Options to sell your car

If you’re a private seller, there any many options out there to sell your car, from car buying sties, to selling it on eBay. On this page I am going to explain, your options and the pros and cons of them, to help you work out what is the best option for you.



Selling it privately

This option has been around since you could own a car. This option can be long winded and a right pain, due to time wasters and the length of time it can take so sell it.

Selling privately is easy to arrange, just simply take photos on your phone and create an advert on one of the many sites online.

Which website should I choose? The industry leader in this is Autotrader and because of this they tend to be the most expensive. Autotrader gets more car buyers looking at their site, than any other, they also make the searching easier, than any other with the user-friendly search settings, with things like variant search.

For example, let’s say you’re looking for a 2015, white, 5 doors, automatic, 2.0TDI, VW Golf, match edition, under 20K millage. The search options, can let you filter for cars, that match those exact criteria’s, rather than showing you every VW golf for sale online, saving you hours of searching.

There are many other sites to sell your car such as eBay motors, Gumtree, Motors UK.  Personally, speaking Autotrader is the best.

As a private seller, you have to weigh up how much you can get selling privately VS part exchanging.

Selling privately, there are a few things that you can’t do which dealers can.

  1. Offer part exchange, if someone can only buy your car, until they have sold theirs, as a private seller, you won’t be able to offer part exchange, unless of course you wanted whatever car they had.
  2. Finance, as a private seller you can’t offer this, so this makes selling cars over £10,000 quite difficult.
  3. Warranty, again as a private seller you can’t offer one, with the car, unless of course it has the manufactures or third party one remaining. This makes buyer from a dealer more attractive, due to having a warranty in place.
  4. Consumer rights, the buyer will also have no consumer rights, so if there was an issue with the car after buying it, unfortunately for them, it’s now their problem. With this, a dealer can look more attractive to buy from.

So, with these disadvantages in mind, selling privately usually, works best when your car is under £5,000. Selling cars over £5,000 may be affected by the points above.

Part Exchange

Part exchange is when you find a car you like from a dealer and you simply sell your car, to the dealer to put towards your new car. With this, it’s fast and no hassle. The only disadvantage, is they will offer you trade prices, rather than retail, due to them needing to make a profit on your car.

part exchange

When you look at what you can get from selling privately, to part exchanging, the difference can be marginal, so then you might think is selling privately worth the hassle?

Some dealers will offer more money for your can than others, so let’s say your part exchange is a BMW and the dealer specialises in BMW’s. That dealer will offer you more money than a Ford dealer, as the Ford dealer is less likely going to sell the car themselves, they will either auction it, or offer it to other dealers.

I used to be a Volvo specialist. So, when I got offered Volvo’s in part exchange, most of the time, I would offer better prices for that car, than a non-Volvo dealer.

So, when considering part exchanging, look at what that dealer sells and if it’s the same brand as your car, you’re more likely to get a better offer.

Backwards part exchange, this is when your car is worth more, than the car your buying. Not all dealers will do this, due to not having the funds available, or your car is simply to expensive to invest in. With a backwards part exchange, if the dealer won’t participate, you will either have to sell privately or the next options on this page.

Car buying sites

we have all seen or heard the adverts that offer this service. They claim that they will buy you car in any condition. With this, it’s just as easy as a part exchange, arrange an appointment with them and they will buy you car. The disadvantage with this, is the prices they pay are usually the lowest. The reasons behind this, is most of the time, they will then sell the car on to other dealers through auctions. Essentially these sites are middle men and middle men love their cut.


don’t worry it’s not a link.

The biggest business that does this is, we buy any car and a little unknown fact is, British car auctions owns them.

How they make their money is simple, buy your car at a low price, then sell it to a dealer through their auctions. So, the money they offer you, they know a dealer is going to buy the car at a higher price at an auction.

So that’s why with doing a part exchange you may get more money for your car.



SOR AKA Sale or return

A lot of independent dealers offer this service, its where a dealer will sell your car for you for a commission. This service is good, when you have an expensive car and with the options above are not providing the value you want. Most dealers will charge £300 – £1,000 for this service. The disadvantages of this are

  • Not being able to use your car
  • Not having the funds until it’s sold
  • Time, this can sometimes take months

The main advantage is, getting retail money minus the commission. To make this a viable option let’s show you some figures.

Retail Value £40,000

Selling privately £36,000

PX / Trade Value £35,000

Car buying site £34,000

So, let’s say you chose SOR and the dealer sold it for £40,000 and the commission was £1,000. You would be £3,000 better off than selling it privately, £4,000 better off than a part exchange and £5,000 better off than selling it to a car buying site.

Selling at auction

So, the logical thing to think, when car buying sites sell their cars at auction, is to do the same. This is usually a bad idea let me explain.

When you buy a car from an auction, there are many vendors like lex auto lease, Black horse, we buy any car, ect. When vendors like stated put their vehicles through an auction, they have their own sale. When you put your car through an auction, the sale will be multi-vendor, aka multi problems.

The reason why it’s unofficial name Is multi problems, is explained bellow.

For example, if the cars from a big vendor like Lex auto lease and is under 8 years old, it will come with a mechanical report. This report will state if the car has any mechanical faults and gives you a 48 hour / 500-mile warranty. So, if there is an issue that wasn’t stated on the report, the auction will either repair the fault or refund you.

When a car goes through multi-vendor, regardless of how old the car is, it won’t come with a mechanical report. This puts off many buyers, due to gambling if the car has any faults and as buyers are gambling, cars in this sale either don’t sell or go for peanuts.

Every dealer I know has bought a car from this sale, including myself and we have all been burnt. Every car that seems to go through multi-vendor, is well and truly knackered. Jay Z has less problems than these cars.

With the bad reputation multi-vendor has, it’s very rare for you to get a good price for your car at auction. Even when your car has no faults, dealers are reluctant to bid on it, due to the reputation and no mechanical report. The other options, are much better to consider to sell your car.