Tips to sell your car

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The new ‘14’ plates are rolling onto (and off!) the forecourts now that March is upon us, and if you’re trading up to a new car you’ll probably need to sell your current one. So let’s take a look at some of the ways in which you can get rid of your old motor, and what you should do to make sure you get top price. First up, let’s look at the options open to you when selling your car…


This is when you use your old car as part-payment towards your new one, and because you don’t have to go to the trouble and expense of creating a classified ad or dealing with potential time-wasters, part-exchanging is arguably the most straightforward way to relieve yourself of your old motor. The downside is part-exchanging will rarely get you the best price as the dealer will usually offer you a price below market value to make sure they can make as much money on your old car as possible.


Selling your car at auction usually involves you entering your car for sale, setting a reserve price (the minimum you’re prepared to sell it for) and then paying the entry fee - all being well, you’ll then get at least your asking price and, hopefully a little bit more if the bidding is particularly competitive. If the car is sold, the winning bidder takes ownership of the car upon payment and you will be paid, minus the auction fees, by the auction company within a few days of the auction’s end. If it doesn’t sell you’ll have to take the car home or try again at another auction. An auction is a good option if you’re selling a popular model, in good condition and with service history. In addition, if the car is sold and develops a fault shortly after, the new owner has no comeback against you. However, there’s no guarantee your car will sell and if it doesn’t you won’t get your auction fee refunded. Even if it does sell, it’ll most likely to sell for trade price, which is usually lower than what you could expect to get for a private sale or even a part-exchange.

Buying specialist

Selling to a car buying specialist - such as or is a relatively new way to get rid of your old motor. It's straightforward too. Simply enter your car’s make, model, registration year, mileage and condition into a buyer’s website and you’ll be offered a price for it. You then make an appointment to take the car to the buyer’s nearest office and, all being well, you’ll be offered the price you were quoted online - in cash. Although this selling method enables you to buy your new motor with cash (which can put you in line for a good price), or at least have a reasonable deposit, not all of the field reports are favourable and you may be offered less than what you would with a part-exchange agreement.

Private sale

Although selling your car privately is likely to get you the best price, it’s also the most labour-intensive way to get rid of your old motor, as it usually involves writing a classified ad before fielding all sorts of phone calls and viewings. And then there’s the time wasters and tyre-kickers…

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