How to sell your car on eBay

eBay is a really big website, the 6th biggest site in the UK to be exact, with around 800 million annual visits! But, in 2019, is it the right place for selling a car?

In this guide we’ll be looking at whether eBay (and it’s car selling route eBay Motors) might be the best choice for selling your used vehicle…

Selling a car on eBay explained:

  1. Should I sell my car on eBay?
  2. How much does it cost to sell my car on eBay?
  3. How do you sell a car on eBay? 
  4. Creating an advert for your car on eBay 
  5. How to take photos of your car
  6. Choosing a selling format on eBay 
  7. How do I sell my car using the eBay Motors app?
  8. Finding the right buyer on eBay
  9. Completing the sale 
  10. Other ways to sell your car

Should you sell a car on eBay?

With the internet allowing you to do almost anything at the click of a button, selling a car is easier than ever online, but eBay isn’t the only option. And with so many online routes to a sale, how do you know if eBay is the right one?

Unlike similar private car selling routes like Gumtree and Auto Trader, the unique thing about eBay Motors is that it offers sellers the ability to auction their used car to the highest bidder. 

sell a car on ebay
eBay is a monstrously-huge website that allows you to buy and sell anything – from teapots to toolboxes, camping equipment to cars.

An auction means you should get ‘market value’ for your car. The market value is the amount the market deems it to be worth, so it should be a fair price (assuming your honest about the car in the advert!)

With the market doing its work, there will be no guessing required as to how much your car is worth. Assuming enough of the right buyers saw your listing, the final auction price should be a reflection of the car’s true value.

But if auctions are not right for you, eBay may still have an answer. You can use eBay’s ‘Buy It Now’ option, which allows you to set a fixed price for your car. 

‘Buy It Now’ can protect you from low-balling bids and sets a precedent for the kind of amount you are looking for.

However, with a fixed price and auction set for your listing, you can actually get the best of both worlds with eBay. But if you set an auction, you have to accept the fact that the amount from this route will be below your ‘Buy It Now’ price.

Whatever settings you opt for, when selling on eBay, there’s a chance people will message you offering ‘final prices’ or clandestine offers (outside of eBay) for your car – usually for cash on the day.

We recommend you ignore these and tell people to bid on the car through the official eBay channels if they are truly interested, or simply choose ‘Buy It Now’!

Buyers may also get in touch offering you a high price for cash only to attempt to knock you down on the day of sale, and there will be no protection from eBay if you choose to do it this way.

The good news is, if you stick to the eBay rules and allow the auction to officially end, then you are protected by eBayer sellers rights.  This gives you a lot of protection from rogue dealers or individuals who want to buy your car.

But eBay can be risky…

There is no short supply of stories about disappearing, rude and dishonest buyers. The most common complaint is a winning bidder who simply doesn’t show up to buy the car or sellers being scammed for large amounts of money.

If this happens, you’ll have a lot of hassle getting your seller fees refunded and you’ll have to list the car all over again. Nightmare! Talking of seller fees…

How much does it cost to sell a car on eBay Motors?

How much it costs to list a car on eBay depends on the ad format option you choose.

The prices below were accurate as of September 2018, they may have changed since then…

There are two types of advert you can choose, if you sell via auction or ‘Buy It Now’ with buyers bidding for your car or opting to purchase at your ‘Buy It Now’ price, then the listing will cost £10, plus 1% of the final sale price.

This option can be expensive as 1% of the final sale price can often be a lot of money. For example, if the Audi below sells at £21,000 eBay will take a hefty £220 fee. 

ebay car selling listing
The perfect sale price with the perfect photo of your car. But are the costs of selling on eBay too high? It’s all a weigh up.

However, sometimes it’s worth it as auctions can lead to buyers competing for your used car and this can often swell the price above market value. Getting you the most amount of money for your car.

The second option is what eBay calls a ‘classified’ listing. With this option, you are essentially placing an advert on their site and buyers will get in touch with you via the contact details you provide. It’s a simpler, potentially-cheaper option and is designed to replicate a traditional newspaper classified ad.

