Every day, approximately 20,000 drivers begin the head-scratching process of selling their car. A staggering 7.2 million were sold in 2014, the last full year figures are available for, which means for every new car bought, 3.3 used cars were sold.
For drivers who are changing their car for another, the first hurdle is to find out what your existing motor is worth. Because whether selling it privately or trading it in to a dealer against the value of a new or used car, you could end up hundreds or thousands of pounds out of pocket if you don’t do your homework.
Although you might view selling your car as a daunting process, it’s the work of a moment; something you can do while enjoying a cup of tea with biscuits. Follow this guide to accurately value and sell your car for the best price.
Check the value of similar cars for sale
Let’s say that you own a Volkswagen Golf, and would like to get a quick picture of what it’s worth. The quickest way to do this is browse the prices of similar Golfs for sale online. Volkswagen’s used car website will give an accurate idea of what VW dealers will sell them for. But remember, this price will include the cost to a dealer of preparing the car for sale to a standard specified by Volkswagen and the dealer’s profit margin.
Next, turn to the giant of used car sales, Auto Trader. By far the largest used car sales site, it will give a broader overview of Golfs for sale, with a mix of cars at VW dealers, independent motor traders and, of course, private sellers like you.
Get a free valuation online
Type ‘car valuation’ into a search engine and you’ll be spoilt for choice. Used car valuation organisations, such as CAP and Glass’s, provide a price that makes a good theoretical starting point. Also try the likes of classified car sales sites, including Auto Trader, Parkers and What Car?, which offer free valuations in return for gathering some of your personal contact details.
Now call some dealers and ask for a valuation
Whether or not you want to trade-in your car with a dealer in part exchange for another car, phone a handful and see what they’ll offer you for your existing car. Most franchised dealers are now part of a larger parent company that will have regional used car buyers whose job is to bid to buy up used car stock. So they will be quick and efficient at providing a provisional valuation. And it’s a hassle-free experience as they’ll even collect the car for free. The price between those dealers can vary by hundreds or thousands of pounds, so shop around, just as you would when looking for the best price to buy a car.
Are car buying sites worth a try to sell your car?
Personal experience has shown that these pay less than dealers. The prices they’re willing to pay also vary dramatically from company to company. However, they are a useful way of gauging how much your car is worth. Bear in mind that the quotes provided by companies such as We Buy Any Car, We Want Any Car and Sell Your Jam Jar typically expire after a short period of time. It’s also worth remembering that what you’re quoted by these companies frequently isn’t what you’ll get. When you present your car they’ll go over it with a microscope, knocking money off for even the smallest blemishes.