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Guide to selling a vehicle

Lady selling a vehicle by putting an advert in her car window.

Selling a car can be a daunting task, especially if you are selling it for the first time. However, with a little preparation, knowledge, and effort, you can easily sell your car in the United Kingdom and get the best price for it. In this article, we will cover the various methods of selling a car, tips on how to stay safe and legal during the process, and strategies for getting the best price for your vehicle.

Methods of selling a vehicle

There are several methods to sell a car in the UK, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The most common methods are:

Private Sale

This is the most straightforward way to sell a car. You can advertise your car on websites, social media platforms, or local classifieds. You can also spread the word among friends and family. When selling a car privately, you can negotiate the price directly with the buyer, which gives you more control over the sale. However, you will also be responsible for handling all aspects of the sale, such as arranging test drives, negotiating the price, and arranging for payment.


This method involves trading your car as part of a deal when buying a new or used car from a dealership. The dealership will usually provide you with a valuation for your car, which you can use to offset the cost of your new car. This method is convenient and can save you time and hassle, but you may not get the best price for your car.

Car Buying Services

There are several car buying sites in the UK that can purchase your car directly from you. These services will typically offer a lower price than you could get by selling the car privately, but they take care of all the hassle of selling a car, including arranging payment and handling all necessary paperwork.


If you have a valuable or rare car, you may want to consider selling it at an auction. Auctions are a great way to get the best price for your car, but they can also be stressful and time-consuming. You will need to arrange for transportation of the car to the auction and pay a fee to the auction house.

Staying Safe and Legal

When selling a vehicle, it is important to follow the law and take steps to protect yourself. Some tips to stay safe and legal when selling a car include:

  • Be Honest: Be truthful about the condition of the car and any repairs or issues it may have. Misrepresenting the condition of a car is illegal and can result in serious consequences.
  • Use a Bill of Sale: A bill of sale is a legal document that records the sale of the car and serves as proof of ownership. It is recommended to use a bill of sale when selling a car to protect both you and the buyer.
  • Transfer of Ownership: You must transfer the ownership of the car to the buyer. This involves completing the appropriate paperwork and sending it to the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency).
  • Arrange Payment Safely: When arranging payment, it is essential to be cautious. Avoid accepting payment by wire transfer or other methods that are difficult to trace. Instead, opt for a payment method that provides you with some protection, such as a bank transfer or a cashier’s check.

Getting the Best Price

To get the best price for your car, you will need to prepare it for sale and take steps to make it appealing to potential buyers. Some tips to get the best price include:

  • Clean and Repair the Car: Clean the car inside and out and make any necessary repairs.
  • Determine the Market Value: Before listing your car for sale, it is important to determine its market value. You can use online resources such as the Kelley Blue Book or AutoTrader to get an estimate of your car’s value based on its make, model, year, condition, and mileage.
  • Price Your Car Competitively: Price your car competitively based on its market value and the prices of similar cars for sale in your area. Pricing your car too high will make it less appealing to potential buyers, while pricing it too low may leave money on the table.
  • Highlight the Car’s Features and Benefits: When advertising your car, be sure to highlight its features and benefits. List any upgrades or after market improvements you have made to the car and emphasize its fuel efficiency, safety features, and other selling points.
  • Present the Car Well: Take photos of the car from different angles and make sure they are well-lit and show the car in its best light. Make sure the car is clean and presentable for test drives and showings.
  • Negotiate with Confidence: When negotiating with potential buyers, be confident and assertive. Be willing to listen to their concerns and counter-offers, but also be firm on your bottom line price.
  • Consider All Offers: Be open to all offers and consider each one carefully. If you receive a low offer, be polite but firm in explaining why you believe your car is worth more.


By following these tips, you can get the best price for your car when selling it in the UK. Good luck!

Can I sell a vehicle with accident damage repairs? 

Selling a car that has been written off can be more challenging, but it is still possible. In the UK, cars that have been written off are categorized as Category A, B, S, or N, depending on the extent of the damage. See this guide for more details on write off and repair.

A Category A car is a car that has sustained severe damage, and is considered beyond repair. These cars are generally sent to scrapyards to be dismantled and recycled.

A Category B car is a car that has sustained significant damage, but parts of it may still be usable for spares or repair.

A Category S car is a car that has sustained structural or chassis damage, but can still be repaired. These cars must be repaired to a safe and roadworthy standard before they can be re-registered and put back on the road. If you are selling a Category S car, it is important to be transparent about its history and condition, and to price it accordingly.

A Category N car is a car that has sustained non-structural damage, such as airbag deployment or cosmetic damage. These cars can be repaired and put back on the road without any restrictions.

Regardless of the category of write-off, it is important to be transparent about the car’s history and condition when advertising and selling it. Potential buyers will likely want to know the details of the accident and the extent of the damage, and it is good to be honest and upfront about these details. It is also recommended to have a mechanic inspect the car before selling it to ensure that it is safe and roadworthy. By being transparent and taking the necessary steps to ensure the car is safe and roadworthy, you can still find a buyer for your written-off car.

When selling a car in the UK, it’s essential to get a car history check to provide potential buyers with information about the car’s past. This will give them a better idea of the car’s condition and help them make an informed decision about whether to purchase it.

A car history check will provide information about the car’s accident history, including the extent of any accident damage it has suffered. The check will indicate if the car has been written off as Category A, B, S, or N, as discussed earlier. It will also provide information about any outstanding finance on the car and if it has been stolen or scrapped.

Getting a car history check is easy and affordable. Simply provide the car’s registration number and pay a small fee to a reputable provider, such as HPI or the AA, and you will receive a detailed report about the car’s history.

Having a car history check is a valuable tool for both you and potential buyers. By providing this information, you can demonstrate your transparency and build trust with potential buyers. In turn, potential buyers will feel more confident in their decision to purchase the car, knowing that they have a complete understanding of its history and condition.