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About to Sell Your Car? Here are Some Factors to Consider

The pros and cons of how to sell your car can depend on individual circumstances, but there are a few things that might be helpful to consider along the way.

Sell your car

Selling your car can be a daunting process, especially if you’ve never done it before. Whether you’re looking to trade it in, or to sell your car privately, there’ll likely be lots of things to think about. And when it comes to weighing up the options, the pros and cons list might look a little different for everybody.  

According to Drive, used car sales represent more than three out of four motor vehicle transactions each week in Australia – which suggests there’s plenty of interest.1  

To help you navigate the market, we’ve put together some tips and options for selling a used car, including how to value a vehicle, the potential differences between using a car dealer and selling online, and some ways to help get your car sale-ready.  

Car sales pros and cons 

You might encounter a few differences depending on whether you choose to sell your car through a dealer, or privately. Selling your car privately can take extra time and energy – for instance, this might involve doing some research to price the vehicle, getting it to a saleable condition, and managing inspections and negotiating with potential buyers.

On the other hand, selling your car directly to a dealer is convenient and immediate, but the trade-off is that you might not get as much money from the sale as you could if you sold the car privately.2 Likewise with a trade-in – you won’t have to advertise the sale, or hold onto the vehicle while you try to find a buyer, but you’re unlikely to get as much money as you would in a private sale.3 

If you decide on a private sale, it might be worth keeping in mind that these can be targets for scammers. According to Scamwatch, one of the warning signs you might come across with an online scammer is that they’re willing to buy an expensive product without viewing it in person. If they send a payment that’s more than the agreed price, then ask you to refund the overpaid amount, this could also be a red flag.4 

If you’re concerned you’ve been the victim of a scam, report it to your bank or card provider as soon as possible.4 

Do I need a roadworthy certificate to sell my car? 

Whether or not you’ll need to get a roadworthy certificate to sell your car can depend on which state or territory you’re in. 

If you want to transfer ownership of a registered vehicle to someone else, a safety certificate is required by law in Queensland5 while Victoria requires a roadworthy certificate.

In the ACT, you’ll need to get a roadworthy inspection and Certificate of Inspection if you’re transferring ACT registration for a vehicle that’s more than six years old.7 

​​None of the other states – or the Northern Territory – require you to provide a roadworthy certificate when you sell your car,8 though the NSW Government advises you should ensure your vehicle registration, safety checks and compulsory third party insurance are up to date before you sell.9 

How can I determine the value of my car?  

When considering how to sell your car – whether privately or through a dealer – it could be helpful to have an idea of the value of your car and the price it might sell for. 

There are multiple factors that could influence how much your car might sell for, but one way to get a rough idea of its value might be to look at similar cars – those of the same age, make and model – listed for sale on online trading sites. 

There are also a number of free valuation tools online that might be helpful. Typically, these tools will take factors such as your car’s make, model, age, fuel type and body type into consideration before giving you an estimate. You might like to try putting your details into two or three calculators – such as CarsGuide, Drive and carsales – to help give you a price estimate before selling your car. 

When is a good time to sell my car?  

Although the ‘right’ time to sell your car will likely depend on your personal circumstances, there are certain factors and conditions that could impact how much it could fetch, and when.  

One thing that might be worth keeping in mind is depreciation, which can affect a car’s value even if it’s in good condition. In fact, News Corp national motoring editor, Richard Blackburn, estimates that cars typically lose 30% to 40% of their value in the first three years after they leave the showroom.   

The condition of the vehicle – as well as how many kilometres it has on its odometer – can also affect how much you can sell it for. Typically, if the vehicle is in poor condition or has a high odometer reading, its value will drop.10 

Will I be able to source a replacement car easily?   

If you’re planning to swap your old car for a new one, you may be concerned about wait times. But there’s good news from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), which says supply pressures are easing.  

In November 2023, FCAI Chief Executive, Tony Weber, announced that Australia had, for the first time, reached a landmark one million vehicle sales by the end of October.11 

“After some challenging years through COVID, this milestone speaks to the range of vehicles available to consumers, affirming Australia’s position as one of the world's most dynamic and competitive markets,” Weber said.  “It also reflects vastly improved supply chains. 

“In the past six months, five have broken all-time sales records compared with previous years, and in October, 106,809 new vehicles were delivered to Australian customers.”11 

No matter when or how it happens, selling your car is likely to be an individual decision, informed by your particular circumstances. But by doing a bit of research, and weighing up the pros and cons of the different options available, you could help yourself to avoid some of the potential pitfalls.  

And once you’re the proud owner of a new set of wheels, you might want to explore your insurance options with Youi – it’s easy to start a quote online today.  


1 Source: Drive – VFACTS September 2023, 2023 
2 Source: CarsGuide – Selling your car privately or to a dealer, 2021 
3 Source: NSW Government – Selling a used car 
4 Source: Scamwatch – Product and service scams 
5 Source: Qld Government – Safety certificates 
6 Source: Vic Government – Get a certificate of roadworthiness 
7 Source: ACT Government – Roadworthy inspections 
8 Source: CarExpert – What documents do you need to sell your car?, 2023 
9 Source: NSW Government – Selling a vehicle 
10 Source: CarsGuide – Pricing and Specs 
11 Source: Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries – One Million New Vehicles Sold in 2023, 2023