How to get the best part-exchange car deal

Updated on 05 September 2018

Don’t lose out when you trade in your old car. Here are seven simple ways to get the best deal on a part-exchange.

What is part-exchange?

One of the easiest ways to replace your old car is to part-exchange it.

Part-exchanging your motor involves using it as part of the payment towards the cost of a new one.

Getting a new car this way is quicker as it means you avoid spending time selling privately, and you also save on the fees associated with advertising your car for sale.

However, the downside is you're unlikely to get the best price for your old car as dealers will want to make the most they can out of the transaction.

So here’s what you need to do to ensure you get the best deal when you part-exchange.

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Clean up and fix any damage

To ensure you get the best offer from your dealer, give your car a wash and vacuum to freshen it up and present it in the best condition possible.

It might be worth getting any minor damage fixed too, if it’s cheap to do or you can do it yourself, as a dealer may use any obvious signs of damage to start knocking down the value.

Check the MOT and service history

If your car has been serviced regularly and has an up to date MOT, it will be worth more to dealers.

If it hasn’t, or you have lost the service book, they may use this as an excuse to offer a worse deal.

As well as your motor’s full service history and up to date MOT certificate, make sure you have the V5C documents and any spare keys.

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Compare the ‘price to change’

When you part-exchange your car, look at the difference between how much you sell the old car for and what you pay for the new one or the ‘price to change’ in order to compare deals.

One dealer may offer a good price for your old motor, but be less generous with the discount on the new car. Another might offer you a tempting deal on the new car, but a rubbish one on the part-exchange in order to balance it out.

To avoid getting caught out by these tricks of the trade, pay attention to the final price to compare offers and find the right one for you.

Do your research and haggle

Before you go looking for a new car, get an idea of what your current motor is worth and what sort of offers you can get on a new car in order to haggle for a better deal.

Do some research by getting a basic online car valuation from somewhere like Glass's, Whatcar or Cap for your old car.

You could also check what similar models in a similar condition and mileage are going for using classified ads or sites like Auto Trader or eBay.

Then see what offers you can find for your new car. A good place to look is online reverse auction sites like Carwow, Broadspeed and Drive the Deal. These sites will make you an offer on the exact make and model you are looking for.

Read more in Buy a new car online: save with Carwow, Drive the Deal, Carfile, Broadspeed and more.

Print out what you find and take your research into a dealership to make sure your motor isn't undervalued on the part-exchange and to help you bargain for a better offer on the new car.

Finally, make sure you get a quote in writing as you can also use this to try to haggle with other dealers you visit and it ensures the offer doesn't change later down the line.

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Bring your old car with you

Make sure you visit the dealership in the car you want to part-exchange, to be sure you get the actual price they’ll offer when you come to seal the deal.

If you don’t you may find the part-exchange offer initially quoted will alter once they see your motor.


Time your purchase

You should time when you visit dealerships to try to get the best deal.

In February and August there may be some good offers around as sales tend to slow down as buyers wait for the new number plates coming out in March and September.

Also it may be lucrative to visit a dealership at the end of the month as sales staff on the shop floor will be keen to hit their monthly sales targets so may be more willing to offer a good deal.


Look into online part-exchange with a broker

Buying a car through an online broker might save you money off the list price as they get discounts from manufacturers.

You can use them to haggle for a better offer from a dealership as we've already mentioned or see if they will provide a part-exchange offer.

Only a handful of online brokers like Broadspeed and Orangewheels accept part-exchanges though as there’s no easy way for a dealer to check the vehicle.

You will need to detail the condition and service history of the car before they will make an offer.

When part-exchanging online you need to make sure you describe the condition carefully as failure to mention faults or damage could see the offer reduced or withdrawn when it is inspected.

Other options

If you’re not getting what you think you should, walk away from a part-exchange deal and try something else.

The best alternative is selling your car privately. This tends to always get you a better price, but may take you longer and cost you money in advertising fees.

Another option is to use a car-buying company like, or Evans Halshaw.

This won’t necessarily get you the best price for your car, but you should be quoted a better rate than if you were to part-exchange at a dealership.


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