Guide To Part Exchange

Going into a dealership to part exchange your existing vehicle strikes the average driver with unbridled dread.

What is the true value of my car? What if I undersell my car? What if I look stupid and don’t know the answer to the dealer’s questions? What if I don’t really know what car I want? How does the status of tax and MOT affect the price? Should I get the glove compartment fixed? etc… The questions are pretty much endless.

All those questions can lead drivers feeling a little paralysed – they avoid part exchange and instead go through all the hassle of selling their car privately, then going back to the dealership to buy their next car. What if you had all the information you needed to make a choice? To walk into a dealership armed with all the knowledge you’d need to have an informed discussion about your next car purchase? Be nice, wouldn’t it? Here’s a few things you need to know when you’re part exchanging:

The Dealer Knows How Much Your Car Is Worth

Let’s be adult about this. This is a business transaction. You are trying to get the most you can for your car. The dealer is trying to pay as little as they can for your car. Clearly, there’s got to be a bit of profit in it for the dealer, but ultimately you’re just trying to meet in the middle.

When you arrive at the showroom, you’ve got to know exactly how much your car is worth. The dealer will know how much they should pay for your car (the trade price) and how much they’ll be able to sell it for (the retail price).

The price you’ll get will be determined by four factors: age of your car, the mileage of your car, the condition of your car and finally any specifications that have been made.  A good place to start to get a general valuation is the Glass Guide website. You can get a valuation for free or add in a little more information on your car to get a more accurate reading.

Having this basic information will help you argue your case when it comes to the dealer’s opening offer. You need that piece of information at the very least because you’re also going to have to add negotiate the price on your new car, potentially any deposit and finance deal.  It’s going to get complicated, so make the first bit easy.

Remember, You Can Always Walk Away

When you’re part exchanging your car, never accept the first offer. Do remember, that there’s inevitably a little bit of gameplaying involved in dealing with a dealership (And, you’ll always get more for the car if you sell it privately, so don’t be afraid to walk away).

If you’re buying a car from a dealer, you will never outsmart them, they do job this every day. They know their product very, very well so you need to know exactly what you want. You need to know the model, the price and any specs you would like. That might make it easier to negotiate when it comes to getting the car you want.

Heart Not Head

Buying a car is driven by one’s heart, not one’s head so the more data you have at your fingertips, the more rational your choice. Do remember, you’re in charge. If you’re not getting the deal you want, listen to your head and re-negotiate.

Consider A Run-Out

If you’re looking for a part-exchange that’s a little cheaper, consider going for a car that’s about to be replaced. If there’s a new Golf a couple of months away from being launched, consider going for the current model. The negotiation tactic is staring you in the face!

Cars at the end of their shelf-life depreciate extremely quickly as buyers wait for the new model to appear and car manufacturers slash the price of their previous model. 

Cleanliness is next to Godliness

It’s pretty obvious, but dealers are human too and they’re also prone to making some judgements based on their heart as much as their head.

If your vehicle is spotlessly clean, it communicates to the dealer that you’ve looked after car inside and out. If there’s love, care and attention on the outside, it’s a fair chance there’s TLC under the hood too. The price of a professional clean could triple or quadruple its value when it comes to negotiating a price. 

Get Things Ship-Shape

Just as important as having your car clean is having all your documentation to hand, ready and readable and any minor bangs, bumps or bruises ironed out too. Clearly, you’ve to try and make a reading on how much your car would cost to fix up compared to how much more the car is worth during negotiation.  It’s wise to get a price from a local garage on the cost of the work before going back to a used car price website and making the comparison to a car in fair and good condition. 

Don’t Be Scared

People part exchange their vehicles all the time. If you know what your car is worth, you know what car you want, you know how much you’d like to spend and your car is clean, in good condition and you have all the requisite paperwork, part exchange can be quick, effortless and enjoyable.


Good luck!


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