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Avoid Automatic Quotes When Selling Your Car

automatic car quotes

In the brave new digital world of the 21st century with more of life happening online than ever before, the old ways of selling your car seem woefully outdated. You can still put a “for sale” sign in your car window, and you can still place ads in the classified section of your local print newspaper. These traditional ways of selling your car still work for many people, but you’re definitely missing out on much larger audience if you’re not exploring your many options to get the word out to all the people and places looking for used cars online. But we have one important piece of advice for you to keep in mind: Avoid automatic quotes when selling your car!

What are Automatic Quotes?

automatic car value quotes

We draw a very important distinction between FAST online quotes and AUTOMATIC quotes. And yes, this can get a little tricky when you’re looking online at various places that want to buy your car. Here are a few selections of what you’re likely to see:

Competitor 1 says you can “Receive and instant offer in seconds.”

Competitor 2 promise a quote in 20 seconds.

Competitor 3 promises you can “Get a real offer in 2 minutes.”



These quotes are generated so quickly it’s reasonable to assume their entire quote process must fully automated. We think this is not the way to go. You want a real human doing real market research about your vehicle and what it’s worth. Why? Because no matter how good a machine is, human beings well-versed in the local used car market are going to have a better sense of local values and local demand trends around particular vehicles. Coming up with a fair and competitive quote is more than just the science, there’s an art to it as well, and that takes a human touch.

Developing a top-notch computer model that includes multiple machine learning algorithms is not a small challenge, nor is it inexpensive. Developing even one good machine learning algorithm is going to cost tens of thousands of dollars. Companies who offer automatic quotes for your car don’t tend to talk about how the quote is actually created. In other words, you really have no idea if an automatic quote is any good or not.

Here’s another way to think of it: A car is often the second-biggest investment a person makes in their life, outranked only by purchasing a home. So think about selling a house. When you want to determine what your home is worth, would you let a machine learning algorithm automatically determine the value of your home? Of course not! There’s a reason the home appraisal industry is worth $9 billion – because when it comes to selling your home, you want a trained, licensed professional helping determine your home’s value. Is the traditional home appraisal industry threatened by automation? Yes, but it’s not a serious threat yet because the computer models have to get data about the house from someplace. If the only data available is through public information that hasn’t been verified, an automatic process for home valuation will only ever be considered a very rough estimate.

Now, let’s bring this back to cars. The same general ideas apply. An automatic quote is only as good as the data entered into the computer model, namely by you. Car owners tend to view their vehicles through rose-colored glasses, meaning they tend to think their car is in better condition than it really is. And this greatly affects any quote because the computer model has no way to learn about your car’s true condition. Combine that with the unknown quality of the computer model to begin with and automatic quotes start to look less and less like a good way to sell your car. We suggest avoiding them.

Fast Online Quotes are Better than Automatic Quotes

driveo car quotes

At Driveo we provide you with a fast online quote for your vehicle, but our process is not instantaneous and it’s not automated. Using our simple online form, you give us the basics about your car (year, make, model, middles, condition). Then a real person at Driveo is going to first look at recent auction transactions to get a basic sense of what most dealerships would offer you if you were going to do a trade-in deal with them. Then we do some local market research to find out what people have been paying for cars like yours in private sales. This tells us how competitive the local market is for your particular kind of car. Of these two numbers, the trade-in value is going to be the low number and the private sale value is going to be the higher number. A Driveo quote is going to fall somewhere in-between those two numbers. You’ll get more than a dealership would pay, but less than you might be able to get selling privately on your own.

Like most places, a fast online Driveo quote is still just an initial quote. We still need to take a look at your car in person to make sure its condition is accurate, which could result in an adjustment to the quote, either up or down depending on what we find. You may or may not agree that our quote meets your expectations, and that’s fine. Some people think any offer that doesn’t match or exceed their car’s “book value” must not be a good quote. Keep in mind that book values are just guidelines. They are not set in stone and can’t reflect local market fluctuations. Others are disappointed when an offer doesn’t meet or exceed what they still owe on their car. That’s a frustrating situation to be in, but your car’s actual value has nothing to do with what the outstanding balance on your car loan.

But there’s another even more important advantage of the Driveo quote over the competition. Quotes from most car buyers are only good for 7 days. A Driveo quote is good for 30 days! This gives you plenty of time to shop around and see if you can get a better offer from someplace else. If you do find a better offer, we ask that you give us a chance to beat that offer. In fact, we love doing that! Learn more about how this works on our We Beat Offers page, then send in the offer on our Upload an Offer page.

We also recommend that you take some time to read customer reviews of the some of the other places mentioned throughout this article. You’ll be surprised by some of the terrible experiences people have had trying to sell their car through those sites. At Driveo we believe no one should go through that kind of hassle when selling their car.

If you’re ready to sell your car in the greater San Diego area and want to avoid places offering automatic quotes, we invite you to visit the Driveo website to learn more about how easy it is to cruise in and cash out with a smile on your face!