How to Sell Your Used Car

There are many reasons you may decide it’s time to sell your used car. Maybe your family is growing and you need something bigger, or maybe you want to celebrate that new job with something sportier. Whatever the reason, selling your used car should be a pleasant experience for you and the buyer. Here are some tips to help you prepare for a smooth transaction.

What information do I need to sell my used vehicle?

Depending on where you live and whether you’re selling your used car privately or trading it in to a dealer, there are different pieces of information you’ll want to arm yourself with to negotiate your used car sale. Hang on to your vehicle’s service records so you can show potential buyers how well the car’s been cared for, and make sure you buy a vehicle history report (VHR) to be transparent about the vehicle’s history. A VHR can alert you to accident history, registration history, unfixed safety recalls, lien status and more, showing the buyer that you have nothing to hide. And even if your vehicle does have accident history, studies show that 61% of used car buyers are open to a car that’s been in an accident, and being upfront and honest with this information and proving that any repairs have been done properly will go a long way in building trust with your customer. (Source: Into the Minds of Consumers).

How do I sell a used car in my province?

Every Canadian province has different rules, regulations and requirements around buying or selling a used car privately, and there are even differences when it comes to trading a vehicle in to a dealership. Depending on where you live, you may need a used vehicle information package (UVIP), emissions test, safety standard certificate or other provincial requirements. We’ve compiled the information you need no matter which province or territory you live in, in this helpful guide.

Finalizing a private used car sale.

What is my car worth?

Setting a fair price is important to a smooth used car transaction. Set the price too high and you’ll miss out on leads, set your price too low and you won’t get as much as you’d like towards your next vehicle. It’s tempting to just browse the listing sites and set your vehicle’s price alongside what comparable cars are listed for, but list prices and sold prices are very different things.

CARPROOF's True Retail Sold™ values consider not only what comparable vehicles actually sold for, but they adjust those numbers to account for any reported damage in the vehicle's history. Use this handy tool to get an accurate valuation of your vehicle and set a fair price right from the start.

There are many additional factors that contribute to your vehicle’s accurate value on top of its history, odometer reading and condition. Has anyone smoked in the car? Has it been used as a taxi or previous daily rental? Does it come with winter tires? These are all important questions to ask yourself when setting the asking price for your used car.

Should I trade in my car to a dealer?

Selling your car privately or trading it in to a dealership is not an easy decision – there are pros and cons to both – weigh them out and decide which is the best move for you.

Trading in your car can be a simple way to go – the dealer will take care of all the paperwork, they’ll fix any little dents or scratches and you won’t have to worry about posting advertisements, taking people for test drives or answering a lot of questions about the vehicle. Depending on where you live, you could also save some money on taxes by trading it in to a dealership when you’re purchasing a replacement vehicle.

Should I sell my car privately?

When you trade your car in to a dealer you might not get as much for the car as you would by selling it privately. Think of it as work – work that you pay yourself for – but only you can decide whether this work is worth the potential reward.

You will spend time and money reconditioning, detailing, preparing, listing and marketing the vehicle, not to mention communicating and meeting with potential buyers, and this work will likely earn you more money for your vehicle. If you chose to sell your car privately, a CARPROOF Vehicle History Report will be a big help in justifying your asking price to any potential customers. Show them the vehicle’s condition and history and give them peace of mind that the vehicle is what you say it is, and that you’re a trustworthy seller.

Where should I list my car for sale?

Online listing sites like AutoTRADER, Kijiji and Used.ca are among the most popular places for Canadian used car buyers to start their search. Make sure your listing stands out from the rest by including all the information a customer might want to know – including information about the vehicle’s accident history, lien status, registration history and more. Include good quality photographs, accurate odometer readings and any extra bits of information that will help show buyers that your car is the right one for them.

Get more tips on writing a great online listing.

Should I scrap my car?

Maybe you’ve had your car listed for a while and you’re just not getting any bites. Maybe the offers you’re getting just aren’t worth the hassle. Maybe you just want to do something good for your community. Whatever your reasoning, scrapping your vehicle is a viable option for many, and one that can earn you some money or a valuable tax receipt, and help your community at the same time.

There are many charities that will accept pre-loved vehicles to be used for youth employment-training programs, and many will give you a hefty charitable tax receipt that may be worth more than you could get selling the car. This is something to consider for those who own vehicles that are well past their prime.

There are many routes to choose between when you sell a used car. Whichever way you go, make sure you have all the information a buyer may look for on-hand, and be transparent about the vehicle’s history and current condition – it’ll go a long way in building trust with your buyer and facilitating a fair, timely sale.