We’ve done a lot of talking about selling cars, buying cars, and car-selling websites over our time on the internet. Not only is it our realm in which to dive deep, but it’s our true passion. Long gone are the days of not knowing how to sell your car or avoiding the entire act due to a lack of knowledge on the subject. The internet, in all its glory, has helped expedite everything, with selling items being one of the pillars of the web’s history.
I mean, sheesh. eBay was founded in 1995 and has since then become a staple of internet history. During its inception, the world was both shocked and relieved that private selling had come so far. And, in the 30 years since, things have only gotten easier.
So, with the ever-growing interest in online marketplaces, it was only a matter of time before the auto industry caught up. Now, when you Google anything involving selling your used car, you are met with millions of car-selling websites promising immediate results and cash in hand. To an extent, there are some great options available. The issue is weeding through them. Which ones are the best for you? Which ones offer the most profit?
Well, we are here to do it for you. We are going to break down all of the popular car-selling websites and let you know which ones are best! Here we go. Grab your hats, your used car, and your wallets.
What Are Car-Selling Websites?
Now, we must define the sites we are talking about before delving into the subject. While the name ‘car-selling websites’ seems pretty straightforward, there is one big discrepancy to clear.
Technically, websites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace can also be called car-selling websites. And, by all means, that’s true. You can use those websites to sell your used vehicles. The difference is in the service itself. On sites like Craigslist, you have to post your car and get direct inquiries from private buyers. It’s still a platform to sell a car, but it is a means to a private marketplace. It’s still a private sale.
Car-selling websites are sites where you put in your car’s information and the company buys it. It’s that simple. You provide your VIN, the condition of the vehicle, and maybe a few pictures. The company sends a representative to inspect and pick up your car. They give you a form of payment, you give them the keys and title, and all is over. There are no negotiations with buyers. It’s simple and clean.
So, throughout the rest of this article, we will be discussing the latter. That’s what we are at Sell My Car Colorado, and that’s what our competition is.
Why Choose Them Over Dealerships or Marketplaces?
Why would you ever choose a website over an in-person sale? It’s pretty simple: efficiency.
Firstly, selling your vehicle online via private means (i.e. Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace) involves a plethora of both knowledge and patience. Not only do you need to know a significant amount about the current car market, but you need to be able to answer any question about your car if a potential buyer reaches out. At the end of the day, that’s a lot to ask of someone, especially if they aren’t necessarily into cars.
Furthermore, selling your car to private buyers takes time and effort. You have to meet with the array of buyers and allow them to inspect the vehicle. You have to set up dates and locations for test drives. Despite being one of the more profitable ways to sell a used car, it takes a ton of unnecessary effort.
Selling to a dealership is no different.
Ultimately, used car dealerships are out to make a profit. It’s hard to argue with the nature of business, sure, but it doesn’t mean you have to abide by it. It doesn’t mean you need to get pushed over or ripped off by a dealership just because your knowledge or time is limited.
So, selling to a website circumvents all of the hassles of negotiations, the seediness of dealerships, and the need for market knowledge. It may lead to slightly less profit than private sales, sure, but the decrease in the needed effort is worth it to some. If you just want to get a good deal for your car ASAP, it’s the way to go.
Why Are There So Many?!
In 2021, Carvana’s revenue totaled $12.8 billion. In 2022, it was $13.6 billion. It continues to grow upward every quarter, proving that the need for quick car sales is not only sustainable but ever-growing.
It’s only natural for companies to jump on board. The idea sells itself. All you have to do is provide upfront money for the cars you buy, then it’s your job to flip them. The client and customer only need to provide the vehicle and information. It’s not only a simple process for the user (the ultimate sell of the idea), but it’s a simple process for the company.
It’s easy and profitable for all. It was only a matter of time before everyone tried their hand at online car sales.
Are They All Safe?
Just recently, we broke down how our website is a legitimate service. And though it sounds ridiculous to need to defend yourself as a business, it makes sense. Vehicles are expensive endeavors. Customers can be weary of selling their pricey item to some company they just heard of or a buyer they’ve never met. We get it.
