There is also likely to be less demand for cars during the national lockdown — and, with the market less buoyant, you may find that you need to lower your price to make a sale.

If you are listing a used car, it is essential that you clean and disinfect it properly. Limiting the transmission of the COVID-19 virus is crucial.

If you are unable to properly disinfect your car at this time, you should delay sale until you can.

Motorway are abiding by the current guidelines regarding contact-free car selling and are offering a limited service for some sellers who are eligible for Motorway’s Premium Service.

If you would like us to notify you when we can provide offers for your vehicle, please sign up on Motorway and we will let you know when we can sell your car.

Can car dealers buy cars from the public?

Some dealers will be able to calculate an estimated price for your car based on information you can share  with your reg— such as your car’s make, model, age and mileage.

Some dealers are also able to complete inspections, collections and payments at private addresses as long as they follow social distancing guidelines for contact-free purchases.

Are online car buyers able to buy vehicles?

Many instant online car buying companies are currently unable to buy and collect vehicles at present.

During this period of restrictions, the demand for used cars is also expected to fall, which is also likely to mean that instant sale prices may be lower when trading returns.

Can you sell and have your car collected from your home address?

Yes. Some car buyers are able to collect from home addresses in a contact-free manner that meets government guidelines regarding social distancing. If we can offer this service to you when you sell your car, we will let you know in our comparison table or with an email at a later date.

Can Motorway help you sell during the current lockdown?

Due to the restrictions placed on movement and non-essential travel, it is not currently possible for all our car buying partners to provide offers or complete purchases at the present time. Our service is limited only to buyers who can offer contact-free home collections and drop-offs.

We expect these measures to be temporary — and are constantly monitoring the situation in order to bring back a full-scale price comparison experience — we understand that this is frustrating.

If you would like to be notified when we are able to provide prices for your car, please do sign up on the Motorway website and we will let you know when new offers are available.

The Motorway team is still working full time throughout the coronavirus crisis, please email us with any queries you may have.