How to Sell Your Car

How to Sell Your Car

The easiest way to sell your car is to trade it in when you buy a new one or to sell it to a car buying service but this will give you the lowest price.

Selling privately should get you more cash, assuming you can find a buyer, but won’t be as convenient. You’ll have to:

  • Find space for two cars at home
  • Arrange and pay for advertising
  • Maintain insurance cover and car tax on two cars
  • Deal with potential buyers – inquiries, viewings, and test drives
  • Get paid and make sure that funds are in your account before you hand over the keys

Before You Advertise Your Car

Getting your car ready for sale is essential if you want to sell it quickly and get the best price. Presentation, mechanical condition, and service history can all make the difference.

  • Clean it inside and out and make sure that it’s generally tidy
  • Repair minor paintwork damage or simple mechanical faults
  • Get your car serviced, particularly if there’s less than three months on the current one.
  • Consider a full, professional valet service – it’ll save you time and can really make a difference

The Legal Bit

For a private buyer, it’s a case of ‘buyer beware’ but that doesn’t mean you can sell a car in any condition or describe it as something it’s not.

  • You must have the right to sell it
  • The vehicle must match your description
  • The vehicle must be roadworthy

Tips for a Smooth Car Sale


  • Price your car realistically – particularly if you want a quick sale
  • Check the prices of similar cars in popular classified ad magazines or online


  • You can’t sell a car with outstanding finance
  • This includes outstanding hire-purchase or conditional sale agreements
  • If you do want to sell, get the finance company’s permission or settle the finance first


  • Don’t make false or reckless claims
  • Take care how you word your advert – lines like ‘first to see will buy’ won’t convince anyone


  • Describe the car as accurately as possible
  • In adverts, stick to facts that will interest potential buyers
  • Make sure you quote the year/number plate, how many months are left on the MOT and where in the country you’re located
  • Be aware that thieves may contact you pretending to be potential buyers. If you give them details of the car like the VIN number over the phone, or share personal details they could use the information to create a cloned advert.
  • Genuine buyers will be happy to come and view the vehicle and check vehicle details for themselves.


  • State the car’s condition clearly in adverts and on the receipt
  • If it’s being sold for spares only, or requires substantial repairs, say so
  • Include this information on the receipt once you’ve agreed to sell


  • Have all documents and history to hand including MOT certificates and service records
  • Don’t let buyers make copies or take photos of vehicle documents
  • Keep receipts for any work carried out while you’ve owned the car
  • A fully stamped dealer service record adds value if you’ve got one
  • Don’t forget to hand over all relevant documents when you sell

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Written by:

Rich Heinrich

Master Instructor / General Manager

Instructor and Office Administrator

Frankie works and karaoke's in Las Vegas but his out-of-doors-heart is still out East. Born in Boston, Frankie loves the snow and mountains. As an avid snowboarder, Frankie has never seen a snow day he didn't LOVE! A graduate from…Read More