Trade-in tips to secure the best price for your old car

The start of March is just around the corner and while car dealerships are still facing tough restrictions, the new month brings the allure of the new ‘21’ registration plate change.

Whether you’re hoping to secure a brand-new model in the coming days or are planning to wait until showrooms fully reopen later in the year, it pays to be prepared, and that includes making sure you get the best price for your old car if you’re planning to trade it in.

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Selling your car privately can net you a better price than using it as collateral towards a new vehicle but it can be time consuming and frustrating, whereas trading it in at the same time as buying your new car is quicker and more convenient.

And while you might not get as much as you would from a separate sale, there are still ways to maximise the value of your vehicle, so we’ve spoken to the expert from Leasing Options for tips to improve your car’s trade-in value.

A trade-in can be quicker and easier than selling your car separately (Photo: Shutterstock)

Mileage

The average annual car mileage in the UK can fluctuate year to year and if your car has exceeded the average, you can expect to see a decrease in your vehicle’s value as it may end up in a higher mileage band than others. Each time a car passes through a band, it will lose an average of 20 per cent of its current value. This means if you’re looking to part ways through part exchanging, keep the miles to a minimum.

Modifications

When part exchanging your car, it’s beneficial to restore it to its former self, especially if you’ve modified it at all. Modifications can severely decrease the value of your car, so before anything else, make sure to replace any mods with original parts.

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Condition

The more a car looks and functions as good as new the more likely it will hold more of its value. Any dents or scratches can lead to heavy decreases in value so make sure to buff out anything you can remove yourself before putting your car on the market. If the damage is too serious to tackle yourself it could be worth paying to have it corrected rather than taking the hit in value at trade-in.

Colour

Yes colour does make a difference. If your car is in a shade that’s popular, such as white, black, red or blue, it will hold its value more than a car that’s been given a lovely neon green makeover.

Service History

If you can prove that your car has been thoroughly looked after this will help boost its value. You can do this by providing MOT certificates and a full service history when submitting paperwork to the company you’re part exchanging with.

Location

Depending on what type of car you own, it may be affected by where you are located. For example, you may be able to achieve a higher value for a 4X4 in more rural locations, while a small hatchback may find added value in more urban environments.

Timing

You should also think about what time of year is most suitable to part ways with your car, especially if it’s suited for certain seasons. For example, cabriolets will perform better in warmer months, while big off road vehicles will gain more interest in the winter months.