Selling an Old Banger Privately Can Lead to a World of Hurt
When the time comes to replace an old car, the murky waters of private sales are often more trouble than they are worth.
A recent statistic was published stating that there are more cars than people in California. While UK car ownership has not quite reached these dizzying heights, it is nevertheless the case that there are more cars joining the fray on the UK’s roads every year.
With an estimated two million new car sales per annum, the UK has a significant churn when it comes to its cars. One newspaper ran a story saying that people get a new car more often than they get a new phone, and with cars changing hands every couple of years, there is definitely something almost like a “food chain” going on. It starts with those nearly new cars that are still under warranty, goes through seven or eight year old vehicles worth a couple of thousand pounds and ends with the old clunkers for which a worn clutch or a cracked windscreen might mean they are beyond economic repair.
For newer vehicles with a good service history and no major problems, there is always a market, but when a car is reaching the end of its natural life it usually makes more sense to get a scrap car quote than to try and sell it on.
The modern car recycler – more than just a scrap yard
If your vision of scrapping a car involves venturing out to the back end of an industrial park and negotiating a deal among seedy characters with a penchant for angry dogs on rusting chains, the chances are you’ve been watching too many reruns of The Sweeney.
Today’s scrap yards are professionally run and rigorously regulated by the appropriate environmental agencies to ensure they are safe and that they dispose of the many waste materials that come out of a scrap vehicle in an environmentally responsible way.
There is also none of the haggling that you might have in mind. Simply log on to their website, provide the vehicle details and they will give you a quote on the spot. If you are happy with the price, they’ll transfer the funds, and come to collect the vehicle from your home. Ironically, today’s scrap car buyers are more at risk from the car owner’s dogs than vice versa!
The perils of the private sale
You might still be wondering whether you can get a better price selling the car privately, perhaps by putting it onto an online sale or auction site. After all, it must be worth good money to someone, right?
Well anything is possible, but if you take a look at some of the most common makes and models, you will find that there are more sellers than buyers out there. Around 1.5 million cars are scrapped every year, so just think how many thousands of ageing Ford Fiestas, Vauxhall Corsas and so on that adds up to. On any given day, there will be hundreds advertised, and those who are in the market to buy can take their pick.
Ultimately, they will be unlikely to offer more than the scrap value, and you have the additional inconvenience and expense of dealing with the advertising, and then watching one character after another turn up at your house, wander around the car, kick the tyres and waste your time.
It really isn’t worth the hassle, and it can lead to serious heartache.