Churchill magazine

Is part exchange the right decision for you?

Updated on: 23 September 2020

part exchange

What is part exchange?

The concept of part exchange is pretty simple. If you have an old car you want to get rid of, you can put the cost of that car towards the price of your new one.

If you want less hassle, then part exchange might be your way forward. However, if you want as much money as possible up front, it might be best to sell privately.

Find out the value of your car

This is a vital first step that you really do need to know this, so you can negotiate from a position of strength. There are a couple of ways that you can do this.

Firstly look at what similar cars to your own are fetching locally. You must distinguish between a selling price and trade value, which is usually up to 30% less, and what a dealer will want to pay.

There are also some used car value guides you can buy in the newsagent which have dealer, trade and private values. Remember though that these are only guides and will always be subject to adjustment because of the mileage and condition.

Clean your car

No really, even if you are taking your old car to a cynical, seen-it-all-before motor trade professional, they’re likely to react better to a clean and tidy car. A few hours spent cleaning will more than pay for itself.

What you must do is depersonalise the car by taking all of your rubbish out, whether that is old CD cases or sweet wrappers. A car dealer will then look at a clean and uncluttered car that will be easier to put it on his forecourt or sell to another dealer.

Part exchanging privately

Sometimes a seller, especially if they are desperate, may agree to come to some arrangement and take your car from you. However, you must be very careful. There is a chance that this person is actually a full or part time car trader pretending to be a private seller in order to dodge the legal obligations he would otherwise have.

In most cases it would prove difficult to agree a valuation and if there were subsequent breakdown issues it could get very messy. Best not to do it really.

Part exchanging with a dealer

When the dealer initially asks whether your old car will be a part exchange, say you haven’t decided yet. You are much better introducing your old car right at the end of the deal process. They won’t be happy, but they will be obliged to go through the motions of valuing it and this means that you will find out what is ‘the price to change’.

Bringing your car in straight away stops dealers subsidising the part exchange price with a discount off the new car - a discount they should be giving to you.

Part exchanging at a car supermarket

Because they sell at low prices, a car supermarket will only pay a modest amount for your old car, or even refuse to consider it altogether.

Minimum part exchange deals

This is a popular offer, minimum £1,000 for your old car that you know is worth 2p. The thing is, it’s tied into a finance deal of some sort and you must understand what you are getting into, as you’ll be required to pay a certain percentage rate over a fixed period of years. 

Is it worth it, just to get rid of your old car without any hassle?

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