How Does Carvana Work: A Beginner’s Guide to Sell Your Car

How Does Carvana Work: A Beginner’s Guide to Sell Your Car

For people who wish to sell their used cars at the best prices online in the fastest and smoothest way possible, Carvana is undoubtedly the best solution on the table. It’s a great platform for both buyers and sellers to exchange used cars online. “Sell my car on Carvana” is one of the most popular online search queries among vehicle sellers.

The icing on the cake, Carvana, is known more for its crazy digital innovations in the automotive retail space.

If you are new to online car selling and are wondering how to sell on Carvana, this blog will help you understand all the nitty-gritty of the platform, including:

  1. What is Carvana?
  2. Benefits of selling cars on Carvana
  3. How to get a quote
  4. How to set up a sale on Carvana
  5. Understanding how Carvana works – tips & tricks
  6. FAQs

So let’s dive in.

What is Carvana?

Introduced in 2012 and headquartered in Arizona, USA, Carvana is one of the largest automotive marketplaces in the United States. It deals with both new and used cars and has access to over 300 markets across the US. It allows car owners to buy from more than 55,000 vehicles, trade in or sell their existing ones, and even finance their next vehicle purchase.

What is carvana

Carvana is now winning the omnichannel game like a king. From car vending machines to seamless car exchanges online, it has covered almost every automobile purchasing avenue!

In fact, Carvana sold over 400,000 vehicles organically in 2021. Research says by 2025, its sales volume will grow by more than 700,000 units and will keep growing significantly over the next decade. The cherries on top are the well-designed website and app that make it the favorite place for buyers to browse and buy, giving access to millions of prospects in one go.

Here are a few Carvana features you need to be familiar with before you start your online car-selling journey:

Carvana cover sale

Selling cars online is already hard, and getting instant cash offers on your used vehicles is even harder. But the good thing is that Carvana has you covered in that regard. You can get instant offers for cash for the vehicles you list for sale or trade-in. The offers would be based on different evaluating factors like your vehicle’s odometer reading, VIN, and a few other factors.

Trade-in options

Carvana provides convenient trade-in options to online car sellers. You can search for the car via number plate or VIN and receive estimated trade-in quotes. Carvana will arrange for the pickup of your car if your trade-in is accepted. You can also use the surplus from the trade-ins to purchase another vehicle from their platform.

Financing a car

Carvana takes away the hassles of looking for finance options for online car buyers. People can opt for pre-qualified auto loans when purchasing from Carvana. They have to fill in an application and the Carvana will tell them the amounts of down payments and EMIs they would need to pay. This makes purchasing from the platform very easy, significantly increasing the chances of you selling your vehicle quickly.

The seven-day money-back guarantee

Carvana allows buyers to return cars within seven days of purchasing them. Within those seven days, purchased cars are allowed to travel up to 400 miles and can be returned for any reason. For every additional mile, Carvana charges $1.00 from the buyer. Also, buyers can exchange up to two times only. The third vehicle won’t have any return favors attached and cannot be exchanged on acceptance.

Money back guarantee for cars

Editor’s note: In all honesty, these offers make me want to sell my car on Carvana too! Only when the time comes, of course.

Limited Warranty

Carvana offers a warranty period that is valid for 4,189 miles or 100 days, whichever comes earlier. The warranty covers basic and powertrain components, and it protects vehicles against mechanical and electrical damage.

Benefits of selling cars on Carvana

It is easier to sell your car on Carvana than selling it to a traditional dealer, and it’s faster than pawning it off privately. That’s because you’re selling your car to Carvana and not directly to a buyer. You should always consider it on the table if your goal is to:

  • Sell your car in the shortest time possible without any headaches, while still finding a good price.
  • Escape the hassles of traditional dealerships; no need to haggle!

Apart from this, here are a few more reasons why you should always have Carvana on your list:

More dollars

Best price for your car

Carvana ensures that you get good offers for your listings. If your car is in good condition and doesn’t have much wear and tear, you can expect a resale value that matches or exceeds the market standards.

