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How to Sell?

Autotrader vs. Truecar Offer in 2024

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Written by: Michael Becker
Last Updated:

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Which is Better for Selling the Car?

Between Autotrader and TrueCar, TrueCar is better for selling your car. It accepts cars in most conditions, including damaged or junk cars. 

All of TrueCar’s services are free, and you can sell your car to over 10,000 certified dealers. Once you’re ready to accept their offers, you can drive your vehicle to the certified dealer, and they’ll inspect your car for free.

You’re not obligated to accept TrueCar’s offer after it is provided. If you do, certified dealers can pay you using other methods besides a check.

Customer feedback also makes TrueCar the better option for selling cars. The good reviews on Trustpilot and BBB surely reflect how satisfied customers are with their car-selling experiences.

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

TrueCar Summary

  • Enter VIN to instantly get a car estimate
  • Offer is good for three days
  • TrueCar pays through check
  • Offer comes from one of Certified Dealers

Autotrader vs. TrueCar Comparison

Logo autotrader logo truecar logo
Cars acceptedNew and used carsCars in most types of conditions
Fees$0 for instant cash offer, $49 listing fees$0
Requesting quotesOnline applicationOnline application
Offer validity7 days or an additional 50 miles3 days
Payments offeredCheckDepends on the dealership
PayoutSame daySame day
Car pick-upDrop-offDrop off
Physical locationsParticipating dealers across the USOver 10,000 Certified Dealers
Turnaround timeUp to 48 hours48 to 72 hours
Customer serviceOnline form, phone, and social mediaPhone, email, and social media

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 buys new and used cars as long as these meet the conditions based on the following factors: 

  • Available market data
  • Aftermarket customizations
  • Title issues
  • Unresolved recalls

TrueCar, on the other hand, purchases vehicles in most conditions. Whether it’s damaged, wrecked, or junk, you can sell your car to them.


Both Autotrader and TrueCar charge zero fees when you sell your car through their instant cash offer. However, listing your vehicle on Autotrader’s website to sell it to private buyers costs $49. 

Requesting Quotes

To sell with Autotrader, you can go to their website and complete an online form. Some of the information you need to provide are the Vehicle Identification Number or VIN, your car’s condition, mileage, and history. 

If you don’t have the VIN yet, you can still request a quote by entering your car’s license plate number and state of registration. Then, you can specify its year, make, and model. 

Similarly, TrueCar lets you request a quote by completing an online form on their website. It will also ask for the same information about your car, starting the VIN to condition and history. 

After completing the online form, the website will show you the offered price. However, it’s crucial to note that this is only an initial value. You still need to bring your car to one of its partner dealerships for inspection and to determine the final offer. 

To set your expectations, know that the final offer might be different from the initial offer generated on their website. 

Offer Validity

Autotrader instant cash offers are valid for 7 days or an additional 250 miles, whichever comes first. It means you can claim the offer as long as your car doesn’t accumulate more than 250 miles since completing the online application.

In comparison, you can only claim offers from TrueCar-certified dealers within 3 days of receiving them. 

Payments Offered

Autotrader payments come in check, which their partner dealership will hand you after finalizing the sale. TrueCar, however, doesn’t specify their payment methods as these depend on the certified dealer where you’re claiming their instant offer at.

As a best practice, once you receive their initial offer, make sure to check with the certified dealers how they intend to pay for your car or whether they offer your preferred payment channels. 


Whether you choose Autotrader or TrueCar, you’ll receive the payment within the same day of completing the sale. 

Car Pick-up

Autotrader and TrueCar do not offer pick-up services. To sell your car, you must drop it off at one of their partner dealerships or certified dealers. 

Physical Locations

Autotrader has participating dealerships across the US where you need to take your car to claim their offer. TrueCar also has this option but claims they have over 10,000 certified dealers nationwide.  

Turnaround Time

Autotrader takes up to 48 hours when you sell your vehicle to them, while TrueCar takes 48 to 72 hours. 

Customer Service

Autotrader’s customer service team is available through the following: 

TrueCar’s customer support is open for queries through the following:


Logo autotrader logo truecar logo
Better Business Bureau1.212.89
Consumer Affairs3.24.1

Between Autotrader and TrueCar, the latter received higher average ratings from its customers on legitimate review sites, like Trustpilot and BBB. Customers liked that they were able to sell their vehicles for better prices at TrueCar. 

Additionally, many liked that TrueCar’s process is convenient and that their website is incredibly easy to use. However, some customers felt negatively that their instant offers were not the same as the final offers certified dealers made after inspecting their cars.

Autotrader also received praise from their customers for their high offers. However, many of their car sellers are complaining about listing fees, with some of them getting charged for extended periods.

Others also complained that they paid the listing fees but couldn’t sell their cars on the platform. 

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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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