Is It Better To Trade In or Sell a Car?

17 May 2020

Your old car just doesn’t have the same appeal it had when you first bought it, your family is getting bigger, or you’d prefer to change from a nippy city car to a luxury SUV or saloon. It’s time to upgrade, but what do you do with your old car? Do you trade it in or sell it privately?

There’s no real definitive answer as there are pros and cons on both sides. However, we’re coming down on the side of a dealership sale or trade-in rather than a private sale, and here’s why.

It’s less hassle

Selling your car privately means taking out adverts online and trying to find the right buyer for your car. You can guarantee that they’ll haggle over the price, and after all that back-and-forth, there’s still no guarantee that they’ll close the deal. That means you could be left holding onto a sizable financial asset that you no longer want, as well as the cost of advertising the car in the first place.

Selling to a dealership

You have two alternatives to private sales, which could mean you can release the equity tied up in your car sooner. The first is to sell your car through a dealership like Automall. Not only will you get the market price for your car, but the process is quick and simple. Because Automall specialises in pre-owned vehicles, they’re always looking for good quality used cars and will make an instant cash payment, as well as taking care of any car loan closures on your behalf.

One of the issues of selling privately is that potential buyers will continually try to haggle the price down. Selling through Automall means that the price you’re offered stays the same for five days, so you don’t feel pressurised into making a snap decision.

What about trade-ins?

If you’ve seen a car you really like, and your current vehicle is in good condition, then you can trade-in your old car (and some cash) against the purchase of the new vehicle. Trade-ins are popular with dealerships, as they get replacement stock for the vehicles they sell on. If your car is in top quality condition and is a model that’s popular with clients then your dealership will probably be willing to make you an offer. Bear in mind that you won’t be able to do a ‘straight swap’, and that you will have to also put some hard cash towards the transaction. But it does mean that you’ll drive away in the car of your choice without having to go through the hassle of trying to sell your old car first.

How long does all this take?

Selling privately can take weeks or even months. You need to get your car noticed, and in a sea of a thousand other small ads, that’s going to be difficult. There’s also the risk that you’ll get messed around by potential buyers who change their mind and don’t bother telling you that they’re not interested anymore!

Selling or trading-in through a dealership like Automall, though, takes less than an hour if you want to sign on the dotted line there and then, or up to five days (with no change on the offer) if you want a little more time to think about things.

Selling privately may mean that you get top dollar (eventually!) for your car, but if you want a fair market return and to just get on with your life, our advice is to sell through a dealership or trade-in your old car for a newer model.