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A high percentage of people selling their cars in the UK do so using a trade-in with a local dealership. When you arrive at a dealership to trade-in your car they'll offer you a trade-in value for your vehicle and then deduct this amount from what you'd pay for a different car from them.

When trading-in your car, it's important to haggle over both the trade-in value and the amount you're being asked to pay for the replacement car. No used car dealer will quote you a price without allowing themselves some room for negotiation.

Before you go to a dealership seeking a trade-in, do some research. Go online and find out how much you could sell your car for elsewhere and either bring along a mobile device or print off some examples. If the dealer refuses to budge on their initial offer, be ready to walk away.

This takes us to another important point. Never give away your car keys or your log book before you're willing to sell. If a dealership has your car keys and log book they can sometimes make it quite difficult for you to walk away from the deal. You need to be in position where you feel comfortable that if things aren't going your way you can look for a better option elsewhere.

It's important to be realistic though. Dealers need to make a profit, and in order to do so will always offer less for your car than you'd get if you were selling privately. You cannot go to a dealership and expect the same sort of price that similar make and models are selling for in AutoTrader.


The key to buying a used car is knowing what it's worth elsewhere. Never agree to pay more than what you think you could pay to a private seller and, if possible, you should look to pay less. Buy the most recent copy of AutoTrader and highlight cars of a similar make and model to the one you're looking to buy. If your dealer claims the car is worth more than the average price for a similar make and model, you can correct them using this information and haggle them down.

Don't get distracted by the optional extras that a dealer will offer to close the sale. A tank of fuel and some car mats are nice additions to the deal but are probably not worth giving up the chance to haggle over the sale price. Better to forgo these benefits in order to secure a 5% decrease – although, in practice, it rarely works quite like this.


Quite simply, a trade-in is a quicker and more convenient process than buying and selling privately. You're performing two transactions at once, both of which could have taken weeks if you attempted to do them on your own. Even so, you should not let this lead you to paying more than it's worth. When considering a trading-in, you need to be constantly weighing up how long you think it would take you to sell your car and buy another one privately, and how much cheaper it would be to do so.

With a trade-in you can sell and buy a car in one afternoon, without doing any real work. Before you set out for a trade-in research the demand for your vehicle privately. Get a valuation using the online tool supplied by Glass's Guides. Or take a pen and paper average from the most recent copy of AutoTrader.

Of course, other than speed there is the factor of safety. With a trade-in there are none of the worries about being scammed, the cost of advertising your vehicle, or any of the other difficulties that come with buying and selling cars privately.


Some cars make better trade-ins than others. If your car is particularly old or run down the percentage difference between the price offered by a dealership and the price offered by a private buyer could be very big. This is because dealers can only buy cars they believe they can sell on reasonably quickly. Private buyers on the other hand can buy any car they have a use for. There could well be a recently licensed seventeen year old with a tiny budget who wants to pay two hundred pounds for your banged up Ford Fiesta. For a dealer to justify buying it however, they'd have to consider how likely it is that a similar buyer will walk into their premises within the next few months. For this reason old bangers tend to get a far better price when sold privately rather than to dealerships.


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