Trading in can often be the quickest and easiest way to sell a car. But it’s not without its downsides. Put simply, the process of trading in a car involves selling it back to a dealer. The dealer will then either retail your car to a new customer or put it into an auction for another dealer to purchase. You should always get a better price if you sell your car to a dealer who will re-sell it from their forecourt.
Either way, there will be costs the dealer will incur - either in auction fees or in ‘preparation’ expenses, such as touching up any scratches or doing a service. These costs, as well as a dealer’s overheads and margin, will be factored into the price they’ll offer you.
This means you’ll almost certainly get less money for your car from a trade-in than you will from selling it privately. But it will involve a lot less hassle and will be a much quicker process. What’s more, if you use tootle, our process of getting competing bids from multiple dealers means you can be confident you’re getting the best price!
How much is my car worth trade in?
‘What is the trade-in value of my car?’ is a common question among sellers considering their options.
Sites such as CAP and Glass's will be able to give you a car trade in value - as well as the private sale value of your vehicle. So you can assess the difference and decide whether the extra money you’ll get is worth the time and effort it will take to handle private sale enquiries, viewings, money transfer and so on.
If you do opt to trade in your car, here’s how it works.
How to trade in a car
The traditional trade-in process involves you going to a dealership (or several) to find out how much they will offer you for your car. Here are some tips on how to make it a pain-free process:
- Ring the garage(s) in advance to make sure they’re interested in your car. Some dealers will only want cars from a particular brand, or under a certain age and mileage. So make sure you don’t waste your time driving somewhere that will turn you away.
- Book an appointment, so you’re not left hanging around. This is particularly important at the weekend, when garages can be busy.
- Make sure your car is looking its best. You don’t need a full valet service - but a dirty car (inside or out) could give dealers the impression that you don’t look after it very well, which might affect what price they will offer you.
- Know the value of your car ahead of time, so you can negotiate more effectively. As explained above, there are lots of online car valuation tools (including our own) that will give you a sense of pricing. But be aware that individual dealers may have reasons for offering you more or less than the ‘average’ price...
- ...Which is why you should ideally go to multiple dealers, to be sure you’re getting the best offer. If a garage already has four cars similar to yours on their books, or if it took ages to sell the last similar car they had, they’ll probably make you a low offer. If, on the other hand, they’re actively looking for your type of car (either because they already have a buyer lined up, or they know it sells well), then you should get offered a much better price. You’ll only know if you’re getting a good trade-in deal by shopping around.
Trade in alternatives
As already mentioned, selling your car privately is a common alternative to trading in - particularly when getting the best price is important. The other quick and easy option taken by many is using a car buying service - though these generally offer prices even lower than the dealers, because they sell their cars on through costly auctions.
If you want to be sure that you’re getting the best price for your car (short of selling it yourself privately), tootle can help by getting you multiple offers from our dealer network. Because we have hundreds of dealers on our system, we know we’ll have people actively looking for most types of cars - and prepared to bid strongly for them. Which means you’ll know you’re getting the best deal, without having to do all the legwork. What’s more, over 90% of our dealers will collect your car straight from your drive!
Sounds good? Give us some details and we’ll get you some offers!
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