How to Sell a Car to a Dealer

by Jennifer Eblin

When it comes to selling a car, there are two main ways to do it: sell it privately on your own or sell it to a dealer. The second option is usually less stressful because the dealer does most of the work. Nevertheless, it still takes a little effort on your part. To sell a car to a dealer, you’ll need to visit as many dealerships as possible and go through an appraisal process.

Buy or borrow a car value guide such as "NADA" or the "Kelly Blue Book" and look for the trade-in value of your car. There are some dealers that try to offer you significantly less than the car is actually worth, so you need to know the exact value.

Visit each car dealership in your area and speak directly with someone on staff. Ask about sales and trade-ins of used cars and see what their individual policy is, as it changes from place to place.

Undergo an appraisal at each dealership, but make sure to tell the dealer that you want their opinion before you agree to a sale. The dealer will usually do an appraisal of the vehicle before they tell you the price they’ll pay. If there are any problems, the dealer will often offer much less.

Compare the prices offered by the various dealers. The more dealers you visit, the more prices you’ll be offered. You should look at each one before making a decision.

Disclose any problems with the car and then agree to the sale. Make sure you get everything in writing and then sign the deal with the dealership. Once you sign the agreement, the car is sold.


  • check Listen to the radio and read the newspaper advertisements every week.


  • close If you hide any problems with the car--and the dealer discovers the problem--they can void the deal according to the laws of most states. Keep this in mind if you know of any engine troubles or other problems with the vehicle.

About the Author

Jennifer Eblin has been a full-time freelance writer since 2006. Her work has appeared on several websites, including Tool Box Tales and Zonder. Eblin received a master's degree in historic preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

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