Top 10 tips to sell your car

    Looking to sell your car fast, fuss free? Here at Motorway, you can sell your car and get a great offer from our nationwide network of 5,000+ verified dealers, but there’s always a few things to consider before jumping in with selling your vehicle…

    Read on for Motorway’s essential online car selling hints, tips, and tricks – updated for 2024. Here are our top 10 tips to help you get the fastest car sale with the best possible price.

    Top 10 tips for selling your car:

    1. Understand your car’s value 
    2. Know where the best place to value your car is 
    3. Decide whether a fast sale or the maximum amount of money is a priority for you
    4. Make sure you understand the pros and cons of each route to sale
    5. See car selling deals online 
    6. Prepare your car for the day of sale 
    7. Get your negotiation tactics planned out 
    8. Understand payment methods and what to look out for 
    9. Get the necessary paperwork in order 
    10. Cancel insurance and tax and make any claims you can 

    1. Understanding your car’s value

    We all love our cars, and many of us think ours is ‘special’. The reality is that car values are set by the car market – they’re a commodity much like anything else.

    The value of your particular car is affected by things like age, mileage (the most accurate indicator of the engines wear and tear), condition, and service history – but market prices are the biggest driver.

    Green car with a price tag
    What is your car actually worth? It’s worth trying several routes to find out for sure

    2. Where to value your car

    Getting an idea of your car’s value is easier and quicker than ever. For an estimated sale price to a professional buyer, you can start by valuing on Motorway, to sell via our nationwide network of 5,000+ verified dealers. Here’s how it works.

    Then for a deeper dive, Auto Trader and eBay are useful too for private sale price indications and WeBuyAnyCar and their alternatives for instant buying valuations.

    Just remember: your valuation will be hugely variable depending on who is buying it and why.

    Motorway valuations are based on activity in our nationwide used car marketplace.

    3. Decide what is important to you

    Ask yourself how much you care about speed, convenience, and the final selling price.

    If you have all the time in the world to fetch the highest possible price, then selling privately on a classified listing or auction website (such as eBay) may be the best bet; but you have to wait for a good offer to present itself and you may need to show the car to a number of different prospective buyers, with zero guarantee of success.

    Motorway meanwhile works with a network of 5,000+ verified dealers to help you find the highest price from a professional buyer. It’s quick, easy and you get significantly more money than part exchange.

    If you just want to get your car sold fast and are willing to sacrifice a bit on the end price to remove the hassle, then you can always just choose an instant car buying site or you can part-exchange it for your next car at a dealership. It’s all about weighing up your options.

    4. Pick your selling route wisely

    If you want to sell privately you may fetch the upper end of what you’re looking for, but there are no guarantees of a sale happening. You’ll also have to deal with buyers coming to your house and the ongoing bartering and admin this can entail.

    Motorway negates all the need to have private individuals on your doorstep and connects you with the dealer willing to pay the most. It’s also quick and convenient.

    With an online car buying website, if your car is accurately described, sales are usually guaranteed and money can be in your bank account within 24 hours if you book the sale for the next day. This route may be the best choice if your car is below £2,000 as many cars at this level are not purchased directly by dealers.

    Weigh up value vs speed and choose the right option based on what’s important to you. And be realistic, if your car is worth less than £200, you may get more selling for scrap.

    5. Get car selling deals online

    If you decide to sell your car online, make sure you’re informed and consider your options before making a decision.

    Whilst there are now several large instant online buyers – including WeBuyAnyCar and The Car Buying Groupthere are considerable differences between these services. It’s worth doing your research and comparing them all against selling on Motorway, part exchanging and selling privately.

    6. Prepare your motor

    Make sure your car is looking as good as possible to avoid potential buyers chipping away at the price at the last minute. It’s a good idea that your car is washed and cleaned inside and out on the day you’re selling and fix any minor issues (e.g. correcting small dents and scratches).

    7. Be ready to negotiate if needed

    Make sure you meet your prospective buyer armed with the research about what your car is worth. It may not always work, but don’t be afraid to argue back if the buyer tries to reduce the price when they inspect the car. This should never happen if you sell your car with Motorway, but some online buyers may look to reduce your offer on the day of sale.

    Remember, nothing is finished until money for your car is in your bank account and your car is sold.

    8. Never accept cheques, bankers drafts or IOUs

    Do not hand over your keys until you have been paid for your car. That goes for private buyers (who may try to pay by cheque, or promise to transfer the money later), and car dealers or car buyers.

    Any reputable buyer will understand you need to be paid in advance before they own the car – either by BACS/ bank transfer, or cash on collection if selling privately. And if they cannot digitally confirm funds have been transferred, then they should always be able to give you evidence that the funds transfer has been completed, in the form of a receipt or digital transaction statement. Always ask for this if it’s not forthcoming.

    car documents
    It’s worth doing the admin of selling your car correctly

    9. Checklist to sell your car

    It’s essential to have some key items to complete a car sale and avoid losing any value from missing keys and paperwork.

    Make sure you locate all your car keys (including any spares), your V5 document (you’ll need to hand over the “new owner” part), plus your service and MOT history. If you’re missing any of these, a buyer will have a good case to drop the final price offered.

    10. Get money back after the sale

    As well as sending the remaining part of the V5 form back to the DVLA, make sure you cancel your car insurance and reclaim your road tax.

    Many people don’t realise you can reclaim any road tax for the rest of the year once you’ve sold your motor. The DVLA makes this very easy – once you’ve sold the car, just visit here and follow the steps.

    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.