Here are our top tips to sell your old car, and buy a new one as smoothly as possible.
Check your car’s value
To get an idea of how much your vehicle is worth, check out similar cars for sale online. Remember that your vehicle’s mileage can affect its value as much as its age and condition.
One of the easiest ways to sell your car is to trade it in when you buy a new one from a dealer. This is known as a part exchange, but it won’t get you the best price, as the dealer will be aiming to make a profit when they sell the car on.
You can typically get a better price by selling your car privately, but it’s less straightforward. You’ll need to advertise the car for sale, deal with potential buyers and accompany people on test drives.
When you’ve found a buyer, you’ll need to agree on a payment method. Avoid taking a cheque, or accepting a wad of notes, and handing your vehicle over straight away. A bank transfer is a more secure option.
Be wary of anyone keen to buy your car despite not having seen it, or a buyer who wants to ship the car overseas – there are plenty of scams about.
Sorting out the paperwork
You must tell the DVLA you no longer own the car - this will stop you being landed with any of the new owner’s driving offences or parking tickets. You can notify the DVLA of a change in ownership via post or online.
As the seller, you need to fill out section 2 of your car’s V5C document (also known as the logbook) then tear it off and give it to the new owner as proof of the transfer of ownership.
Then, to inform the DVLA that the car has been sold, you need to fill in sections 6 and 8 of the V5C and put the form in the post. Or, you can inform the DVLA online if that’s easier.
Give the new owner the car’s handbook, keys, service history, and the MOT certificate.
You can get a refund on any unused months of road tax, as it can’t be transferred to a new owner.
How to buy a car
What’s your price range?
The most expensive cars are brand new – you can expect to pay a premium to be a car’s very first owner. Used cars are much cheaper but might not be in perfect condition.
In general, if you’re buying a used car you’ll need to pay for it with cash or by using a personal or car loan. You can either buy a new car outright or via various finance or leasing options.
Remember to include running costs in your budget. Find out how much the tax and insurance will be, and consider how much you’ll spend on fuel. You’ll also need to pay for an MOT and a service each year.
Check price guides and compare similar cars in the classifieds to make sure you’re getting a good deal. You might be tempted by something that seems like a bargain, or has a very low mileage for its age, but be careful - if a deal looks too good to be true then it probably is.
Always do a test drive. Try the car out in various conditions, such as stopping and starting in slow traffic and driving faster on a dual carriageway.
Leasing means you pay monthly to drive a brand new car. There are two main types of car leasing deals – personal contract hire (PCH) and personal contract purchase (PCP).
Under a PCH agreement, you’ll usually need to pay three months’ rental in advance, and then make monthly payments. You won’t own the vehicle and you’ll have to hand it back at the end of the term.
A PCP agreement is similar, but the difference is that you’ll have the option to buy the vehicle at the end of the term, in exchange for a “balloon” payment.
Sticking to the law
You’ll need to tax the car as soon as you buy it, and you must also make sure you’re insured to drive the new car straight away. If you sell a car and buy a new one you have two options. Firstly, you can ask your insurer to switch your policy to the new vehicle - you’ll have to pay an administration fee for this, plus any extra premium.
Or, you can cancel your insurance policy, get a refund for any unused months (minus an administration fee), and then shop around for a new policy for your new car.
Either way, it doesn’t take long to get the paperwork and admin sorted, and then you’re free to enjoy cruising the open road in your new car.