How to Sell a Car to a Dealership

Can you sell your car to a dealership?

You may have only considered selling your car to a dealership when trading in a vehicle. However, did you know a dealership will buy your car even if you aren’t buying one of theirs? 

Selling to a dealership rather than a private buyer has several advantages. A big perk is that it’s a more convenient, quick and hassle-free way to get rid of an old vehicle. A sale to a private buyer can take weeks or longer to complete, and strangers may be less reliable or consistent when it comes time to make the sale.The convenience, safety and efficiency of selling to a dealership are all things to consider when listing your vehicle for sale.

Preparing Your Car for Sale: How to Get the Best Value

A dealership, like any other buyer, is going to be more attracted to a clean car in good condition. When getting your car ready for sale, give it a thorough cleaning inside and out. Check it over and remove anything you can that you wouldn’t want to see on a car you were purchasing, such as bumper stickers or decals. 

You’ll want to look for any significant damage to the exterior, which will affect the offer the dealership gives you; minor scratches and dings usually won’t matter as much. You can also make minor improvements like replacing dim or burnt out lights and topping off fluids like wiper fluid, brake fluid and coolant. When preparing your car for sale, an inspection by a mechanic is always a good idea. The shop can take care of any overdue repairs and give you an overview of the car’s current condition.

How to Get Your Car Appraised by a Dealership

When you take your car to a dealership to get it appraised, they’ll assess the inside, outside, mechanics and overall condition of your vehicle and then decide how much it is worth. There are several other factors that will determine the offer you get, including make and model, number of owners, previous damage, mileage and demand for the vehicle. The dealership may also want to take a test drive in your car before making an offer. Typically, they can give you a cash value offer in under an hour.

How to Negotiate a Fair Price for Your Car

When making the sale, you may be tempted to take the first offer without hesitation. However, it’s in your best interest to negotiate to get the best offer for that vehicle. These tips will help you negotiate a used car sale with a dealership.

  • Know its worth. Use Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds or NADA to find the fair market value of your car. You can use these resources to get an idea of what your car is worth and take that with you to dealerships as a starting point.
  • Search used cars. Browse online for used cars for sale in your area to see what the demand is for your specific make and model or cars similar to yours.
  • Shop around. Talk to multiple dealerships in your area and get quotes for what they would offer you for your vehicle. The offers will likely be in the same ballpark, but one dealership might be willing to offer a more competitive amount if your vehicle is in high demand.

Gather service records. Have the car’s service records handy to show the dealership that your vehicle has been well maintained. You’re likely to get a better offer if you can show the dealership that the car has received good care.

What are the final steps of selling your car to a dealership?

Once you’ve decided on the price and dealership you will sell to, you’ll finalize the sale with paperwork. You’ll need to sign a bill of sale and transfer your vehicle title. If you own your vehicle outright, all of the funds offered should be yours. If you still owe money to a lender for the vehicle’s loan, the dealership will pay the lender first, then you will get any  remaining funds. 

You’ll also need to provide the dealership with any maintenance and warranty paperwork, if you haven’t already. Depending on your state, you might need to surrender your license plate and fill out a release of liability. Because the requirements vary by state, you should check ahead of time to ensure you have everything you need at the time of sale.

Need coverage for your new car? Let SelectQuote help find the right auto insurance for your needs.

Whether you’re selling your car or purchasing a new one, it’s important to remember to update your auto insurance coverage. SelectQuote’s experienced licensed insurance agents can help you review your coverage and answer any questions you have about purchasing or switching car insurance. We search multiple highly-rated carriers in just minutes to save you time and find the right fit for your needs and budget.

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