This section includes information about how to sell a used vehicle. The menu above breaks down the process into four steps. Click on the steps to move throughout this section.
Use our checklist for a comprehensive look at the process of selling a used car.
Before you decide to sell, you must ensure selling a used car is worth it. Gather information that can help you sell quickly, and save you from selling a used car at a loss. There are a number of places to determine the value of your vehicle:
The obvious place to start is to make sure your vehicle is clean, in good running order, and has no missing parts. By working your way through this checklist, your vehicle should look as good as possible when prospective buyers come calling.
Once your vehicle looks good, you’re ready to advertise. There are many places to advertise a used vehicle. Try your local newspaper classified ads. Thursday to Saturday are usually the most read publications. Also consider the Auto Trader.
Think beyond the classifieds – put up ‘for sale’ signs on bulletin boards in grocery stores and your workplace. Put a ‘for sale’ sign in the vehicle’s window. Tell people you have a vehicle for sale – word of mouth is powerful and effective.
Make sure you include critical information in your advertisement like the make, model, year, mileage, asking price, optional features, mechanical condition and a phone number where you can be reached. Be honest and as detailed as you can about your vehicle’s condition. Pictures that accompany classified advertisements can draw attention and help sell your vehicle faster.
Common phrases used in classified ads include:
When someone comes to look at your vehicle, be truthful about its condition and any defects. If you’re not truthful about collision history or liens, that can be used against you if it ever goes to court. Show your receipts for repairs or service, to show the vehicle has been well maintained.
Demonstrate the vehicle’s features. Before you accompany the buyer on a test drive of the vehicle be sure he/she has a valid driver’s licence. Answer any questions he/she may have. If the buyer wants a mechanical inspection, accompany him/her to the garage. Inspection costs should be at the buyer’s expense.
If you have a good idea of the price you want for your vehicle, set the advertised price a little higher to give yourself some room to negotiate. Think about how you’ll respond to offers so you’re ready if the situation arises. If response to your advertising efforts is poor, think about reducing the price.
If you've advertised a price – remain flexible, but do not accept unreasonable offers. GST is not applicable to vehicles sold through a private sale. Ask for a deposit of at least 10 per cent of the agreed upon price. Insist on a money order or bank draft as payment.
Before the vehicle leaves your property, remove your plates. Cancel them as soon as possible. If you want to keep your plate, contact a registry to cancel the registration. Also cancel your insurance.
Once you’ve received full payment, fill out a bill of sale, in duplicate. Ensure the terms “sold as is” are clearly spelled out. Fill out both forms identically. Keep a copy of the bill of sale as proof of the sale.
If you agree to consign your vehicle, you give a licensed automotive business permission to sell it on your behalf.
The Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council provides a tip sheet for people who want to sell their vehicle on consignment. Keep in mind that your insurance provider must know you plan to sell your vehicle this way.
You may have no right or opportunity to negotiate the selling price of the vehicle. Be sure to get a written contract with the consignment dealer. You may also want to keep an eye on your vehicle when it is consigned. Check the lot periodically to ensure it’s in good condition.