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Sell Your Used Car - Tips and Advice

14 Oct 2009 at 22:22

How to sell a car

Many car owners will, at some point in their motoring life, be faced with the task of having to sell their old car. In fact over 7.4 million used cars are sold in the UK every year, with approximately 2.8 million of them sold privately. As selling a car is something most people don’t do every day, the process can be quite daunting. So whether you’re selling a cheap run-about or just looking to trade up, our simple car-selling guide will to take you through all the steps and will hopefully relieve any trepidation you may have.

How to sell your car privately

Essential tips for selling your used car safely, quickly and for the right price.

  1. Repair your car - Ensure the car’s bodywork, electrics and tyres has been checked and that you have carried out all necessary mechanical repairs
  2. Make your used car look great - cleaning your car inside and out can make it easier to sell and get you a better price. Clear any clutter and consider a valet service for a professional finish.
  3. Have your documents ready - buyers will want to see your log book (V5) and MOT as well as any receipts, service records and handbooks.
  4. Price your car sensibly - an overpriced used car will put potential buyers off. Check online or use a car price guide to gauge the market.
  5. Decide where to advertise - whether in local classifieds and/or reach a wider market online. List any faults or extras in your advert and answer any questions honestly.
  6. Have an RAC Car Passport ready - With a car data check you can provide a complete history check to show buyers your car has a clear track record.
  7. Get your paperwork in order - your used car will sell easier if it has a recent MOT and has been serviced. Make sure it is taxed so the buyer can drive away. Get any minor faults fixed before advertising your car.
  8. Sit in on the test drive - If a potential buyer asks to test-drive the car, check whether they have the right insurance and remember to accompany them during the drive.
  9. Expect to haggle on price - but don't accept a price lower than you are happy with. If you're not confident seeing buyers alone, ask a friend to join you.
  10. Provide a receipt - stating your second hand car is "sold as seen" and keep a signed copy for yourself.
  11. Post the paperwork - once the car is sold and make sure the new owner has provided their details and signed the V5 owner's document.

For more tips and advice on how best to sell your used car, visit the RAC Sell My Car page.


Always accompany prospective buyers on a test drive when selling a used car. Ask if their insurance covers them to drive other cars before they get behind the wheel.

Once you've agreed a deal never hand over your car until you have received payment. Check that any cash payment is genuine and wait for a cheque payment to clear before you part with your keys.

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