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How to get the best deal when trading-in your car

Posted on 25 August 2016

Before you buy a new car, it’s worth finding out how much you could get for your old one. Trading-in your car as part of your purchase should reduce the amount that you need to pay.

Getting value for money from a trade-in requires some preparation so that the dealer can see the value in the vehicle you’re offering. A little advance research will also ensure that you know what price to expect and have some information to support your negotiations.

Here’s our six step checklist to help you to get your car ready for trade-in.

1. Clean it up
It’s not always easy to keep your car clean and tidy (all the time), so the interior can become tired and a bit dirty: especially if your car is regularly occupied by small children. But of course, a messy car is not ideal if you want to ask a good price. Start with a thorough clear out of your car interior and follow it with a clean and fragrance so that it gets that new car smell.

2. Carry out some (minor) repairs
If there are any minor signs of damage that you can quickly repair, then it’s worth doing so now. But remember, it’s wise to stop with minor repairs. Dealers can carry out major repairs more cost effectively than you can yourself and any major work you get done is unlikely to pay off when it comes to the sale price of your car.

3. Get your paper work together
Being able to prove a good service history gives a dealer a much better idea of what they’re buying. Pull together your service records and paperwork and put them in a folder so that the information is well presented and easy to review.

It’s also a good idea to clear out your glove-box and make sure it contains only your manuals and any other handbooks or brochures that you have for your car. Your registration documentation and warrant of fitness should also be up to date.

4. Sort out your financials
If you took out a loan when you bought your car, you will need to make sure it is paid off before you hand over the keys to a dealer. Contact your finance company and they will talk you through the process you will need to follow so that the dealer can be confident that the car does not have any debt attached to it.

5. Work out what it's worth
Finding out what your car’s worth is a two stage process. Firstly, do some research online - reviewing the value of other cars with the same model, mileage, and standard of repair is a good starting point. Be mindful that just because someone is listing a similar car on an auction site for a high price it doesn’t mean that they will actually sell for that amount.

Taking your car to other dealers will also give you a good indication of what you can expect to sell it for. It’s likely that dealers that sell similar makes or models of car will give you the best price.  Make sure you’re comparing like-with-like and taking the car to dealers similar to the one you actually want to sell to.

6. Consider your timing
If you’re flexible around when you sell the car, it’s worth considering your timing to see if there is an opportunity to increase the price you will get. SUVs and Four Wheel Drive vehicles often sell better in winter, when driving conditions make their features more desirable. Similarly, convertibles and smaller models often sell better in summer (for obvious reasons).

Trading-in your car is an excellent way to boost the funds that you have available for your next purchase. If you want to find out how much you can afford to borrow or arrange finance, you can contact the team at OnlineCarLoans. We will be happy to talk you through your options and help you set up your finances ready to buy your next car. Speak to us today on 0800 88 2000