How to sell my car quickly for the best price

Selling online takes the stress out of getting rid of an old car

Buying and selling cars can be a stressful process at the best of times. Dealing with your own feelings, managing the time, having different people come and evaluate your pride and joy while getting it for the lowest price possible can all take their toll. Especially if you're trying to maintain social distancing.

You can use tools like the Parkers valuation to obtain a reliable, industry-backed idea of what your car's worth, but it's still going to take time to photograph, advertise and find a buyer. As a result, many drivers find it easier to sell their cars directly to online trade buyers.

Checklist for selling your car online

  • Make sure you have the registration document (V5C)
  • Make sure the V5C is registered at your current address
  • Check how many previous owners are recorded
  • Ideally have at least three months' MoT remaining
  • Get a finance settlement figure, if the car is financed
  • Check how complete the service history is
  • Make a note of the current mileage
  • Measure all tyre tread depths
  • Make sure you have all the keys and remote fobs
  • Check wheels for damage
  • Check windows for stonechips and scratches
  • Check body panels for stonechips and dents

If you have an older car, you may be worried about how reliable it could be for a new owner, and if they're going to come back to you with problems or leave negative feedback if you've sold via eBay. Hence the popularity of direct sales services.

Do buying services really buy any car?

Yes. It's just like trading it in, really. Selling your car directly to the trade means you've washed your hands of it entirely, and got a straightforward price and transaction agreed quickly. This is a big part of the appeal, but if your car has faults or damage, you have to declare them. Most services will still buy your car, but they'll make a low offer to reflect the cost of repairs for resale.

Even then, you may get better value overall, as having cash to buy your next car may allow you to negotiate a better deal than trading in your old one – even if the offer for your trade-in is higher than the price you sell it for.

Can you compare prices from different buyers online?

Yes. Parkers has teamed up with Motorway, the UK's number one price comparison site for selling your car. Since that memorable we buy any car jingle wormed its way into everyone's ears, many more services have started to offer to buy your car, and shopping between them can get you up to £1,000 more for the same vehicle.

Results page from Motorway's we buy any car style price comparison tool

Enter your reg number, mileage and contact details to find a buyer near you, and you'll get instant quotes based on a few assumptions about how well maintained your car is. You can even get prices for scrap cars through recycling services.

You can compare offers in detail, including prices, fees, speed of payment and customer reviews of the service before committing to sell your car. Most services will collect from your home, so you could have a deal in less than 24 hours

Can you sell my car if it's on finance?

Yes. Most services will make an offer and pay it directly to a finance company as long as the amount owed is less than the value of the car. You should get a settlement figure from your finance company before getting offers for your car.

They may not offer the whole outstanding amount, however, so beware of negative equity on your car before looking to change it. Car dealers may be able to mask that shortfall in the monthly payments for your new car if you trade in – if you sell, you'll need to settle the balance of finance yourself.

If your car is worth more than the amount owed, you'll be paid the remaining balance directly. If your car is in negative equity where the debt on it amounts to more than its current value, it can be worth checking if you qualify for voluntary termination under your finance agreement.

How to make sure you get the offered price

All prices given are subject to inspection, which generally assumes the car is in mechanically good condition, with fair wear on the interior without damage, no major stone chips or dents, and lights, windows and paintwork in good condition cosmetically.

You're given the opportunity to add details of damage like worn or mismatched tyres, kerbing to alloys or missing trims, stone chips and dents, which will reduce your online offer from a buyer but will get it closer to the actual price paid on collection.

Motoway's TruePrice technology compares initial offers with the actual price paid for cars in average condition for age and mileage, providing a much closer guideline to what you'll achieve for a car with realistic wear and use.

Most services expect to have the full set of keys as specified in the handbook, which will usually include two keys and sometimes, a smaller valet key, and items like jacks and tools, locking wheel nut keys and spare wheel or tyre repair kits should be present.

The purpose of the inspection when collecting your car is not to chip the price down before payment; all of these firms are professional car buyers looking for high quality stock, so if you present your car well and have described it accurately, you should have a pleasant and fast selling experience.

Just like selling a car privately or trading it in, the best prices are achieved by the best cars. And in fairness, if your car has full service history, barely worn premium-brand tyres and no damage, you may want to take another route for sale. There's no commitment to accept any of the quotes offered by Motorway, and you won't be pestered by car buyers after getting your quotes.

Further reading

When's the best time to buy a car?
Advice for all car buyers on Parkers