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How Long Does It Take to Sell a Car?

How Long Does It Take to Sell a Car?

If you’re here, then it’s about time to sell your car. But how long does it take to sell a car, and what’s the fastest method?

Average Time to Sell a Car

On average, it takes around 60 days to sell a used car, according to industry data. However, this can vary greatly depending on the factors mentioned above. Here’s a breakdown of average selling times by method:

  • Private Party Sale: 30-60 days
  • Dealership Trade-In: 1-7 days
  • Car Buying Company: 1-3 days
  • Instant Online Offer: 1-3 days

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Factors That Affect How Long It Takes to Sell a Car

Several key factors can impact the time it takes to sell your vehicle:

  1. Make, Model, Age, and Condition: Popular, well-maintained cars in good condition typically sell faster than older, less desirable models.
  2. Pricing: Setting a competitive price based on market value can attract buyers more quickly.
  3. Advertising and Marketing: Effective advertising and marketing strategies can help your car gain more exposure and sell faster.
  4. Selling Method: The choice between selling privately, to a dealership, or online can significantly affect the selling timeline.
  5. Time of Year: Seasonal demand can influence how quickly your car sells, with spring and summer generally being more active than winter.

Fastest Selling Used Cars (2023/2024)

CategoryFastest-Selling ModelsSlowest-Selling Models
Overall TrendUsed cars selling 6.1% faster in 2023 vs. 2022, averaging 49 days to sellMost popular used models selling 26% slower than last year
Honda & ToyotaHR-V, CR-V, Highlander Hybrid, Sienna, Tundra, 4Runner, Insight, Civic, Pilot, Accord
Luxury ModelsAcura ILX, RDX, TLX, MDX, Chevrolet Corvette, Kia TellurideTesla Model S & X, Land Rover Discovery Sport & Range Rover, Cadillac XT4 & XT6
Hybrids & EVsToyota Highlander Hybrid, Toyota Sienna, Ford Mustang Mach-ELuxury SUVs and early electric vehicles
Pickup TrucksFord F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 remain top-selling used vehicles overall, but popularity has waned compared to previous years
Fastest and slowest-selling cars

The Car Selling Process: A Step-by-Step Timeline

  1. Preparation (1-2 weeks): Gather necessary documents, clean and repair the vehicle, and take high-quality photos.
  2. Pricing and Listing (1-3 days): Research market value, set a competitive price, and create an informative online listing.
  3. Advertising and Inquiries (2-6 weeks): Promote your listing, respond to potential buyers, and schedule viewings and test drives.
  4. Negotiation and Sale (1-5 days): Negotiate price with interested buyers, complete paperwork, and transfer ownership.

Comparing Selling Methods

Selling MethodAverage Time to SellProsCons
Private Party Sale30-60 daysHighest potential returnTime-consuming, requires effort
Dealership Trade-In1-7 daysQuick and convenientLower offer compared to private sale
Instant Online Offer1-3 daysFast and easy processLower offer than private sale
Car Buying Service1-3 daysFastest ProcessCan be better, but still lower than Private party sales
Methods of selling a used car

1. Private Party Sale

Selling your car privately often yields the highest return but requires more time and effort. You’ll need to handle advertising, inquiries, viewings, and negotiations yourself.

2. Dealership Trade-In

Trading in your car at a dealership is often the quickest option, as they handle the entire process. However, you may receive less money compared to a private sale.

3. Instant Online Offer

Services like Carvana, CarMax, and Vroom provide instant cash offers based on your car’s information. While convenient, these offers may be lower than private party prices.

4. Car Buying Service

The legal term for a car-buying service is “Auto Broker.” What sets them apart from a Carvana or any other dealership is that they are not buying your car with the intention of selling it retail, they are buying to resell to a dealer.

One such example of a car buying service near me in Florida is AutoBuy.

So, they still won’t pay as much as selling private party, but in my experience they are much easier to deal and negotiate with.

Tip: Many dealers will identify as auto brokers because the term “Dealer” has a bad reputation. Be sure to read their business profile online and make sure they are only buying cars, not selling.

Tips for Selling Your Car Fast

Tips for Selling Your Car Fast
  1. Determine a Competitive Price: Research your car’s value on sites like Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds to set a fair asking price that is slightly higher than what you’re willing to accept. Pricing it too high and I promise you no one calls!
  2. Depersonalize and Clean the Car Thoroughly: Remove any personal items, bumper stickers, etc. Have the car detailed or thoroughly wash and vacuum it yourself to maximize appeal and stand out from other sellers.
  3. Take Great Photos from All Angles: Lots of high-quality photos will make a listing stand out. Include shots of the interior, exterior, odometer, tires, and engine from multiple angles. More photos will create trust you aren’t trying to hide anything.
  4. Create an Effective Online Listing: Use sites like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace,, Autotrader, etc. Write a detailed description highlighting the car’s best features. Be upfront about any flaws because people find out more than they miss.
  5. Leverage Your Personal Network: Let friends, family, and coworkers know you’re selling your car. Selling to someone you know can be quicker and simpler than dealing with strangers.
  6. Get a Backup Offer: Take your car to CarMax, Carvana, or a local dealer to get an instant cash offer. This provides a floor for negotiations with private buyers.
  7. Be Responsive and Available: Respond promptly to inquiries. Make it easy for serious buyers to see the car, have it inspected, and test drive it.
  8. Have Your Paperwork Ready: Gather your title, maintenance records, and any forms needed to transfer ownership. This saves time when you find a buyer.
  9. Consider Cheap Fixes: Spending a little money on things like fixing a cracked taillight or foggy headlights can make the car more appealing and valuable to buyers.
  10. Be Safe and Smart When Closing the Deal: Meet buyers in a public place like a bank. Accept cash or a bank transfer rather than checks. Provide a bill of sale and follow your state’s requirements for transferring the title.

The fastest options are usually selling to a dealer, using an instant cash offer service, or finding a buyer in your personal network. But selling privately with an effective listing will likely get you the best price if you’re willing to put in a bit more time and effort.


The time it takes to sell a car can vary greatly depending on factors like make/model, condition, pricing, and selling method. On average, expect the process to take anywhere from a few days to a couple of months.

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Picture of Steve Momot - Author

Steve Momot - Author

Steve, a seasoned expert in the automotive industry, formerly held a car dealer license in Florida. With extensive experience spanning across car trading and mechanical work, he founded Autohitch. His mission? To guide both buyers and sellers through the intricate maze of car purchasing, ensuring a seamless and informed experience. Outside of the automotive world, Steve has a passion for fishing and capturing the beauty of nature through photography.


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