Selling your car during the coronavirus crisis

Tips on how to sell your car during difficult times.

Financial pressures brought on by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic may force you to consider selling your car.

For those in that position, here’s a guide from RACQ’S Motoring Advisory team on considerations to make the process go more smoothly.

Before you decide


Before you commit to selling your car, discuss your situation with your financial planner, bank or credit provider.  With some rearranging it may not be necessary to sell the car.  As once you decide to sell, you’ll be locking in any loss.

Before you advertise

Once you’ve made the decision to sell, especially if it’s for financial reasons, you’ll likely be pretty keen to get it out and available in the market. But before you make the jump to writing the ad, there’s some crucial steps that are important to take to make the selling process a whole lot easier.

  • Firstly, get a Safety Certificate completed. You must have a valid Safety Certificate before advertising a registered car for sale and significant fines apply for failing to do so.
  • Make sure the car starts easily and runs smoothly. If not, consider getting it serviced. This is important if you want the car to present well in any test drives.
  • Disinfecting the car is an important step before having potential buyers look at and test drive your car. It’s also a good idea to disinfect the touch points again in-between potential buyers. 
  • Having a well-presented car can give you the edge in a potential buyer choosing your car over another available option. So, before advertising, take the time to get it up to standard with a wash and polish, whilst also paying attention to improving the cleanliness and condition of the carpets, upholstery and glass. If you have any visible paint chips and scratches, a bit of time touching these up can also go a long way, but don’t be tempted to spend too much on cosmetic and non-essential repairs that won’t add value to the sale. If you don’t have the time but do have some room available in your budget, seek out a professional car detailer to get your car market ready. This can make a huge difference to the appeal of the car.
  • If you have the room in your budget, consider arranging an independent pre-inspection by an authorised vehicle inspector – this can give potential buyers that boost of confidence that your car isn’t just safe, but also a comprehensive guide for of the overall condition of the car. This can also be a good tool to supporting your advertising price, if the car is in an above-average condition. RACQ offers this service.
  • Get an idea on your vehicle’s selling price by checking the local asking prices for similar models in your area. You can also chat to RACQ’s Motoring Advice team  for some guidance on an estimate selling price.

Protecting yourself during the selling process

  • Don’t be tempted to shake hands upon greeting potential buyers. A friendly, warm verbal greeting with sufficient distance is suitable enough these days.
  • Put items down in a central area to avoid transferring anything hand-to-hand (i.e. keys, documentation etc).
  • If you have them available, don’t be reluctant to use a face mask and gloves in your interactions. 
  • It’s also important to consider others when selling your car. If you have symptoms or may have a contagious illness, ask a healthy family member or friend to step in and meet your potential buyers instead to reduce the risk of spreading anything to others.
  • Be wary of scams and stay up-to-date on current scams via the Scamwatch website.

You can read our fact sheets for more advice on working with potential buyers and tidying up after the sale here

If you decide to keep your car, refer to our recent advice on how to keep your car well-maintained, while it’s not being used as much.

The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and not as specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice and does not take into account any person's particular investment objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives, financial situations and needs.