Pros and cons of private selling services, parts exchange, and car purchases

There has been an explosion of services offering to buy your car without having to sell it privately (fixed price or online auction) or partly exchange it for another car.

They claim to offer a fair fixed price and a treat that can be done from the comfy couch. Here we take a look at the pros and cons of selling a car yourself compared to car buying services.

Before you choose any of these methods, get an idea of ​​what your car is worth by looking at asking prices for other similar cars and getting an independent evaluation provided by such as Parkers or Autotrader.

Whichever way you sell, you need to have all the relevant paperwork ready, get the best price, and fix any major flaws.

special sale

classified ad

Most of us are perfectly happy to sell some used furniture from home with a listing on the web, but whether you’re willing to sell your car this way probably comes down to your personality.

Classified ads from the days when you put a small entry in a paid newspaper or magazine are still called the word. The process has moved largely online now, adding photos and videos of the cars.

The Auto Trader Group claims to be the largest car marketplace in the UK and Ireland, offering new and used cars from private dealers and sellers. As of early 2022, the base ad for two weeks on Auto Trader ranged between £36.95 and £74.95.

Gumtree, owned by auction site eBay, claims to be one of the largest private engine marketplaces in the UK, and its ads are free for private sellers unless you pay more for features to boost their visibility.

Auto Trader and Gumtree help you put together an ad and give advice on how to deal with callers and what to do if the car doesn’t sell

You can set the asking price based on the online assessment the site gives you, compared to what you might know from your homework. Knowing the lowest price you will accept, select a price that will attract interest but can be negotiated. Get a very complete description and take good photos.

However, the advertised prices for similar cars are not final; Many people overvalue their cars and the final price paid after some haggling will not be the same.

As a private seller, you have a legal responsibility to ensure that the vehicle is runable with the current MOT. It is also illegal to sell a vehicle that still has financing outstanding.

online auction

If you’re very keen on selling your car, you can place it on an online auction site, the most famous of which is eBay Motors (which also offers fixed-price listings called “buy it now”).

The list creation process is the same as for advertising. You can either start your first bid at a strikingly low point (and set a reserve) or make your first bid at the lowest amount you can accept.

Pros of private selling

By selling privately, you can achieve a price higher than the exchange rate from a dealer or perhaps a car buying service. If you have a modified, rare or classic car, a private sale may be the only way to find the right buyer. Ebay Motors takes care of the payment from the buyer whether you sell at a fixed price or by auction.

Disadvantages of private selling

It may take a long time and you can’t check who will come to see your car. There are many scams and security issues that you should be aware of. Autotrader produces a free security checklist available to all visitors to its site. Also, lately, you may not feel comfortable with strangers in your house or sitting near you in the car.

There are some drawbacks to online auctions. You can only do limited reviews once the auction starts (any mistakes are hard to correct) and it’s best to be home the day the auction ends answering last minute questions. If someone wins the auction and pays before collection, sell to them.

As with a private online sale, even though the car has been sold unseen, the winning bidder can visit and try to discount the price they are offering to buy the car before finally settling (this has happened to me), so you may need to stand on Ground.

partial change

This is an old and familiar concept. You exchange your old car for the price of the new or used car you buy from a new car dealership or used car dealer.

exchange my car (One of our business partners) is a service that combines a car purchase service (see below) with a personal service to help you purchase a replacement car.

So if you’re looking to sell your current vehicle and know what vehicle you’re after, they can do every round to find the right vehicle and offer you a changeover. Alternatively, you can also simply buy your car like the more traditional car buying services below.

Pros of partial exchange

You do not have to advertise your car or try to sell it. The process of getting rid of your old car and replacing it is combined, so you get the whole transaction done in one place at a time that suits you.

The dealer wants to sell you a car, so he’s going to make the process happen. If you have already sold your car by other means, you may not have the means of transportation to look for the next one.

Crucially, you can also partly replace your car if there is financing owed on it. As part of the process, the dealer will liquidate your financing and deduct this amount from the price paid for your vehicle.

Disadvantages of partial exchange

To get the best price, you should take about as much preparation time as you would if you were selling privately or for a car buying service.

The exchange value of your parts can be affected by some completely random factors such as the time of the month or that dealer’s inventory levels. With a new car, unless you go from dealer to dealer, you won’t know you have the best deal ever.

Traditionally, the part replacement price is often lower than what you might sell for your car privately or for a car buying service. With the ease of selling online, car owners can now compare offers from different services to find the best price.

Car buying services

The car buying service will give you a price for your car, after describing it online. Either he takes it from you, or you take it somewhere, and you transfer the money to your account.

If you’re looking to “sell your car online”, the best results are likely to be We Buy Any Car, Motorway (one of our business partners), and Cazoo (also one of our partners). While the principle is the same, there are differences.

We buy any car

WBAC does not sell cars to the public, but buys them from individuals and sells the cars (and vans) either at auction or directly to the auto dealership. It claims: “You can sell your vehicle to us regardless of its make, model, color, age, mileage, or condition.”

After entering the registration number and specific details it gives you a value. You can then book an appointment at one of its branches where it will be checked before the transfer is made.


Cazoo has become a driving force for the online retail auto business. They sell used cars online through customer centers and offer monthly subscriptions. They will also buy your car from you, but there are conditions.

The majority of cars that Cazoo buys are less than 15 years old and have fewer than 150,000 miles on the clock. The vehicle offered was road legal with MOT, not on outstanding financing or placed in certain categories of accident insurance. Nor will it require modified cars.


Again, the process begins with entering your registration number and specific details about the vehicle. Highway does not buy cars itself but finds the highest bid across a nationwide network of authorized dealers through a daily auction where dealers compete to buy your car at the best price.

The winning dealer will pay you via bank transfer, and will either collect the car from your home, or you may be asked to hand it over to your local dealer.

Pros of car buying services

Speed ​​and convenience, without the need to make a special sale or partial exchange. Some companies will settle any outstanding financing.

Disadvantages of car buying services

You still need to collect all the papers and present the car in the best possible way.

Comfort outweighs the fact that it may not be the best price you can get for your car.

If you describe the case as fully as possible, you are likely to get what you were offered when you come to hand it over. However, if the representative considers that it does not match your description, it may lead to an attempt to lower the price.

*The Car Expert has business partnerships with Cazoo, Exchange My Car and Motorway. If you sell your car to any of these companies, we may receive a small commission.

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