Cash vs part-exchange

Buying a new car will probably be one of biggest purchases you make during your lifetime - possibly behind your family home and your childrens' university fees.  

When looking to buy your next new car, it is important to get as much capital from your current one as possible when you want to get rid.

Choosing to sell your car yourself or making a part-exchange deal at your local dealership is a decision many of us are faced with at some point and there are pros and cons to both options. In this article we will explore the various scenarios where a cash purchase or part exchange may work best plus advice on how to value your car.


In most cases selling your car through part-exchange is less hassle. The dealer will take your used car off you for a set price and that amount will come off the bill for your new one – simple. All you need to do is sign some paperwork and hand over the keys. There is no worry of the buyer coming back if something goes wrong and there is no delay in buying your new car because you’re not waiting for a buyer.

It is arguable that a part-exchange through a dealership also gives you leverage, as the dealers want to sell you a new car so will have to give you a decent deal on your old car to make the sale. However, you are more likely to receive a lower price for your old car than you would if it was sold privately.

Selling Privately

If you opt to sell your old car yourself, then you need to be prepared that it may take longer than going into a dealership for a part-exchange. It is however more likely that you will make more money on the car because you will be setting the for-sale price yourself instead of being told what a dealer will pay for it.

There are a number of platforms available to sell your car, from websites and newspapers to online auctions or even just pinning up an ad in your local café. All have varying levels of success and traction with people, but online is one of the more popular choices and tends to attract the most prospective buyers.  

You should be aware that you need to ensure that you have the time to arrange advertising and viewings with possible buyers.

From the dealers' perspective

The majority of dealers would probably prefer you didn’t go in with cash to haggle for a discount on your next new car. Most franchised dealers are aiming to steer away from discounting too heavily and instead relying on low-rate finance options and manufacturer-backed incentives to help bring in customers.

But this argument totally depends on the quality of the part-exchange. If it’s a rust bucket and nothing can be done with it, the dealer might prefer the cash option due to the hassle of having to dispose of it.

So which option is best?

There is no right or wrong option, it all comes down to whether or not you have the time to sell the car yourself.  If the answer is yes, you are more likely to get a better deal, if no, then part-exchange would be a better option for you.

It is a good idea to get a general feel of how much your car is worth beforehand and what price you should expect from franchise dealers, part-exchange, independents and private buyers.

And that’s where we come in.