Frictionless car dropoff

Just fill out a form to drop off your car at Carvana’s location, and their team will pay you for a cab ride back home.

Easy car inspection

Car inspection

The company’s team will inspect your car at the drop-off. They will check if your car is in drivable condition with fully-inflated tires and has good working order.

Flexibility in offers

Carvana offers you seven days to accept an offer or 1000 miles after putting in an offer. If you need more time, you can reach out to the company’s representatives and explain your needs.

How do I get a quote from Carvana?

Now, that you understand the benefits of Carvana, let’s see how to sell your vehicles on the platform. You’ll have to get a quote from the company, and if you find the offer appropriate, then proceed with the sale. Here’s a five-step process to get a quote from Carvana.

Step 1: Research the prices

Understand the platform first. Learn more about how Carvana judges and views vehicles before listing them and how they price them. It’s possible that the number offered by the company doesn’t match your expectations.

Price research for car

The best way is to check a car value evaluator on Kelley Blue Book or other platforms, to determine the fair market value of your vehicle. This will let you know if the price offered by Carvana is accurate or undervalued.

Step 2: Evaluating your car for sale

Carvana’s strive for more vehicles from dealers doesn’t mean it will buy anything or everything. You need to check that your car:

  • Isn’t older than the model year 1992
  • Has working odometers
  • Runs properly
  • Is not a junk car
  • Is not wrecked

If your car doesn’t meet these parameters, Carvana isn’t the platform for you.

Step 3: Preparing your car for sale

Carvana would ask a series of questions when you apply for a sell/trade option. So, it’s better to be prepared with the answers and documents beforehand. The questions will inquire about:

  • Make
  • Model
  • Mileage
  • Trim
  • Color
  • Engine
  • Drivetrain

Apart from this, you would also be asked to show if you have any ongoing outstanding payments for the car. Carvana would assess all these elements before quoting a price.

What documents does Carvana require?

You’ll need the following:

  • Picture of the odometer reading
  • Trade title – front and back images
  • Driver’s license of all the members in the title
  • Photo of car’s 10-days pay-off statements (if any outstanding payments remain)
  • Current registration
  • Photo of the cheque for the amount of the car loan (If there’s any outstanding car loan) – front and back

Step 4: Applying for sale on Carvana

Once you are sure of your car’s market value and condition, open the Carvana website or app. Click on the option SELL/TRADE option. Now enter your car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and license plate number.

Answer the series of questions on the screen and provide more insights and details about the car you are going to sell. Don’t forget to mention the specifics of the vehicle like leather seats or electric windows, etc. This will help Carvana appraisers accurately assess your car.

Step 5: Getting a quote

Quote for your vehicle

Once you fill in their questionnaire (which Carvana claims to be just two minutes long), you can sit back and wait for Carvana to send you a quote for your vehicle. It usually takes just 15 minutes to receive a quote. Remember that the information mentioned in step 3, coupled with market demand for the car, will play a prime determinant in the price you see on the offer.

Do you have anything upfront with Carvana?

Carvana charges for taxes, MVAs, and registration, but then they are all included in the offered price.

How do I sell my car on Carvana

1. Scheduling a pickup or drop off

If you accept Carvana’s offer, the company will ask you to send the odometer’s pictures, title, and a copy of your driver’s license. Follow the link they send in the mail and book a pickup and drop-off time. Alternatively, you can also drive your car to the nearest Carvana vending machine and complete the rest of the procedure.

2. Conducting the inspection

As mentioned earlier, Carvana has a 150-point inspection procedure. At the time of pick-up or drop-off, Carvana will ensure that your vehicle matches the description you provided earlier.

How long does Carvana take to approve?

Approving a car for sale takes between two and fifteen minutes to approve. Around 99 percent of online car sellers who apply get approved, and their contracts and terms are good for 45 days.