We aren’t going to say that all car-selling websites are legitimate. We’re sure there are tons of little-known sites scamming for your real car with fake money. It’s entirely possible. When there’s an avenue for profit, scammers will come. But, the sites on this list are all legitimate. Most of the time, you see scams in the opposite direction; you see scams of customers buying cars and not receiving anything. Selling a car is a bit different because you need to physically be there. There isn’t a false promise of a car being shipped. Someone needs to hand you money before you hand them the keys.
Anyway, it’s always important to use your best judgment when using any of these sites. Check customer reviews on Google and Yelp. Make sure it seems legit.
As noted, every site here is legit and well-known.
Some sleuthing savant may be able to break down every available number, letting you know which car-selling websites offer the best deals and best timeframes. Unfortunately, that would take an overwhelming amount of time for such a small company as ours. But, have no fear! We are going to break down all of the positives and negatives of each site through user experience, customer reviews, and word of mouth from local sources.
We won’t give you exact numbers, but we will give you great details on which option will be best for you.
Furthermore, we do not plan to rank these sites. We don’t plan to say that a certain site is the best and a certain site is the worst. At the end of the day, we are a car-selling website, too. It would be malpractice to say anyone is better than us. Right?
Regardless, here are our pros and cons of each top site:
Sell My Car Colorado
Hey! It’s us!
From humble beginnings, we have climbed our way up through the ranks of Colorado-based car buyers. We have a plethora of experience with the industry and have given fair offers to every single one of our customers. Don’t believe us? Just check out our homepage. We have countless satisfied customers presented there.
Ultimately, we look to bring a private dealer feel to the overarching juggernaut of car-selling websites. We give you the time and answer any questions you have. We are part of the community and want to treat our neighbors well.
- Market Offers: We guarantee you fair deals on your vehicles. We will offer you $100 more than the competition.
- Transparent: When we come to make an offer, we bring all of our findings. That way, you know our offer is legitimate and fair.
- Any Vehicle: Junk cars, boats, trailers, motorcycles. Shoot, anything with wheels. We will buy it.
- Colorado Only: Unfortunately, we only work in the Denver Metro area. Though we will come to you to buy your vehicle, we can only stretch so far. We only serve Colorado residents.
Launched in 2006 by Langley Steinert, co-founder of TripAdvisor, Car Gurus promises to make your car-selling process simple. They claim to be one of the first to adopt the concept, and rightfully, they are.
Due to their early adoption and highly-funded background, they have millions of dealerships on board, willing to make offers for vehicles. They also have an extremely user-friendly site, free tools, and are on the Nasdaq Global Select Market as of 2017.
Simply put: they are a juggernaut of the industry and can be trusted.
- Years of Experience: They’ve been doing this forever. While we can’t guarantee the best deals, we can guarantee they are trusted. They even offer a $75,000 protection for their secure, online transactions if you sell privately.
- Instant Market Value: They have their own free tool to provide quick and clear market value for your car. This rivals Kelley Blue Book, the gold standard for used car value. It’s always nice to see the offer and where it came from.
- Negotiations and Private Buyers: If you decide you don’t want to sell directly to them, they will help you negotiate with the millions of private buyers they have on the site. It’s a quick and efficient way to pivot if you change your mind.
- Hidden Fees: As a big company, they will strike you with hidden fees. For example, it’s free to post your car on their private-seller site, but it costs $100 once you sell it.
- Hoops and Hoops: Some sellers complain about CarGurus’ requirement that you verify possession of the car. Apparently, there is a long and arduous process to prove that a car is yours before selling it.
- Communication Speed: Despite being a huge company, users have complained about the time it takes for representatives and other car buyers to get back to you.
Edmunds has been around forever. And we mean forever. The company initially was founded in 1966 and named Edmunds Publications. They produced helpful manuals for those that wanted to sell their vehicles. In the 1990s, they began publishing book guides on how to sell specific vehicles. So, when online car selling took off, Edmunds was quick to jump on board.
Now, they are in the car-selling game. They have a website that allows you to get instant offers on your vehicle or use their free tool for private sale evaluations.
- Reliable: Edmunds is grandfathered into the community. You know that when you sell to Edmunds, you aren’t navigating a wasteland of potential scams. They are legitimate and have been for over 50 years.
