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If you’ve been thinking of upgrading your vehicle, you’ll probably be facing the same conundrum as everyone else in your position. That being, whether it makes more sense to sell your vehicle or trade it in.

Is It Better to Sell My Car or Trade It In?

UK Car Finance
19, Aug 2019

Both options are readily available, but which represents the better option of the two?

Trading in Your Car

Taking a look at trade-ins first, the vast majority of dealerships these days support trade-ins of some sort. The idea is that you hand over your previous vehicle for some kind of incentive on the vehicle you drive away.

Nevertheless, there are pros and cons to trading in a car to consider, which include the following:


  • Simplicity. Trading in a car is exponentially easier than attempting to sell it, as the dealership does the vast majority of the hard work on your behalf.
  • Speed. If you want to get rid of your vehicle now to trade up as quickly as possible, there’s a chance the dealership could take it off your hands immediately.
  • Cashback Deals.  Some dealerships also offer additional cashback deals, guaranteeing say a minimum of £1,000 off the cost of a brand new car.


  • Lower Value.  On the downside, dealerships never pay as much as you’d get from selling your car privately. They’ll be looking at selling it on themselves, so you can expect to be quoted a lower price than its actual value at the time.

Selling Your Car

The alternative option is to sell your car, which remains the preferred approach for many. As outlined above, the biggest downside of trading in is the way in which dealers base vehicle values on book values at the time. You can attempt to haggle if you like, but it rarely works.

Selling a vehicle privately has been simplified enormously by the Internet.  These days, it’s possible to publish listings on high-profile online retail sites in seconds, with the potential to reach millions of possible buyers across the UK.  But at the same time, there are pros and cons to take into account, which include the following:


  • A Better Price.  Depending on the type of vehicle you sell, it’s perfectly possible that you could get a far better price selling it privately. There’s far more flexibility when selling a car that when trading in.


  • It Takes Time.  Listing a vehicle for sale online may be quick and easy, but the actual process of selling it can be time-consuming and tedious.  Hence, not the ideal option if you are in a hurry.
  • No Additional Incentives. Selling also means counting yourself out of the running for any incentives the dealership may be offering at the time.

The Bottom Line

Truth is, there’s no simple answer to the question. It all depends on the type of vehicle you’re getting rid of, its value at the time, market demand, the vehicle you intend to buy and so on. Not to mention, what kinds of incentives may be on offer at the dealership.

As such, it’s important to consider all available options and to do your homework, before deciding which way to go. Both trading in and selling could save you a fortune on your next vehicle – it’s up to you to decide which of the two is best.

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