An eBay classified ad costs £14.99 and there is no 1% fee. So it’s the cheapest option. However, you won’t get people competing for your car via an auction, neither will you get eBay’s seller protection support. It’s just you and the buyer and no middle man to support the transaction. Great if you are a seasoned car seller, but not ideal if you lack experience.

If fees really aren’t for you, you can explore other ways to sell your car for free in our dedicated guide. But let’s get back to eBay for now…

How do you sell a car on eBay Motors? (step by step)

Step 1: Create your advert

Head to eBay and click sell in the top menu bar. Once here, you’ll need to sign in or create and account if you don’t already have one.

Then you’ll need to type in the make and model of your car and select the right option. It’s important you get the category right, as this is how potential buyers are going to find your car in the eBay listings.

ebay - car selling tools
eBay Motors gives you lots of tools to make selling your specific make and model of car easy

At this point I (the writer of this guide) will take you through my own recent experience of selling my car on eBay…

In my case, I am selling a VW UP! (a popular Volkswagen car to sell on Motorway), so I’ll make sure to select the ‘Cars > Volkswagen’ category.

It’s vital you get this right as this is how buyers will be finding your listing on eBay.

Next, click ‘continue without selecting a product’.

Now you’ll need to start filling out all of your car’s details including all info and photos…

Step 2: Create a title and describe condition

First give your advert a title. We recommend including the make, model, year, colour, petrol type and mileage in the title.

In my case it’s:

Volkswagen Move UP! 2014 Petrol, Manual, Black, 25,000 Miles

Next, provide some information about the condition of the car. Is anything broken? Has the car been looked after? Are there any dents or scratches? Add it all in to make your listing as accurate as possible:

your ebay listing to sell your car
It’s worth being accurate and honest with your eBay listing to get a hassle free sale. Does your cambelt need changing? Let the potential buyer know!

Step 3: Upload amazing photographs of your car!

Next you’re going to need to upload some great looking photos of your used vehicle. Make sure to wash and wax it before you do this! You need to make your car look tip top – like it’s really been looked after.

People want to trust you as a seller and the better your car looks in the photo, the more likely you are to have looked after it internally.

Take photos of every angle of the car, all seating areas, dashboard, you name it. Auto Express have created this excellent guide for how to take great photos of your car. Give it a read, your eBay listing won’t regret it!

Step 4: Fill in your car’s details

Next, you need to provide eBay with all the specifics on your car. Now, these are not required and you can list your car without them, but the more information you provide, the more trustworthy you’ll come across to a potential buyer. And the more money you will get at the end of the day.

ebay listing details
It’s all about the detail. List everything you know about your car!

The information required includes things like the car’s year of registration, make, model, mileage, fuel type and MOT expiry date.

If you don’t know these details, you can use the online service Instant Car Check to find out some basic information on your car.

Here’s what I found when I entered my VW UP!’s number plate:

ebay and instant car check
Instant Car Check is a great website to help you get an accurate eBay listing

All very handy and it improved my eBay listing immeasurably.

Step 5: Write an accurate description of your car

Now move onto the description, here you’ll want to include literally every bit of information you have about your car. Be as accurate as you can when explaining your car’s history.

Include information on how you used the car, how long you’ve had it, why you bought it, any additional features and why you’re selling it. The more history the better!

If you are looking for inspiration or examples, just do a search for your car’s make and model on eBay and take a look at how other sellers are describing their cars. You can take inspiration from the best listings.

Step 5: Auction type, returns and accepted payments

Next, you’ll need to choose the ‘format’ of your advert. There are three options, and which one you choose will depend on your requirements.

We discuss the differences between the three in more detail in the first two sections of this article, but below is a brief summary.

  • A) Auction (people bid for your car over a period of time you set),
  • B) Fixed price (set a fixed price for your car with no bidding)
  • C) Classified ad (no eBay support/seller protection but also no fees deducted from the final sale price)

You can also use route A and B in combination if you prefer.

