Selling a car: what options do I have?


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The UK is Europe’s second largest car market, with sustained growth of 1% over 2014 expected. According to British Car Auctions latest figures, used car sales hit 7.1 million, surpassing pre-recession levels, suggesting the road to recovery is well under way.

But, what is the best way to sell your car? From part-ex to private to online: it all really depends on time, effort and what you’d like to do next.

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Selling a car online

I wanted to sell my car fast and hassle-free, making online the route of choice for me. Finding a trusted car buyer who will deal in this way is now even easier too, with more online car buying services sprouting up offering free inspection, same day payment and (some) even collection.

The major advantage to selling in this way is that you get more money than part-exchanging. The second plus is the flexibility of getting paid the funds the same-day. If you’re a two-vehicle family, for example, and you’re wanting to get cash for your car to invest in a holiday, property or elsewhere, selling in this way offers convenience and more money than at a dealership than if you were to part-ex.

Listings sites operate in a similar way to online car buying services; however they enable individuals to sell their vehicle online. Websites like Gumtree and eBay Motors offer the convenience of the online platform with the prospect of a private sale. The drawback is there is a listing cost and potential for time-wasters to show up on your drive.

Selling a car privately

If you’ve got more time on your side, selling your vehicle privately may help you find a little more money, at the expense of time, effort and security. And time really is money in the motor industry, as vehicles as a whole are known depreciating assets.

If you can afford to have your car listed for some time, accepting any hit to its value, selling privately will often result in a better price versus part-exchanging. For peace of mind when doing a deal, remember you might like to have a friend or family member by your side, as the risk of a scam is higher.

Selling a car part-ex

In terms of sales, dealers make up most of the used car market, accounting for 57 per cent of all those sold in the UK in 2013, proving it still the most popular way to sell a car.

Selling your vehicle part-exchange to a dealership will result in less money for your old motor, as it is supplemented into the total cost of the new car. However, if you’re looking to upgrade and replace your car, it may seem the most practical option to pop to a dealer.

So what is the best way for me?

For the quickest and most flexible sale, selling your car online will be your best option. For the most money, a private sale may prove most fruitful; provided you’re willing to accept the risk of time and security. Part-exchanges are good, if you know what new car you’d like to drive next, however you’ll just have to be prepared to receive less in real terms for your old car.