Seven Ways to Sell a Car

So, you want to sell your car. You’ve gotten it detailed, fixed any lingering issues, and are ready to put it on the market. The only problem is, there are many different car markets you need to consider.

There are online marketplaces, like the kinds you’ll find through PrivateAuto or CarMax. There are also dealerships in your area and close to it that will buy your car. Add to that printed publications like Autotrader, and figuring out where your car should be sold can feel like a monumental task.

This article will help you cut through that noise. We’ll tell you the best seven ways to sell your car so you can move on from it as fast as possible. Keep reading to learn more.

Sell Privately

Selling your car to a private party is an excellent way to maximize your payout. Cars sold this way typically fetch a higher price than they do when being sold to a dealership.

That’s because dealers have to consider the fees they’ll incur in the process of preparing your car to be sold. Private parties don’t have to do this. They want to buy your car just because they want to use it.

That being said, if faced with the exact same car, most buyers would prefer to purchase it from a dealer over a private party. This means it may be more difficult for you to drum up interest in your car if you choose to sell it to a private party.

There are a few different ways to get private buyers interested in your automobile. You can start by asking around your family and friends circle. Someone you know might be in the market for a car already. If so, you could sell your car quickly and with minimal fuss.

Another option you have is to seek out private buyers through online marketplaces and print publications. Platforms like PrivateAuto can make selling your car privately much easier. More information on how to do that will be covered below.
Image highlighting Buying/Selling Car Privately by PrivateAuto

Sell to Dealership

Dealerships are the second major option that most people consider when selling their car. There are certainly some good reasons for this. One of the benefits of selling your car to a dealership is the potential to use its value as a part of your purchasing a new car. Most dealerships are happy to accept used vehicles as trade-ins towards an upgraded model.

However, dealerships can also be a great place to sell your car even if you’re not in the market for a new one. They simplify the process of selling your automobile in several key ways.

First, you won’t have to deal with the hassle of tracking down interested buyers on your own. This makes the process of selling your car much quicker than it would be when utilizing another method.

Dealers also provide the benefit of increased trust. When you sell to a certified dealership, you can be fully confident in the legality and authenticity of your sales agreement. You may not feel the same when selling your car to a private party.

Sell to CarMax

Another option that more and more folks are considering is selling their cars to CarMax. The process of doing so is fairly simple. To do so, you’ll need a picture ID, your car’s registration, and a few additional pieces of information about your vehicle’s history.

You can begin the process by visiting your local CarMax location or accessing their online form to schedule a time for your car to be examined. Next, you’ll be asked to take your car to a CarMax lot so that an appraiser can test drive it and examine the vehicle for damage.

After checking your car’s accident and repairs history, CarMax will provide you with an offer that’s good for seven days. The good news is that they will generally buy just about any car you present them with -- even salvaged titles.

Therefore, CarMax could be the perfect place to sell your car if you aren’t finding interesting buyers elsewhere. The company also acts as a solid point of comparison for the offers that you receive from dealerships and private parties.


Autotrader is another excellent resource you should consider utilizing while selling your car. If you don’t know, it’s an online marketplace that connects buyers and sellers. You can even use it to assess your car’s value.

Selling your car on Autotrader is a process that can be completed in four simple steps. First, you need to prepare your car for sale. This involves getting it checked by a mechanic, organizing your paperwork, and cleaning it.

Second, you’ll need to advertise your car on the Autotrader platform. A good ad can make your car stand out so be sure to take your time when crafting it.

Third, you’ll work towards finding a buyer. This involves fielding phone calls, setting up and conducting test drives, and watching out for any potential issues that may arise.

Finally, you finish the process of selling your car on Autotrader by closing the deal. You’ll complete the necessary paperwork, negotiate the details of the sale, and transfer ownership of your car to the buyer.

Trade it in

If you’re selling one car to make space for a new one, then a trade-in is something you should absolutely consider. However, there are a few things you should do before accepting a trade-in offer from any dealership.

First, make sure that you have a solid understanding of what your car is worth before going into a meeting with a dealer. You can do this by consulting with websites like Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds. They allow you to input your car’s information and show you a range of values based on its condition.

Second, make sure you know whether you still owe any money on your old car before accepting a trade-in. If you owe more than your vehicle is worth, you may still be able to trade your car in. However, that value may just be tacked onto your new loan.

Also, you want to make sure you get a wide variety of offers from the dealers you’re considering for a trade-in. Make sure to visit multiple dealerships before accepting any of their offers. This will help you maximize the value you ultimately receive for your vehicle.

Finally, you shouldn’t accept the first trade-in offer a dealer presents you with. Rather, you should always push for more through negotiation. Negotiation is an art, but you’ll do well to take your time, know what you want before walking into the dealership, and know your credit score.


If you’re feeling charitable, you may also be interested in donating your car. Doing this can be more beneficial than you think. Charities generally accept vehicles with all sorts of issues. That’s good news if you’ve been having trouble finding parties who are interested in buying your car.

Generally speaking, you’ll also receive tax benefits by donating your old car to charity. However, keep in mind that you will need to receive documentation from the charity to ensure that you receive a tax credit for your donation. This usually means getting proof that you transferred your car’s title to the charity and that they accepted it.
 Image highlighting Buying Car Privately by PrivateAuto

Use PrivateAuto

PrivateAuto is another resource you should absolutely use while selling your car. They make it easier to sell your vehicle online to private buyers. The process for doing so is incredibly straightforward.

To start, you can create a listing for your vehicle on When you do, take care to highlight the most attractive features of your car. Be sure to take plenty of pictures at different angles, too.

Once you’ve created an engaging ad for your vehicle, all you have to do is wait for the offers to start rolling in. Interested buyers from your area and beyond will be able to view your vehicle online. PrivateAuto makes it easy to view their offers and respond to the ones that interest you the most.

Another benefit of selling your car through PrivateAuto is the protection they provide to both buyers and sellers. They verify everyone’s email, phone number, and driver’s license so you don’t have to worry about fraudulent offers. As a seller, you’ll even be able to verify a buyer’s funds to avoid wasting your time.

Once you’ve found some offers that you’re interested in pursuing, you can set up a test drive location and time. With PrivateAuto, you can eliminate the need for emailing back and forth with each buyer. The platform allows you to provide upfront directions regarding the test drive or inspection locations that work best for you.

Finally, once you’ve chosen a buyer, you’re ready to sign the documents, close the deal, and get paid. PrivateAuto will provide you with easy access to all of the documents you need to complete.