Drive It

Decisions faced when the time comes to sell your car

Okay, so you are in the market for some brand new wheels – but what to do with your current old clunker? Do you capitalize on getting the highest price by selling privately, or do you prefer the peace of mind of letting a dealership take care of your trade-in?

Selling Privately

Selling your car directly to a private buyer can be scary, but is also good way to get the best possible price for your car compared to trading it in at a dealership. Getting a higher price would surely help when putting up the deposit for that shiny new model, but private selling can however also be quite time consuming and often have some additional risks involved.

When selling your car privately, make sure it is looking its best. When the car is being inspected, a potential buyer is more likely to buy if they feel the car has been well looked after. Remove all clutter from the interior and get a full valet service done. Replace burnt-out lights or fuses and top off all fluid levels. Clear out that stuffy glove compartment but make sure the relevant documents remain inside for prospective buyers’ perusal.

The key to a quick and painless private sale is to price your car correctly. Overpricing could spell a long, drawn out sales process. A vehicle’s price is determined by a whole range of factors including: make, model, mileage, service history, condition, accident reports and the demand for the particular vehicle in the current market. Do a search for vehicles similar to yours on or check out some other car classified websites, to determine a fair market value of your car. This might not be the most accurate way to determine your price, but will give you a good idea how other similar advertised cars actually compare with yours.

Another way to determine the current value of your car is to make use of the various online ‘car valuation’ services to buy a ‘valuation report’. These websites in turn make use of the auto industry standard: ‘Trans-Union Auto Dealers’ Guide’, to determine the correct value of used cars. The value obtained from such a service might seem low, but is still only a guide. If you know your car is well looked after, don’t be afraid to ask a little more!

Trading in

Although selling your car privately might get you the best price, the risk-free convenience of trading in your old car at a dealership is often more appealing.
Do take note that car dealers have experience on their side, and are usually tough negotiator. Remember, extracting the best deal takes with a bold approach is what they do on a daily basis – so be prepared! Do your own research beforehand. Make use of an online ‘valuation report’, browse various car classifieds websites and ask friends in the industry for advice.

With your new found knowledge, take your car to at least three or four used car dealerships who are currently selling vehicles similar to yours and see what they will offer you for the car. Consider making phone calls to selected dealers beforehand. Ask the used-car manager what the value of your trade-in is. If you get a negative feeling on the phone, scratch them off your list and save yourself a trip!

A ‘valuation report’ will essentially provide you with the ‘trade’ (low end value) as well as ‘retail’ (high-end value) price of the vehicle. Let the salesperson know you’ve done some research and when asked what you want for your car, hit them with the high end of a realistic price and take it from there. Keep in mind that actual market value is somewhere in the middle of trade and retail values…
Make sure the dealer’s initial reaction is positive! Have the car thoroughly cleaned inside and out and remove all personal belongings from the interior. Nothing should stand in the way of the car dealer visualizing your car on his showroom floor!

In the end, individual’s needs differs widely and the decision where and how you sell your car comes down to what you can afford, are you willing to take on a little risk, or do you need complete peace of mind.
If you are considering selling your car privately, please visit for more information.

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