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How to sell your car online

If you’re selling your old car, you’ll want to get as much money as possible for it, while keeping hassle to a minimum. So why not simply sell it yourself online? 

By selling a car privately you might get between 10% to 15% more than you would from a dealer, according to the Money Advice Service[1]. And by using the internet to do so, you may be able to offload your vehicle much quicker and possibly with less hassle.  

Selling online gives your car wide exposure to a huge pool of buyers. But at the same time, it requires a bit of caution and planning to ensure you get the best deal possible for your vehicle. 

Here are some things to look out for if you’re considering selling your car online:  

The right valuation 

How much is your car worth? This can be a tricky question to answer. But a bit of time searching the web can go a long way. 

Try and find similar models of a similar age online, for comparison. Look on eBay to see how much cars have been sold for and also try car valuation tools on sites such as Parkers or What Car? 

Remember that a buyer will usually try and knock your price down, so factor that into your asking price and be prepared for negotiation. Also, the RAC suggests listing your car below a ‘milestone’ price - for example, people searching by price might set a limit of £5,000. If you list your car at £5,150, it won’t appear in their search.[2] 

Once you’ve decided on a valuation, you’ll need to accurately describe your car, providing as much information as possible. You should cover the model and specification, age, its mileage, length of MOT and service history. Remember, honesty is the best policy. Also, remember to provide lots of photos, taken in good light, including interior shots and close-ups. 

Use an online car buying service 

One way of buying a car online is to use a website like or  

If you use one of these services, you can simply enter your car’s details online and get a quick valuation. The next step is a face-to-face meeting so they can inspect your car. This will take place either at a branch or at your home, depending on the site you opt for. 

These sites claim to take the hassle out of car selling, as you can avoid haggling. However, consumer group Which? has warned[3] that your online valuation may be reduced substantially when they inspect the car in person, and ultimately you may not be getting the best possible price for your car. 

Private ads 

There are loads of sites where you can advertise your car yourself. These include car exchange sites such as Autotrader and more specialist ones including Car and Classic. Then there are the generalist marketplaces like Gumtree and social networks including Facebook

Some of these sites, such as Facebook Marketplace, are free, while others, such as Autotrader, charge a fee.  

By selling this way, you can expect people to visit you to check the car and you can expect some haggling. 

Online auctions 

Alternatively, you could try an online auction, such as eBay, to sell your car. 

To use eBay to sell your car you’ll be charged a listing fee and a final value fee[4] when your vehicle is sold.  

As with a classified ad, be sure to describe the car as thoroughly as possible - you can use the eBay vehicle seller’s checklist to check you’ve got everything covered. 

It’s worth remembering the buyer may not see the car before they take the plunge, so you may not get as high a price using an auction site[5]. Also, be wary of bidders with no prior purchase history or without positive feedback. 

Stay safe 

The internet has made it much easier to sell a car. But there is a downside to this convenience: the risk of online fraud and scams. To protect yourself, follow this advice from the Get Safe Online website[6]

  • Obscure the number plates in the photos you use to advertise your car; plates can be cloned for use on other vehicles. 
  • Make sure anyone who wants to test drive your car has a valid driving licence and suitable insurance cover.  
  • Be careful that they simply don’t drive off with your vehicle. For a start, avoid leaving your keys in the ignition.
  • Never hand over the keys or documentation until your bank has confirmed the full value of the vehicle has cleared into your bank account - a genuine buyer won’t mind waiting. The same goes if they’re paying by cheque or by bank draft.
  • If you take payment in cash, ask for it to be handed to you in a bank, where the notes can be checked for forgeries and paid in immediately.
  • Using an online bank transfer avoids handling large amounts of cash and the problems associated with cheques. It also allows you to check if the transaction has gone through on the spot. 

Once you’ve sold your car 

Once you’ve sold your old car, go online and tell the DVLA. You’ll automatically get a refund[7] for any full months left on your vehicle tax. 

If you’re planning to get your hands on a new set of wheels once you’ve sold your old car, Rias is here to help. Start your quote today and see what we could do for you.