How to Sell Your Car Online the Easy Way

Tips on how to sell your car online fast.

Learn why it’s better to sell your car online than trade it in and how to do it quickly and easily.

For most people, the exciting business of buying a car comes with a tiresome chore: selling the old car. Many car buyers choose to trade their old vehicles, but regular readers will know we’re not fans of that approach. Instead, we encourage you to sell it yourself. Back in the days before the internet, that took time and effort, but today it’s easy to sell your car online.

I will share some tips for selling your car online in this post. We’ll also introduce you to a web service that makes an already straightforward task even more accessible. For simplicity, we’ve broken things down into five sections below.

1) Why the Old Car Needs to Go

With just a few exceptions, it almost always makes sense to sell your old car when buying something newer. First, you’ve probably got money tied up that you need to put towards the new ride. Second, unless you’re blessed with a barn or oversized garage, you probably need the space. And third, if you intend to drive it, your old car needs insuring, licensing, and maintenance.

So what are the exceptions? Well, some examples are:

  • Passing an older car down to teenagers reaching driving age.
  • Storing a car in hopes, it becomes collectible
  • Donating a car to charity

Having accepted that, no matter how fond of it you are, the old car has to go, how do you sell it? The easiest route is to trade it in. This is where you sell it to the dealer you’re buying your new car from. However, it’s also an expensive route. We’ll explain why in a moment.

The alternative is to sell your car yourself. It’s more profitable than trading-in, but timing can be an issue. If you can manage without a car, sell first, then walk, bike, ride the bus, or Uber everywhere you need until you find that perfect next car. The other approach is to buy first and then sell, which affects your cash flow.

2) Why You Should Not Trade Your Car

I have a lot of articles that refer to the trade-in process in my section, “Car Dealership Trade-in Process Tips and Secrets.”

I suggest not going this route because the dealer aims to make a profit on your car. He’ll buy it from you as cheaply as he can, maybe put a little money into it for reconditioning, and sell it for the most he can get. The hundreds, possibly thousands, of dollars profit he makes is money you could be keeping in your pocket.

In fairness, when selling your car yourself, you probably won’t get quite the price the dealer can. You don’t have his facilities and perhaps not his witty banter, but you will still save yourself a significant sum. Some car buyers consider this a price worth paying for a simplified transaction. You have to make that choice, but it is often a steep price.

Another point to note is that if your car is in bad shape (meaning rusting, damaged, or in poor mechanical condition), the dealer might not want to buy it at any price. With a shake of the hand, he may suggest you sell or dispose of it yourself. If that’s the case, you’re definitely on your own.

3) How to Sell Your Car Online

Before the internet, people sold cars by advertising them in local newspapers. That presented their vehicle to a relatively small market. Today, sites like Craigslist and eBay Motors, not to mention places like Autotrader, give you a national audience.

A secondary benefit is that they help you price your car because you see what other people are asking for vehicles like yours.

Each site works slightly differently, but you generally sell your car by following the six steps below.

4) Six Steps to Selling Your Car Online

Follow this simple 6 step process to sell your car online quickly.

1. Prepare your car for sale

There’s no need to go crazy with the detailing but always wash a car, empty the interior of trash, and vacuum before trying to sell it. Suppose you can clean the windows too, even better. First impressions always matter!

2. Photograph and describe your vehicle

Take pictures that show your car from all angles. Do this on a bright but cloudy day and when the paint is dry. Then write a few sentences describing what you’re selling, how many miles the vehicle has, and describe the vehicle’s condition.

3. Place online ads

Craigslist or any of the other sites we mentioned. (Some will charge a fee, and make sure you read all of the fine print.)

4. Field incoming inquiries

Potential buyers would respond by email or phone if you provided a number. Answer their questions honestly and agree to meet any of them in a public place who seem genuinely interested.

5. Show the car to prospective buyers

If you don’t want people coming to your home, arrange to meet in a public place. Please show up on time and let them have a good look at your car. Be prepared to let them drive it. Have your test drive route pre-planned ahead of time.

6. Do the deal

Negotiate, agree to a fair price, then go to the DMV to finalize the paperwork.

5) A Simplified Approach to Selling Your Car Online

As said before, selling your car online lets you pocket the profit the dealer would make on your trade-in. It does, however, take time and a little bit of effort. Plus, it means dealing with people that you may not want to.

If you’re not comfortable with this, another option exists.

Peddle is a website where people can sell a car online quickly and easily. You tell them about your vehicle, and they’ll make you an offer immediately. If you accept that offer, you can take the car to a location they suggest, or they’ll come and get it. Before actually handing over a check, they will look to see that the vehicle is as described, so it’s essential, to be honest when answering the online questions. These questions address:

The car you’re selling. Either enter the VIN (the extended alphanumeric code displayed at the base of the windshield) or type in the year, make, and model. Then answer the questions about its engine and any special equipment. These are followed by more questions designed to determine the vehicle’s condition.

  1. Are the wheels mounted and tires inflated?
  2. Does it drive?
  3. What’s the mileage shown on the odometer?
  4. Any removed exterior body panels?
  5. Does it have body damage?
  6. Any damaged mirrors, glass, or lights?
  7. Any removed interior parts?
  8. Any flood or fire damage?

After answering the questions above, Peddle shows you three prices for your car. These are: what they’ll pay if they pick it up, what they’ll pay if you take it to them, and what they could advertise it for if you don’t like their offers.

Companies like Peddle will buy your car online.

Sell your car online fast to Peddle.

The advantages of selling your car through Peddle are that it’s fast, easy, and saves you from advertising and showing your car to total strangers. It’s beneficial for selling older model vehicles and those in poor condition that might be hard to sell otherwise. You can also get some money for that old car sitting in your yard for 100 years.

6) Be a Smarter Car Buyer and Seller

To recap, the fun business of buying a new car usually entails the chore of selling your old car. We advise against trading it in to the dealer because that will cost you a lot of money. You’re always better off selling your car yourself.

Today it’s easy to sell your car online, and many websites will help. However, it does take a little time and effort on your part. If that’s something you’re unable or unwilling to do, take a look at Peddle. This website makes selling your car even more accessible than the other online channels.

In closing, the most important thing to remember when buying or selling a car is to do your homework and research first.

There are some pitfalls you need to know about, and the best way of finding out what they are is by reading your 100% free online car buying guide –

The number one tip for saving the most money when buying a new or used car is always to take your time and “DO YOUR RESEARCH FIRST!”

I recommend using an online referral service such as Ryde Shopper, Edmunds, Motor Trend, and Cars Direct before physically walking into a car dealership. Their free online price quotes will automatically include any discounts or cash-back incentives currently available in the marketplace. This information will help level the playing field with the dealer and let you know which dealers are willing to be more flexible on price.

About the author
Carlton Wolf is the author and founder of Auto Cheat Sheet.My name is Carlton Wolf, and I’ve been in the car business since 1994, both retail and wholesale. I created the Auto Cheat Sheet to better educate buyers about the deceptive sales practices used by many dealerships throughout the country. Please understand that not all car dealers are dishonest. However, you never know who you’ll be dealing with, though. I’m willing to share my knowledge and experience with anyone who listens. Keep in mind that I’m a car guy, not a writer.