How to get the best price for your old motor

The time has come to treat yourself to a new set of wheels, but there is one thing standing in the way of this joyous experience – the sale of your existing motor! There are two traditional ways to sell your car: your local car dealer or as a private sale. The car dealer should offer you the easy option with the minimum effort; the private sale can be more complicated but could get you the better price.

Having made sure that we have followed the Car Ownership Tips and tried our best to keep the car in top condition, we now have to decide the best method to sell the car.

The Used Car Dealer

Do we go down to the local Arthur Daley car dealer forecourt to get insulted by their miserly offer? Feeling downhearted when dealer inspects every inch of the motor, gasping and sighing when every blemish or tiny scratch is noticed.

We know we’re going to get a rock bottom price so what do we say to ourselves – “Everyone needs to make a living and at the end of the day they’re just trying to put a meal on the table.” Ha, I don’t think so! Don’t take the first price they offer and let him know you’re looking around and that your emotions aren’t going to get the better of you. Remember, don’t be afraid to ask for more money as they will be expecting a haggle!

The pros of buying from a dealer is that if you are trading-in your vehicle, you are in a far better position as there are two potential deals on the table for them. The dealer will usually include a warranty for a limited period for your new car. They also have a reputation to keep and will not want to sell you an old rust bucket.

This option is a safe bet but you won’t get the full amount of your car’s worth.


On most occasions you will get more money for your car by selling it privately using sites like PistonHeads and Auto Trader. However, this process can be time-consuming and you need to be available to take phone calls. You will also be required to meet the potential buyer and offer a test drive. It’s worth remembering also that advertising can be costly, particularly if your car takes a while to sell.

You will need to compile an advert including vehicle details and description. Websites like Auto Trader can help you write a good description. If you are placing your advert in a local shop window or on PistonHeads all you need to do is;
•Make sure your advert is clear and concise and features the car’s best points without exaggerating
•Keep it simple and explain the car in layman terms. Avoid jargon or complicated terms, for example ‘metallic black’ rather than ‘granite moonstone grey’
•Include any modifications and extras and highlight any features such as leather interior or air-con.
•Include the tax and MOT expiry date, and if you have a full service history, shout about it!
•Take some good quality pictures and include some interior shots too.

These aren’t your only options for selling your car. With the birth of the internet, there are a number of ways to off-load your car with the minimum of hassle.

Auction Sites

Auction sites such as eBay are a great way to sell your car with one being sold every minute in the UK. However, this option is potentially fraught with danger for a novice eBay user. If you know what you’re doing, you could be quids in!

Online Buying Companies

Selling your car to companies such as ‘We Buy Any Car’ is a quick and easy alternative to selling privately or at a dealers. They have valuation centres nationwide for ease and convenience, but expect to receive the lowest price of all your car selling options. Is it worth losing 100s of pounds from the sale? Only you can answer this.

Whichever route you wish to take when you sell your car, make sure you know its market value. Use an app like Parkers or Glass’s to value your car and look on Auto Trader for cars that match the specification and condition.

With the range of options available, make sure you choose the one that fits your situation best.