3. Signing the contract

Get cash for your car

When the team is satisfied with the car, they will finally give you a bill of sale to sign. Carvana will immediately pay you by cash or transfer the money to your bank account. If you have any outstanding amounts, you will get a cheque for the difference between the cash offer and the remaining loan amounts.

Just pass your keys over and call it a day!

Understanding how Carvana works – tips & tricks

Now that we’ve answered your “how to sell on Carvana” query, let us give you a few more tips and tricks to make sure that you are leveraging everything to your benefit.

Selling your car outright

If you don’t have time to wait for Carvana to come for pick up and spend more time in inspection, you can directly take your car to the Carvana vending machine. The reps at the location will inspect your car and transfer funds right then and there.

Trading in your vehicle

Carvana also offers to trade in your vehicle in exchange for a purchase. Carvana will deduct the value of the trade-in from the cost of purchasing a vehicle, ensuring that only the lower amount moves out of your pocket. You will find a seven-day window to decide which car you want to purchase in exchange for your vehicle.

Once you have picked up your car, Carvana does all the hard work for you; It will deliver the new car to your doorstep while picking up your old one.

Seamless transactions

Before beginning the sale, you might wonder: “will Carvana buy my car without any problems?”

Seamless transactions for selling car

Worry now! The entire selling/trading-in process with Carvana is seamless. While you complete the main formalities online, you can reach out to their hubs or towers at any time to drop off and get your automobile inspected, instead of waiting for their reps to contact you. Also, the transaction is completed in no time after that!

Final Word

Hope this blog gives you a complete understanding of Carvana’s works. Now, stop wondering how to sell my car on Carvana and do it! and find answers to ‘how does Carvana work.’ While we talk about seamless selling experiences and preparing your car ready for sale, there’s one more thing that can help create a significant impact on Carvana’s appraisal process: high-quality images. Despite the fact that their reps will inspect your car thoroughly, you should send them the best car pictures to increase the chances of approval.

And guess what? You can do it very easily at lightning speed with the help of state-of-the-art AI cataloging platforms like Spyne. All that you need to do is to download the app on your smartphone, follow the on-screen guide, capture the images, apply the appropriate edits, and upload them. As simple as that!

Still, have any questions? Or, want to know how Spyne can help you sell your car? Reach out to us now.


1. Should I sell my car to Carvana?

Selling your car through Carvana is much easier than selling it by yourself. All the heavy lifting – paperwork, vehicle inspection, finding buyers, etc., is done by them. All you have to do is contact them and complete the steps in the above-mentioned guide.

If you don’t want any hassles when selling your vehicle, Carvana is surely a great way to do so.

2. How much does Carvana pay for a vehicle?

Well, the exact payment varies on various factors, like your vehicle’s condition, the odometer reading, the engine, model year, etc. Rest assured, the prices calculated by them are usually fair, matching or exceeding the market price. However, if you’re worried, you can get an independent evaluation as well.

3. Is there a downside to selling my car on Carvana?

Yes, there are a few things that often disturb online car sellers. They include:

  • Shorter timelines: Carvana gives you only seven days to accept their offer. If you fail to revert, you have to re-submit all the information and get a new quote.
  • Not accepting older cars: Carvana is not a place to sell very old cars, even if they are classic or vintage models. They don’t buy cars that are older than the model year 1992, even if they are in good condition.
  • Not so suitable for new cars: If your vehicle is relatively new with lower mileage, the chances are you won’t get competitive prices from Carvana. You will have better deals selling such cars privately.

4. Do I need to clean up before I sell my car to Carvana?

There’s no need to clean your automobile before selling it to Carvana, as it won’t have any bearing on the offer you receive. That said, Carvana asks sellers to take personal belongings out of the car before the scheduled pickup.

5. Will Carvana buy my car if it needs repair?

Yes, they will. Carvana will buy vehicles with minor technical problems or body damage, but the offer you receive will be adjusted to take repair expenses into account. The company, however, does not accept vehicles that are completely non-operational or wrecked.

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