How to create an effective used car advert

Keep it simple

Unlike a newspaper advert the internet allows you almost unlimited word count, but it still pays to keep the advert simple. Peoples online attention spans are short so you will only have seconds to grab their attention.

Below you will find a simple template for writing a car advert and a step by step guide.

Essential information check list

Make sure to include the following facts in order:

  • Year of registration & registration plate info
  • List of equipment and special features
  • Approximate mileage
  • Full service history if it has it
  • Number of owners if low
  • Price
  • Contact details

Ad writing tips

​Year of registration & registration plate info
Simply list the cars year of registration & registration plate info. Just make sure it accurate, you don’t want to get this part wrong.

​List the equipment and special features
So stick to just the relevant information and avoid complicated jargon and abbreviations (eg. FSH (Full service history), PAS (Power assisted-steering) AC (Air conditioning) , these can be confusing to some buyers. Traditionally used to reduce the cost of an advert they are largely unnecessary online.

Your focus should be on the essential information. But if your car has a rare or expensive option then it’s important you highlight this. You can do this either in the description or in the title (eg. Porsche 911 Turbo (X50 Pack), or Range Rover Sport HSE (Luxury)). But again you don’t have to go into every detail, just cover the relevant facts. ​

Also this point you should also mention if the car has any form of warranty left on it, or any modifications. If the car has any faults or damage. 

It’s important to offer an honest assessment of the car. This saves time in the long run and build trust with the potential purchaser.

List the approximate mileage, I normally round it up to the nearest thousand. If the car is going to be in use simply state that the mileage may rise due to used.

List the history
State wether the car full or partial history. If the car has just had some major works carried out you can also not it here (eg. Recent Cam Belt, Just had major service).

Number of owners
If the car is older and its only had one or two owners its worth listing. But this is only relevant on older cars. I would always avoid cliches such as one lady owner etc. If the car has had a notable owner in it’s past it may be worth a mention.

Hopefully you have done your research and are confident you are pricing the car competitively. Personally I wouldn’t put open to offer(OTO), or near offer(ONO or any other abbreviations. The only time I would but anything is if I have priced a car to sell, in which case I put FIRM. If the car is priced correctly you will still get calls and you have clearly stated you negotiating position. Contact detail
This is the only one you simply must get right. I advice just a contact number. 


This style of advert writing works on any platform. Keeping things simple really is best practise when writing a great car advert. So keep it simple and give the potential buyer all the information they need and nothing more. If a buyer is serious and want additional information they will contact you.

In addition to a well written advert good photograph is essential. Find my guide to photographing a car with a smartphone here – How to photograph a car with a smartphone.