Top 5 best ways to sell a car
Here at Motorway, we think we offer the best way – you can sell your car for free online and get a great offer from someone you can trust. Find your highest offer from a nationwide network of 5,000+ verified dealers, and sell with free home collection and fast payment, but it’s not the only way. In this guide, we explore alternative 5 ways to find your perfect buyer…
What’s the best way to sell your car? It’s a big question. As everyone who’s ever tried knows from experience, finding a simple way to sell a used car for a good price can be a stressful and time-consuming task.
It can also be really tricky to make comparisons between the various ways to sell. Ultimately, the best place for you to sell your car will depend on your priorities.
Do you want a quick and easy sale with an instant buying website or a professional dealer, maybe as a part exchange? Or do you have time to find to complete a private sale on a classified website? These are the kind of things you’ll need to think about, as there’s many different types of buyer.
You’ll have to consider many things when selling a used vehicle. But don’t worry, we’ve taken a look at all the best ways to sell a car. Compare 5 top ways to sell below.
So who will buy your car? The 5 best ways to sell explained:
- Selling your car privately
- Part-exchange a car with a dealer
- Selling your car directly to a dealer
- Using an instant online car buyer
- Sell your car for scrap?
1. Selling your car privately
Selling your car yourself either online through a classified website or to a buyer you find personally is a traditional route, but is it the best way?
If you want to achieve the best price possible for your car, then selling your car privately might well be the solution for you. Although it can be very time-consuming as we’ll explain below. And there are many other places to consider.
Here are some of the main options to sell a car privately…
Auto Trader, Gumtree and other online marketplaces
Placing an ad on an online marketplace like Auto Trader has been an ever-popular place to sell cars privately over the years.
They generate a huge amount of traffic and it’s not hard to see why. With thousands of cars for sale and around 7 million monthly web visits, the Auto Trader website has become the most powerful force in the UK used car market.
A specialist online car marketplace, it allows buyers and sellers to connect directly with each other. This, in theory, should make it easy to find a buyer.
However, as with all private sales, there are no guarantees. Finding the right buyer on Auto Trader can take a long time and can be frustrating.
There’s also the cost of advertising to consider. Unlike other websites, if your car is over a certain value, you’ll need to buy an advertisement package to place it on the site. The fee will be dependent on your car’s value, and which package you choose.
If you’re able to generate interest in your car, you’ll also have to show potential buyers the car yourself and make sure you keep all the essential paperwork in order. This can be a fiddly process.
There are other specialist car marketplace alternatives out there too. Motors.co.uk is also another avenue worth exploring – especially if your car is worth £5,000 or more. Not only that, but it’s also free to advertise on.
However, like Motors.co.uk, most other online used-car market sites are nowhere near the size of Auto Trader.
But fear not, specialist car marketplaces are not your only online private selling option. There are many other places to sell your car.
Gumtree has become one of the most popular destinations to sell literally anything over the last decade or so, but its biggest area is motors.
There are plenty of potential cash buyers visiting the website all the time trying to find a great deal. It’s also free to use as long as you’re not a dealer, so you don’t have to worry about the cost of advertising.
However, Gumtree’s size and lack of specialism may also be a hindrance rather than a help. With the sheer amount of options available (including a large number of cars priced unrealistically), it can be hard for serious buyers to connect with sellers.
eBay and online car auctions
eBay offers a very different way of selling your car privately. As well as simply placing a classified ad and waiting for potential buyers to contact you, eBay allows you to create a reserve price and auction your car off to the highest bidder.
In theory, this means you should be able to find the market value for your vehicle. As long as enough real buyers see your listing, the final auction price should reflect its true value.
If you’re worried about the auction process, there’s also an option to use the ‘Buy it Now’ feature as well as set up a traditional classified advert. These options allow you to set a fixed price for your car.
Either way there are fees involved, but it can be a far cheaper option than the other big online sales sites.
Of course, there are also certain risks of selling your car on eBay. There have been plenty of stories about dishonest buyers, so you’ll need to take certain precautions.
Sell your car privately offline
Of course, if you’re looking to sell a car privately but don’t want to place an online ad, you still have plenty of options.
These might not always get you the best price, but they could definitely be worth a go if you don’t want to brave the online markets.
Try word of mouth. Family and friends might want to buy a car. If not, they might know someone who does.
