5 Tips for Getting the Best Trade-in Deal for Your Car

Published on November 24th, 2020
  Written by 
Adrian Edlington
Adrian Edlington is PR & Communications Manager at Savvy. With a keen interest in personal finance, car loans, the mortgage industry, cost of living pressures, electric vehicles and renewable technology, Adrian's research includes conducting primary data surveys and analysis of up-to-the-minute secondary Australian data sources. His work on behalf of Savvy has been featured on ABC.net.au The Conversation, the Sydney Morning Herald, AFR, News.com.au, The Age, Herald Sun, Adelaide Now, SBS On The Money, 7News, Car Expert, Which Car, Drive.com.au and more. In his spare time, Adrian enjoys mountain biking and business podcasts.
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   Reviewed by 
Bill Tsouvalas


Bill Tsouvalas
Bill Tsouvalas is the managing director and a key company spokesperson at Savvy. As a personal finance expert, he often shares his insights on a range of topics, being featured on leading news outlets including News Corp publications such as the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, Fairfax Media publications such as the Australian Financial Review, the Seven Network and more. Bill has over 15 years of experience working in the finance industry and founded Savvy in 2010 with a vision to provide affordable and accessible finance options to all Australians. He has built Savvy from a small asset finance brokerage into a financial comparison website which now attracts close to 2 million Aussies per year and was included in the BRW’s Fast 100 in 2015 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. He’s passionate about helping Australians make financially savvy decisions and reviews content across the brand to ensure its accuracy. You can follow Bill on LinkedIn.
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Trading in your old car when purchasing a new one can be a convenient way to offset the cost of your new vehicle. However, getting the best trade-in deal requires some strategy and preparation. In this blog post, we'll share five tips to help you maximise the value of your trade-in and ensure you get the best deal possible.

1. Research your car’s value

Having a realistic idea of your car's value can help you negotiate with confidence and avoid accepting a lowball offer when trading it in.

  • Research market value: don't rely solely on dealership quotes. Use online resources and tools or independent mechanics’ appraisals to get a sense of a fair market value for your car. Consider factors like make, model, year, mileage, condition and any modifications.
  • Know your car’s selling points: highlight the unique features and benefits that make your car stand out. This could include low mileage, a recent service history, desirable factory-fitted options or certain modifications.
  • Track market trends: the time of year can affect car prices. For instance, four-wheel drives might fetch a higher price during winter months. Being aware of market trends can help you time your trade-in strategically.

2. Clean and prepare your car

First impressions matter. Just like a house sale, making your car visually appealing increases its perceived value.

  • Give it a deep clean: take the time to thoroughly clean both the interior and exterior of your vehicle, paying special attention to areas that tend to accumulate dirt and grime. Consider investing in professional detailing services if your car needs some extra TLC.
  • Address minor cosmetic issues: fix small dents, scratches or chipped paint. Replace burnt-out bulbs or missing trim pieces. Taking care of these minor imperfections demonstrates that you've maintained the car well.
  • Don't forget the details: ensure the car smells fresh and is free of lingering odours. Consider air fresheners or natural deodorisers.

3. Highlight your car’s upkeep

Demonstrating that you have looked after your car can help boost its value.

  • Make minor repairs: take care of any visible dents, scratches or cosmetic imperfections, and replace any worn-out parts like tyres or windshield wipers.
  • Gather service records: collect all receipts and documentation for past services, repairs and replacements. This demonstrates your commitment to preventive maintenance and overall car care.
  • Schedule a service: consider a pre-sale service to address any minor mechanical issues that might come up during the dealership inspection. This proactive approach can strengthen your negotiation position.

4. Negotiate with confidence

Negotiating with the dealer can help you get a better deal and ensure you're getting the most value for your trade-in.

  • Shop around: dealerships may offer different trade-in values based on their current inventory, sales goals and demand for your particular make and model. Don't settle for the first trade-in offer you receive. Instead, get appraisals from multiple dealerships to compare offers.
  • Don’t settle for the first offer: dealerships often start with low-ball offers. Be prepared to counteroffer with a well-justified price based on your research and the car’s condition.
  • Use the service report: If you've had a pre-sale service, use the report to address any minor issues found. Negotiate for a price adjustment that reflects the specific repairs needed, rather than accepting a significant deduction.

5. Consider other options

While trading in your car at the dealership is convenient, it may not always result in the best deal. There are alternatives to taking your car to a dealer.

  • Sell your car privately: you may be able to fetch a higher price by cutting out the middleman. Websites and apps make it easy to list your car for sale and connect with a wide audience of potential buyers. Keep in mind that selling privately may require more time and effort on your part, but the higher payout can make it worth the extra hassle.
  • Look at online trade-in platforms: research online car-buying platforms, which offer a quick and convenient way to get a guaranteed quote for your car. While the offers might be slightly lower than selling privately, they eliminate the hassle of finding a buyer and handling paperwork.

By following these tips and taking proactive steps, you can approach your car trade-in with confidence. A little preparation can go a long way in maximising the value of your car.

When it comes time to finance your new vehicle, Savvy can help. We can search offers from a variety of lenders to find a car loan deal that suits your needs and budget. Get started today!

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