- Tips: Because they started as a company that provided car-selling tips, they have tons of tools and information on their site. You can look it all over for unbiased opinions and ideas before selling the vehicle.
- Instant Offer: They provide quick communication and offers. Their tool shows you exactly how they got the number, too.
- Low Profit: According to customers, Edmunds may offer you a lower deal than other car-selling websites.
- New Cars: Edmunds only focuses on cars past 1990. Therefore, their information and offers for anything older than that may be wildly inaccurate.
I feel like I’ve been hearing about AutoTrader since I was a child. And, after a little research, it makes complete sense. AutoTrade has been around since 1997 and has not slowed down in regard to internet popularity.
A British company, AutoTrader looks to connect car sellers with car buyers. Since its inception, it has worked to connect cars to local dealerships. Dealerships sign up to AutoTrade to find private sellers and vice versa. They weren’t initially started as a car-selling site like other newer sites on this list.
- Unbiased Information: The site’s car value research is unbiased. They pull all of their information from the conglomerate of dealerships they have connected. You know the offer is going to be on par with others.
- Established: Like Edmunds, you can trust that AutoTrader is legitimate.
- Not Direct: AutoTrader doesn’t buy your vehicle as other sites do. Instead, they connect you with a local dealership that is willing to give you an offer for your car. Despite saying instant offers, it’s not the same process as the other sites on this list.
- Private Information: Due to the nature of putting your through to other dealerships, AutoTrader isn’t great with user safety. They push your personal information around and make it available. No good.
- Time: Because they are a middleman, the instant offer isn’t really instant (like others here).
As noted before, Carvana is a juggernaut in the industry. Since its start in 2012, Carvana has become one of the leaders due to accessibility, reliability, and forward-thinking.
Just look at their car vending machines. That’s the future, baby.
Honestly, Carvana is the gold standard of the idea. They are the ones to make it extremely popular, too. If you are trying to sell your car through a reputable site, it’s one of the best ways to go.
- Offers Last: Some sites give you an offer and stand by it. If you turn the car on after the offer is made, it will change. Carvana’s offers last 7 days or 250 miles. So, you have time to think about it before it changes.
- More Profit: Carvana survives off of getting great deals. It hasn’t earned its reputation by scraping the top off numbers. Sellers have noted a 10-20% increase in Carvana offers over other sites.
- Best Ratings: All in all, Carvana has the best ratings across all user boards. You can trust them.
- Specific Years: Carvana will only purchase cars made after 1992. They do not work with anything older than that.
- No Junk: Unlike Sell My Car Colorado, Carvana will only purchase your vehicle if it is in good running condition.
Another longstanding competitor, CarMax was founded in 1993. What once started as a simple retailer, CarMax has carved its name into the future as one of the top car-selling websites.
And that’s the thing: you will notice that all former car dealer sites have attempted to bite a part of the instant-offer apple. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work for most. CarMax has taken advantage of it, though. Their instant offer service is consistently rated as one of the best on the market.
- Flexible Options: Because the service is based around CarMax’s physical locations, you can take your car in for an instant appraisal instead of filling out the online inquiry.
- All Payments: CarMax offers all types of payment for your vehicle. From checks to cash, you can get whatever form you need.
- The Fastest Option Here: While all services here offer an instant appraisal, not all the services have instant cash. Most will have to schedule an appointment to come inspect the car. Because CarMax runs through locations, you can take it in to sell as soon as you get the offer (if the shop is open). So, it’s the fastest option out of everything on this list.
- All Locations: While there are a ton of CarMax storefronts, there may not be one near you. You have to sell it at the store, even if given the offer online.
- No Free Towing: Because you have to take it to them, there isn’t free pickup like other sites.
- Processing Fees: Depending on the state, you may have to pay a processing fee between $100-$400.
Founded in 2011, Peddle is a bit different than most of the sites on this list. All in all, Peddle still works under the same formula of offering you an instant amount for your car and then picking it up with a check in hand. The difference is that Peddle specializes in broken and junk vehicles. It was originally named Junk My Car in 2004.
The company doesn’t sell vehicles, either. Therefore, you can’t trade your car into them for something else like a lot of the options on this list.
