Sell My Car Online for Free: Where and How to Sell Your Car Online for Free
Updated: Mar 2, 2021
If you are wondering how to sell your used car online for free, luckily, nowadays, there are many options available to you. Many online autotraders offer services that are cheap or free while making the process quick and easy. Yet, not all are entirely free and charge you a fee once your vehicle has sold. While some may be better than others, depending on what type of car you own or what you hope to achieve, we will make sure you know what options are available to sell your car online. This article will cover what online options exist where you can sell your car for free.
Online marketplaces for selling cars with no fees
Carvana makes selling your car fast and seamless. They claim they will have an offer price in just two minutes after providing them with some information. First, it works to go onto Carvana’s website and input all the required information on the vehicle you wish to sell. Then they will offer you a price which they claim will be fair and no lowballs. You can choose to trade in your vehicle or sell it for cash. Your trade in can be used towards a new car, and Carvana will come to pick it up from you. Read more about selling your car through Carvana in our article here.
Vroom car buying and selling as one the most straightforward tasks you will ever do. They offer “No obligation to sell,” “Quick and easy” process, and “free pickup” for sellers anywhere in the lower 48 states. Selling your car to Vroom requires three steps. First, provide Vroom with information on your vehicle such as year, make, model, license plate, condition, and mileage. Then Vroom will make you an offer, and if you accept, they will come to your home to pick it up. For more on selling your car with Vroom, check out our article here.
To sell your car to Shift, they use an estimator to determine how much your vehicle is worth. If you like the estimate, you can schedule an evaluation with a Shift Concierge. Shift’s pricing algorithm uses thousands of data points to calculate the market value of your car. Your estimate is based on car details and mileage, buyer demand in your zip code and city, features and packages, and estimated condition of the car. Shift includes data about what your specific vehicle is selling for in your immediate area. The Shift Concierge will evaluate your vehicle and, if applicable, make adjustments to the initial offer based on condition. If you approve the finalized offer, Shift will set up a direct transfer to your bank account. What makes Shift great is that they take your car and collect and process all the DMV paperwork. Shift will offer you a $200 bonus if you sell your car to them at your first evaluation appointment. For more on selling your car with Shift.com, check out our article here.
For local sales, Craigslist can be a great platform to sell your car online. Craigslist is one of the first places people look to when beginning to shop for a vehicle locally. While placing an ad on Craigslist is no longer free, it is incredibly cheap, and for only $5 to list your car, you can post your vehicle on their platform. It is suspected that Craigslist placed this low few to deter the amount of spam posting on the website without harming legitimate sellers. Craigslist has some great options, such as making your post look how you wish and include tons of pictures. Still, given that it is a local marketplace, you could be missing out on exposure to a much larger audience, depending on where you live.
Like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace can be a popular place to sell your vehicle because it is free to use and list your vehicle. All you need is an account, and with Facebook being the world's most popular social media platform, you have the opportunity to gain a lot of free exposure to your vehicle listing. Facebook is better than Craigslist for security purposes because you can easily vet the individual inquiring about your posting and figure out whether it is a scam. Selling your vehicle on Facebook Marketplace can be great because of Messenger's instant notifications, simple to use, and free.
eBay Motors is a fantastic place to list your vehicle for sale as the online marketplace has over 150 million users. They will display your vehicle to anyone within a 200-mile radius of your location. Listing your car on eBay Motors is free, but when you sell your car, there is a small fee based on the sale price. The great thing about eBay is the options you have as the seller. You can list your vehicle for a fixed price and include buyers' option to make you an offer. Another option is to auction your car, where people will bid until the listing time has expired. The auction option can be a good choice for people with rare cars, classic cars, and modified vehicles with after-market parts. You can also add the option to “Buy it now” on your listing to minimize risk and get the minimum price you are willing to accept. Finally, eBay transactions are more secure than other platforms such as Craigslist, and its user base is not as anonymous, which can prevent the possibility of scams.
Cars.com is not free to list your vehicle for sale, but it is worth mentioning and considering since it is only $5. When comparing what you receive with Craigslist (also $5), Cars.com gets around 13 million car shoppers per month and provides sellers one month of run time with free renewals, listing view reports, ten photo uploads. For an additional $35, sellers can include a CARFAX report. Car.com gives sellers three options: dealer appraisals, quick offer, and placing an ad on Cars.com. You can sell via their app for iOS, Android, or website, which has a similar interface to their apps.
CarGurus has some of the highest traffic for online vehicle marketplaces, with an estimated 20 million users per month. Listing your car on CarGurus is free, but you will be charged $99 if your car’s sale is processed on AutoPay. Given the traffic the website receives, it might be worth the small processing fee to listing your car here if selling privately is your goal. CarGurus has several great tools for sellers, including price analysis, instant market value, and a dealer trade-in estimate. This will give sellers a good indication of whether they are getting a good deal or not. Again, CarGurus is not exactly free, but it is not a requirement to process the sale on their system. CarGurus is definitely worth checking out, given the tools and customer frequency the site receives. To learn more about CarGurus, check out our review here.
Are online classified ads the best option in today’s world?
Selling your car to a private seller does have some advantages: on average, receiving higher cash offers compared to a car dealer, more money for older cars, and the ease of posting online ads. While using Craigslist and others might seem like a good option for car selling given how cheap, quick, and easy it is to list your vehicle, making private-party sales might not be the best option for several reasons:
People rarely show up (so "potential buyers" will waste your time)
People often waste your time (with lowball offers or joyride test drives)
There is potential for safety and scammer concerns (not only meeting a stranger but often having them drive your car or bouncing a forged cashier's check).
The logistics of the sale are painful (what happens if the car has a lien, the car buyer often arranges a mechanical inspection and expects a perfect car. You'll need a trip to the DMV or title notary in many cases).
When should you sell your car yourself?
There are some cases when the additional hassle of selling your car yourself is worth it. Here are a few instances when it might be best to sell your car yourself:
Your used vehicle is less than $5,000
Your vehicle is highly demanded and less than $15,000. Japanese cars (e.g. Toyota Camry), and small SUVs (e.g. Honda CR-V) generally fall into this category. Older luxury cars and American sedans are harder to sell independently
You have a collector or rare car. In this case we recommend Bring-A-Trailer and using our photography app
Getting the right value before selling your car
Before selling your car and listing an asking price, you need to make sure you get a good understanding of your vehicle's current value. Many pricing tools such as Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, and NADA will tell you how much your car is valued at on the private market, trade-in value, dealership retail value, and certified pre-owned value. We have also created our own vehicle valuation tool that gathers data from CarMax, Carvana, Vroom, and Shift.
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