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How to Sell?

Autotrader Listing vs Carvana Offer in 2024

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Written by: Michael Becker
Last Updated:

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Which is Better for Selling the Car?

Carvana is a better company to sell your car to compare to Autotrader. First, selling your car to Carvana is free, while it may cost you $49 to list it on the Autotrader platform.

Next, Carvana’s offer is valid for seven days or an additional 1,000 miles. It also offers more payout options – check and direct deposit. Carvana also offers free pickups while Autotrader doesn’t. Alternatively, you can drop off your car at Carvana’s vending machine.

However, choose Autotrader if you don’t mind selling your car privately. Since it lets you sell your vehicle privately through its platform, you can expect a higher value for your used car.

Carvana Summary

  • Get an online quote within 2 minutes
  • Free pickup wtihin 100 miles of a hub
  • Offer valid for 7 days or 250 more miles
  • Haggle-free process to sell your car

Autotrader Summary

  • Sell or buy a wide variety of vehicles
  • More than 14 million buyers per month
  • Get fair deals for your second-hand car
  • Efficient customer service

Autotrader vs. Carvana Comparison

Cars acceptedNew and used carsIn good condition, 1992+
Fees$0 for instant cash offer, $49 for listing fee$0
Requesting quotesOnline applicationOnline application
Offer validity7 days or an additional 50 miles7 days or an additional 1,000 miles
Payments offeredCash or trade-in valueCash or trade-in value
PayoutCheckCheck, direct deposit
Car pick-upDrop-offFree pickup or dropoff
Physical locationsParticipating dealers across the US33 Car Vending Machines
Turnaround timeUp to 48 hoursUp to 72 hours
Customer servicePhone, emailPhone, email, online form

Consider Best Alternatives

Best for Older & Damaged Cars

Peddle logo

Buys used, damaged or junk cars

Free tow and no hidden fees

Pays by ACH trasfer or check

Top Pick for Junk Cars

Wheelzy logo

Free, no-obligation cash offers

Offers free paperwork service

Pays on the spot upon pick up

Highly Rated by Customers

CarBrain logo

Excellent customer service ratings

Honors guaranteed offer for 7 days

Can pick up a car within 48 hours

Great for Low-Mileage Cars

Carvana logo

Gives a real offer in 2 minutes

100% hassle-free online process

Free car’s Value Tracker available

Cars Accepted

autotrader vs carvana cars accepted

Autotrader accepts used and new cars as long as it meets their eligibility conditions. On the other hand, cars are considered ineligible due to the following reasons: 

  • Title issues, such as salvage, gray market, taxis, and limousines
  • Lack of market data
  • Unresolved recalls
  • Vehicle modifications
  • Market volatility
  • The vehicle was in an auction within the last 45 days

As for Carvana, your vehicle must meet the following requirements before you can sell or trade it in:

  • Newer than 1992
  • Have a working odometer
  • Can safely perform as a test drive


Both Autotrader and Carvana charge zero fees for instant quotes and selling your car. However, Autotrader offers another option: listing your car on their website. This option charges a $49 listing fee, but it also gives you free ad renewals until your car sells.

Requesting Quotes

autotrader vs carvana requesting quotes

Both Autotrader and Carvana allow you to sell your car through an online process. With Autotrader, you’ll need to go through their website first and click on the Instant Cash Offer option. 

From there, you’ll need to provide your vehicle’s VIN or license plate number. It allows the website to know the make, model, and year of your car. After that, you only need to provide details on the following:

  • Color
  • Features and equipment
  • Whether you have 2 or more keys
  • Any vehicle modification

The website will generate an instant quote based on the valuation of the Kelley Blue book or KBB. 

Quite similar to Autotrader, Carvana lets you initiate the selling process by requesting an offer through their website. You’ll also need to provide the following details:

  • License plate number or VIN
  • Zip code
  • Make and Model
  • Mileage
  • Color
  • General condition
  • Mechanical issues
  • Accident history
  • Premium features

Offer Validity

For both companies, you have 7 days to claim the instant offer. Once you do, they’ll need to inspect your car to confirm the information you provided on the online application. 

Note that these offers are also dependent on the additional readings. For Autotrader, you can claim the instant offer for up to 50 additional miles. Meanwhile, Carvana still allows you to claim the offer even after an additional 1,000 miles. 

Payments Offered

Whether you choose to sell with Autotrader or Carvana, you’ll have the option to get cash or trade in the value for your next car. Suppose you prefer to get cash, both companies pay a check within the same day of inspecting your vehicle. 


Besides check payments, Carvana also pays out through direct deposit and direct debit. Unlike with check payment, this depends on your bank’s processing time, which can take up to 5 business days. 

Autotrader, meanwhile, doesn’t have this option. It only pays through a check which you can get within the same day of accepting their offer. 

Car Pick-up

To claim the instant offer, you can drop off your car at any Autotrader participating dealer. You don’t need to worry about locating one near you since they’ll provide you a list after completing the instant quote process online. 

Carvana, on the other hand, offers a free pickup option. This means you need not drive anywhere to sell your car. You can just schedule a time for them to pick it up. 

Quote: You’ll also get the payment in check if you prefer before their team takes your car.

Besides the free pick-up, you can also drop off your car at a nearby car vending machine. This option might be preferable if you can’t set up a schedule to have them pick up your vehicle.  

Physical Locations

Both Carvana and Autotrader have physical locations for you to bring your car. You can check our Carvana’s list of 33 vending machines nationwide to locate the ones near you. 

Autotrader, in contrast, has a long selection of dealers nationwide. You can search the ones near you through their all dealers pages. Just enter your zip code and filter based on distance. 

Turnaround Time

Selling with Autotrader can take only 48 hours from the time you request an instant offer online to receiving your check. Of course, this depends on how soon you can drop your car off at their partner dealership for inspection. 

Carvana, in contrast, can take up to 72 hours. This is due to the availability of their team that will pick up your car. 

Customer Service

Autotrader offers two ways to contact their support team. For general inquiries, you can call them at 1-866-288-6872 (1-866-AUTOTRADER). 

If you have questions about instant offers, you can also contact Kelley Blue Book at 866-559-5268. This line is available Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 8 PM and Saturday from 9 AM to 6 PM. 

You can also send them an email at

Carvana, meanwhile, offers customer support through their hotline at 1-800-333-4554.


Autotrader has a 1.6 rating on Trustpilot, while Carvana has a 2.7 rating. On the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Autotrader received a 1.25 rating, while Carvana has no ratings. As shown on the website, the latter’s information is being updated.

Consumer Affairs3.32.6

Looking over the positive reviews on these websites, Autotrader customers liked that they received better prices for their cars. Others also complimented the quick selling process, with one customer mentioning they were able to sell their car within 24 hours.

Carvana also received praise from its customers, particularly for the offers it received. Some also complimented the seamless process of car selling. 

As for complaints, both had their fair share from sellers. At Autotraders, sellers complained about not getting connected to customer service when they needed them. 

Some Carvana customers had issues with the low instant offers they received. Although, noticeably, the customer service team replied to some of the one-star ratings at Trustpilot. 

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Michael Becker


About the author:

Michael Becker is a car enthusiast and expert who has been working in the automotive industry for over 15 years. He started his career as a salesperson at a local dealership, where he learned the ins and outs of the car market. Then he moved on to flipping cars for a profit.

Michael has also helped many of his relatives and friends to sell their cars, using his knowledge and skills to get them the best deals. He will guide you through the process and help you avoid the common pitfalls.

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