Once you’ve chosen your selling options, you’ll set your advert’s time limit (e.g. number of days) and price.  If you choose auction you’ll need to set three different prices. Starting price, ‘Buy It Now’ price (optional) and ‘Reserve’.

Starting price is the price at which the bidding will start. Some more advice on that is here.

‘Buy It Now’ is the price at which someone can end the auction instantly to purchase the car, and reserve is the absolute minimum you are willing to accept for the vehicle.

If the auction finishes below the reserve then there is no obligation to sell.

After you’ve decided on a format for your advert you’ll need to tell eBay which payment methods you accept. There are a whole host of options: cash on collection, cheque, you name it – they are all there. Just tick the ones you’re happy with. There are added securities and protection with PayPal, so we recommend it for that reason..

Returns and delivery options are next. First, select whether you accept returns, i.e. if the buyer is unhappy for whatever reason you’ll be happy to refund him. Next, choose delivery options. Will you deliver the used car to the seller or will they need to come to you?

That’s it, you’re done. Now preview your listing and publish it as soon as you are happy. then just wait for the bids to roll in!

How to sell a car using the eBay app

Step 1: download the eBay app

Download the eBay app from the App Store or Google Play, open it up, click on the three lines and sign in to your eBay account, or create one if you haven’t already.

sell a car on the ebay app
Get mobile. You can sell your car on the eBay app too! It can be easier.

Step 2: List your item

Click on the selling option in the menu bar and you’ll be presented with a ‘List an Item’ button, click this…

Next, type in the name of your car, in my case it’s ‘Volkswagen Move UP!’. eBay will try to find the model but most likely it won’t. You’ll need to select the car and your model category from the list:

It is no different to the website. It’s vital you choose the right category on the app as this is how most potential buyers will find your car through search on eBay.

Step 3: Finish your listing on the mobile website 

One you have chosen your category, you’ll be prompted to go through to the ‘mobile website’. Click ‘OK’ and you’ll be taken to a page that looks like the below image:

You are now no longer inside the eBay app, you are on a web page identical to the page you would see using a laptop.

For what to do next, head back up to our step by step guide and jump to the right section.

Finding the right buyer on eBay – be careful!

When you decide to sell your car privately, you will have to take certain precautions in order to find the right buyer.

There are plenty of horror stories about people getting scammed on eBay, but there are steps you can take to ensure you find a trustworthy buyer.

First, you can set buyer requirements, meaning you can block bidders who don’t match them. Whether they don’t have a PayPal account, have a low Feedback score, or unpaid items on their account, you can stop certain buyers from bidding on your car.

However, remember the more people you block, the fewer people will see and bid for your motor.

Once you have begun the auction, potential buyers may be in touch to view the used car. If you want to allow viewings, make sure you take steps to make sure they go smoothly.

Always meet in a place familiar to you, and never leave the viewer alone with the vehicle or any important documents.

Once the bids have rolled in and the auction has finished, you can arrange a collection or delivery date with the highest bidder.  It should be easy.

Completing the sale

Once you have found your buyer, it is important to complete the deal securely, so neither party feels like they’re getting ripped off.

Make sure you have all the important documents in order. The V5C (as proof of ownership) is essential, and any service history and MOT certificates are very useful.  

Before you hand the keys over, make sure you have agreed a secure payment. This can be cash in hand when the buyer comes for a collection, a PayPal or bank transfer, or with a credit or debit card payment (if you have the means to use that route).

You can check the status of your payment by going to either the ‘Seller Hub’, or ‘My eBay’. Just click through to ‘Orders’, or ‘Sold’, and select ‘Awaiting payment.’

If you don’t get paid when you expect, you can contact the buyer, to see if there’s a problem. You may also be able to open an ‘unpaid item case’ against the buyer if you still don’t get the money.

Always make sure that you provide the buyer with a receipt, and keep a copy for yourself.

Is eBay right for you? 

Does this sound like too much hassle? Want to sell your used  car without having to go through a bidding process? Motorway allows you to compare many online car buyers. No stress, just instant offers!

If you want to read more about your selling options, check out: