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Tips & advice

Where and how to advertise your car for free

Do you want to list and sell your car for free? We give our top tips on where and how to do so

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When selling your car, you want to get the best price for it but you don't want any extra money to be swallowed up by the cost of actually making the sale. There are businesses out there that offer to advertise and sell your car for free, and in this guide we get to the bottom of whether they're a good idea or not. 

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Many car-selling sites and services will require a fee if you want to advertise your vehicle. This may be frustrating – especially given that some sites will then have you pay for increased visibility. With the ‘free’ plan your car may never be seen by potential buyers. It’s worth noting that many businesses also offer a free valuation for your car, but actually selling it to or with them will incur a fee.

With this in mind, you’re probably wondering where and how you really can advertise your car for free. Let's take a look at the main options you have, from free car selling sites to using your own gift of the gab to sell privately.

Facebook Marketplace

Nearly everyone and their grandma has Facebook, so why not advertise your car on there? Facebook Marketplace enables sellers to list and sell their items for free, provided they have an active Facebook/Meta account. Buyers can search for items (including cars) locally and listings are regularly advertised on users’ news feeds, meaning your pride and joy will be exposed to a wide audience.

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Pros:

  • Easy for anyone with a Facebook account
  • Wide audience
  • Seamless interaction with prospective buyers

Cons:

  • Other sites are more car-centric
  • Lack of the protections you get with specialist car sites
  • Beware of scams

Free car-selling websites

You’ve probably heard of a multitude of car-selling sites, either through adverts on TV or even by searching for and landing on this article. There’s our parent site, Carwow, which will give you an instant valuation and allow dealers to enter a bidding contest to get you the best price. Of course, Carwow isn’t the only online car-selling site; there’s also the likes of Motorway, which operates on a similar basis, and CarGurus, too.

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Different car selling sites have different models. Some, such as eBay, will allow you to list your car for free, and a small portion of your car’s selling price will be deducted as a ‘transaction fee’. Other sites, such as AutoTrader, won’t take a cut of the selling price for your car, but will charge you to list it on there in the first place. 

Sites like Carwow and Motorway list your car for free and don't take any commission on the sale price. But the dealer buying the car pays and this might be reflected in how much you get for the car. With services like WeBuyAnyCar that buy your car directly from you, it's in their interests to pay as little as possible, while remaining competitive with the other options in the market, and that's reflected in the price you'll be offered.

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Pros:

  • Can be done quickly from the comfort of your home
  • No need to wait for buyers to come to you
  • Easy to compare prices

Cons:

  • You may need to set up an account
  • You’ll probably get more for your car by selling privately

Free-listing classified websites

Gumtree, Preloved and Shpock – these are just three of the most popular websites on which you can list and sell items for free, including cars! Unlike the likes of eBay, which arguably has a much wider reach in terms of user base, all three of these sites allow you to sell your car with no fees whatsoever. Of course, your pride and joy will be listed alongside granny’s old sofa and last year’s hottest pair of trainers, but these sites are still a free way to list your car for sale. 

These sites are more likely to be suitable if you’re selling at the lower end of the market as you'll probably want the extra protection of a specialist car selling service if you're selling a more expensive vehicle.

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Pros:

  • A great way to sell lower-value cars/spare parts
  • A potentially wide audience
  • You can set your own price

Cons:

  • Some sites offer little seller’s protection
  • Prepare for people trying to haggle
  • It can be a long process

Local advertising

If all else fails, you can always go old-school and sell your car privately with adverts on your local fish-and-chip shop, community centre or village shop bulletin board. At the very bottom end of the scale, you could park your car outside your home with a ‘FOR SALE’ sign and see what happens. It's all free.

For a more 21st-century approach, you can post makeshift ads on your social media feeds, too. Of course, you’ll need to handle the entire sale process and sort the paperwork out yourself if you do manage to sell your car on your own – something that may put some people off.

Pros:

  • A last-ditch option not to be overlooked
  • You can set your own price

Cons:

  • Limited to the audience you can reach single handed.
  • Prepare for people trying to haggle and potentially wasting your time.
  • Could be a slow and laborious process

Auto Express has partnered with our parent company Carwow to bring you a fast and easy way to sell your car...

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Consumer reporter

Tom is Auto Express' Consumer reporter, meaning he spends his time investigating the stories that matter to all motorists - enthusiasts or otherwise. An ex-BBC journalist and Multimedia Journalism graduate, Tom previously wrote for partner sites Carbuyer and DrivingElectric and you may also spot him throwing away his dignity by filming videos for the Auto Express social media channels.

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