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Is Part-Exchange the Best Way to Sell Your Car?

Part Exchange

Car Guide’s tips on how to get the most money for your car


What’s not to love about leaving your old car at the garage and driving off in a shiny new one?

Often referred to as PX, part-exchange means you don’t have to put your car up for sale. So you don’t have the hassle of advertising or interacting with potential buyers. 

However, from a financial viewpoint, part-exchange isn’t always the best option. 

Want to know the pros and cons of PX? Read on to discover whether there’s a better way to sell your car. 

What is part-exchange?

Most car dealerships run a part-exchange scheme. Buyers simply choose a new car, then receive a discount for trading in their old one. Everyone wins – the dealer sells a car from the showroom and the buyer gets their new car quickly.  

But how much discount can you get? Well, that depends on:

  • What car are you trading in?
  • Which car do you want to buy?
  • What is the dealership’s required profit margin?

 To get the best deal for your car, you’ll need to put in some groundwork.

  • Find out roughly how much your car is worth with an online valuation
  • Do some market research. Find out what other similar cars are selling for on auction sites or social media. Ensure you’re comparing exactly the same car (same model, engine size, mileage).
  • Visit the car wash to make sure your vehicle is sparkling clean – both inside and outside.
  • Check for any obvious signs of wear and tear. Repair any scratches or dents and replace anything that’s broken. 

What do you need when considering part-exchange?

To get the best offer, you’ll need to take these items to the dealership:

  • MOT records 
  • Full service history
  • The V5(C) – Logbook 
  • Keys 
  • Manual

Tempted to stretch the truth about your car? Don’t be. Dealers can easily access online vehicle records. So if you tell them the car has always passed its MOT with flying colours, they will easily be able to check. You might even want to carry out a car check on your own car to see the full history.

When is it a good idea?

If you can afford to buy your new vehicle without needing to trade in your old one, it is usually best to avoid part-exchange. You can then sell your car using a more profitable method.

Part-exchange is useful if you have a car that is desirable to dealers. For example:

  • Low mileage
  • Rare factory colours
  • Models fitted with added extras

You should also consider part-exchange if your car has mechanical faults, dents or needs scrapping. Otherwise, you could end up with high repair bills that make little difference to the price you get.  

Pros and Cons of Part-Ex

The best thing about part-exchange is that you can save yourself a lot of time and effort. Before you can even think about selling it, you’ll need to fix any issues and make a car privately, you’ll need to make it look as pristine as possible. Then, after you’ve listed the car for sale, you’ll need to manage enquiries and viewings. And when you finally find someone interested in buying the car, they’ll probably try to barter with you to reduce the price! 

With this in mind, it might seem easier to part-exchange your car. But just because it’s easier, that doesn’t always mean it’s better. Most dealers are unwilling to pay above the basic trade in value, so you’ll probably get less money than if you chose another selling method. 

What's the alternative?

Technology has streamlined our lives, and selling a car is no exception. Social media sales are popular – for example, Facebook has countless local buying and selling groups and an online Marketplace. You could also consider selling via an owner’s club, eBay, Gumtree or Auto Trader.
Another option is selling your car through a used car marketplace such as Motorway
Motorway will match you with the car dealer that’s willing to pay the best price for your car. They work with thousands of verified dealers, using smart technology to find a buyer in no time. It’s totally free for sellers, including collection of the car and payment by secure bank transfer. 
The process is simple:
  • Enter your vehicle registration number on the Motorway website to receive an instant valuation.
  • Add details and photos of your car. This information will be used to set a reserve price, which you will need to agree as the minimum price you’d be willing to accept.
  • Wait for the offers to come in – then accept the best one.
  • Arrange collection with the dealer at a time that’s convenient for you
The entire process usually takes between 2 and 7 days and you will get your best price from 5,000+ dealers! 

Frequently Asked Questions

In almost all cases, you will get more money for your car if you sell it privately or with… read more here.
  1. MOT records
  2. Full service history
  3. The V5(C) – Logbook
  4. Keys
  5. Manual

Read more here.

As soon as you sell your vehicle you need to inform DVLA. You can either do that online or you can tear off the bottom section of the V5C and send it to the DVLA.
Find out more information

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