Selling a second-hand car? Here's what you should know

Trading into a dealer vs. selling privately…

We compare the benefits of selling a second-hand car privately, versus trading it in with a dealer. Find out how to get the most of the sale!

If you think that it’s about time to buy a new(er) car, then you will more than likely be faced with the situation of what to do with your old car.

Excluding any shady insurance-fraud related alternatives, we’re left with two main options. Trading it in to a dealer, or selling your second-hand car privately.

Let’s take a look at the some of the pros and cons of each of these options:

Trading it in to the dealers

Trading a car in is certainly the more convenient option. There is very little you have to do, you’re essentially selling your second-hand car to the dealer and they then minus this amount off from the new car you purchase.

So what’s the downside? This seems like a pretty good option! Well the downside is – regardless of what the dealers tell you – you won’t get as good a price. They’re not doing you any favours by letting you trade it in. They’re a business trying to make money and when they offer you a trade-in, they will be aiming to make money off that transaction.

It really just depends on you and how much the extra hassle is worth to you. It also depends on the condition you’ve kept your car in. If you’ve taken care of your vehicle throughout the years and kept up its maintenance, then you’d probably be able to get an even better price for it when sold privately.

However, in order to really know what the best option for you might be, we need to take a look at what you could potentially be missing out on!

Selling a second-hand car privately

Selling a second-hand car will usually net you more money. It takes time to organise everything required to facilitate the sale, so it only makes sense that you should receive more money.

According to shebuyscars.com, they compared the price that she had recently sold a car to a private party for, versus the trade-in value she was quoted from Kelley Blue Book. She sold the car to a private party for around 25% more than the price she was quoted!

This is fairly significant, if we’re talking about selling a second-hand car and a dealer offers you R100 000, you are potentially missing out on R25 000. So at the end of the day you’ve got to ask yourself, is the hassle of selling your vehicle privately worth the money? If you’re incredibly busy and value your free time, then maybe it isn’t!

Selling a second-hand car - private vs trade-in

If you do decide to sell privately, there are some things you can do to make sure that you get the best price for your vehicle. Or even if you’re trading it in at a dealer, these tips will still benefit you, as the dealers will probably give you a better price!

1. Take good care of your vehicle!

Keep your maintenance records, receipts for any parts or services and any other paper records of work done on your car.

2. Give your car a good wash and detail!

Wash the car before selling, a clean car will always be more visually appealing to buyers and will show them that you’ve taken care of the vehicle. Take it somewhere that will thoroughly clean, both inside and outside of the car (or do it yourself). Once through a automatic car wash, isn’t enough and you should also make sure that the interior gets just as thoroughly cleaned as the exterior!

3. Know your market and price competitively!

Spend a bit of time looking through Gumtree and other second-hand car dealerships. Look out for similar vehicles to your own and then try compare them with your own. Just to give you a rough idea of what your car should be going for and to ensure that you don’t take a price that’s too low!

Alternatively you could take it in to a dealer, let them evaluate it and give you their quote. Then use that as a baseline and price the vehicle at roughly 25% more than the dealers would offer.

4. Take care of the obvious dents, scratches and tyres!

Any scratches, dents or repairs of any kind that the dealers will have to do in order to sell the vehicle, will detract more from the price they offer you, than it will cost you to have these repaired yourself. So it may require paying these repair costs, but it will net a higher offer from either the private buyer or the car dealers.

Same thing goes with tyres, if the dealers are going to need to replace the tyres themselves, they will minus off more from what they will offer you, than it will cost them to replace.

5. Change the oil and have all roadworthy and inspection tests done.

Get this all done before you go about making the sale! It would be unfortunate to find an interested buyer, only to have him lose interest because you still need to get the paperwork together to actually facilitate the sale.

6. Take good photos!

Take multiple photos of every part of the car and upload the best ones to the advert or site that you are attempting to sell the vehicle on. More photos will make more people interested in the vehicle. It will also cut down on people organising to view the car and not be interested and will attract only people are actually interested!

If you do all of these things, whether you decide to sell your second-hand car privately or to the dealer, you will certainly get a better price for it, more than these steps will cost you!

Don’t forget that even second-hand cars need to be covered by insurance. Hippo can not only provide you with this but make sure you know all about these car safety hacks before you hit the road.

Source: shebuyscars.com, Kelley Blue Book