Should You Trade in Your Vintage Car or Sell It Privately? 2023 Guide

Teal Vintage Car on the road

How you go about selling your vintage car can make all the difference. You might offer it to a dealer or sell it privately.

Put up the effort and handle it yourself, or hire a dealership. Each approach has benefits and drawbacks.

When determining the optimum trade-in value, there are many factors to consider. Can you perform the task like a pro? Are you patient enough? You may not have time because you’re too busy with your job or family.

Check out the details below to point you on the right path if you’re contemplating your options and need additional information.

Selling Your Car Privately

An elegant 1930s station wagon in evening sunlight.

Putting a “For Sale” sticker on the windshield and parking the vehicle on the front lawn may seem like all it takes to sell your car. Selling your car can put money in your pocket toward purchasing a new vehicle.

The best way to benefit from a private transaction is to clean your old car and a well-maintained one to get a good price. Both advantages and disadvantages may result from this approach.


  • You can identify suitable buyers for specialty or vintage cars and increase the asking price.
  • Ideal for vintage cars with those higher mileages, which are harder to sell in a dealer.
  • Now that so many online advertising platforms are built to be as secure as possible, you may upload from your phone in minutes.


We frequently assume that doing something ourselves will ensure its quality, yet selling a vintage car is a significant undertaking for an individual.

  • Private car sales are incredibly labor- and time-intensive, and you’re essentially working for nothing.
  • The meeting of prospective purchasers can be dangerous.
  • Many interested people will not attend your meeting.
  • Interested parties may live in remote locations.
  • Many classified sites are inundated with scammers.
  • You’ll have to cope with bartering or low-ball offers.
  • You will be required to respond to emails and phone calls.

Last, selling a vintage car that breaks down immediately could cause much trouble. Many buyers will file a lawsuit immediately, even if they don’t have a good case.

Why Sell Privately?

Why Sell a Vintage Car Privately

It may be the best option if you want to sell your car privately and earn the most money possible.

Private-party buyers, unlike dealers, are rarely in the business of purchasing cars and reselling them for a profit. As a result, your chances of receiving a greater offer for the car are increased.

When selling privately, you can receive numerous offers and choose the best one, whereas selling to a dealer or trading in your item only gives you limited room for bargaining.

Selling to a Dealership

This is the most straightforward approach to selling your car. It’s usually a simple process, and you can put your trust in the dealership because they care about their reputation, so helping you get the best trade-in value is in their best interest.


  • You can look for a new car more because the dealership offers a more hands-off experience.
  • The quickest payment method is because sellers frequently pay the same day for vintage cars.
  • The dealer handles all the paperwork when you sell or trade-in your car.
  • Tax deductions consider the price difference between a new car and its trade-in value in many states. For illustration:

* You exchange your vehicle for $20,000.

* For $30k, you purchase a new vehicle.

* $30,000 – $20,000 = $10,000

* Only $10,000 is subject to taxation.

  • No DMV! The dealership will handle title transfers as well!
  • No fraud chance at all.


  • When they sell your vintage car online or to a dealer, it must be priced competitively versus the private market. That implies they have to offer you less.
  • It doesn’t matter how great your communication and negotiation skills are if you don’t know the value of your vintage car. A car salesperson will see you coming. It is always beneficial to conduct your research.

There are numerous advantages to sitting back and letting a dealership handle everything when selling your used car. We’d want to point out one disadvantage of selling to a dealership: a dealer frequently offers you less cash when selling to them.

However, remember that when you sell privately, you must pay your taxes and reconditioning charges.

When you sell to a dealer, they will account for taxes and other fees when quoting your price, saving you time and trouble. Furthermore, when you trade a car to the dealer, you can frequently save money on taxes!

Why Trade In or Sell to a Dealer?

selling a car to the dealership

Working directly with a dealer is convenient for sellers who value their time more than the prospect of extra money.

Unlike a dealership, where you can buy a new car and trade in your old one in the same place, selling a car privately involves more work and risk.

You will need to write an advertisement, list the car online, stay in touch with potential buyers, and meet strangers for test drives when necessary.

Even with a favorable offer, you must remain highly alert until the transaction is completed. This entails ensuring payment and transferring possession of the car.

Suppose the financial benefit of selling privately does not outweigh the trouble. In that case, trading in or selling to a dealer is a less demanding option, but it still necessitates some preparation.

As with a private sale, you’ll need to study the value of your vehicle, obtain all appropriate documentation, and prepare it for evaluation.


High Quality Blue Sedan

Whether you sell at a dealership or privately, taking the time to prepare will help you earn more money for your vintage car.

As the inventory deficit persists, vintage car values may surprise you by how much your car is worth. You can check an online evaluation tool to determine your vintage car’s value.

Both approaches are effective, but it depends on whether you have the patience to wait for a customer who will pay you well or if you require quick cash.