Should I part exchange my car or sell it privately?

Getting a new car is exciting, but it’s often accompanied by the tricky task of selling your existing vehicle. 

If you are selling a car, whether it’s to make space for a newer model or free up room in the garage, you may be asking what the best way to do it is. In an ideal world, you could sell your car for the best price and least effort possible – but this isn’t always the case.

The two main options for selling your car are to part exchange it at the dealership you’re buying your new car from or to sell it privately. There are pros and cons to consider for both, which we’ve explained below:

If you’re still looking for your next used car, our Ins and Outs Guide to Where  to Buy a Used Car can help you with your search

How do you part exchange your car?

Part exchanging a car is an option many people go for, mainly because it doesn’t require much effort and it’s quick. It’s important to note that, in order to part exchange, you will need to be buying a car from a dealer, as private sellers and auctions won’t offer this service. You’ll also need to make sure the dealer you buy from will allow you to exchange your car.


Pros of part exchanging

When you part exchange, you’re essentially swapping your car in for another, with the value of your old car being taken off the bill for the one you’re buying. This appeals to many people as it means you won’t need to pay the full price for your new car as part of it will be covered already.

Part exchanging allows you to sell your car quickly and easily. In most cases, you’ll hand over your old car when you go to collect your new one, so you won’t have the hassle of owning two cars at once and can get rid of your existing vehicle fast.

Additionally, if you choose to part exchange, you won’t have to arrange to sell your car privately. This not only saves you time, but can also save you money – if you were to sell the car yourself, you might expect additional costs around advertising it.

These additional costs may also include valeting and repairing your vehicle in order to impress buyers if you were to sell privately. Most dealers will accept your car in its current condition, so you wouldn’t have to worry about sprucing it up prior to the exchange.

Cons of part exchanging

Although part exchanging is a quick and easy way to sell your car, there are some potential disadvantages.

The main one is price. By part exchanging, you may find that you get a lower price for your car than you would have got by selling privately. However, you will have to agree on price with the dealer beforehand, so there is some room for negotiation if you need it.

How do you sell your car privately?

Unlike part exchanging, selling your car privately can be done by anyone, not just those who are buying from a dealer.

There are many different platforms to sell your car privately, such as placing adverts in newspaper or on a local noticeboard or using websites such as eBay Motors or Autotrader. It’s important to remember the selling and everything it entails will need to be done by you, so take the time to research the different steps.


Pros of selling privately

One of the biggest benefits of selling your car privately is that there’s opportunity to get a good price for your vehicle as you can set the price yourself. Of course, this depends on the condition and value of your car and you may find some buyers want to negotiate on the price – but generally speaking, you can get a better price through private selling than you may be able to get elsewhere. Make sure you research similar cars to yours before selling so you can get an accurate valuation and sell your car for the right price.

Private selling is also handy for those who aren’t in a rush to get rid of their old car. Whether you want to hang on to it while you get used to your new car or just want time to consider different selling avenues, there’s no time limit on private sales. This means you won’t be pressured into making a decision before you’re ready.

Cons of selling privately

If you decide to sell privately, the truth is that you will have to put more effort and time into selling your car than if you were to part exchange.

Selling privately isn’t something that can be done quickly – you need to advertise the car you’re selling and wait for someone to show an interest. You will then have to arrange a viewing with any interested parties until someone purchases it – and, if you’re unlucky, you may have to go through multiple potential buyers until one sticks. These viewings will need to be arranged by you in your spare time too.

Because selling can be such a long-winded process, you may have to wait some time to sell your car. This means you will likely have to own your new and old car at the same time, which can be problematic if you have limited storage.

The other issue with selling privately is that you will need to make your car presentable in order to attract buyers. This may mean taking your car for a service or getting repairs done, if they are needed. These are additional costs you will have to factor in and may cut into the amount of money you get back from selling.

The condition of the car is particularly important as you’re the one responsible for it – so if the buyer finds a hidden issue or isn’t happy, they may come back to you. It’s essential to be truthful about the condition and history of the car in order to prevent this, even if it means you have to accept a lower offer

Which option is best?

Despite both being popular ways of selling cars, there are quite a few differences between part exchanging and selling privately. Private selling is a good way to get a better price for your car, as long as you are willing to put it the time and effort to make your sale. However, part exchanging is a quick and pain-free way of selling your car to make room for your new one.

Essentially, it boils down to what your preferences are. If you’re looking for the best price, or don’t want to get rid of your car straight away, private selling is likely to be the best option for you. If you would rather sell your car in the quickest way possible without having to put in an extra effort, part exchanging is the best choice to make. So, it’s important to consider what your priorities are and let that shape which selling method you go for.

Now you know how to sell your car, it might be time to decide how you’re going to buy your next one. Our Ins and Outs Guide to Where to Buy Your Used Car will help you identify the different options and shop with confidence.