Home Business Insights & Advice Five easy ways to sell your car online

Five easy ways to sell your car online

by Sarah Dunsby
17th Jun 20 2:24 pm

With so many different options to secure a sale, working out the best way to sell your car online can feel daunting.

Will a paid advert on an online marketplace be better than a free private ad? What about auction sites? Maybe it would be better to sell to one of the new breed of no-hassle instant online car buyers? Or would you be best off selling your car for parts or as part of a scrappage scheme?

Often, selling your car online can be a trade-off between getting the best price possible and the amount of time you are prepared to spend on finding a buyer.

There are five different ways to sell your car online, each with their own individual strengths and weaknesses, that you need to consider.


1. Selling your car via an online marketplace

Placing an ad on an online marketplace like Auto Trader has been a popular way to sell cars privately for many years.

With thousands of cars for sale and around 7 million monthly visitors to their website, Auto Trader will typically generate a vast amount of targeted traffic. Consequently, it has quickly established itself as one of the most powerful forces in the UK used car market.

Auto Trader promptly connects buyers and sellers – and, in doing so, it is possible to sell your car quickly. However, as with all private sales, finding the right buyer on Auto Trader can take a long time and be frustrating. Plus, there is also the cost of advertising to consider.

Auto Trader’s advertising costs are based on car price

Unlike many other websites, with Auto Trader, if your car is over a certain value, you will need to buy an advertising package in order to have it listed. The fee for which is on a set scale and will depend on your car’s value. If you are selling an expensive car, this can become a significant overhead.

In the event that you do find potential buyers for your car, you will also have to show them it yourself. This can be a time-consuming – and potentially pointless – experience.

There are other specialist car marketplaces that are worth exploring. For example, Motors.co.uk can potentially be useful – especially if your car is worth £5000 or more, as it is free to advertise it there. However, as a website, it does not attract anything like the number of users of Auto Trader – and, as such, finding a buyer can be a long and drawn-out process.

The cost of ads on these websites also varies greatly – and is based largely on the ad’s perceived visibility. For example, a paid advert on Exchange and Mart can be as little as £5 for a fortnight; whereas Auto Trader charge £84.95 for their premium advertising package.

2. Selling your car via private sale

Selling your car via specialist car marketplaces is not your only online private-sale option.

Gumtree was the first site for free classified ads in the UK. Over the last decade, it has established itself as the destination website for the private selling of…well, practically anything.

However, these days, motor sales is its major vertical – and, accordingly, there is a constant steady stream of potential cash buyers visiting the website looking for good car deals.

As long as you’re not a dealer, the Gumtree website is also free to use and – unlike listing your car on dedicated marketplace sites – you will not need to worry about the cost of advertising.

Gumtree’s lack of specialism can be confusing

Does this sound too good to be true? Well, there are drawbacks. Gumtree’s sprawling nature, vast size and lack of specialism can be an issue. With so many cars listed, it can become quickly overwhelming for buyers and sellers alike.

Also, there is a lack of policing on the website – and, consequently, it generally contains a huge number of cars listed at completely unrealistic prices. This often makes it difficult for serious buyers to connect with sellers.

3. Selling your car via auction sites

Online auction websites, like eBay, offer a different way of selling your car privately.

As well as placing a classified ad and waiting for interested potential buyers to make contact, eBay also allows you the ability to create a reserve price and auction your car off to the highest bidder.

Theoretically, this means that when you list your car – as long as enough real buyers see it – you should be able to find the true market value for it.

eBay’s private motor ads cost a fixed sum – plus 1% of the sale price

If the auction process worries you, eBay also has a ‘Buy it Now’ feature, which allows you to set up your ad in a more traditional classified ad style and impose a fixed price for your car. Either way, there are fees involved – but it can still be a less costly option than the other big online sales sites.

Of course, there can be certain risks associated with selling your car on eBay. There have been plenty of stories about dishonest buyers, so it is a good idea to insist that anyone interested in purchasing your car uses PayPal’s secure services.

Also, on eBay UK’s website, your listing will be vying for user attention against many new car dealers and their paid listings – so, unless it’s a rare or unusual model, it can often be difficult for buyers to find your ad.

If you think eBay is your best option, you’ll be required to pay an initial fee of £14.99 for your car listing, plus 1% of the final transaction (up to £45).

Price for advert Large audience Car specialist Guaranteed sale? Transaction


Auto Trader Up to £84.95 (1) Yes Yes No No
Motors.co.uk Free No Yes No No
Exchange & Mart £5 (2) Yes Yes No No
Gumtree Free Yes No No No
eBay £14.99 (3) Yes No No Up to £45 (3)
We Buy Any Car N/A N/A Yes Yes Up to 74.99 (4)
We Want Any Car N/A N/A Yes Yes Up to £78.75 (4)
Money 4 Your Motors N/A N/A Yes Yes Up to £78.75 (4)
Motorway N/A N/A Yes Yes No


  1. Source: autotrader.co.uk
  2. Source: exchangeandmart.co.uk
  3. Source: ebay.co.uk
  4. Source: motorway.co.uk/guides/best-online-car-buying-sites

4. Selling your car via an instant online car buyer

If you’re unconcerned about the money you’ll make selling your car or your extremely pushed for time, an instant online car buyer – like We Buy Any Car, We Want Any Car, Money 4 Your Motors and Best Car Buyer – is the ultimate method for selling quickly.

Whilst it’s doubtful that you will get as good a return on your car than if you were to sell it privately – if you’re looking for an easy, hassle-free, guaranteed sale, this could be the option for you.

The simplicity of the instant online car buyer process has witnessed a huge rise in popularity over the last decade, and seen unprecedented growth in the number of such service providers. After valuing your car online, sellers then arrange a collection or a drop-off appointment. This is then followed by an inspection and a final price negotiation; before the sale is concluded, with the cash in your bank account.

Prices offered online can reduce and fees might apply

However, be aware that the price you’re quoted online won’t always be what you’ll actually receive. A lot of these websites have a reputation for quibbling over the condition of cars and then reducing the sale price if their valuer disagrees with your description.

Some of these websites will also charge a fairly sizable ‘transaction’ or ‘administration’ fee, or charge more for a same-day payment, so it is worth doing some online research before approaching them.

5. Selling your car via an online scrapping service

If your car is approaching the end of its life, it may not be possible to sell it via a traditional route and the cost of maintaining the car may outweigh the reasons for keeping it.

If your car has reached 120,000 miles on the clock or more than 15 years of age (and is a standard, non-prestige vehicle like a Ford, Vauxhall, Peugeot or Renault), it is likely to have depreciated in value to the point that it is unlikely to be sellable to another driver. In this case, scrapping it may be your best option – but you can still get money for this.

There are numerous websites that offer car scrapping services or manufacturer scrappage schemes – and this means that finding the right one can be problematic.

Getting more money for your junk car

Determining the value of a car that has reached the end of its life is no easy task. Many cars have sought after parts and components that can be used for spares, and other vehicles will be eligible for car scrappage schemes that may entitle you to some serious money off a new car. Whatever the case, all junk vehicles will retain some form of value, even if it’s just their weight in metal.

The traditional route to getting fast cash for a car was to take it to the local scrap yard, but doing it this way can mean more hassle and less money for you.

Using services like Motorway can help you get more for your junk car. They work with scrap buyers, such as CarTakeBack and Car Converter, that will buy or recycle any car, no matter how damaged or unroadworthy. By comparing prices from competing scrappage companies on Motorway, you can be sure of getting the best price.

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