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Selling your Car – the popular options

Selling a used car is a situtation that most motorists will be faced with at some time in their driving lifetime. For a vast majority of sellers the sales process will run smoothly without any hassle or issue. How you sell your car is up to you. The three main choices are:

All three disposal methods have their pros and cons. Whichever method you choose – obtaining a vehicle history report from a company like MyCarCheck could help accelerate the sale. It is quite probable that any potential buyers will obtain a report before viewing your car – so forewarned is forearmed. If they haven’t taken the precaution and purchased a report themselves – presenting them with one may instil confidence in both you and the car.

Premium Reports vehicle history reports highlight if a car has been stolen, exported, written-off, scrapped & much more from just £1.99 (correct Mar 2019). Presenting a potential buyer with a MyCarCheck report adds confidence to the sale and may hopefully help in securing the transaction.

Check MOT and Vehicle Tax


Before you advertise your vehicle, check the time remaining on your MOT. If there’s only a few weeks left before it expires – book it in. Selling a car with 12 months MOT is well worth the cost of the test fee (less than £50). Buyer’s may be put off if your car only has a month or two left before the MOT expires.

Vehicle Tax

Vehicle Tax is no longer transferable when a car is sold. That practice stopped in 2014. The seller can get a REFUND of any time remaining on the vehicle Tax. Details of obtaining a refund for Vehicle Tax can be found on the website (5). If you’re not too sure when you car tax expires check it here. The DVLA will give you a refund on any full months remaining.

Trade In

A Trade In is the simplest method. The garage will hopefully offer a trade in price similar to that offered by WeBuyAnyCar or similar car buying service. However, this price will be quite a bit less than a seller could get on the Private Market.

Car Buying Service

The WeWantAnyCar /other car buying service option is also fairly simple. Enter your vehicle’s registration number to an online service and answer a few simple questions. Within a few seconds the company offer a realistic purchase price – assuming all questions have been answered honestly. The car is then taken to one of their local inspection centres. At this point don’t be surprised to see the valuation decreased if the inspector finds any issues not reported in the initial submission.

Private Sale

Selling Privately will get the most money for your used car – maybe as much as 15% more. But, it can be a little daunting. Where should you place the adverts? How should payment be accepted? What about test drives and insurance? There is an excellent article on the (1) website that gives loads of information about selling a car privately. Also refer to “How to sell a Car” on The AA’s website (2). They have some excellent advice regarding test drives, accepting payment, checking insurance, avoiding phishing scams etc.

The Seller’s Legal Obligation

Legally there’s not many things the seller is obliged to do. The essential things are registering the sale with the DVLA and giving the new owner a receipt.

  • The main thing is to give the green ‘new keeper’s details’ slip (V5C/2) from the log book to the buyer. DVLA guidelines can be found on the website (3)
  • It’s also advisable to write a receipt. Create two copies. Keep one for yourself and give the other to the buyer. The receipt should include the date, price paid, vehicle registration number, make and model and mileage at time of sale.  Also include both addresses. The AA have a “Car Seller’s Contract” (4) that can be download and printed

Accepting Payment

There are loads of resources online that give sound advice on accepting payment for your car. Most agree that BACS transfer or cash are still the best options. Be wary of anyone asking to make payment with Building Society cheque, ESCROW payment or Banker’s Draft – all can be forged. A genuine buyer will respect a seller’s caution and will understand that the vehicle won’t be handed over until funds have cleared. Don’t be pushed in to accepting some story about bank delays or similar.

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External Resources

  1. MoneySavingExpert – selling a car privately – some good advice
  2. AA – How to sell a car
  3. GOV – guidelines regarding selling or scraping a vehicle
  4. AA – Seller’s Contract
  5. GOV – obtaining a Vehicle Tax refund

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