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When the time comes to sell your car - maybe you're downsizing, or you'd like to get a better price for it than what you were offered by your local dealership - what's the best way to find a buyer? In the past, most people had to rely on ads in the newspaper or even posting a sign in the window of the vehicle itself. Of course, these methods limited sellers to a small number of prospective buyers.
In today's market, the obvious choice for selling a vehicle is by using the Internet. It's not uncommon for buyers to travel long distances, even to other states, if it means getting the vehicle with the features and price they're looking for. In order to reach the widest number of people, choosing the right online service is essential to selling your used car quickly and for a fair price.
Wednesday, January 27th
With a name like Cars, it's no surprise that this company is a solid resource for people looking to buy or sell a car. From the very start of the process of selling your used vehicle, Cars will give you the most options currently available on the market.
These options include:
We really like all of the helpful tools Cars provides to help you sell your car. Be sure to check out the resources on the pricing and packages page, which include articles on how to create a successful listing and help with creating a listing that can be used both online and in your local newspaper.
With an "A+" rating as an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau, useful resources for car sellers, and the widest variety of options for selling a used vehicle, Cars earns our highest rating among sites for selling used cars.
If you're a car aficionado, you definitely shouldn't miss the Web2Carz site. Designed primarily as an online automotive magazine, you can read up on all of the current trends in the industry, from limited-edition vehicles to reviews of the most "green" cars on the market.
Web2Carz also can connect you with services beyond selling your used car. Using the navigation at the top of the page, when you hover over "Car Shopping" you'll see a list on the right side of the drop-down. That list includes:
Using the Web2Carz site to sell your next pre-owned car is easy and free. Start by entering your ZIP code on the main "Sell My Car" page. From there, you will be required to enter the make, model, year, asking price, and mileage of your vehicle. You can also include other details like the VIN, number of doors, exterior/interior colors, and trim level, and there are many checkboxes to indicate any features your car has. Further down, you can type in a paragraph describing your vehicle, including any selling points or other comments you'd like to make. Finally, photos are optional; you can include up to twelve images.
On the final page, you will confirm that the ZIP code you entered previously is correct and enter the contact information you'd like prospective buyers to use: your email address is required, and you're encouraged to enter your phone number as well. Your listing will then be published on the Web2Carz website, their iPhone app, and their partner distribution network, which includes well-known sites such as Google Base, Kijiji, and more. All of this is completely free to use.
Compared with other sites for listing used cars, Web2Carz is missing a few resources. First, there's no connection with dealerships who might be willing to make you an offer for your vehicle. Also, there are no tools for helping you accurately calculate the value of your car - no Kelley Blue Book calculator or comparison tool with other cars currently listed in your area. This makes Web2Carz slightly less helpful than more highly-ranked sites we evaluated.
We do like that Web2Carz maintained an "A+" rating with the Better Business Bureau at the time of our review, as an accredited business since 2009.
We give Web2Carz a good rating, which would improve if they expanded their offerings to help customers connect with dealerships and to get a better idea of a recommended price range for selling their used car.
Autotrader is a recognized name in the car buying-and-selling market. With respect to selling your used vehicle, using the Autotrader site gives you two primary options: the Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer, which involves selling or trading in your car to a participating dealer, or selling it yourself using an ad placed on the site itself.
Begin by entering your ZIP code, and then choose between the two options. If you opt to create your own ad, you'll have to pay for one of their four packages:
If you'd prefer to get an offer from an Autotrader partner dealer, you'll enter the year, make, model, style, exterior color, mileage and your ZIP code to start the process. You can also enter your VIN if you choose, which will fill in most of those details automatically. That information will be used to calculate the approximate value of your vehicle, which is passed along to local dealerships in order to make you an offer.
Autotrader's reputation in general is good. At the time of our review, they maintained an "A+" rating with the Better Business Bureau, along with an accreditation spanning more than 16 years. However, customer satisfaction seems to be limited to using the site to buy new and used cars; across the board, those who used the site to sell their own cars complain about spending too much money for few-to-no responses. Even those who paid extra money for features designed to make their vehicles standout said that the only inquiries they received were from dealers and not from private buyers.
On a more positive note, the Autotrader site has helpful information if you're looking to buy a car in addition to selling one. Not only will you find resources for loans and insurance, but the Car Research & Reviews drop-down will help you compare vehicles, see the latest articles and expert reviews, and even calculate what you can afford.
TRUECar uses today's technology to help you sell your car. Their TRUECar Sell mobile app lets you use your smartphone to gather all of the information you need, so that their partner dealers can make you a guaranteed cash offer for your car. And, your information is only passed on to the dealer you select from among the multiple offers you receive. The typical turnaround time to get those offers is 24 hours.
