The Ultimate Guide to Selling Your Car Online in Canada

By Daniel Schoester | Published on 10 Jul 2023

a car parked on a wet road

    Selling your car online in Canada can be daunting if you’re unfamiliar with the process. However, following three simple steps, you can easily navigate the online marketplace and sell your car quickly and profitably. This includes preparing your vehicle for sale, using the best platforms to sell your car, and finalizing the deal. 

    There are two platform categories to sell your car online; online dealers and marketplaces. Online dealers are generally more convenient but pay less. Meanwhile, you may receive better deals with online marketplaces but must navigate the process independently. 

    In this ultimate guide, we will walk you through every aspect of selling your car online, from understanding the steps to accepting payment and transferring ownership. So, let’s dive in and discover how to make the most of selling your car online in Canada.

    Step One: Preparing Your Car for Sale

    First impressions matter, especially when it comes to selling a car online. Before listing your vehicle, preparing it thoroughly to attract potential buyers is essential. This will make you seem more professional and streamline the selling process. Here are the critical first steps; 

    Cleaning Your Car

    Cleaning your car is about more than just giving it a quick wash. Take the time to clean both the interior and exterior thoroughly. Vacuum the carpets and seats, ensuring no crumbs or dirt are left behind. Remember to clean the windows and mirrors to give your car a sparkling finish. Professional detailing is worth considering if you want to take your car’s presentation to the next level. 

    Fixing any visible damages or mechanical issues is crucial to ensure your car is in top condition. Potential buyers will be looking for a well-maintained vehicle, so addressing any dents, scratches, or mechanical problems will go a long way. Consider consulting a professional mechanic to inspect your car and fix any issues affecting its performance or appearance.

    Gather The Required Documents

    Next, remember to gather all the necessary documents. Having the vehicle title, registration, and maintenance records organized and readily available will make the selling process smoother. It shows potential buyers that you have taken good care of your car and are a responsible owner.

    Each province and territory has different documents. For example, selling a car in Ontario requires different documents than in Quebec. However, many buyers may want a CARFAX report, which provides additional information about the vehicle’s accident and theft history. 

    Setting the Right Price for Your Car

    Begin by researching the market to determine the average selling prices for similar cars in your area. Many sellers turn to the Kelley Blue Book to determine the value of their vehicles. Consider the condition and mileage of your car, adjusting the price accordingly.

    Note any extras or modifications that can increase its value, but not all buyers may be willing to pay extra for specific additions. Being realistic and flexible is critical; avoid setting an overly inflated price and be open to reasonable offers.

    Crafting an Effective Listing

    A detailed and accurate description is critical to attracting potential buyers looking for specific features or specifications. Buyers can quickly determine if your car matches their requirements by providing the make, model, year, and mileage information.

    But it’s not just about the text. Including high-quality photos from different angles is equally essential. These photos give potential buyers a visual representation of your car’s condition, allowing them to assess its exterior and interior features. Nowadays, mobile phone cameras are sufficient to take great photos. However, consider hiring a photographer to enhance the number of leads you receive. 

    In addition to the basic information and photos, it’s a good idea to mention any recent maintenance or repairs that have been done on the car. This shows potential buyers that you have taken care of the vehicle and provides them with peace of mind knowing it has been well-maintained. However, transparency about known issues or damages is essential to building trust. 

    Lastly, highlight the car’s selling points and unique selling proposition. What sets your vehicle apart from others on the market? Is it a rare model? Does it have special features or modifications? By emphasizing these unique aspects, you create a sense of value and desirability that attracts buyers looking for something different.

    Step Two: The Best Platforms to Sell Your Car Online

    When selling your car online in Canada, you have two primary options: marketplaces and online dealers. Each comes with its own set of advantages and considerations. This section will walk you through the two categories and the best websites to sell your car online. 

    AdvantagesConsiderations
    Marketplaces– Broad reach and potential exposure to a larger pool of buyers.

    – You have more control over the selling process and can negotiate directly with potential buyers.
    – You may need to handle the paperwork and payment process independently.

    – It may take longer to sell your car.
    Online Dealers– Convenience and a streamlined selling process.

    – They often provide instant cash offers, quick inspections and handle the paperwork.
    – You may receive slightly lower offers than selling directly to an individual buyer.

    – You have less control over the selling process.

    Clutch

    Clutch provides options for buying, selling, trading, and financing cars. Their website features a simple process to sell your car by instantly providing details about your vehicle and receiving a firm offer. Once you accept the offer, you can drop your vehicle off at their nearest facility or arrange pick-up.

    Clutch takes care of the paperwork and pays you promptly. In addition to selling cars, Clutch also offers a trade-in service, allowing you to apply the value of your current ride towards purchasing a new one and save on sales tax. They provide a convenient 10-Day Money-Back Guarantee for added peace of mind.

