Guide to Part Exchanging Your Old Car

Car Part Exchange


Insider Tips: How to Part Exchange Your Car for the Best Price


Note: Car dealers can sometimes make more money on your part exchange car than they do with the car they are selling you. Of course, there are many variables, but if your car is desirable in the eyes of a dealer you have yourself a winning situation. The trick is to know when your car is desirable and when it is not.

Desirable cars can include (depending on the make and model) diesel estates, small low mileage cars like a Toyota Yaris, some MPV’s like Qashqai’s, rare factory coloured cars, special models such as Seat Leon FR’s. The list goes on. To find out if your car will fetch a good part exchange price consider if it holds its value well. Most know that a VW Golf 5 door is one that historically holds its value compared to a Vauxhall Astra.

Part exchanging your old car into a dealer can be a convenient way to upgrade with the minimum of hassle. But part-exchange is not always the necessary or viable route to take.


“In this post we’ll talk about the best options for your personal circumstances when getting rid of your old car.


part exchange car


Question: Can you afford to buy a new car without part exchanging your old one?

If your answer is “yes I can” then you have a big advantage because while the PX option is convenient it’s not the most cost effective…more on this in a moment.

If you answer “no I can’t” then you’ll want to read the rest of this article because I will show you how to get the best money you possibly can when part exchanging to a car dealer.

Let’s say you have the finances all sorted out and you can buy a new car outright without having to PX. This is great news for two reasons.

  1. You can leverage being a cash buyer. This means you can haggle money off of the car you’re interested in buying
  2. You can get better money for your old car by selling it privately via Autotrader

Remember: A dealer isn’t going to accept your old car in part exchange and reduce money off of the screen price of the one you plan to buy…Why?


px a car valuation image


Because reducing money off of the screen price is the same as giving you a bigger allowance for your old car. It doesn’t make any sense.


Side note:

“Also beware of exaggerated part exchange valuations. A motor dealer isn’t going to give you anything for free, unless to barter and make a sale. So, if there are “£1000 minimum PX” banners or the dealer offers you more than you expected, it can only mean you’re missing something important. Usually, it’s the price of the car you’re buying. It’ll be expensive and the dealership will have a significant profit margin in the car you’re buying; enough to over-value your car and write some of their profit out of the deal.  It’s a simple lure to hook you into a deal. 


But if you’re old car is desirable to the dealer i.e:

Sought after make and model, particularly low mileage, rare colour you can have some influence on what happens next.

Take your old car along to the dealers and get a valuation. Having a vehicle that the dealers actively want to own can give you immense power when it comes to striking a deal. You have options, and if the dealer can’t give you a great price for your old car you can simply refuse their offer. If your old car really is desirable you’ll find a dealer haggling with you to buy it, which puts you in the driving seat.

So my general consensus is that if you don’t have to P/X your old car, don’t. It’s a process of giving your money away if you do.


But if your old car has mechanical issues or “battle scars” that inhibit you from selling it for a good price as a private seller, you may want to reconsider the part exchange route. In cases like this, the convenience factor outweighs the financial. Cars that are problematic tend to be more difficult to sell privately. If your car falls under this category I’d recommend P/X-ing.

Dealers are a pretty savvy bunch and if your car has problems they will most likely pick up on them before offering you a price. If you do a deal your old car will probably end up in some auction ring around the country.

Beware: If your old car has problems and the dealer doesn’t pick up on them and you don’t declare them, you may think you’ve gotten yourself a great deal. But if the car you buy ends up having a mechanical problem and you need to take it back under warranty, don’t expect the dealers to be particularly helpful.

Sure they might be legally obligated to repair your car but that doesn’t mean they can’t make the whole process difficult for you. Keep this in mind if you intend to cover up any ailments your old car might have. In my experience, it’s better to be upfront and honest. After all, this is what you’d expect from a dealer, isn’t it?

If you need to part exchange your old car into a dealer in order to buy a new car, there are some things you’ll want to do.


