Young woman pasting 'For Sale' sign on her car

Choosing to sell your car on your own instead of to a dealership can be a good deal — especially if your car has high value. Follow these tips for conducting a safe transaction.

Choose a Sales Process
You can use newspaper ads and/or various online services to post photos and a description of your car. Some services, like CarMax, purchase your vehicle and resell it for you, and others, like AutoTrader, allow you to buy ad space to help sell your car. Another option includes listing your car on local classifieds sites. Regardless of how you choose to sell your car, always watch out for scammers.

Find a Good Buyer
Speak with serious buyers over the phone to help gauge their interest, discuss their payment plan and set up a test drive. Kelley Blue Book recommends not selling to an out-of-state buyer, as it’s often safer to sell your car to someone who can meet you in person.

Host a Safe Test Drive
Once you’ve found a potential buyer, schedule a test drive. Follow these tips:

  • Never go on a test drive alone — ask a friend to join you.
  • Schedule the test drive during the day.
  • Meet the driver in a populated area.
  • Check the buyer’s license and proof of insurance before they get behind the wheel.

The test drive is not the time to take payment, but you can negotiate a price.

Tip: List your car for a slightly higher price, but keep your bottom line price in mind as you negotiate suggests Consumer Reports