Part-exchange Vs Selling

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Part-exchange vs selling

Looking back on all those great trips you had in your car when it’s time to part ways with it is only natural. However, you now want to honour its service by getting the best price possible, minus the hassle.

Part-exchanging and selling your car are two of the most popular ways of parting with your old faithful – but what’s the difference? And which one is best for you? Read on to find out everything you need to know about the two processes.

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Part-exchanging (or ‘part ex-ing’) your old car for a new one is a relatively stress-free route to go down. You can choose this option if you own your car or you’re coming towards the end of a Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) finance deal.

Once you’ve decided on your next vehicle, you can offset the value of your current model against the new arrival.

Part-exchanging with PCP

PCP is long-term rental of a new vehicle, whereby you pay a fixed monthly price to use the car for around 2-4 years.

Typically you will either return the car once the deal has run its course, with nothing more to pay. Or you take ownership of the vehicle by paying a one-off ‘balloon payment’.

However, a third option involves part-exchanging the car in return for a new model on a separate PCP deal.

This can be done if:

  • You’re coming to the end of your deal and the car’s in good condition and has done less miles than initially agreed.
  • Mid-agreement, you owe more than the car is worth. You can trade-in the vehicle for a new one which is more affordable/suited to your circumstances. The settlement fee will be transferred to your new deal, which will then be a ‘negative equity’ finance agreement.

Remember: a negative equity finance agreement will involve paying off your previous vehicle and the new one, which will increase the price of monthly payments. So, to avoid incurring late and missed payment charges, be sure to check you can afford the quoted fee.


If you have a price in mind of how much you’re willing to spend on your next car, then a part-exchange deal could provide the extra funds needed to meet the asking price from the seller.

What’s more is that a dealer will be ready to swap your old vehicle for the new one the minute they’ve valuated the current worth of your motor. This will save you a lot of time and money which would be needed to advertise your car to potential buyers.

Often you can get a price for your old set of wheels which accurately reflects its condition, number of miles its done and service history. To make this more likely, look for a dealership which specialises in selling vehicles from the same manufacturer. This way, they’re more likely to want to retail your vehicle.


The convenience of part-exchanging your car for another doesn’t come without its shortcomings.

Even if you have an idea from online valuation tools of how much you want for your old motor, it’s likely that a dealership won’t match this to the pound. Any superficial damage the vehicle has and even the dealer’s experience shifting the same (or similar) model in the past can mean you get less than what you first imagined. But be sure to factor in any scratches, bumps and other wear and tear when calculating a trade-in price for your car.

Handling a part-ex deal doesn’t come without some preparation on your part in order to guarantee you hit the road in your new car happy.

While you’re essentially selling and buying from the same dealer, it’s important to remember to keep negotiations for the sale of your old car and purchase of your new one separate. Otherwise, it’s easy to be swayed by a price offered for your vehicle, only to find there’s a less attractive offer for the new one.


Privately selling your old car to another individual is another way of cashing in on a vehicle you no longer need.

Unlike when you part-exchange, this method gives you the funds for the car. It’s then up to you to decide whether you’ll the money towards getting another vehicle or save it for a rainy day.


Privately selling your car is arguably the best way to go about selling your car if you want the best price for it. As a private seller, you’re in control of valuating your car to what you think it’s worth. However, it’s advised that you be as honest as possible in your valuation. Maintaining a good relationship with a potential buyer is crucial to getting the price you want.

You’ll most likely be advertising your car through a website or newspaper advert. Lots of people use these resources while in the market for a car, so they can compare prices for the same cars.

This brings with it motivated buyers, actively searching for the exact model of vehicle you’re selling. So, if you do your homework and discover what other people selling the same car as you valuate it at, your chances of success are greater.


Advertising your car comes a price. Often this is dependant on the value of the car you’re selling. If your car is valuated under a certain price by a website, they can sometimes offer you their service for free. For example, AutoTrader offer free advertisement to anyone whose car is valued under £1,000.

What’s more is that you’ll have to spend a good amount of time ensuring your car is advertised as accurately as possible. Not only will this save face when it comes to people enquiring about buying your car, but you’ll be able to better justify your asking price when it comes to selling.

Remember: include a good range of pictures in daylight and descriptions of the car in your advert. The key is that it backs up what you say in the description used in the advertisement.

Should I part-exchange or sell my car?

It entirely depends on your situation and the car you’re looking to offload. If you want a quick turnaround without the hassle of having to attract buyers, arrange viewings and agree prices, then part-exchanging is probably the best option for you.

On the other hand, you may like the flexibility of being able to sell your car privately. You get to manage your own advert and can price up your motor (within reason) with a view to getting the best price possible. If this rings true with you, then selling your car is probably the way to go about it.

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Looking to sell your car quickly and for the right value? Our specialist partner Motorway finds you the best price for your old car within 24 hours from 3,000 verified dealers.

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