How to get the best price for your part-exchange.

If you are trading in your car with a dealer, it should be a WIN-WIN situation.

YOU get a full and fair price, which helps towards the new one and it all happens simultaneously, making the whole thing very simple.

THE DEALER sells a car to you. Occasionally getting from you a perfect car for their line-up (another potential sale). But their first interest is to sell you, your next car.

Hence why part-exchanging should always be a WIN-WIN.

So, our first piece of advice is to put yourself in the shoes of the buyer (the Dealer). You know your car inside out, every nuance, creak, whine, rumble, rattle etc... but the buyer doesn’t and is nervous of getting it wrong.

The following 8 simple steps will make the dealers role of evaluating the vehicle easier and help them justify a higher value for your benefit.

1. Create your own sales pack

Consisting of.   

Spare key

Locking wheel nut

Every bit of Service History you’ve got, if not a fully stamped up book, all the invoices for garage work ever done.

V5c (logbook)

If any or all of these are missing it can make a difference of hundreds and even thousands of pounds.

2. Organise your finances

If you have a finance agreement on your car when you sell it/trade it in, the finance must be settled, before it goes to anyone else.

If you sell your car to us with outstanding finance, we settle the finance and give you the balance or put it against the car you buy from us.

To do that we have to have an up-to-date settlement figure from the finance company, which you must request and bring with you (data protection, keeps it between you and them).

3. Have a clear out.

Present your car without all the clutter in it (this doesn’t apply to everyone). If it looks a bit ‘lived in’ the buyer has got to see past all of that; they don’t always.

Get a box, empty all your bits and pieces into it, then leave it at home. You can empty it all back in later, but it does make a difference.

4. Clean the bodywork.

If you have access to a car wash, get the body of the car, ‘car wash clean’, no need to do any more than that. If we are giving you a price at Thame Cars, we do that for you free.

The buyer will overcompensate for a car’s body condition if they can’t see it because it’s muddy or covered in traffic film. 

They are worried there could be hidden scratches or blemishes. They are likely to down value, just in case. If it’s clean they will do the opposite, they’ll think the best because it’s easy for them to quantify.

5. Don’t hide the faults

If your car has a fault, it’s better to actually say what it is. If you don’t know what it is, that’s okay, just describe the symptoms. ‘The suspension knocks’, ‘the car wanders a bit’, ‘the brakes squeal’. 

Buyers will quantify the problem to themselves, like ‘needs discs and pads, that’s not too bad, £xxx’. 

They think in terms of cost price, they exclude VAT, and feel confident as opposed to fearful.

6. Think about the value of your car

Be prepared to say what you think your car is worth and why. 

The buyer will have to justify their position if it is not the same as yours.

7. Don’t spend money on cosmetic repairs

The buyer/dealer will be able to get them attended to more efficiently and cheaper than you. 

They don’t look to make a profit on the restoration cost of the car, just the car itself and often, just getting their money back is more than sufficient.

8. Show the buyer your car.

Walk round your car with the Salesman/Buyer. There can’t be much disagreement about what you can both see. After all, they will be with you, when you are walking around the car you are thinking of buying.

Follow as many of these steps as is practical for you, and you will maximise the price for your part-exchange.

A word of warning, if the dealer doesn’t thoroughly appraise your car and test drive it, be suspicious. Here’s why.

    • Have they over-priced the car they are selling, so it doesn’t matter if they lose a bit on yours.

    • Are they desperate to sell the car you are interested in. If they don’t want that car, why would you?

    • If they are not meticulous when they are buying, they’re not likely to be when they are selling, which is very important to you, if your next car is coming from them.

With your part-exchange satisfactorily and fairly sorted, you can start to feel excited about the next bit, your new car!

We wish you happy motoring!

9. Car Valuation

Selling or trading in your car? Get your FREE online valuation in under 30 seconds in just 3 simple steps, then bring it by for a quick visual appraisal.

Value Your Car Today