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How to Sell? vs. Autotrader Offer in 2024

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Written by: Michael Becker
Last Updated:

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Which is Better for Selling the Car?

When deciding whether to sell your car through or Autotrader, it’s essential to consider the specific services and fees each platform offers. is well-regarded for its user-friendly interface and array of resources to assist buyers and sellers. It accepts cars under various conditions, provided they meet specific eligibility requirements, such as having a valid Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and not being previously registered at an auction. Cars used for commercial purposes, like taxis or police vehicles, are generally not eligible. Listing your car on can often be done for free, although there may be fees for premium listing features.

On the other hand, Autotrader allows you to sell new and used cars. It connects sellers to potential buyers via Kelley Blue Book for instant offers; however, if you choose to list your car on Autotrader’s website, a $49 listing fee applies. This fee includes the benefit of renewing your ad every 30 days for up to a year at no extra charge.

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 Summary

  • Useful resources to help you sell a car
  • Excellent place to research the market
  • Instant cash offer from a dealer
  • Smooth and easy to use interface vs. Autotrader Comparison

Logo carscom logo autotrader logo
Cars acceptedEligible vehiclesNew and used cars
Fees$0$0 for instant cash offer, $49 listing fee
Requesting quotesOnline applicationOnline application
Offer validity3 days7 days or an additional 50 miles
Payments offeredDepends on the dealershipCheck
PayoutSame daySame day
Car pick-upDepends on the dealershipDrop-off
Physical locationsPartner dealershipsParticipating dealers across the US
Turnaround timeUp to 72 hoursUp to 48 hours
Customer serviceChat, call, fax, and social mediaPhone and social media

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Cars Accepted accepts cars in most conditions as long as they meet eligibility requirements, such as having a valid Vehicle Identification Number. The company will also purchase your vehicle if it’s not imported illegally or built outside the US. 

It’s also crucial to confirm your car isn’t registered at an auction before you can sell it to Additionally, the company doesn’t buy vehicles used as taxis, police, livery, and fire vehicles. 

On the other hand, you can only sell your car through Autotrader, then through KBB, if it’s new or used. Beyond these conditions, the company will consider your vehicle’s modifications, title issues, available market data, and unresolved recalls to determine eligibility for selling.

Fees offers two ways to sell your car: by accepting their instant offer or listing it on their website. Either of these choices won’t cost you anything. 

Autotrader also lets you sell your car in two ways, but only their instant cash offer option is free of charge. When you list your car on their website, you’ll need to pay a $49 listing fee.

Requesting Quotes

To request a quote from, go to its Sell Your Car webpage and click the Get your Instant Offer button. From there, you’ll need to enter your zip code to confirm if instant offers are available in your location. 

Suppose it’s available. You’ll need to enter primary vehicle details, such as the VIN or license plate number and state of registration. Aside from those, you’ll also need to:

  • Enter information about your car’s mileage
  • Condition
  • Ownership
  • The number of keys

At the end of the online process, you’ll need to enter your contact details, like phone number and email address. This allows to connect you with their partner dealerships, and they can contact you with their offers. 

Selling to Autotrader works quite similarly to But noticeably, the company will direct you to the Kelly Blue Book website if you want an instant offer. You’ll need to enter your car’s VIN or license plate number there, as well as condition and history. 

Finally, you’ll need to provide your contact details so Autotrader can connect you to their participating dealers. The dealers will contact you with their offers. 

Offer Validity offers are only valid for 3 days, while offers from Autotrader’s participating dealers are usually valid for 7 days or an additional 50 miles. 

Payments Offered instant offers come from their partner dealerships. Thus, payment methods typically depend on the dealership. Make sure to check with them about how they process payments before accepting any offers. 

Meanwhile, participating dealerships at Autotrader usually pay in checks. It’s also worth checking to see if they offer other payment methods besides this.  


Both companies will process payments within the same day of selling to them. With Autotrader, the dealership will hand you the check payment before you can leave their store.

Car Pick-up

You can check with partner dealerships if they offer a free pick-up service when you accept their offer. Participating dealers at Autotrader, unfortunately, don’t offer pick-up services at all. To sell to them, you’ll need to bring your car to the dealership.

Physical Locations

Both companies work with partner dealerships across the US. You can get instant offers for your car and sell it to a participating dealer near you. Autotrader even has a store locator on its website.  

Turnaround Time

Selling your car to can take up to 72 hours. Meanwhile, selling it to an Autotrader dealership can only take up to 48 hours. 

In both companies, completing the online application only takes minutes. However, connecting with the dealership and accepting their offers can consume most of your time. 

Completing the paperwork and payments can also relatively make the selling process longer.     

Customer Service offer the following ways to connect with its customer service team:

Autotrader’s customer support is available through their social media accounts, such as Facebook or Twitter. You can also contact them by phone at 866-288-6872.   


Logo carscom logo autotrader logo
Better Business Bureau1.561.21
Consumer Affairs4.03.2

In reliable reviews sites like Trustpilot, BBB, and Consumers Affairs, received higher average ratings than Autotrader. Most of the positive reviews are about came from customers who liked the 

  • Convenient car-selling process
  • Helpful resources on their website 
  • Excellent customer service

However, some customers had issues using the website to list their vehicles, while car buyers felt their contact details shouldn’t be shared with dealerships. 

Autotrader customers, meanwhile, liked the

  • High offers from partner dealerships
  • Quick responses from customer service
  • Various options to list cars

However, some private sellers, who listed their cars on Autotrader, felt their listing fees were quite high. After all, platforms like and even Facebook Marketplace offer them for free. 

Other customers also complained about Autotrader connecting them with potential scammers and very few legitimate buyers.  

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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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