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How to choose the best way to sell your car

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There are many ways to sell your car and choosing the right option is not easy.
There are many ways to sell your car and choosing the right option is not easy.

Ready for an upgrade to another car, or just want to get rid of your old clunker, but don't know where to start?

There are many ways to sell your car and choosing the right option is not easy, but we have put together a simple guide to help you select the best way to go about it.

Whether you're time poor, want to get the best price, or want to trade–in on a new or used car, one of these options will be the right for you.

01. Selling privately

Selling a car privately gives you the power to negotiate to get the best price.

Before you start advertising it you need to set your asking price based on the car's market value, you also need to photograph it to show it off to prospective owners, and you must document all the details buyers will want to know.

You can research prices by using the browsing function at, or by using the free valuation tool.

You can also advertise your car for free at Once you have listed it on CarsGuide and have given potential buyers all the required information, you will need to make yourself available for potential buyers to view the car.

In some states when selling privately a roadworthy check is needed, but the rules vary from state to state and you should check your local registration authority for details.

Once the car is sold the registration must be transferred to the new owner.

TIP: Fixing any cosmetic damage will help you get more for your car.

02. Selling to a dealer

Selling to a dealer is an option for those who are time poor, or want to trade-in on another car. It's quick and mostly stress free.

Before you approach a dealer, do your research to get an idea what your car is worth as a trade-in.

If you trade in your car, the dealer will usually have some cushion in his pricing for negotiation, so be prepared to bargain.

Alternatively, you can simply sell the car to the dealer if you simply want to sell quickly and aren't concerned with achieving the maximum sale value.

TIP: If you are selling a Ford, you might get a better price at a Ford dealership, the same applies for all other brands.

03. Car buying service

Using a car buying service is another option for those who live busy lives, don't have the time to sell their car privately, or just need money fast.

Sell My Car, an Australian car buying service, gives customers a free instant valuation online. It's a great place to start the selling process, there is no commitment to sell, and best of all it takes less than 2 minutes to get an online valuation and less than 24 hours to sell.

TIP: The online valuation is free; it's a great way to get an indication on the value of your vehicle. You can then compare this to other methods of selling.

04. Auctions

Selling at auction allows you to achieve the open market price for your car.

Manheim Car Auctions, an Australian auction house, will load images of your car for viewing online and help generate more exposure.

With weekly auctions in most states, your car is offered with a reserve price, but if it doesn't make the reserve you can still decide to sell on the day.

You also have the ability to sell your car unregistered if you are able to transport it to a Manheim site.

With many people attending auctions every week, your car will get plenty of exposure and lots of interest.

TIP: Do your research and set a realistic reserve price for a quick sale. Don't let your car go stale.

05. Cash for cars – car removal

Do you have a car that is not driveable? Auction houses like Manheim also offer salvage (damaged car) auctions. They will organise a price estimate over the phone and arrange for your car to be towed to the auction.

06. Donate your car – Kids Under Cover

Feeling charitable? Kids Under Cover (KUC) is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to preventing youth homelessness. KUC have a Donate Your Car program, which is a free, tax deductible and fast alternative to selling your vehicle. As a charity partner of KUC, Manheim sells your vehicle through auction and the money raised goes to KUC.

07. Frequently asked questions

-   Can I sell my car without a roadworthy certificate?

Not all states require a roadworthy check when you're selling a car, so it's worth checking your local registration authority to get the local rules that apply to you.

In states like Victoria, where a current roadworthy certificate is required, you can sell your car without a roadworthy certificate, but only if the buyer agrees to do it themselves.

But a buyer is likely to be more confident to purchase your car if it has a current roadworthy certificate, although they may like to negotiate a cheaper purchase price if they are prepared to obtain the roadworthy certificate at their own cost.

-   Does the car need to be registered to sell? 

You can sell your car without registration, but it may be more appealing to a buyer if it is sold with the registration remaining. Unregistered vehicle permits are available in each state at a cost, but are only for temporary use.

-   How can I work out what my car is worth?

Most people think their car is worth more than it really is. Keep that in mind when comparing with listings on CarsGuide, as these cars are not yet sold.

It is a good idea to get an online valuation before you decide on your price. You can get a good idea of its value with the car valuation tool on

-   Can I sell my car under finance?

This can often be difficult. It depends on how the car is financed. See our full selling a car under finance story here.


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Staff Writers
The CarsGuide team of car experts is made up of a diverse array of journalists, with combined experience that well and truly exceeds a century. We live with the cars we test, weaving them into our family lives to highlight any strenghts and weaknesses to help you make the right choice when buying a new or used car. We also specialise in adventure to help you get off the beaten track and into the great outdoors, along with utes and commercial vehicles, performance cars and motorsport to cover all ends of the automotive spectrum. Tune in for our weekly podcast to get to know the personalities behind the team, or click on a byline to learn more about any of our authors.
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