What is the best way to sell a used car?

Selling your car can be a good way to re-shuffle your finances quickly, especially if the current cost of living is making your car more of a burden than an asset.

Although the prospect of selling your car can be daunting, it doesn’t have to be hard — or time-consuming. Although selling your car outright will require a bit more admin and negotiation than, for example, part-exchange, it’s worth it to get the best value for your vehicle. Even when you’re pushed for time, there are plenty of speedy and safe ways to sell your car, either privately or to a company.

Selling your car to get the best value

Different car makes and models depreciate at different rates, so it pays to know what you can expect to get for your car after one year, three years, five years, and longer. The rule of thumb is that, if your car is in great condition, you should still be able to get approximately half of the value on the used market after 3-5 years of driving, or up to 50,000 miles. However, you could be pleasantly surprised by the value of your car.

Selling your car to downsize

When you bought your current car, you may have been banking on a more affordable cost of living (and of motoring!) than we are experiencing. With fuel costs rising so much, and the economy proving so volatile, your car might be a more expensive asset than you’d hoped. However, the good news is it might also be worth more on the used market than you expected. It’s always worth checking the value of your car, in case it’s viable for you to sell it and use the proceeds to buy a car that’s cheaper to purchase and/or to run.

How to sell your car in as little as 24 hours

Clydebank Post: Motorway is very straightforward to use. Simply enter your car’s reg on the website and you’ll get an instant estimated sale price Motorway is very straightforward to use. Simply enter your car’s reg on the website and you’ll get an instant estimated sale price (Image: Getty)

Not all fast car-selling methods are equal. There are four main ways to sell your car: privately to an individual, selling to a dealer, part-exchanging with a dealer, and selling to an instant car-buying service. Theoretically, it’s possible to at least get a deal for your car within 24 hours through any of these channels, even if completing the transaction in that time is a bit ambitious. However, these options have different pros and cons. And when you’re selling your car to get the best value from it, you want to make sure you’re making the very best decision for your wallet.

How long does it take to sell your car privately?

Selling your car privately starts with a question: do you already know someone who wants to buy your car? If so, and you’re happy with the offer, and confident handling the transfer of ownership, you can ‘pass go,’ and collect the money!

In the more likely event that you need to market your car to find a buyer, you can do so on a specialist site like AutoTrader, or a free classifieds service such as Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace.

If you want to keep it local, you could place an ad in a local paper or noticeboard. However, these days, since most people will search for a car online, you’re likely to find a motivated buyer quickly that way.

Despite this, there are no guarantees your car will sell — and depending on demand, the quality of your ad, and your availability for viewings and test drives, it could take many weeks. If you want to sell your car within 24 hours and you haven’t even taken photos for your ad, trying to sell it privately will likely be a frustrating process.

Private sales are very hands-on and can take considerable time and effort.

How fast is part exchange at a dealership?

Clydebank Post: Selling your car with Motorway is quick, simple, and ensures that you get healthy competition for your carSelling your car with Motorway is quick, simple, and ensures that you get healthy competition for your car (Image: Getty)

Before the rise of instant car-buying websites, part exchange (or, ‘trading-in’) used to be the most popular, fast way to sell your car. Dealers who offer part exchange will typically accept a wide range of cars, including cars with damage or high mileage. However, part exchange is a discount system. When you trade in your existing car, the dealer will offer you a discount on the price of your next car.

This might sound fine if your priority is for a quick sale rather than a fair price. However, the discount the dealer will offer you is unlikely to live up to the price you want for the car. The dealer may explain that they need to take money off the total for refurbishing and mechanical labour, but it’s hard to get full transparency of the numbers.

When you part-exchange with a dealer, they normally sell your car at an auction, rather than keeping it for their own forecourt. Offering you a low price ensures that they can make a markup on your car at auction.

For all these reasons, it can be difficult to negotiate a better price than the one offered in a part exchange transaction. Though it’s a quick solution, you won’t get the price your car deserves.

Is using an instant car-buying service the quickest option?

Clydebank Post: Motorway has a sales support team if you have any queries.Motorway has a sales support team if you have any queries. (Image: Getty)

Selling to an instant car-buying company can be very fast — and if you’re chasing an agreed deal for your car within 24 hours (or as close to this as possible) and you’re not fussy about the price, it can be a great option. From company to company, there are various different benefits that can be offered such as home collection or instant payment.

Most of these instant car-buyer transactions start the same way: you enter your car’s details on their website and receive a valuation. This can be lower than the car’s true market value, and companies are not always transparent about this. Just like car dealers offering part-exchange, when you sell to most instant car-buyers, there are middlemen involved. Your car will be sent to an auction and the instant car-buyer will try to make a good return on the price of your car. You are the one feeling the price difference.

A lot of these companies require you to take your car to be inspected in person, and at this point, your valuation can be reduced even further, regardless of what details you diligently entered on the site. Although you can often walk away from the valuation at any time, if you’re in a hurry you’re unlikely to abandon your car sale. However, you could end up unhappy with the final deal.

Is there a fast option that gives a good price?

Yes there is. Selling your car with Motorway is quick, simple, and ensures that you get healthy competition for your car. It’s a free online service that will showcase your car to more than 5,000 verified car dealers, who will compete to give you their best price for your car.

Motorway is very straightforward to use. Simply enter your car’s reg on the website and you’ll be provided with a free and instant estimated sale price based on up-to-the-minute market prices, without any hidden reductions.

If you choose to enter your car into a sale, it will be shown to Motorway’s whole dealer network. They will then compete to buy your car, and in as little as 24 hours you’ll receive the best offer. Remember, you can walk away at any time and Motorway has a Sales Support Team if you have any queries.

If you choose to go ahead with the sale, your car will be collected for free by the dealer within a matter of days and the money will be quickly and securely transferred to your bank account.

This article was brought to you be Motorway

Motorway is the fastest-growing used car marketplace. They connect people selling their car directly with a network of more than 5,000 verified car dealers, matching each seller with the dealer who wants to buy their car.