Guide to car part exchange


How to value your car as a part exchange

Things to look out for when you px

Valuing your car

I have taken in thousands of part exchange cars over the last 30 years.
Here are some of the things I’ve learned along the way.

Features of part exchange include:

Quick, simple way to sell
Straightforward process
None of the hassle that can come with a selling privately


part exchange my car

How does part exchange work?

You buy the dealers car and they buy yours.
It will always depend on the car you own but dealers are always on the lookout for new stock they can sell for profit. This has never been more current with ever-rising car auction prices.

Beware, car dealers can make as much profit with your part exchange as they might from the car, they sell to you.

Your cars make, model, mileage, age and condition determine its desirability. Certain cars are sought after because they are easy to sell and difficult to buy for trade prices.

Desirable car, the definition

Mentioned in some of my other guides to selling a used car, here’s a broad definition of desirability:

German cars (particularly Volkswagen and Audi)
Diesel estates still sell well
Distinctions such as very low mileage, unusual factory colour or added extras like Sports packs
Special editions
Range Rovers
Small cars that are low mileage and 5 doors (especially Ford Fiesta and Toyota Yaris types)

when part exchanging can be the best option
best financial decision when part exchanging your car or selling is privately

Buy your car without a px?

Part exchanging means selling for a trade price so be prepared to take a loss on true value.

Another snag comes with screen price.
You will not get money taken from the asking price if you part exchange your car. Money off is the same as offering a higher price for your car.

The dealer looks at a ‘price to change’ (the difference between the price of their car and yours).

The truth of part exchange

You will miss out on a screen price reduction and need to accept a low price for your car.
It terms of your finances, it’s a lose – lose scenario.

Inflated valuations

Be mindful, if the price you are offered exceeds what you expected it could signal something hidden about the car you plan to buy.

This can include:


  • The car has been in stock for months and the dealer is struggling to sell it
  • The car has a mechanic issue that is expensive to repair
  • Your part exchange is extremely desirable, and the dealer really wants to own it
  • The salesman wants to give you a fair deal (it’s possible you know!)


The overarching theme is to not px your old car into the dealer unless you really need to.

Worth stating here, if your old car has some mechanical issue or battle scars that inhibit a clean and simple private sale, a part exchange can be the way to go. Convenience can outweigh finances in some circumstances.

By the way, if your old car is full of mechanical problems and you hide them from the dealers it may impact dealer compliance if you’ve got a warranty issue with the car you buy.
You have 30 days of solid Consumer Rights regardless but getting repairs will likely be trickier to manage.

Being open and honest is the way to go, right from the start.


Valuing your car

For a broad part exchange price head over to Autotrader and use their free tool. It is less than perfect (as are all online valuation tools) but you get a benchmark and rough rock-bottom price.

Or head to a car buyers site service like We Want Any Car.

You need to disclose damage before you click the button for an online valuation. Use my guide for avoiding banana skins.

The key is to get an accurate value. Such services enjoy reducing the online price for even minor cosmetic damage like a chipped alloy wheel or windscreen.


How to increase part exchange offers by a few hundred pounds

Ensure the car is washed, vacuumed and the window are clean inside and out. That is all you need to have your car look like the genuine article.

Avoid lashings of cleaning chemical dripping from the bodywork or chocking amounts of air freshener. Dealers see right through this type of thing and it only really stands to reduce your value rather than increase it.


If serious about buying the dealers car tell the salesperson that you will buy if they can offer you £xxx for your car.

It’s clear and puts the ball in their court.

Have your minimum price in mind and avoid dropping below that.

If a salesperson feels you are going to buy, then the price you get offered for your car is likely to be a bit higher than usual.


Marcus Rockey
Used Car Guy