How to Dispose or Sell Your Old Car

Are you feeling the winds of change in the air? If you are ready to take your cleaning and reorganising to the next level by disposing of or selling your old car, find out the best ways and our advice on how to do so.

Registering Your Vehicle As 'Off the Road'

There are various reasons you may not be using your car, but it is worth registering your vehicle as off the road, known as SORN. You can do this online and tell the DVLA you're taking your vehicle off the road. This means you can stop taxing and insuring the car. Make sure you have your vehicle's registration certificate (V5C) with you. Bear in mind that you can't use or keep the car on a public road, and SORN isn't transferrable to the new owner. The good news is that as the registered keeper, if you SORN your vehicle, you should get a refund for the full months of any remaining tax.

Category D

However, if your car is very damaged, it would be categorised in the level of damage known as Category D. It is used by insurance companies to describe vehicles they have written off. Category D is where the vehicle can be repaired and would cost less than the vehicle's worth. However, other costs, e.g., transporting the vehicle, take over its value. If your car is repaired to a roadworthy condition, it can be used again.

So, what do you need to do? Your insurance company usually deals with getting the vehicle scrapped for you. Firstly, apply to take the registration number off the vehicle if you want to keep it. Next, send the VC5 to your insurance company, but make sure you keep the 'sell, transfer or part-exchange your vehicle to the motor trade' section from your VC5. Finally, to avoid a potential fine, make sure you tell the DVLA that your vehicle has been written off. If you want to keep your vehicle in category D, the insurance company will give an insurance payout to you and sell the vehicle back to you. The DVLA will record the vehicle's category in the logbook, and if you want to keep a category D vehicle, you can keep the logbook.


If your car's condition is reasonable, you could try selling it in several ways.

Selling Your Car at an Auction

We've all heard about selling privately or to a dealership, but not at an auction. Whilst it is a less common way of selling your car, it does involve the help of an auction house to attract potential buyers. Start by contacting your local auction house, and they will arrange for you to come to their site with your car on a specified date and time. Their qualified technicians will inspect your vehicle, and if they decide they want to auction it, they come up with a description before listing it in the auction guide. They are likely to assess any damage on your car to place a financial value on it and subtract it from the price. The auction house gives their advice on what price you could sell your car for, and they take a commission when it is sold. However, you can set a reserve price for an extra fee, which is the minimum amount you want the price not to go below. They will take pictures of the vehicle and park the car in a lot so that buyers can view it. Some auction houses will have a digital publication as well as a printed one for buyers to see, meaning your car may be listed online.

During the auction, it is worth noting that a bid is legally binding. However, if the highest bidder doesn't meet your reserve price, the auction house may invite you and the potential buyer to settle the sale with a compromise. Both parties are entitled to back out of the negotiations when attempting to come to a deal. If you can't agree on a deal, you may be able to keep your car at the auction house under the agreement for it to be entered in future auctions. However, you will incur an entry fee for further auctions and potentially storage fees if it takes more than several auctions to sell your car. Once your car is sold, it is the responsibility of the auction house to manage the necessary paperwork. Once they receive full payment for the vehicle, they will send you your payment.

If you want to sell a vehicle at an auction, you must be the registered keeper of the car and have sole and legal ownership. If getting an MOT annually is required, do this before going to the auction house as it makes the car condition look better-taken care of. Make copies of relevant car documentation such as the logbook and service records. Other appropriate documentation to be provided include the V5C registration certificate, vehicle handbook, garage receipts and service book. Consider getting professional valeting to ensure that car looks good. These steps will help you get the best price possible from the auction house, as they collectively improve the appearance and condition of the vehicle.

Selling Back to a Car Dealer

Unlike selling privately, this method saves time as you don't have to spend your time dealing with enquiries, viewings, or test drives. Use a free online valuation tool to give you a better idea of your vehicle's worth and contact the dealer to get a price based on its condition and trade value. You may have the option to part-exchange your car, which is a great option if you want to trade your old car and buy another one. If you are selling a car with outstanding finance, many dealerships will still buy your car.

Before selling to a dealer, clean your car first (inside and out) as a dirty can could result in cleaning fees. It could also indicate that the vehicle hasn't been well looked after, potentially reducing the amount a dealer offers. If your car has scratches and dents, consider getting them professionally repaired before selling, as this may help get the best possible price. Also, consider any mechanical faults and get them fixed before you sell. To reiterate, you could be provided with a higher valuation from the dealer.

You will need relevant documentation such as a V5 document, logbook, maintenance bills, service history and MOT stamps or certificates. A full-service history shows your car has been well maintained, improving desirability when reselling. Also, some form of personal identification may be required, such as a passport, driving licence or utility bill.

This method of selling your car saves time and gives you the option to part-exchange your vehicle.

Selling Back Privately

Before selling your car privately, there are a few things you need to consider. Firstly, you need to advertise it somewhere and take time to respond to all enquiries and test drives. It is important to consider that you will need to be available with your car for potential buyers to view. Depending on where the advert is placed, you may need to pay for it. You must have the right to sell the car, the car must match the description you used, and the car must be roadworthy.

Still interested? Start by cleaning your car inside and out, as well as repairing any minor paintwork damage or simple mechanical faults. You could potentially get a full, professional valet service but consider the costs of this. Get a new MOT, particularly when there are less than three months one the current one. The presentation and service history of your car will help increase the condition of the car, and therefore you can get the best price when selling and could potentially sell it quicker.

When selling, make sure you have important documents to hand, like MOT certificates and service records. A fully stamped dealer service record does add value if you have one. Hand over all the relevant documents when you sell your car. However, make sure the buyer pays you before giving them the car keys. Once the car is sold, tell the DVLA as soon as possible that you are no longer responsible for the car.

There are several options for disposing of or selling your car, each with different processes. Whichever way you choose to do so, make sure you follow our tips to help you get the best price on your car.

Ready for a change? If so, then browse our selection of new and used vehicles online, and get in touch or find your nearest dealership today.


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