5 ways to maximise the trade-in value of your car

maximise the trade-in value of your car

Sooner or later, many of us need to buy a new (or used!) car. But if you have an existing vehicle that you also need to get rid of, what should you do? 

One solution is to trade it in, otherwise referred to as ‘part-exchanging’ it. The idea is that the dealer you’re purchasing your new car from also buys your old vehicle, for an amount subtracted from the price you pay for your new car. 

Trading in a vehicle can certainly be convenient. However, one potential drawback is that the part-exchange price offered by a dealer may not be as high as what your used vehicle could command if you were to sell it privately.

The good news, though, is that it’s perfectly possible to boost your existing car’s trade-in value, by following the below tips. 

Ascertain the likely value of your car 

Granted, there can be room for disagreement between you and a dealer as to exactly what your old car is worth – valuing a car is an art as much as a science. 

However, it helps to at least have a broad idea of how much your vehicle is worth, not least as this can provide a strong foundation for negotiation with whichever company you’re trying to sell it to. 

It’s therefore a good idea to perform a Google search for ‘car valuation tool’ and try several of these, such as the service provided by Cars Under 3000, before you even consider shaking hands on any part-exchange deal. 

Negotiate with both deals in mind 

If you do intend to sell your old car to the same dealership from which you’ll be buying your new one, remember that any part-exchange deal effectively consists of two deals: the price being offered for your existing car, and the price being charged for your new one. 

Naturally, you’ll be negotiating with the aim of achieving the highest possible price for the former, and the lowest possible price for the latter. 

Negotiating a brilliant deal for your old car might be a largely redundant achievement if you have to pay through the nose for your new car, or vice versa – so both deals need to be good. 

Arrange for regular check-ups and maintenance 

It ought to be ‘common sense’ really, except that for many drivers, it doesn’t seem to be; a well-maintained car stands a stronger chance of commanding a high trade-in value. 

So, if you’ve been slacking with the maintenance of your existing vehicle lately, it might be time to get in touch with a mechanic. 

Be wary, though – while replacing damaged components on your car may heighten its trade-in value, the replacement costs may effectively cancel out any benefit. It’s therefore well worth discussing with your mechanic which repair and replacement work may actually be worth the cost from a part-exchange perspective. 

Retain all of the relevant records and documentation 

Having all of the paperwork recording your car’s repairs and maintenance over time will further help to keep the trade-in value high, as this will indicate that you have maintained the vehicle to a high standard. The lack of a significant documented service history can, on its own, greatly reduce your car’s valuation. 

Tackle minor faults and dirt 

When prospective buyers are haggling on the purchase of a car from a dealer, they often point out any scuffs, dents and scratches. So, these are far from ‘minor’ issues as far as getting the best possible part-exchange price for your existing car is concerned. 

Thoroughly hand-washing your car will help to reveal these ‘small’ bodywork flaws that may not be immediately obvious at first. As ChipsAway explains, you might even be able to remedy these examples of minor car damage by yourself, without the need to call a professional repair business. 

Getting a competitive trade-in price for your existing car isn’t necessarily as tricky as you might think. Simply by applying the above advice, you can make your vehicle a much more attractive proposition for any dealer, while enabling you to benefit from all of the speed and ease of part-exchanging.  

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