Unlike most of the other sites we reviewed, TRUECar does not have an option for creating a listing and selling your vehicle privately. This means that their services are limited strictly to those who have a smartphone (in order to use the app) and who want to sell their car directly to a dealer. It doesn't seem to be a popular option, as we were unable to find many reviews from customers who used this service. We did see a few when we looked at the app's listing in the Google Play and iTunes stores; iOS users seemed to have good results, while Android users said the app was "buggy" and resulted in malware being downloaded to their phone.
Alternately, if you are a car buff in general, be sure to check out TRUECar's blogs. For instance, their Insights blog discusses current trends in auto sales, shopping trends of Millennials compared with Baby Boomers, and much more. Those links are almost hidden away at the bottom of the main TRUECar site.
In summary, while TRUECar's "A+" rating with the Better Business Bureau indicates a solid reputation and commitment to customer service, their limited options for selling your used car may not be able to compete with other more well-rounded services.
Car Gurus has been in the car listing market for over 10 years and is based out of Massachusetts. Their listing service is free and seemingly straightforward: enter the basic details of your vehicle, such as the make, model, year, trim and mileage, along with your zip code, and you'll get an instant price analysis based on similar vehicles for sale in your area. There's a useful slider that shows you where your listing would appear on the page compared with those other vehicles, as you move the price upward or downward. You may want to visit the Car Gurus site just for that tool alone, to help you price your vehicle competitively no matter where you decide to list it.
From there, select the features of your vehicle, enter the color of the exterior and the VIN number, and include any other details you'd like. You will also need to upload at least one photo to list your vehicle. When you've entered all of that information, click the box that verifies that you are at least 18 years of age and hit "post my car". That's all there is to it - no fees or any other requirements to list your vehicle.
We did find ourselves scratching our heads a little when we saw the comparable listings near us. Two of them were within 40 miles, while two others were located more than 1,000 miles away. But, when we performed a search as if we were looking for the make and model we were listing, we did find a long list of results that were genuinely local.
That search did make us notice that 99% of the results were dealer listings. At first, we weren't even sure that private sellers were listing vehicles in our area. We had to go to the advanced search settings and click on the box to see only listings with private sellers, which turned up many cars that weren't shown on the first two pages of results in the previous search. This could be a problem for private sellers: if dealer listings are, for some reason, given priority in the search results, your car may never be seen because it's buried under those other listings.
We also found complaints on the Better Business Bureau website that described private sellers' concerns with listing issues. After receiving inquiries from interested buyers and responding through the Car Gurus system, some sellers felt that their messages had not gone through and they were left waiting for replies. These complaints are a big part of the BBB's reasons for giving Car Gurus a "C-" rating.
Car Guru's price estimator tool is an excellent resource for private sellers, but we're not confident enough in the quality of their listing system to give them a score comparable to the higher-rated used car selling services in our review.
Sell My Car is an Internet Brands site that offers to list your used car using the Google Base ads section. According to the site, you can list your car at no cost in one of over 100 major metropolitan areas, simply by entering your basic contact information and creating an ad.
We found numerous issues with the Sell My Car site. There were many places where we found language that was worded as if it was written by someone in another country, such as "inquires saved" and "prospect buyers". Also, on the main page for those interested in selling their used vehicles, the link inviting them to click to see a sample of an ad gave us a "Page Not Found" error. Given that the only way to contact Sell My Car is through an online contact form - no toll-free number, live chat, support email or even a business address are offered - we would hesitate to provide any information using the site.
We were also concerned with several reviews we discovered that described users who were scammed by Sell My Car users: listings for the exact same vehicle in multiple metro areas, and customers who wired money using Western Union to the contact person only to be left without a car. This may not have anything to do with Sell My Car itself, but we find it problematic that, on numerous occasions, the site has been used in such ways.
Because of these many issues, we cannot recommend using Sell My Car to list your used vehicle. Instead, we suggest you consider one of the higher rated services we reviewed.
How do you know which website will provide the best experience for you as a seller? Consider these four criteria:
Whichever site you choose, you'll want to do everything possible to make your car appealing to its future owner. Make sure to clean the exterior and interior: vacuum the floor mats and between the seats, remove any bumper stickers if it can be done without damaging the paint, and consider adding an air freshener to give the car a pleasant smell. Also, as with any sales transaction that begins online, take the appropriate safety precautions to protect yourself; some people choose to meet in a well-lit parking lot at a busy supermarket or even outside of a local police station, to give both buyer and seller some extra peace of mind.
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best sites for selling cars available today. We hope these reviews help you find the right buyer and sell your car right away!
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