Getting the best money in part exchange


Valuation – How much is my car worth?

There are tonnes of ways of getting a valuation but if you want to know what a dealer is going to offer you, head over to a car buying site such as We Buy Any Car, and find out. These car buying services will offer you something near what you’d expect in part exchange. In truth, their price will probably be a little lower than what a good dealer will offer you.


But there are many variables:

  • What’s the general condition of the bodywork?
  • Are there any major mechanical faults?
  • Is there a decent car service history?
  • Is the vehicle recorded as an insurance write off?
  • Are there any mileage discrepancies?
  • Is the car a desirable make and model? I.e. is it 2.3 petrol or a 1.8 diesel? Is the mileage 40,000 or 140,000?


When you get an online price from car buyers service you’ll need to be as honest as you can in their websites “appraisal” section. You have nothing to lose here so you may as well give all the facts that you’d consider will affect the cars valuation. Usually, you’ll get an instant price or one within an hour or so.

The price you receive is something close to what your dealer will offer, give or take a few hundred pounds. Once you have this info you’ve empowered yourself when negotiating with a dealer.


Here’s how:

Before taking your old car along to the dealers I’d recommend you spend £20 and get it semi-valeted. A clean and tidy part exchange makes a huge difference to a dealer, although they won’t admit it to you. You’re far more likely to get a better price for your old car if it looks and smells good.

Note: But you don’t want the car dripping with cleaning chemicals or have it unusually shiny and new. To a dealer, the car will just look fake and they will see what you’re up to. Instead, you simply need the car washed, vacuumed and the windows cleaned inside and out (clean windows make a huge difference to the overall feel and appearance of a car.)

When you take your car along for valuation let them know you are interested in doing a deal today if the price is right. This will encourage the salesperson to give you the most they can.

The dealer will almost certainly ask you how much you want for your old car. Your next response will determine how much of your hard earned money you’ll actually give to the dealers to buy a new car.  This is really important and we all know how difficult it is to go out and earn £100. So every bit of money you can save is money in your pocket.

You already know roughly how much they’ll offer you but you state your price somewhere near the retail value.


Example: You have a 2014 Ford Focus 1. 6 Zetec, 5-door, metallic silver with 67,000 miles that needs about £200 spending on the paintwork because someone scratched the car down the passenger door.

We Buy Any Car valued your car online at £3850. This means the retail valuation will be at least £1000 more than trade. So your old car would retail out of a dealership in the region of £4900-£5400.

The dealer will want to buy your car for under £4000.

When the dealer asks how much you want for your car you need to go in very high.

So if I owned the Ford Focus we’ve been talking about I’d tell the salesman that I was looking for £4750, which is somewhere near retail.

We know they dealer isn’t going to give you that much but we need to start high and work down in increments.

The salesperson will probably look a little shocked, maybe even disillusioned or disgusted, but we’re here to get the best money we can…Remembering all the time that the car you’re buying has a significant profit margin in it for the dealer.

The dealer is likely to immediately offer you their top end price as a first offer!

Now we’re talking and it’s up to you to get a better price still.

Let them know you’d consider £4500, and see how flexible they are.

They may go another £100 or £200.

Remind them that you want to do a deal today.


Next – Tell the car salesman you have a budget. Explain that you need to get £4500 for your car in order to buy theirs.


Nine times out of ten the dealer will improve their best offer by at least £200 so they can have a deal with you. If you got up to £4300 I’d recommend doing a deal.

£4300 means you got £450 more for your car than We Buy Any Car were going to pay you, and you’ve likely got £300 more than the dealer ever intended on giving you.

This tactic works and can save you a tonne of money when you part exchange your car into a dealer.


More great articles to help you sell your vehicle:


Vehicle Auctions Guide
Car Buyers Website Guide
Autotrader Guide
Car Dealership Sale Guide
Value My Car Guide
General Car Selling Guide


The Used Car Guy

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