Overall, there aren’t a lot of companies that do salvage and scrap sales (Sell My Car Colorado does, though). This helps edge Peddle over the competition.
- Any Condition: Its biggest selling point, Peddle will give you money for a car or truck in any condition.
- Less Information Needed: Because the company sells cars to scrapyards and auctions, they don’t need as much information from you. If your car is totaled, they don’t even need a title.
- All 50 States: Peddle deals anywhere, anytime. They also pick up your vehicle without any towing fees.
- Only Checks: Though they bring them immediately, Peddle only offers checks as payment.
- Only Junk: Sure, Peddle will buy any used car, but you are likely to get a better offer for a new or great-condition vehicle elsewhere.
- Time: Because they work with third-party towing companies, selling through Peddle can take more time than other sites.
The little brother of the major companies (i.e. Carvana and CarMax), Vroom was founded in 2013. In its entirety, Vroom is basically the same option as Carvana. They provide all of the same services. They will give you an instant offer, pick up the vehicle, and offer trade-ins for vehicles they sell. They aren’t a middleman, but a bonafide car-selling site.
Because of the simplicity, there isn’t much to write home about. If you are thinking of using Carvana, check Vroom to see if they give you a better offer. At the end of the day, it’s pretty much the same service.
Unfortunately, Vroom’s reviews have been increasingly bad over the years (we’ll get to that). Unless you get a ridiculously higher offer on Vroom than other sites, we recommend selling elsewhere.
- Simple: Like Carvana, the process through Vroom is simple. Give them the information about the car and they will give you an offer. Accept it and they will come to buy it and pick it up from you.
- Longstanding Offer: Like Carvana (a trend here), Vroom holds the offer for 7 days or 250 miles.
- Lower Offers: Some users have complained about Vroom offering a significantly lower amount than similar car-selling websites. Beware.
- Less Quality: It’s the same service as others with less dependability and profit.
- Low Reviews: Vroom reviews have bombed over the past year. In January of 2023, Vroom’s Better Business Bureau accreditation had been revoked, leaving the company with an “F” ranking and 1.1 out of 5 stars from customer reviews. That’s a horrible sign.
Now that we have covered the big boys, it’s time to get into the smaller, up-and-coming car-selling website.
Founded in 2005, TrueCar has offered online car sales and tools like the others in its time period. As of the modern age, the company has dove into the instant-offer concept as well. Just like CarMax before it, it’s a company that has been around and adapted to the new concepts well.
What’s great about TrueCar is how overall transparent they are. Though a smaller company, they stand by being fair and responsible.
- Price Breakdown: When given an offer, TrueCar gives you a detailed breakdown of why they chose that price.
- Amazing Research Tool: Their site offers a variety of tools to help sell your car. They also show listings from competitors.
- Offer Length: Though not 7 days like Carvana and Vroom, TrueCar holds the offer for 3.
- Dealership Need: TrueCar gives you a deal through local dealerships. Therefore, they act as a middleman. You still have to take the car to one of the dealerships for sale.
- Spammy: Apparently TrueCar will bog you down with emails and texts if you give them your information.
- Sometimes None: Because they go through other dealerships, sometimes you won’t be able to get a single offer for your car.
Founded in 2017, CarBrain is one of the youngest options we have on this list. That doesn’t mean they are the weakest or least reliable, though. In fact, CarBrain has done great since its inception, amassing 4.8 stars on Google Reviews and an A+ on the Better Business Bureau.
Much like Peddle, CarBrain specializes in broken and junk cars, though their strength with any condition cars is a bit more reliable than Peddle.
- Quick Turnaround: CarBrain will turn around and pick up your car within 48 hours of accepting their offer. There isn’t as much fluff and waiting as other dealers.
- Any Condition: While Peddle only gives great offers for broken cars, CarBrain will give you a fair offer for any condition. They categorize your car with 7 options; broken, parts cars, non-running, junk or scrap, mechanical problems, and falling objects.
- Great Reviews: As noted, CarBrain seems like a fair and enjoyable company to work with.
- Contractor Service: They deal with contractors for pick up and sales, so the communication and customer service of the other party may vary.
- Middle Deals: Because they focus more on broken vehicles, newer vehicles beware. You are still likely to get a better offer on your newer vehicle elsewhere.
