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Should I trade in my car?

By Anna Kantilaftas, 10 Oct 2016 Car Advice

sold car

We look at whether it’s better to sell your car privately or to trade it in.

Deciding to sell your car when buying a new car is an easy decision. Deciding how to sell it, on the other hand, is a little more difficult.


Selling your car to the dealer is certainly the path of least resistance. But are you prepared to take a cost cut? Often dealers will offer you a price that is thousands of dollars less than what you could get by selling your car privately.

But while you can expect less money for the car, you have the convenience of not lifting a finger. You’re also essentially selling your car on the spot, which is a pretty good deal if you’re in a rush for your new car or need the cash.

There are two options here, though. You can either trade your car in for a newer car, which will give you the most value if you intend on buying something newer. Or sell it to a used car dealer for cash.

Top tip: You don’t need a roadworthy certificate when selling your car to a dealer, which is an added benefit. Additionally, they’ll take on any major repairs.


Selling your car privately can be time consuming, but it can work in favour of your wallet.

You’ll need to prepare the car, set the price, advertise it, show people through and process the sale. It’s not hard, but it does take time.

Ensuring your car is in good condition is your first step. That may mean investing some money to fix any issues, especially mechanical ones, and ensure it’s clean and roadworthy. It’s a good idea to get it detailed as well, and make sure any photos used to advertise your car for sale are a true representation of the car.

Once you’ve settled on an appropriate price, and decided where you’re going to advertise it, make sure you’re available to answer any questions about the car and find time for inspections. Be prepared to negotiate.

Your time investment is what’s going to get you the extra dollars, so if the money means more to you than convenience, private sale is the way to go.

Top tip: cars with low mileage and that have been looked after will sell quicker.