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What is the best way to sell my car?

There are more ways to sell your car than you might think, but which one is right for you? Our guide can help you decide.

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By Cazoo editorial team

Published: 15 March 2023

Buying a car often means selling your current one and that gives you a few things to think about – how and where to sell it as well as whether you’re more interested in convenience or getting the best possible price?

Nowadays you have lots of options, including online services and the traditional choices of private or dealer sales. Here, we run through the ins and outs of each to help you decide which one is best for you.

Selling your car privately

A private sale is when you sell your car via a classified advert on a website, in a newspaper or magazine, or in an online auction. You’ll almost certainly get the highest price for your car than with other methods, but you’ll be responsible for the entire process, which will include taking photographs of the car, writing a description of it and dealing with enquiries from potential buyers.

Many people will insist on viewing and test-driving the car before making an offer, which could take time. You’ll also have to make sure that the potential buyer is insured to drive your car, and you may have to contend with calls from people making unrealistic offers or failing to read the description properly. 

Selling your car privately can be hard work but, on the plus side, a little extra effort from you should result in you receiving the most cash for your car.

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Part-exchanging your car with a dealer

Part exchange is when you use your current car as part-payment for your next one. If you’re buying your next car from a dealer, it’s highly likely that you can use your old car as part of the payment. You won’t receive any cash for it, unless your next car is worth less than your current one. Part-exchange works like this: a dealer decides the value of your current car, then subtracts that amount from the price of the new car. You then pay the difference. 

Part-exchanging generally means that you’ll get less for your current car than if you sold it privately because the dealer wants to make a profit. But part-exchange can be less of a hassle for you. Another key advantage is that you won’t be without transport – the dealer will take your old car off your hands when you collect your new one. They’ll also be able to help you with all the necessary paperwork.

Selling your car to a dealer

Some dealers will take your car off your hands even if you’re not buying another one from them, as long as it makes good business sense for them. 

The dealer will expect to make a profit when they sell the car on, so again you’re unlikely to get as much money as you would when selling the car privately. You may even get less than you would when part-exchanging it, however, because the dealer is missing out on the profit from selling you your next car.

Selling a car this way is potentially very easy, but isn’t likely to get you the best deal.

Selling your car using an online service

Using an online car-buying service is one of the simplest ways to sell your car. In most cases, you enter your car’s registration number online, answer a few questions about its condition and history, receive a valuation and then decide if you want to accept the offer.

Make sure you answer any questions honestly and accurately because the price you receive will be based on a final inspection to check that the car’s condition is what you  described. 

All of this can be done from the comfort of your own home using a smartphone or tablet, and in some cases the online car buyer will even collect the car from your driveway. Alternatively, you’ll be asked to deliver the car to a handover point convenient for you.

Again, the price may be lower than you could achieve when selling the car privately, but it could be worth it if you’re looking for a hassle-free transaction that takes place on your terms. 

If you’re buying your next car from the same online brand, the whole process could be easier still. You can use the current car’s valuation in a part-exchange for your next car and hand it over when you receive or collect your next car.

Selling your car at an auction

Selling your car at an auction could be a good option if you’re struggling to find a buyer. In most cases, you’re unlikely to achieve a price higher than the trade value, which is a lot lower than you’d get if you sold it privately because it’s the price that dealers are willing to pay. You’ll also need to pay an auction entry fee and a seller’s commission. That means selling at auction could be the least profitable method of selling your car, plus you have the hassle of driving it to the auction house. If it fails to sell, you’ll have to drive it home again. And if it sells, you’ll need to find another way to get home.

There are exceptions. If you own a classic, rare or exotic car, take a look at the many classic-car auction websites. A desirable car could fetch a good price, way above the trade valuation used by car dealers.

Sell your car for scrap

If your car has reached the end of its life, it might be time to call a scrapyard, also known as an authorised treatment facility (ATF). You’re likely to get paid for it because the materials it’s made from are worth something, but don’t expect to get anything more than a couple of hundred pounds for a family saloon or hatchback.

Donate your car to charity

Feeling generous? Why not donate your car to charity? There are several options open to you, including donating your car to a major international charity or giving it to a local fundraising group. It doesn’t matter if your car is worth no more than its scrap value or if it’s worth a significant amount – you’ll enjoy the feelgood factor of raising money for a worthwhile cause. Simply search online for ‘donate a car’ to discover your options.

An easier way to find or sell a car

You’ll find lots of used cars for sale at Cazoo, all available to buy through our trusted dealers.

Cazoo makes selling a car just as easy – just enter a few details for an instant online valuation. If you accept the offer our partners will get in touch to arrange payment and collection of your car at a time that suits you.

Ready to sell your car?

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