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How to Sell?

Autotrader vs Carvana Comparison: Where Should You Sell Your Car?

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Best Ways to Sell a Car


Peddle logo

Get a legit offer in minutes – provide VIN, mileage and condition

$0 fees + you don’t have to pay for towing – Peddle will take care of it

Get paid in check during the pick up for any car (damaged, junk, wrecked)


Wheelzy logo

Quick car evaluation without the hassle – sell your car within 30 min

Choose a convenient date and time for free pick-up, as soon as next day

Get cash in hand the same day the Wheelzy agent picks up your car


CarBrain logo

Get an offer within 2 minutes and sell your damaged car within 48 hours

Free vehicle towing and no fees to getting rid of your damaged car

The tow truck driver will arrive with your check (nationwide service)

Which is Better for Selling the Car?

autotrader vs carvana which is better for selling the car

Carvana is a better company to sell your car to compare to Autotrader. First, it’s completely free to sell your car to Carvana, 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, if you don’t mind selling your car privately, you should choose Autotrader. Since it lets you sell your car privately through its platform, you can expect to get a higher value for your used car. Note that this option entails a $49 listing fee though.

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

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


When it comes to getting instant quotes and selling your car, both Autotrader and Carvana have zero fees. However, Autotrader has another option where you can list your car on their website and sell it. This option charges a $49 listing fee, which also gets 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 up your car. 

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 getting your check. This, of course, depends on how soon you can drop your car to 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 the Kelley Blue Book at 866-559-5268. This line is available every Monday to Friday, from 8 AM to 8 PM, and every 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 Better Business Bureau or 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 praises from their customers, particularly for the offers they 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 need 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. 

Autotrader & Carvana Alternatives


Peddle Summary

  • Sell used, damaged or junk car nationwide
  • Get instant quote on (855) 925 4302
  • Free towing within 48 hours after offer
  • Receive payment upon car collection

Our Experience Selling the Car to Peddle

Sites like Autotrader and Carvana make it easy to sell cars these days and enable you to get cash for your car within 48 hours. You only need to go through their website and provide some details about your car. Another company you should check out if you’re looking to sell cars this way is Peddle. 

Peddle also gives instant offers through their website and offers free pickup like Carvana. But compared to Carvana and Autotrader, Peddle purchases vehicles in all kinds of conditions. 

After all, the latter is not buying for their inventory, whereas Autotrader and Carvana are looking to sell the vehicles they purchase. 

Recent Peddle offers

Toyota (Camry)2011150,000$2,225
Volvo (S40)200137,000$430
Mercedes-Benz (560)199192,000$1,930
BMW (528)2008126,000$1,140
Kia (Forte)2010145,000$635
Honda (CR-V)201167,000$2,930
Ford (Explorer Sport Trac)2004145,000$1,170
Oldsmobile (Alero)2004162,000$400
Audi (A6)2006106,000$530


Wheelzy Summary

  • Wheelzy stores are open 7 days a week
  • Get offer in minutes – (855) 510-1108
  • Free towing of your car from your location
  • Instant payment via cash or check

Similar to Autotrader, there are two ways you can sell your car to Wheelzy. The first is through an instant offer, where you’ll be selling your car to the company within 72 hours. Another is by listing your car on the Wheelzy website, and private buyers can contact you for offers. 

What sets Wheelzy apart from Autotrader and Carvana in this matter is that you can sell any car to it. It basically operates in a way that helps owners dispose of old and junk cars. 

Considering this, Wheelzy is also a great alternative to Peddle if you’re looking to sell vehicles that don’t pass the Autotrader or Carvana’s requirements. 

Recent Wheelzy offers

Hyundai (Tucson)2006200,000Doesn’t start$400
Mercury (Sable Sedan)2003150,000Doesn’t start$225
Mercedes-Benz (C)2001150,000Starts$222
Ford (Edge)2010200,000Doesn’t start$1,200
Ford (Flex)2009150,000Starts$1,000
Lexus (RX)2002300,000Doesn’t start$750
Chevrolet (Cobalt Sedan)2007200,000Doesn’t start$200
Toyota (Corolla)2003250,000Drives$555
BMW (528)2008250,000Drives$1,487


CarBrain Summary

  • Call for a free quote – (844) 407-2200
  • Get cash for your car in under 48 hours
  • CarBrain buys cars in over 7 conditions
  • Up to 7 days to accept CarBrain’s offer

CarBrain is a company that specializes in buying damaged vehicles from individuals.

Fill out a form with accurate information about the vehicle, receive an instant offer or a guaranteed offer shortly after, accept the offer, and the company arranges for a local partner to come and pick up the vehicle. Payments are made within 24 to 48 hours. 

CarBrain offers fair prices based on the car’s make, model, and current condition.

Recent CarBrain offers

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport201150,000Collision damage, starts, doesn’t drive$1,270
Jeep Grand201543,000Collision damage, starts, doesn’t drive$8,000
Chevrolet201350,000Collision damage, does not start$1,335
Dodge Charger2011143,448Collision damage, does not start$1,000
Nissan Altima201382,000Collision damage, starts and drives$1,725
Chevrolet Silverado2008250,000Engine damage, starts, doesn’t drive$1,750


CarGurus Summary

  • Receive payment within 3 working days
  • Find out the market value of your car
  • List your car for sale in under 5 minutes
  • Up to $75,000 in protection for your sale

CarGurus is a great alternative for both Autotrader and Carvana. One of the main features of the company is that it allows you to choose between two ways to sell a car. You can either get an instant cash offer and sell 100% online in a few minutes or list the car on their website and sell privately.

To get an instant cash offer:

  1. Enter your VIN or license plate number
  2. Get a cash offer in just two minutes
  3. Schedule pickup time
  4. Get paid within two business days by cash or direct deposit

You can list a car for $4.95 on the CarGurus website.

To list a car on CarGurus:

  1. Add your zip code
  2. Provide the car details (make, model, year, mileage)
  3. List special features
  4. Describe the condition and history
  5. Add images
  6. Provide your contact information
  7. Pay listing fee
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Michael Becker


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