A simple guide to selling your car

There are a few options when it comes to selling your car, each complete with their own pros and cons.

Depending on how fast you want to sell and how much you expect to get for the vehicle, the right choice could be a private sale, an auction, a trade in or even a consignment.  Taking the time to select the method that best suits your needs and situation can potentially leave you with a lot more money, so let’s get started.

Private Sale:


  • Generally speaking, private sales get you the most money​


  • Have to deal with buyers directly
  • Contact detail are published online
  • Haggling is common
  • Have to be available on a buyers schedule



  • Relatively fast, easy and a sale is almost guaranteed
  • No need to deal with buyers directly ​


  • It’s unlikely you will get the best price
  • There is an auction fee
  • There is commission payable on sale price to the Auction Provider



  • Fast, easy and you can compare quotes


  • You will get less than a private sale and potentially an auction



  • All the work is done for you


  • The seller will take a percentage


Before you decide on which method you might like to use, why not take a couple minutes to read some our pre sale check list:

1: Give your car a Before you decide on which method you might like to use, why not take a couple minutes to read some our pre sale check list:

Obviously, most people buy second hand cars because they are a cheaper alternative to buying a new car, or because they feel a connection to a particular make of vehicle. Having said that, who doesn’t like the look of a freshly washed car that glistens gently in the sun light? As they say, first impressions last.

It stands to reason that the newer you can get your car to look, the more it will stand out among the other cars on the market...and chances are that at least some of those cars are pretty shiny too. 

Depending on the type of car you are trying to sell, it might even be worth while getting your car repainted or at least professionally polished, but it all really comes down to:

  • How much you want to get for your car
  • How much you can afford to put into to your car to get it ready for sale
  • What type of car your own (there’s no point in getting an old rickety vehicle that’s on its last legs repainted because it’s unlikely to add that much more value)
2. The devil’s in the details

It’s the small things like tyre polish, shampooed carpets and upholstery (for that new car smell) and a clean engine bay that can make all the difference. Again, it really depends on your situation, but it might be worth getting your car professionally detailed, which can cost from anywhere between $50-$200, depending on your location and the size and type of your car.

A typical Car Detailing Service should include:

Paint care:

A car’s paint is like a person’s skin: it needs to be treated well for it to have a healthy glow. A good detailing service should follow a three step paint care program: clean, correct, protect.

This means a good wash to remove and grime and dirt, followed by a clay bar application to remove any contaminants present in the paints protective clear layer, and lastly, a good wax sealant to help your car’s paint job shine like new.

Wheels, engine bay and chassis:

Have you ever cleaned the bottom of a car? A good car detailer does it all the time.

Part of the cleaning process includes washing the underside of a car directly. This includes inside the wheel wells, around the main suspension components, splash guards, fender liners, and the tyres, front and back. Making sure everything gets a thorough wash before receiving a healthy coating of sealant improves your car’s sparkle and shine even more.

Lights and trims:

A Lamp cover and trim polish / sealing are important when it comes to removing, or at least treating, the oxidisation (rust) that is commonly found on chrome trims and lamp linings. 

Interior detailing:

This covers your upholstery, carpets, seats and dash surfaces. This is where that new car smell we talked about earlier comes in (it’s my favourite part of getting my car detailed).

2. What’s that noise?

You know the one. It’s that weird rattling sound coming from your dashboard that you eventually got used to over the years since it started.  Let’s be honest, it’s not the type of thing a potential buyer wants to hear when they take your car for a test drive.

Even if your car is a well oiled machine in perfect working condition and doesn’t make single sound that’s out-of-place, it’s still worth getting a service, just so you can show a buyer that you have done so. It’s also a good idea to supply your service history documentation if possible so that a buyer can see that you’ve been taking care of your car. 

3: Selling your car online? Make your pictures pop!

We are talking about a back ground of rolling meadows, big sky country and a heard of wild horses running freely across the back ground, or, you know, something else that will stand out from the hundreds of other  “for sale” pictures. We have all seen them:  they’re the ones that invariably show the vehicle parked in a badly lit driveway, or on the side of a car-lined street.

Now that we’ve mentioned backdrops, we can start talking about angles, after all, perception is important. Taking a picture from a low angle make your car look big and powerful, where as a high angle will make your car look smaller and cute.

You can even go a step further if you’re good with Photoshop, or have a good digital camera.  Try playing around with colour balance and saturation because it’s the picture that people see first before they decide to click on you advertisement...or not, so it pays to spend a little time on your images. Just don’t mislead any potential buyers with a picture that doesn’t realistically represent the car you’re selling.

4: Get the right price

Getting your car valued these days is pretty simple, there are number of online services you can use to get a pretty good idea as to what you car is worth. 

It’s also good idea to go through the site that you intend to use to sell your car and look through any cars of the same make and model to see how much they are selling for.

To many people, increased price equates to a better product. Asking for a bit more than your car is worth might cause some people to think that there’s a reason for that, especially if you have followed all of the other tips in this guide. If your for sale photo looks great, your car is polished to a shine so bright that it hurts to look at directly, and, most importantly (in my opinion), it’s got that new car smell, then there’s no reason you can ‘t ask for a little more, even at auction or with a trade in. And when it comes to private sale,  asking for a little extra than what your car is worth puts you in a good  position as far as price negotiation is concerned, because when it comes to private sales, haggling is almost assured