- Check Only: Most of the time, CarBrain will only offer a check payment for the vehicle.
When dealing with any service, sometimes those small-town feelings and camaraderie are worth the lower profit. For example, at Sell My Colorado, we look to maintain that small business, neighborhood feel.
Despite being available nationwide, Wheelzy gives a community feel to its services. They want to appear reliable and respectable, and they are doing a great job so far.
Being the youngest of the car-selling websites on the list (5 years old), Wheelzy has time to grow. But, so far, they have carved out a significant name for themselves in the car-selling market, banking a 4.7 rating on Google Reviews.
- Forms of Payment: Wheelzy offers all forms of payment for your used vehicle.
- Transparency: Our favorite part of Wheelzy is that they give you the details of all of their sales. On their site, they tell you what cars got what offers, including mileage and condition.
- Any Condition: Like Peddle and CarBrain, Wheelzy will give you an offer for your car regardless of its condition.
- Time: Many have reported that towing and in-person time may be longer than expected.
- Nothing Old: Wheelzy will not buy cars older than 1981. While that’s not as bad as Carvana’s 1992 limit, it still puts a hamper on some.
- Customer Service Lower: Because they are a newer and smaller company, it may not have the quickest response times for customer service inquiries.
Despite having the best URL of the bunch, Cars.com hasn’t reached the top tier of the car-selling websites. In fact, its customer reviews on Better Business Bureau sit at around 1.6 out of 5.
Due to the nature of being an end-all-be-all for car sellers, Cars.com has a ton of information regarding your vehicle and its market, giving it a bit of an edge on some less-informative options. You can easily find out what the car is going for, and if you don’t like the offer they give you, you can post it for private buyers.
- Resources, Resources, Resources: Cars.com has tons of free tools and information for your specific car and market.
- Options: As noted, if you don’t like the cash offer, you can place it up for sale on the same exact interface.
- Needs Info: The site requires a ton of information before giving you an offer. This will eventually lead to spam mail.
- Local Dealers: They do not purchase directly, but get local dealers to buy your car. This will delay the time from offer to cash.
- Low Reviews: Cars.com has low reviews for seedy moves and bad customer service. They have been known for charging others for car listings and then not posting them. This isn’t related to their car-selling service, but it’s something to take note of.
We Buy Any Car
Finally, the website that has been flooding the internet and local commercials recently. Despite being formed in 2006 in the United Kingdom, We Buy Any Car has seemingly taken off over the past year in the States, amassing ridiculous advertising and numbers.
Though having a strangely cheap interface, We Buy Any Car has been strong on the customer review front. They have an A+ score with the Better Business Bureau and 4.9 stars on Trustpilot.
They are a no-nonsense situation. They don’t sell cars and don’t offer trade-ins. They will buy your car, pick it up, and give you a payment. It’s that simple.
- Any Car: Though they don’t specialize in broken cars like Peddle, they are willing to buy any car in any condition.
- Really, Any Car: They will buy cars you owe on, unlike most other services. If payment is needed because you owe more money to the finance company than the current value of the car, you will encounter a processing fee of 2.5%. This is to arrange the paperwork to pay off the balance of the remaining loan amount.
- No Middle: Unlike most other services here, they buy the cars themselves. No dealing with local dealerships.
- Response Time: Plenty of negative reviews have mentioned delayed responses to customer service inquiries.
- Lower Prices: Many have noted significant drop-offs between the online instant offer and the offer made by the representative after inspection. This can be both tricky and frustrating.
- No Cash: We Buy Any Car only offers check payments.
Well, there you have it. There are our quick breakdowns on all the top car-selling websites on the market. Obviously, there are plenty of other options in your local area, but these are the juggernauts and top dogs.
After our research, we are willing to say that the big names (CarMax and Carvana) are your best bets, though all of them have their pros and cons (obviously).
If you are looking for a local option, one involving supporting local businesses and neighborhood establishments, give us a look. At Sell My Car Colorado, we aim to offer the same services as every site on this list. We will also buy any vehicle (motorcycles, trailers, boats, you name it).
You are already here. Might as well check us out! We remain one of the highest-rated car-selling websites in Denver!