How to get the best part-exchange car deal


Updated on 17 February 2021

Don’t lose out when you trade in your old car. We reveal seven things that will wipe value off your car and seven 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 fees to advertise your car for sale.

But 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.

We’ll run through what will affect the value of your car during if you choose to part-exchange and what you need to do to ensure you get the best deal.

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What wipes value off your car?

There are a lot of things that can knock value off your car and could cost you up to £2,500 according to research from Leasing Options.

For example, you could lose up to £400 on the value of your car during a part-exchange if you don’t fix any damage to alloy wheels.

It’s also worth getting rid of any scratches or scrapes on your car and fixing any paintwork, as this could wipe hundreds of pounds off your car’s value.

Also, you should look for dents in your vehicle’s bodywork as you could lose between £50-£100 for every panel that needs repairing.

Unfortunately, for those who have modified their car, you may have made it less valuable.

According to Leasing Options, modifying your car with negative camber wheels, which can increase handling during heavy cornering, can wipe over £300 from the value of your car.

Other modifications that are likely to damage the value of a car include vehicle lowering, a modified exhaust, and racing seats.

It’s worth looking at your tyres and checking the tread – if it gets too low or there is sidewall damage, the cost of repairs could be over £200, which will impact the value of the vehicle.

Even the colour of your car could affect its value. 

And of course, the number of miles you rack up in the car could affect its value. On average, cars are expected to clock up 10,000 miles a year.

If you’re doing a lot more than 10,000 miles annually, hundreds of pounds may be knocked off your sale price, according to buymycar.com.

Now we’ll run through seven ways get the best deal on a part-exchange.

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Clean up and fix any damage

As we mentioned earlier, any dents or scratches can affect the value of your car. So, it’s worth getting any minor damage fixed – it’s usually cheap to do and you can do it yourself.

This is because a dealer may use any obvious signs of damage to start knocking down the value.

To ensure you get the best offer, it’s also worth giving your car a wash and vacuum to freshen it up and present it in the best condition possible.

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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 be used 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.

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.

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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.

You can do some research by getting a basic online car valuation from the likes of Glass'sWhatCar or HPI Valuations 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.

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

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.

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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.

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

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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 car carefully as failure to mention faults or damage could see the offer reduced or withdrawn when it is inspected.

How to get a good deal on your next motor

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 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 MotorwayWebuyanycar.comWewantanycar.com 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.

*This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently.

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