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When trying to sell a used car, making sure you're getting the most money for your vehicle is a must.

Luckily for you there are different ways you can sell your used car — and helping you find the most effective way to sell your car is exactly what this article is about.

First of all, you'll need to understand how to price your used car to then be able to effectively sell your used vehicle. Here's a quick overview of what you'll find on this page:

man making calculations of used car value

How To Price a Used Car

Once you've decided it's time to sell your car, the first thing you need to do is find out how much your used car is worth.

There are many factors that can impact the sale price of your used vehicle such as mileage, maintenance history, vehicle condition and even your location.

Aside from that, having the proper documentation together will go a long way in determining your asking price.

  1. Get The Info About Your Car Together. Grab a notepad or open up your notes app and write down the year, make, model, and trim of your vehicle.

    Afterwards, you’re going to want to jot down any other features — leather seats, rear entertainment systems, bluetooth, etc. — that your vehicle might have. Any aftermarket items that you’ve added, such as rims or an upgraded stereo system, can net you a little more value for your car.

    However, keep in mind that you aren’t likely to get a total return on your money spent for those upgrades. Along with the year, make, model, and trim, make sure to record your used vehicle’s current mileage, extended warranty, maintenance history and the condition of the vehicle.

  2. Zeroing In On The Value. When deciding on a price to sell your used car, you have a few options to help you decide your asking price:

    1. Get A Mechanic’s Assessment. A professional eye will catch things amiss with your vehicle that you won’t. Take your used car to the mechanic and they’ll likely help you ask for an even higher price than you had initially.
    2. Use A Valuation Tool. CarBrain, Kelley Blue Book, etc. There are plenty of online, free-to-use valuation tools to help you zero in on your used car’s price.
    3. Check Your Local Listings. Checking listings on a site like AutoTrader will help you figure out the ballpark for your asking price.

How To Sell a Used Car

person selling a used car

You can sell your used car online, privately, or trade it in to a dealership. The trade-in value is usually the lowest of all three.

Once you’ve set a price for your used car it’s time to get your vehicle’s documents in order. Having all of the relevant paperwork on hand is critical. The type of documents you need to have are:

  • The car title
  • Service records
  • Original sales paperwork
  • Vehicle history report

Having these documents on hand not only offer transparency to prospective buyers, but also aid you in negotiating a higher asking price for your used car.

When preparing your car for sale, it’s in your best interest to get any issues taken care of as well so it doesn't slow you down during the sales process. Broken door handles, cracked windshields, etc. should all be repaired prior to putting your car up for sale.

Furthermore, you’ll want to go the extra mile and get your vehicle detailed beforehand; it’s pricey, but can be the difference between selling a few hundred dollars above your car’s actual value.

When Is The Best Time To Sell A Used Car?

It is best to sell your car when its mileage is low, when you still have equity in the vehicle, and/or when your repair costs surpass your car payment.

When The Mileage Is Low

Every mile a car travels increases the amount of wear and tear on the vehicle’s crucial components. Each mile you drive pushes your engine closer to its last leg.

Vehicles with more miles will typically have a lower resale value than an identical make and model with lower mileage.

While mileage can impact your car’s value, your service record holds some serious weight as well.

A car with 100,000 miles on it and a perfect service record may fetch a better trade in offer than the same car with 70,000 miles on it.

When You Have Equity On Your Car

Equity (in regards to your car) is the difference between how much you owe on your car and its current market value and it can be either positive or negative.

Positive Equity - after you sell the car and pay off the loan, you would still have some money remaining.

Negative Equity - the current value of your car would not pay off your outstanding loan.

Selling your used vehicle while you have equity on it is the best move.

While it is possible to sell a used car with negative equity, it would immediately put you upside down on your new auto loan. Therefore, you should treat negative equity auto sales as a last resort.

When Repairs Surpass Your Car Note

If your car is constantly in and out of the repair shop, then it’s likely time for you to get it off your hands.

You’re very likely putting more money into your vehicle than what you’re spending on monthly payments, which is a “no go” with used cars.

Where To Sell A Used Car

When it comes down to where you can sell your used car, you have a few options. Deciding which of these options best serves you boils down to deciding how quickly you need it sold and how much profit you’re trying to make.

  • Dealerships and private buyers
  • Junkyards and scrapyards
  • Online platforms

Junkyards and scrapyards are the quickest and easiest way to sell your vehicle, but you’ll likely walk away with far less than the vehicle is worth (especially if it’s still roadworthy).

Dealerships are relatively quick ways to sell your car, while also paying somewhere in the ballpark of its actual cash value.

Now, they may lowball your value in order to maximize their own takeaway, so it’s best to know your car’s value ahead of time.

Private buyers can move quickly, but they can also move at a snail’s pace. Waiting around for one and sifting through non-committal prospective buyers can be a drag.

That said, if your vehicle is someone’s particular fancy, you might net a higher profit than the previous options.

Online platforms like CarBrain connect you to an innumerable number of buyers, while comparing your vehicle to similarly-priced vehicles in your area.

You can get instant valuation for your vehicle and may get it purchased within 24-48 hours.

woman smiling selling used car online

When It Comes To Used Cars, It’s Always “When” At CarBrain

The window to sell your used car to CarBrain is always open.

With our cutting-edge valuation calculator, one of our customer service representatives can provide you with the value of your vehicle within 90 seconds or less. There’s zero-obligation and it’s absolutely free.

If you like the value given, you won’t have to go anywhere else to list your car. They’ll connect you to one of the local partners within our national network.

You can schedule a vehicle retrieval in as little as 24-48 hours and a tow truck will be dispatched to come pick up your used car — completely free!

After a brief inspection, the driver will hand you the amount that was promised — no haggling down or anything of that sort — and will take that car away in no time.

All this done without you leaving the convenience of your home.

Contact CarBrain today and let’s get started on getting rid of that car!


Get an Online Offer from a Junk Yard Near you

At What Mileage Is It Best To Sell A Car?

30,000 to 60,000 miles is the ideal range for selling a car. This is around the five year mark for most vehicles and is just before you’ll start spending more money on repairs and parts.

How Long Should I Keep A Car Before Selling It?

After five years, your car has depreciated significantly. That is the best time to sell your vehicle, as most vehicles start to experience mechanical issues after this time period.