    Clutch also offers assistance with loan payoff if you have an outstanding loan on the vehicle you’re selling. Overall, Clutch aims to provide a hassle-free car buying and selling experience while offering competitive prices and excellent customer service.

    Canada Drives

    Canada Drives offers a safe and convenient alternative to selling your car though a marketplace. They provide an instant online offer based on the vehicle details or VIN you provide. With an average selling time of under 48 hours, Canada Drives offers a faster process than the average 4-6 weeks for private sales. They verify the final offer online or through phone/text, ensuring transparency.

    The service includes convenient drop-off locations, safe and secure payment methods, and assistance with paying off any existing loans on the vehicle. Canada Drives determines the value of your car based on location, condition, and the Canadian Black Book, and the offer is valid for seven days. Payments are processed after dropping off the vehicle at an agreed location, usually by cheque or electronic funds transfer.

    Carity

    Carity lets you receive offers from verified dealerships by entering your car’s make and model. The platform boasts saving users $2,515,200+ and emphasizes the convenience of selling through them rather than privately.

    The process involves three simple steps: entering your vehicle information, receiving genuine offers, choosing the offer and getting paid. Carity offers a hassle-free experience and provides a way to get the best value for your car.

    Autozen

    Autozen offers a four-step process to sell your vehicle: getting a free car estimate through their online valuation tool, booking an appointment for a walkaround inspection, having pre-qualified buyers send you the best offer, and finally, arranging for the pick-up of your vehicle and receiving payment on the spot.

    They guarantee your offer based on an in-person walkaround inspection to ensure a firm and reliable offer. They operate in multiple locations and provide helpful resources and support through their website.

    Autotrader

    AutoTrader is a large automotive marketplace in Canada that helps individuals sell their cars quickly and for free. They offer two options for selling: selling to a dealer or listing privately on their marketplace. Selling to a dealer provides advantages such as no wait time, skipping loan payments, trade-in tax credit, and a safer selling experience.

    For those looking to sell privately, AutoTrader offers the option to list your ad on their marketplace, which is the largest in Canada. They also provide various resources and tips for selling your car, including articles on trading in your car, selling tips, and photographing your used car. AutoTrader has a dedicated support team to assist customers throughout the selling process.

    MintList

    MintList is an online vehicle auction site that offers a convenient way to sell your car. Founded in 2020, it uses an AI-powered platform to connect car owners with vetted buyers, including auto dealers, exporters, and leasing companies. 

    You can sell your car, complete an inspection using your mobile phone, and receive multiple buyer offers. MintList guarantees payment and allows you to choose the highest bid. It operates in British Columbia (BC) and Alberta and offers a free service with no obligation to proceed with an offer.

    Facebook Marketplace

    Facebook’s marketplace is free to buy and sell cars in Canada. Some sellers prefer it because it provides additional information about the buyer. For example, you’ll see how long they have been a member of Facebook. You can pay additional fees to boost your listing.

    Craigslist

    Craigslist is a classified advertisements website where users can find various listings for goods and services. The website offers specific locations within Canada, allowing users to choose their nearest city or region. From Barrie, ON, to Yellowknife, NT, users can access local classifieds for their respective areas.

    Kijiji Autos

    Kijiji Autos is a sub-group of the popular online marketplace. While you can sell your car for free, there are additional fees for specific scenarios. For example, you’ll need to pay fees if you want your listing to appear at the top or when listing more than two passenger vehicles simultaneously. 

    eBay Motors


    eBay Motors
     is similar to Kijiji. It’s a sub-group of another popular online marketplace. However, eBay also lets you sell your car using an auction format or fixed price. They offer three different listing packages that range from $19.00 to $79.00 USD. By choosing a more expensive package, you can include additional photos in your ad and keep it active longer.

    Step Three: Finalizing the Sale

    At this point, you should have a few prospective buyers. You’ll need to transfer ownership while navigating potential scams. This section will walk you through the closing process.

    Negotiating with Prospective Buyers

    Understanding your vehicle’s selling points is crucial to back up your price. This will enable you to convey the value of your car and strengthen your position during the negotiation. Additionally, consider researching the market value of similar vehicles.

    Avoiding Scams When Selling Your Car Online

    Verify the identity of potential buyers and their contact details. Request and validate their personal information before proceeding with any transactions. This can include asking for their full name, phone number, and email address. Research their background, check their online presence, and look for red flags or suspicious behaviour.

    When arranging test drives and inspections, prioritize safety by meeting in a safe and public location. Choose a well-lit area with surveillance cameras or meet at a police station. Avoid secluded locations or inviting strangers to your home, as these situations can pose risks.

