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Value Your Vehicle


How does the average person go about getting a good trade-in deal? After doing some research on the matter, there are a few pearls of wisdom often shared by dealer principals and other industry experts.

1. Do You Have to Trade-in?

First consider your other options. A private sale will almost always fetch a higher price, but then there are numerous drawbacks - like test drives with strangers, being potentially liable for faults and many logistical hurdles. An alternative is to sell your car on consignment at a dealer or through a channel like AA Autobay, which will help with the paperwork and arrange a secure test drive.

If the convenience of trading in is too hard to resist, however, be sure to take heed of the following steps.

2. Know Your Car’s Value

Find out your vehicle's book value. Both the retail and trade-in values are available on the TransUnion website for a nominal fee. Alternatively, you could get a good idea of its value by browsing used car websites like Drive360. Remember that the correct trade-in price is likely to be around 10 percent less than the actual retail value in most cases.

3. Negotiate Separately

Many dealers are offering 'trade-in assistance' deals these days, which could just make the discount on the new car (which it essentially is) sound bigger than it really is - especially if they happen to undervalue your car. Key rule is that a discount on a new car is always better than trade-in assistance on your old one because the new car discount is completely quantifiable.That's why you need to negotiate separately. Shop around and push the dealer for the biggest possible discount on the new vehicle you're buying. Don't even discuss your possible trade-in until you've done that. That's another negotiation altogether and in the end you'll just have to weigh up the discounts and trade-ins offered by the various dealers and do the sums.

4. Shop Around

Most importantly, be ruthless and shop around until you're blue in the face.

5. Present a Good, Clean Car

First impressions count, so make sure that your car is as clean as it possibly can be, inside and out and that everything is working as it should be. Fix what you have to fix as any blemish or fault will provide an excuse for the dealer to knock your price down.Also have all the necessary documentation handy, including the service history book.6. Popularity CountsThis tip isn't going to help you to get rid of your car, but buying a popular model and variant of car will certainly help you the next time you want to trade in.Even the colour can make a difference here and, of course, avoid accessorising too much as this hardly ever has a positive effect on the resale value.Of course, the advantages of buying a popular car must also be weighed up against the potential theft and hijacking risk and the fact that it might not be the car you actually want to own.

After all, life's just too short to drive a boring car.