A quick guide to selling your car

Are you planning on selling a car? Whether cutting costs or setting your sights on an upgrade, now could be a good time to do it. Traffic levels are returning to normal after slumping by around 65% at the beginning of the UK lockdown, with many people now ready to spend after months of saving money on leisure activities.  

If you are swapping an old model for a new set of wheels, it’s a good idea to research the market, assess your finances and get a rough plan in place. But there are steps you’ll need to take to sell too – the key points of which are detailed below.


Putting your old car on the market is the first step to making a sale. There are plenty of ways to do so, and you may want to try several methods at once if you need to shift it urgently. 

Classic tactics include installing ‘For sale’ signs in your car window and in local shops, as well as placing ads in local newspapers and magazines. A modern and potentially more efficient method is to list your car online, whether on auction sites such as eBay, or specialist sales sites like AutoTrader.

You’ll need to provide an accurate description of the vehicle by law, covering details such as mileage, service history and the year of manufacture.  

Taking payment

Once you’ve found an interested party and agreed on an acceptable price, next is to determine how you’ll take payment. 

Cash is one option, though it’s a good idea to meet the buyer at your bank if this is the route you choose. This way you’ll be able to count and pay in the money immediately while having a member of staff check it’s all genuine. 

Alternatively, you could accept an immediate bank transfer. Just make sure to keep the car until the money lands in your account. The same goes for taking a cheque. 

Completing paperwork

After payment, it’s on you to complete a few bits of essential paperwork. First is to write receipts for you and the buyer with key details of the sale.

Next is to complete and send the V5C – a document confirming proof of ownership – to the DVLA, passing on the new keeper part to your buyer. You can learn more about vehicle registration on the government website

You’ll also need to provide the car’s handbook, keys, service record and receipts, and MOT certificate if the car is over three years old.   

Staying safe 

It’s likely people will want to view your car in person even when selling online – which could put you at danger in extreme scenarios. 

Take basic precautions such as having a friend or family member present, asking to see proof of identity, and removing the keys if leaving the potential buyer alone.

You may also need to get temporary car insurance if offering a test drive. In current circumstances, you should also both wear masks to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Are you already in a position to sell? With a better idea of the process involved, now’s the time to put your foot on the gas. 

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