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Buying and selling used cars – five things to consider

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The second-hand car market is currently booming as more and more savvy Brits are buying and selling used vehicles.

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, used car sales were at a record high during the first quarter of 2017. In total, 2,133,956 used cars were purchased in the UK, which represents a 3.4% increase on the same period in 2016.

We caught up with Amy Buckley from Tootle – billed as the UK’s fairest used car selling website – to discuss the best way to sell your car and what to look for if you’re buying a used vehicle.


If you’re looking to sell your vehicle, consider your options. In challenging economic times it’s important that drivers are being offered the fairest possible price for their vehicle.

Car buying websites – There are several marketplaces and car buying websites that allow you to sell directly to consumers, quickly. Although you can often ‘get rid’ of your car quickly, these sites will not give you the best price for your vehicle as they usually offer a fixed price. A better option is to use a site that creates bespoke offers or gives the seller the opportunity to set their price.

Private and classified adverts – These will normally result in you receiving the highest possible price for your car, so it’s incredibly important to understand your vehicle’s true value. Make sure you research the market to find out the value of your car to determine the most appropriate sale price. Also, ensure you have described your car as accurately as possible – there is no such thing as sharing too much information when listing a car.

Part exchange – This is still a favourite option because you can often leave a dealership with a good deal if your car is relatively new or if you’re buying a vehicle from the same manufacturer. Always consider the ‘price to change’ – the difference between the part-exchange offer on your old car and the price of the new one, rather than the individual price of either. 

Selling your car directly to a dealer – Companies like Tootle let sellers set the price they would like for their vehicle within their listing. Your car details are then shared with a network of dealers who quickly compete to purchase the vehicle – giving sellers the highest possible price without compromise. For instance, Tootle claims you will sell your car within 48 hours, almost 100% of the time.


Selling your vehicle needn’t be stressful, but for most it usually is. Depending on how you decide to sell your car, there are normally a number of factors to consider. For example, if you sell your car privately via a classified advert, then you will have to handover the vehicle at some stage.

Consider where and when you want to do this. For safety reasons, it is normally better to agree a mutually suitable location and NOT your home. It is also worth thinking about how you will receive the funds for your vehicle as you will need to agree on this with your buyer. Cash is king, but most buyers prefer arranging a money transfer when dealing with larger fees.

By using a listing site, you can put yourself in the driving seat when selling your vehicle because you don’t have to worry about receiving the correct funds.


It goes without saying that there are many tempting car finance deals out there if you’re looking to buy a new car.

PCP, or Personal Contract Purchase plans, have soared over the last few years. They are a popular option for people who want lower monthly repayments than a personal loan, for instance, and want to drive a new car every three to four years.

You choose the car, the size of the deposit, how long you want the contract to run for and a yearly maximum mileage. In return you pay a fixed monthly fee to drive a new (or nearly new) car for periods typically between two and four years.

If you purchased your car with finance or PCP and you haven’t completed your agreement, it may still be possible to sell your car via online listing websites. You can also look to pay off the remaining financial balance early, which will result in you paying back less than monthly agreements.

Tootle, for instance, is an example of a listings site that can work with your finance company to clear the loan and pay the remaining balance.


There is still plenty of missing detail concerning the tax and how diesel (and some petrol car) drivers will be affected. At the earliest, the tax will not be enforced until 2019, leaving owners with plenty of time to decide what to do with their vehicle.

Take a look at your local council’s website to see how you could be affected before making any hasty decisions.


There are a number of causes that are determining the fortunes of the used market including rising costs for new vehicles coupled with increased VED (Vehicle Excise Duty) taxes, plus uncertainty over future taxes – so-called “toxin taxes” – that punish owners of vehicles that emit harmful pollutants.

These factors have seen Brits opt for hybrid and alternative fuelled cars when purchasing a used vehicle in 2017, with SMMT reporting a massive increase of 43.2% across the category.

“This year, there’s been huge increases in alternative fuel and hybrid vehicle sales across the industry, partly driven by drivers becoming more environmentally-conscious,” added Amy.

“There is a significant consumer demand for these type of vehicles and we expect to see volumes increasing, meaning buyers will be able to get a better deal for used hybrid vehicles.”






About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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