Checking | Auto Loans | Mortgage | HELOC | Personal Loans | Credit Cards | Membership

How To Sell Your Car Online In 12 Easy Steps

Selling a vehicle online has become an increasingly popular way to get a great price.
Safe, convenient, and easy--selling a vehicle online can reduce the risks associated with selling a car privately. However, there are still some precautions you should take to protect yourself against fraud and other scams.
Read on for tips on how to safely sell your car online.
At Credit Union of Southern California (CU SoCal), we make getting an auto loan easier.
Call 866.287.6225 today to schedule a no-obligation consultation and learn about our auto loans, personal loans, checking and savings accounts, and other banking products.
As a full-service financial institution, we look forward to helping you with all of your banking needs.

Get Started on Your Auto Loan!

How To Sell Your Car Online Safely And Securely In 12 Easy Steps

1. Pick A Platform. The first step for selling a vehicle online is to pick a platform. There are numerous Internet car sale companies to choose from, including these popular options:
  • Facebook Marketplace. Marketplace is a free e-commerce platform that connects sellers and buyers. Sellers can list everything from cars and trucks to motorcycles and boats. Facebook suggests using safe payment methods, including cash, Messenger, or PayPal. This free platform can be prone to scammers, so proceed with caution.
  • Craigslist. This long-time favorite is still a good choice for selling online; however, scams have become more frequent. Craigslist provides access to selling in most major cities and you can even post your ad in other states. The fee for paid automotive ads is $5.00.
  • Autotrader. Try the sell-it-yourself option for $49 per listing with free ad renewal. Autotrader provides several options for sellers including the Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer.
  • eBay Motors. eBay’s specialty website is where vehicles and related items (such as vehicle parts and vehicle-centric memorabilia) can be offered for sale. Certain rules for listing items to or retrieving items from the eBay Motors U.S. site are different from the rules for listing to the main eBay US site. Be sure you fully understand the rules, requirements, and fees before you list your car.
  • Car Gurus. This site helps sellers get the best offer instantly, sourced from thousands of dealers. To get an instant offer just input your car’s details including VIN, mileage, condition, and history. It costs $4.95 to list.
  • Carvana. In just two minutes, you can get a real offer and Carvana will even pick up your car. After a quick, on-site review of the vehicle, a representative will either cut you a check, or hand over the keys to your new ride if you’re doing a trade-in. Purchases include a complimentary 100-day limited warranty and a seven-day money back guarantee.
  • CarMax. CarMax has storefronts across the US, so transactions can be made online and in-person. They have a strict vetting process and not all vehicles are accepted for sale. If your car is accepted, you will leave with payment in-hand the same day you sell them your car. CarMax never sells cars with flood damage, frame damage, or salvage history.
  • Kelley Blue Book. Since 1926, Kelley Blue Book has been one of the best-known names in the auto industry, providing car valuations to help inform buyers and sellers. offers sellers two ways to sell, by getting an Instant Cash Offer that can be redeemed at a participating dealer or selling your car yourself.
2. Find Your Car's True Value. There are numerous online valuation tools available, including KBB and Edmunds. You can also take your vehicle to a dealership or two and get their trade-in and purchase valuations.
3. Make Basic Repairs. Most buyers expect a vehicle to be in good condition. One of the best ways to increase the value of your vehicle is to make repairs before advertising it for sale. Getting new tires and replacing a chipped windshield, for example, will make the car look like a better investment.
4. Clean Your Car. Consider having your car professionally detailed, which means a thorough wash and wax. Vacuum the interior, clean the dashboard and other surfaces. If you have smoked in the car or regularly have pets in the car, you may need to have the upholstery cleaned. Buyers are very picky and pet or smoke odors will turn buyers off.
5. Take Interior/Exterior Photos. Once you have the car cleaned, it’s time to take photos of the interior and exterior. These photos should include the dashboard, seats, console, and any special features. Exterior views should include all sides of the vehicle.
6. Know Your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). You can find your VIN on several locations in the car: on a tag on the driver’s side dashboard near the windshield, the driver’s side doorjamb (toward the front of the door), and the doorpost (where the door latches closed). The VIN is also on the insurance card, and in some states it is printed on the registration.
7. Negotiate. Based on the values you received using online value estimator tools and any offers you received from dealerships, you should have a good idea of what the vehicle is worth. Prospective buyers will offer what they think the car is worth and what they can afford. If you’re serious about selling, be willing to negotiate on the price.
8. Ask For A Deposit. If you have an interested buyer, you may ask them for a small deposit to hold the car for them while they get their auto insurance, license plates, and cash (or other payment method) ready for the purchase.
9. Offer Multiple Ways To Pay. Depending on the price of the car, cash is always easiest for both the buyer and seller. For larger deals in the thousands, you may want to use a secure payment app such as Zelle, Venmo, or PayPal. For safety, never give your bank account information to a buyer.
10. Prepare For The Test Drive. Before you allow others drive your car, call your insurance provider and find out if you are covered for other drivers. When you meet a potential buyer for a test drive, ask to see their driver license and take a photo of it. If you have a family member or friend with you, they should ride along with you for the test drive for added safety.
11. Pre-Purchase Inspection. The buyer will likely want to get the vehicle inspected. You may agree to go with them to a local garage or an experienced mechanic of their choice. The buyer always pays for the inspection.
12. Completing The Paperwork. Make sure you can locate the car’s title, and if you can’t, you’ll need to go to your Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and pay for a duplicate title. The DMV office and website is where you’ll find the forms you need to complete to transfer the title and ownership. 

CU SoCal Auto Loans

If leasing isn’t right for you and you decide on purchasing a new or used car, CU SoCal can help with car loan financing! We offer: 
  • Up to 120% financing for new and used vehicles.
  • Rates as low as 2.89%APR.
  • Quick pre-approvals.
  • Extended terms up to 84 months for the lowest possible monthly payment.
  • A personal auto-buying concierge service.
  • Low-cost loan protection add-ons.
  • No application or funding fees.

Why Savvy Consumers Choose CU SoCal

For over 60 years CU SoCal has been providing financial services, including car loans, personal loans, mortgages, credit cards, and other banking products, to those who live, work, worship, or attend school in Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County.
Please give us a call today at 866.287.6225 today to schedule a no-obligation consultation with one of our auto loan experts.
Apply for a vehicle loan today
 Get Started on Your Auto Loan!

Help + Support


Co-Browsing Code

Building Better Lives

Credit Union of Southern California (CU SoCal) is a leading financial institution empowering those who live, work, worship, or attend school in Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County to reach their goals and build strong financial futures. CU SoCal provides access to convenient money management services and offers competitive rates and flexible terms on auto loans, mortgages, and VISA credit cards—turning wishing and waiting into achieving and doing.


562.698.8326 | 866 CU SoCal Se Habla Español