Placing adverts across your local community can also work. Print newspapers are still popular, so why not place an advert in your local paper? Alternatively, how about placing an ad in a corner shop, supermarket, coffee shop, or pub?
You could also simply place an ad in your car window. You could then park it somewhere with a lot of passing traffic. However, there are laws around doing this, so be careful.
2. Part exchange your car with a dealer
One of the most popular ways of selling your car to a dealer is to part exchange when you trade in your old car for a new one.
This essentially involves two deals being done in one transaction. Normally, you’ll trade in your old vehicle, for a newer, more expensive one. You then pay the difference – either by paying the extra money to the dealership or by taking out finance on the new car.
This might sound like an ideal solution to all your problems. Not only do you get rid of your old car, but you also get a new one straight away. Simple, easy, and hassle-free right?
Well not always… There are certain issues you need to be aware of if you’re considering a part exchange. Car dealers will often make more through a part-exchange and it’s usually more cost-effective to sell your car outright rather than through a part exchange.
You can then approach a dealer for a new car with cash in hand or a request for car finance (which they get a commission on). This can get you a better deal than turning up with an unwanted used motor.
It’s therefore important to understand the nature of the part-exchange and to understand the true value of your car.
To find out more, check out our guide to part-exchanging.
3. Selling your car directly to a dealer
Selling your car to a dealer can be an easy option, especially if the right dealer for you is based nearby.
You’ll need to make sure you find the right one, however. Some franchised dealerships might buy cars of all makes, but if it’s not one of the same brand, they aren’t going to offer you the best price as they’re unlikely to retail it directly themselves.
Make sure to bring your ‘A-game’ to the negotiations. Dealers are out to make a profit, and while that isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the world, it does mean they know all the tricks of the trade.
This means they will look to find flaws in your car, and ‘chip down’ the price. You’ll need to make sure you have a clear understanding of your car’s value, in order to get a good deal. Haggling is likely.
Think selling to a dealer is your best bet? Check out our handy guide to selling to dealers.
4. Using an instant online car buyer
If you’re pushed for time, this is the ultimate method for selling your car quickly. It may not always net you the most money, but it’s always fast.
You might not receive as much as if you sold your car privately. However, the process is designed to be remarkably easy and hassle-free.
The growth of online car buyers has exploded over the last decade.
Part of the reason for this growth is no doubt due to the simplicity of it. Normally you just value your car online and then arrange a collection or a drop-off appointment. There’s then an inspection followed by a final price negotiation and the sale is done with cash in your bank account.
Find out more about how to sell a car to a car buying site here.
At Motorway, we work directly with verified dealers to get the best deal for customers.
5. Sell your car for scrap
Who will buy my car? Well, you can be sure that a scrapyard or scrap buyer will. Of course, depending on the condition of your car, the options above might not be suitable for you. If the car is particularly old, failed its MOT, or just past its best, scrapping it might be your only option.
There are a few ways to go about this, and you can find all the information you need below…
Car scrappage schemes
Scrappage schemes have become increasingly common over the last few years, as a result of concerns about air pollution caused by diesel in particular, and also more generally by climate change.
If your car is old, and still fully functioning, this might be an option for you. Car scrappage schemes are incentives aimed at getting drivers to trade in older cars for newer, greener ones.
These can be launched by car manufacturers or the government. Normally you’ll get the amount your old vehicle is worth knocked off the price of a new car.
Our guide on scrappage schemes gives you an overview of how they work and lists some offers from car manufacturers.
Of course, only certain cars are eligible for car scrappage schemes. If your car is unroadworthy, very old or just a piece of junk, it’s unlikely that car manufactures will accept it as part of their schemes.
Instead, you might just decide the scrap it yourself. There are many ways to go about this. If you’re looking to extract the most value out of your old car, break it down and sell it for parts, this may be the most time-consuming option but it may be worth it if you know your way around the toolbox.
Some bits might sell quickly but you’ll need plenty of storage space and patience, as it can take years to get everything sold.
Scrap car buying websites
Of course, you might just want to avoid the hassle, and get rid of your car quickly. There are instant scrap buyers who can get rid of any car quickly.
They might not give you as much as if you broke your car up for spares yourself, but they’ll still give you a great price and come to collect the car for free from your home or workplace.
Is it time to sell your car?
Want to learn more about owning, maintaining, and selling your car? Check out more of our guides here, covering everything from finding buyers, to negotiating a good price, and completing payment safely.
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- Find car buyers now
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