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True Car Review

Thursday, May 30th

2024 Car Selling Site Reviews

True Car Review 3 Star Rating

True Car

3 Star Rating
  • "A+" rated and accredited by the BBB
  • Service gives you a trade-in value from a dealer; can't be used to sell cars privately
  • Offers good for three days

In business since 2005, TrueCar is an automotive digital marketplace that lets you buy and sell used cars. When using this service for selling cars, your offers will all come from certified dealerships near you: there's no messing around with taking inquiries and offers from private buyers, just direct contact from dealers alone.

See your estimate as you enter details

To sell your used vehicle, you'll start by entering the license plate, VIN or make/model. You'll confirm a few details, like the color, options, mileage and ZIP code, and then move on to specifics about any accidents, damage, or mechanical issues. We love how the offer estimate populates in the bottom right corner as you enter that information, giving you a real-time idea of what you might get for your car.

Estimate subject to in-person inspection

Finally, you'll see your True Cash Estimate. It includes a breakdown of how each detail raised or lowered the dollar amount, from mileage to condition. Keep in mind that this offer is just an estimate. It's valid for three days, but it is subject to an in-person inspection.

Save your work or get offers now

You can enter your email address at that point if you'd like to save your progress: maybe you're not quite ready to sell, or you're hoping that the value will increase in the near future, as the market for used cars gets tighter. Otherwise, click on "Get Your True Cash Offer" to enter your name, phone number and/or email to connect with local dealers. You can specify whether you'd prefer to receive emails only or if you're willing to be contacted by phone and email.

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Dealers aren't obligated to honor TrueCar's estimate

TrueCar's reputation is somewhat mixed. On the one hand, they've got accreditation and an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau, and there were only 11 complaints filed there in the 12 months prior to this review. On the other hand, we've seen some pretty angry comments from users in places beyond the BBB. Granted, most of them are referring to the car-buying features of TrueCar, but they're still not pleased: dealerships aren't honoring the sale price, so you might be wise to suspect that the same could happen on a trade-in value too. Lots of TrueCar users say the site is a waste of time, because the partner dealerships aren't obligated to hold up their end of the bargain promised during the TrueCar process.

Lowball offers

Plus, we all know that dealer offers are usually the lowest when selling cars. Comparing several services in our review, our TrueCar estimate was just half of the highest offer we got elsewhere.

Not bad, but not very good either

Could you use TrueCar to sell your vehicle? Probably. There's nothing we found that makes this service untrustworthy or bad. But, it could prove to be a waste of time - especially if the partner dealers near you don't make you an offer that's even close to what you were quoted through the TrueCar site. You may want to try a higher-ranked option before using TrueCar.

What's the Best Way to Sell Your Car?

Gone are the days of newspaper classifieds and putting a "for sale" sign in the dashboard window: most people today sell their cars online. It's usually easy, often fast, and there are lots of tools to help you set a competitive asking price. Generally speaking, you'll choose between two different methods of selling your car: getting a cash offer from a dealership (either online-only or one with a brick-and-mortar location near you) or creating a listing to sell it privately - like those newspaper ads but digital.

Which one is right for you? That depends. Cash offers often eliminate a lot of hassle: you don't have to screen prospective buyers, set up multiple appointments with interested customers, or verify the authenticity of their payment method. Many of the online-only services will pick up the vehicle at no charge, from any address you specify.

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Car Selling Site FAQ

Yes! The days of taking out an ad in the classifieds are gone - most private sellers sell their cars by listing them online. The process is simple and makes it possible for thousands of prospective buyers to see your vehicle.
Nothing! There are several sites that allow you to list your car for free. Of course, most of these sites offer upgraded listings for a fee, if you'd like to put up more photos, have your ad up for longer than 30 days, or include your vehicle's CARFAX report.
Start by determining a fair market value for your car: most people use Kelley Blue Book to do that. Then, make sure your vehicle is reasonably clean - you don't have to spend a lot of money for a professional detailing, but at least make sure to wash it well and do a thorough job of cleaning out the inside (no crumbs, fast food wrappers, or unpleasant odors!). Finally, set up your online listing for maximum visibility: the more information you provide, including photos, the more prospective buyers you'll get.
At the very least, you'll need to have the vehicle's title in hand (or available for electronic transfer at your DMV). If you still owe money on your car, contact your lender to find out their process for getting the title. Other paperwork that can help you sell your car includes documentation of the service history (e.g. oil changes, tire rotations), initial purchase documents if you bought the car new, and a vehicle history report from a service like CARFAX.
For safety reasons, you may want to arrange to meet at a neutral public location like a parking lot or even outside of the police station. If the buyer wants to take a test drive - as they should! - you should get a photo of their driver's license and be sure to ride along with them.
Absolutely! While you may not get as much money for your vehicle this way, it eliminates a lot of the hassle you'll experience when selling to a private buyer. There are online services that specialize in advertising your car only to dealerships. You could get an instant cash offer, or a dealer might ask to do an in-person appraisal first.
That's up to you, but a smart buyer will probably request one from a mechanic they trust instead of taking yours at face value. It might be better to wait until you have a buyer and let them choose if and where to have an inspection done.
Call your insurer! If you're planning on getting a new car, you may have to keep your policy in place so that there's no lapse in coverage.
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Continued from above...

Of course, that convenience may cost you. Not every service with cash offers will take cars in any condition, and you may get more money for your car with a private buyer. After all, they're trying to avoid the markup that always happens after a dealership buys a used car and puts it on their lot, so you might be able to meet in the middle and start at a higher asking price. Many people selling cars try both at the same time: shopping around for the best cash offer while testing the waters with a private listing. It's up to you.

What will you need to sell your car? Either route you choose, you'll almost always need current, valid registration papers; any available key fobs/remotes and manuals; valid state-issued photo ID; and, typically, anyone named as an owner on the title needs to be present at the time of sale. Are you required to have a paper title in hand? That depends on the state where you live and the terms of the car-selling service you select.

There are quite a few sites out there for selling cars. Which one is the best for you? Keep these criteria in mind to help you decide:

  • Cash offer or DIY? Some services give you both options, while others specialize in just one pathway. If you go the offer route, it's a good idea to compare quotes among several platforms to help you get top dollar for your vehicle.
  • Tools. Does the service help you price your car appropriately or show you an estimate from an objective source like Kelley Blue Book?
  • Payment methods. How will you get the money for your car? Will you walk away with cash in hand, a cashier's check, or find yourself waiting for a bank transfer or a check in the mail?
  • Reputation. What do other sellers say about their experience with the service? Was it transparent and fair, or did they feel ripped off in the end? Has the Better Business Bureau rated the company?

To help you choose the right platform for selling your car, TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the most popular services currently available online. We hope this information makes it possible for you to sell your car quickly and get the most possible cash out of the deal!

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