Car Advert Writing Tips

If you’ve chosen to sell your car privately you’ll probably need to write an advert for it. After all there’s only a certain amount of interest a for sale sign in the window of your car parked by the side of the road will generate. Whether you choose to advertise in on AutoTrader, another website or your local newspaper, the wording you use in the advert, what details you include and how you price your car are highly important.


If you want your car to sell the most important thing is to be realistic with the price. We’ve reviewed different car valuation services on this site and found you get get relatively accurate data for free. The ranges given for private sales are dependent on several factors, from the obvious – the condition of your car and its mileage – to the less obvious – your location and factors such as the colour of the car. Work out what the most you’d think someone would pay is based on these factors and price according to how fast you want to sell, significantly below for a quick sale or about the highest you realistic think is possible if you’re prepared to wait a while.


Someone viewing your car advert will want to know the same essentials you’d be looking at if you were wanting a to buy a car. Exact car model including the engine type/size as well as the year and letter of the registration plate are essential. State the date of the next MOT being due and road tax details. Mileage, features and car colour also need including (state the colour too, a remarkably large number of people are colour blind so photos alone aren’t enough). For features include everything even if it seems obvious like central locking. Details about the car’s history such as servicing and previous owners are essential. Try to avoid all but the most common abbreviations as not all buyers will understand them (ones like ABS and TDI are fine, but FSH isn’t). Buyers will also want to know your reason for selling, it reassures them the car is in good working order. Don’t go overboard though, the advert has to be short if it’s going to print and buyers don’t want to read overly wordy descriptions. Keep to the facts and allow them to speak for themselves, superlatives should be avoided as the buyer has to make up their own mind over the quality of the vehicle.


Take as many photos of the car as you can and include the best. At the time of writing AutoTrader allows 9 photos, but different sites have different limits. Interior and exterior photos are a must to allow buyers to assess condition. If you mention a fault, especially if its cosmetic, it’s often a good idea to photograph it. A good combination are an external front shot, a side shot, a shot of the dashboard, one of the seats, one of the boot and and additional photos you feel show of the car well.