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The average motorist will devote a huge amount of time, care and energy into purchasing their new car, ensuring they are sure they get exactly what they want for the price they want to pay. So why not devote the same attention when selling your car?

If you get a bad price for the car you are selling; your new car might not seem such good value. Selling your car privately, will mean you get the best price possible, but there are a number of other considerations to make. We compile a guide on how to get the best possible deal when selling your car.

Placing an advert on paper

Historically, the best place to advertise your car for sale is in the small ads of your local newspaper. This is still a viable option for selling your car; however the changing media industry now means more and more people are looking online for their next second hand car.  General car magazines may also be worth putting an advert in, avoid more specialist motoring magazines however, as many of their readers are only interested in prestige, performance or classic cars and are not interested in your Vauxhall Astra diesel.

Placing an advert online

Placing an online advert is the modern equivalent of sticking an ad in your local paper, selling your car online can expose your advert to a huge audience. Sites such as Autotrader, can be very effective and easy to use; most also allow you to put images of your car alongside your advert. They may charge a fee to host your advert; but if there is any cost it is usually relatively inexpensive. If you can afford it, re list your ad each day or week to keep it at the very top of the results list.

You can also use social media sites to sell your car, take a few pictures and post them on your profile page for your friends to see and talk about.

Contact a local car dealer

Many car dealers will sell cars on your behalf for a commission, usually worked out on the percentage value of the car. This can be a good option, but will mean you are diluting the price you receive for your car.

Advertise your car, with your car

Simply sticking an advert in the window of your car can work wonders, especially if you park your car on a daily basis in a busy area! The poster doesn’t have to have all the cars details on it, simply inform your audience your car is for sale, its price and a contact telephone number.

Prepare the car for sale

One of the most important aspects of selling your car is preparing it for the sale. Making your car look at its best involves cleaning it thoroughly inside and out. Pay particular attention to the windows, plastic and any stone chippings. Valeting is a competitive business in the UK, so you could find using this means to prepare your car for sale is the best option.

Car maintenance checks

Most buyers will look under the bonnet before buying a car, so make sure oil levels, coolant levels and the windscreen fluid are all topped up. Check the tyre pressures and replace any worn or damaged tyres.

The Paperwork

Buyers will want to see your cars history, so gather it all up and stick it in a folder. You should include the V5C logbook, service history, MOT certificates, Warranty documents and the cars handbook.


Networking and spreading the word about you selling your car can attract the right attention. If a friend of a friend knows somebody who’s interested, there’s your sale! This is free too!

Meeting private buyers

Hopefully it will come to a point where you will meet potential buyers. If you feel vulnerable about meeting strangers then you could have a friend or relative with you when the buyer is due to visit. You should also aim to meet the buyers by day, to give them ample opportunity to examine the car thoroughly in good lighting.

Prior to letting the buyer drive the car, ensure they have at least third party insurance cover. Alternatively you can change your policy to cover any driver during the selling process. You should also check the buyer’s driving licence, taking note of their licence number. Make it clear to the person that any speeding fines which may be incurred during the test drive will be their responsibility.

Never allow a potential buyer to examine or drive your car without you. When it is time for the test drive, pass them the keys from the passenger seat. Allow the potential buyer to drive for a decent amount of time on a variety of roads. Once a price has been agreed, hand it over and wave goodbye!

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