    Exercise caution if a buyer offers to pay significantly above your asking price or suggests unusual payment methods. These could be signs of fraudulent activity. Be wary of requests for wire transfers, money orders, or payment through unconventional platforms. Stick to secure forms of payment, such as bank transfers or certified checks.

    If you encounter any suspicious activity or suspect that you may be dealing with a scammer, report the incident to the online platform where the listing is posted. They may have measures to handle such situations and can take appropriate action. Additionally, inform your local authorities, providing them with any relevant information or evidence you may have.

    Accepting Payment

    It is crucial to accept secure forms of payment to minimize the risk of fraud or financial issues. Options such as bank transfers, or certified cheques provide a higher security level than cash transactions. You can also consider an escrow service for an added layer of security.

    Once the payment is received, it is important to verify its authenticity and ensure that the funds have cleared before proceeding with the transfer of ownership. This step helps to protect both parties involved in the transaction.

    Transferring Ownership

    In addition to the payment, completing the necessary paperwork is vital to finalize the sale. This typically includes documents such as the bill of sale and transfer of ownership forms. The bill of sale is a legal transaction record and includes details about the buyer, seller, vehicle, purchase price, and other relevant information. If you’re selling a car with a loan, you must also ensure the lien is closed. It is essential to accurately and fully complete these documents to ensure a smooth and legally binding transaction.

    Post-Sale Tips and Considerations

    After selling your car online, it is crucial to notify the appropriate insurance company and motor vehicle registry about the change in ownership. This step ensures the buyer can properly register the vehicle under their name. If buying a new car, you may also consider comparing car insurance.

    Lastly, keeping copies of all relevant documents related to the sale is highly recommended for future reference or in case of any disputes. These documents may include the bill of sale, transfer of ownership forms, insurance policies, and other relevant paperwork. Having these records readily available can help resolve any potential issues that may arise later on.

    Selling a Car Online in Canada: The Bottom Line

    Selling your car online in Canada doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. By understanding the steps involved, preparing your car effectively, crafting an enticing listing, selecting the right platform, negotiating strategically, and prioritizing safety, you can successfully navigate the online marketplace and find the right buyer for your car.

    Remember to stay organized, communicate transparently, and follow all necessary procedures when accepting payment and transferring ownership. With these tips, you can begin your selling journey and achieve a successful sale.

    FAQs About Selling a Car Online

    How to sell a car online safely?

    When selling a car online, prioritize safety by meeting in a safe and public location. Additionally, verify the identity of potential buyers and their contact details. Request and validate their personal information before proceeding with any transactions. Furthermore, be wary of requests for wire transfers or money orders. Stick to secure forms of payment, such as bank transfers or certified checks.

    How to sell a car online fast?

    The fastest way to sell a car online is through an online dealer. Platforms like Clutch and Canada Drivers are designed to sell your car in a few days. However, the convenience comes at a cost, and you likely will receive a lower amount than an online marketplace.

    How to sell a car online for free?

    The best option to sell a car online for free is through an online marketplace, such as Craigslist or Kijiji. These platforms allow you to sell your car without any upfront costs. However, finding the right buyer may take some time, and you may have to deal with lowball offers. Additionally, you may have to pay a fee when accepting payments through specific online platforms.

    How to sell a car online without getting scammed?

    Always be aware of suspicious activities or requests when selling a car online. Be wary of buyers offering to pay significantly above your asking price or suggesting unusual payment methods. Additionally, validate potential buyers’ identity and contact details before proceeding with any transactions. If you encounter any suspicious activity or suspect that you may be dealing with a scammer, report the incident to the online platform and inform your local authorities.

    What is the best place to sell a car online in Canada?

    The best place to sell a car online depends on your preference for convenience or the best price. Online marketplaces like Craigslist and Kijiji are generally free but may require patience. Alternatively, many online dealers guarantee a sale in a few days but may incur additional fees.

    Can you get scammed selling a car on eBay?

    Yes, getting scammed when selling a car on eBay is possible. Be wary of buyers suggesting unusual payment methods or sending payments larger than the asking price. Always validate potential buyers’ identity and contact information before proceeding with transactions.

    Daniel is an expert on travel, finance, and SEO. He received an Honours BBA (Finance) from Wilfrid Laurier University, then started his career with WOWA. Here, he learned various SEO tactics that were instrumental in quadrupling monthly traffic to one million views. Now the founder of Croton Content, Daniel helps financial companies scale through evergreen content. Aside from Hardbacon, notable clients include Forbes Advisor, WealthRocket, and Hellosafe. Daniel loves to travel when not working. Although based out of Lisbon, Portugal, some of his most adventurous destinations include Rio, Cairo, and Istanbul.