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How to Sell?

Cargurus vs. Autotrader Listings in 2024

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Written by: Michael Becker
Last Updated:

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Which is Better for Selling the Car?

If you’re looking to sell your car, CarGurus is your better option compared to Autotrader. You can sell any car to them as long as you can provide a valid VIN or license plate number. 

CarGurus also offers two ways to sell your car: by claiming an instant offer or selling it to private buyers. 

Requesting a quote from CarGurus is pretty straightforward and listing your car on their website costs $4.95. This price is a total bargain compared to Autotrader’s listing fee of $49. 

Claiming CarGurus’s instant offer is also hassle-free since you don’t need to bring your car anywhere. You only need to set up a pick-up time for their representative to pick it up. And when it comes to payment, you’ll have two options to receive it. 

If you have questions about selling your car, CarGurus offers more support options through chat, phone, and social media.

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

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

CarGurus vs. Autotrader Comparison

Logo cargurus logo autotrader logo
Cars acceptedAny cars, subject to restrictionNew and used cars
Fees$0 for instant offers, $4.95 listing fees$0 for instant cash offer, $49 listing fees
Requesting quotesOnline applicationOnline application
Offer validity7 days or an additional 250 miles7 days or an additional 50 miles
Payments offeredCash via bank transfer or checkCheck
PayoutWithin 2 business daysSame day
Car pick-upFree pick-upDrop-off
Physical locationsNoneParticipating dealers across the US
Turnaround timeUp to 3 business daysUp to 48 hours
Customer serviceChat, phone, and social mediaPhone and social media

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Cars Accepted

CarGurus can purchase your vehicle as long as it has a valid VIN or license plate number. The company will determine your car’s eligibility for sale based on its age, aftermarket customizations, and other relevant factors. 

Autotrader, meanwhile, can only purchase cars in used or new condition. It also specifies conditions that might affect your vehicle’s eligibility for sale. These include available market data, modification, title issues, and unresolved recalls.  


Selling your car to CarGurus or Autotrader through their instant cash offers is completely free of charge. 

If you’re looking to list your car to sell on their website, you might need to pay a $4.95 listing fee at CarGurus. At Autotrader, listing costs around $49.

Requesting Quotes

Requesting a quote with CarGurus is fairly easy. Just go to its website and navigate to its Sell My Car webpage. Then, enter your car’s Vehicle Identification Number, and if you don’t have it, the license plate number and state registration.

Once you click the Get Started button, the website will take you to another page where you can enter more details about your car, such as:

  • Mileage 
  • Condition
  • History

If you only provided your car’s license plate number, you’ll also need to enter the details on its trim, transmission, and color. To complete the online application, you will need to enter your email address. This allows CarGurus to contact you with their offer.

You can also sell your car to Autotrader by completing an online form. However, the company connects you to Kelly Blue Book to get an instant offer.

The process is pretty similar to CarGurus, as you will need to provide essential vehicle details, such as VIN, condition, and history. 

You’ll also need to provide your contact details so Autotrader can connect you with local dealerships where you can claim their instant offer. 

Offer Validity

CarGurus offers are good for 7 days or additional 250 miles, while Autotrader offers are valid for up to 7 days or additional 50 miles. 

Payments Offered

CarGurus offers two payment options: check and bank transfer. Meanwhile, Autotrader pays in checks only.  


After completing the sale, CarGurus normally takes up to 2 business days to process payments. If you’re selling to an Autotrader, you can get the check payment within the same day. 

Car Pick-up

Only CarGurus offers free pick-up. You can schedule for their tow team to get your car once you accept their instant offer.

Physical Locations

Autotrader has physical stores across the country where you can sell your car. Use their store locator to find one near you. CarGurus, on the other hand, doesn’t have any physical stores.  

Turnaround Time

Selling to CarGurus can take up to 3 days. This includes getting an instant offer, having your car picked up and waiting for payment. 

With Autotrader, car-selling typically takes up to 48 hours. Its process is quite faster since you schedule an appointment with one of their stores right after accepting an instant offer. 

Then, you can complete the sale during your appointment and get your payment before leaving their store. 

Customer Service

CarGurus has the following options to reach their customer service:

Autotrader’s customer service team can be reached through their hotline at 866-288-6872, or you can send them a message through their Facebook or Twitter accounts.


Logo cargurus logo autotrader logo
Better Business Bureau1.461.21
Consumer Affairs3.73.2

CarGurus customers praised the company for its

  • Straightforward process
  • Zero charges when claiming instant offers
  • Several customer support channels

In contrast, the company received complaints from private sellers who claimed they were charged high fees for listing their cars on the platform.

Autotrader customers, meanwhile, like that they were able to get high offers for their vehicles. 

Some complaints mention listing fees as well, which Autotrader was able to address. In fact, the company was A+ accredited by the Better Business Bureau for its legitimate and reliable services.

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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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