Car Advice & Reviews

Selling a Car

When selling your car you want to ensure that you do all that you possibly can to ensure a quick sale and bring the highest possible price for your vehicle.

Set your price

Not sure what your car is worth? There are a few ways to gauge a realistic asking price, taking into account the age, mileage and condition of your car.

- RAA’s Technical Advisory team can provide you with an estimate using Glass’s Guide, a valuation tool and database. You can phone them on 8202 4689, or send an email.

- Pricing is also available from the Redbook website,

- Check newspaper classifieds or car sales websites for the average asking price of the same model car in similar condition to yours.

Remember to always leave room for negotiation, as many buyers will want to try to bring the price down as much as possible.

Spread the word

How will you advertise the vehicle? There are a number of ways to reach large numbers of people - placing a classified advert in your major daily paper, placing a classified advert on a used car sales website, such as the Trading Post or

Advertising on the internet is useful as you can also include photos of the car.

Prepare your car for sale

You’ll need to ensure that your car is in its best possible condition so that you can obtain the highest price. To do this, make sure to clean your vehicle thoroughly. Depending on the likely sale price of the car, you may want to consider having it professionally detailed.

Remember, a good looking car is perceived to be well cared for.

If you are cleaning the car yourself, a few things to consider are:

- Clean and polish the car, and don’t forget the mag wheels.

- Vacuum the inside of the car

- Make sure the glove box and ashtrays are cleared out

- Use a damp rag or car wipes to remove dust from the dashboard. Using a protectant can also assist in making it look like new 

- Shampoo the carpet and upholstery 

- If you have had smokers or pets in your car, it’s a good idea to deodorise the inside  

- Replace any lights or fuses that don't work

- Clean the windows  

- Blacken the tyres

Along with cleaning the inside and outside of the car, it’s also a good idea to make sure the engine bay is clean. Clean up oil and radiator spills with a damp cloth and use an engine degreaser (available at any auto shop) to rid the engine itself of excess grease and dirt.

Consider having the car inspected by RAA to give both yourself and your buyer peace of mind. This can also speed up the sale process.

More information about RAA Vehicle Inspections can be found here.

Decide which broken items, if any, are worth fixing. Replacing a damaged tail light might be worthwhile to give the car a better overall appearance for a small cost. However, reupholstering the seats on a $3,000 car will most likely not be financially worthwhile.

Dealing with potential buyers

Once you start receiving calls about your car, make sure you are prepared to answer any questions potential buyers may have. Some queries might include:

- How many kilometres on the odometer? 

- How many owners has the car had? 

- Is the price negotiable? 

- Has it been in any accidents? 

- Are there any additional extras, e.g cruise control, power windows, CD player 

- Are there any dents or scratches? 

- How long is left on the registration? 

- What is your reason for selling?

When showing potential buyers your car, stand back and let them look at the vehicle. Be prepared to negotiate, but keep a firm idea of what you want to accept. Make sure that your insurance covers a buyer taking it for a test drive and always accompany them.

Closing the sale

Once you have found someone willing to buy the car, put the agreed deal in writing. This should include how much the deposit is and what the final method of payment will be. The safest method of payment is a bank cheque. The written agreement should also include when the car is to be collected. Both parties should sign and date the document. Provide the buyer with a receipt for the deposit, including the date and time of pick up.

Registration requirements

Your registration will need to be transferred to the buyer. To do this you will need to ensure you have your latest registration form. Both parties are required to sign the registration papers. The new owner retains the bottom section and you will need to keep the top. There is a section where you add the time and date of sale as your record of sale. This will prevent any unwanted fines once the vehicle has changed ownership.

To find out more about the requirements of transferring your registration when selling a car, visit the Transport SA website.



More Motoring & Road Safety Information

Preparing your car for sale? Get it inspected