Young lady successfully negotiating vehicle trade-in

How to get the best car trade-in deal

Everything you need to know to get the best possible price when trading in your car.

You’ve found the perfect new car and you’re ready to buy, but before you can get behind the wheel, there’s just one obstacle you need to overcome: negotiating the best trade-in price for your current car.

Unfortunately, car dealers will never offer you a premium price when you trade in a vehicle, and they’ve got plenty of sales and negotiating tricks up their sleeve to help sway the deal in their favour. Luckily, there’s plenty you can do to ensure that you get the best possible car trade-in deal.

Trading in vs selling privately

When you’re buying a new car and you need to get rid of your current vehicle, there are two main options available: trade the car in or sell it privately. Trading it in is a quick and convenient option and can allow you to negotiate a better sale price on your new car. Instead of going through the hassle of trying to find a buyer, you can take care of selling one car and buying another all in the one transaction.

However, you will need to accept the fact that trading it in won’t get you the best price. Generally speaking, you’ll secure a better price if you sell your car privately, giving you more buying power when searching for your next set of wheels.

On the downside, selling privately can be a lot of hard work. From taking care of maintenance issues and getting the necessary roadworthy certificates to the often-painful chore of dealing with potential buyers, private sales can be time-consuming and stressful, and sometimes it’s just not worth the effort.

Which option is right for you?

  • Consider selling privately if your car is new or highly sought-after. This should help you get a fair price.
  • Consider trading in if your car is a common model, needs some repair/maintenance work done or has a lot of kilometres on the clock. This will help you avoid the additional cost of preparing the vehicle for sale privately as well as the time and effort of actually finding a buyer.

Getting the best trade-in price

If you decide to trade in your vehicle, there’s plenty you can do to ensure that you get the best possible price from your chosen dealer. In fact, you can start taking steps to maximise your trade-in deal long before you even think about upgrading to a new car.

How to get the best car trade-in deal: Before you think about selling

The simplest way to maximise your car’s resale value is to take good care of it.

  • Get it serviced regularly. Book your car in for regular servicing at the manufacturer’s recommended service intervals. Make sure you record each service in the car’s logbook so you can provide it to the next buyer as proof the car has been well maintained.
  • Stay on top of repair and maintenance issues. If there’s a funny noise in the engine, get it seen to by a licensed mechanic. If you’re involved in a bingle, get the car repaired by a licensed and reputable smash repairer. Ensure that you regularly clean the car inside and out, so it will still be in the best possible shape when it comes time to sell.
  • Drive it like you own it. If you look after your car when you own it, you’ll increase your chances of getting a better trade-in price. So don’t thrash your vehicle to within an inch of its life and then expect a premium price from the dealer; treat it right and you’ll reap the benefits in the future.

Preparing your car for trade in

man washing his carSome new car buyers rock up at the dealership without giving any thought to how their current vehicle looks. So if it’s scratched and dinged, been parked under a tree that is hosting a flock of pigeons and hasn’t been washed in months, it’s hardly going to look like an attractive trade-in prospect to the dealer.

With this in mind, it’s important to get your car into the best possible shape before stepping up to the negotiating table.

  • Wash your car. First impressions count, so give your car a thorough wash to make sure it’s gleaming from every angle. A quick run through the automatic car wash at your local servo often isn’t enough, so you will need to give it a good scrub yourself.
  • Clean the interior. It’s also essential to give the inside of your vehicle a thorough clean. Give all surfaces a wipe down to eradicate any stains, and remove all rubbish and personal items from the car.

Negotiating with the dealer

This is the part where most people trip up. While you’re keen to get behind the wheel of your new car as soon as possible, the dealer sitting across from you is a professional negotiator who needs to do whatever he can to get the best possible deal for himself. Keep the following tips in mind to ensure that you get the best trade-in deal:

  • Do your research. How can you know if you’re getting a good deal if you don’t know what a fair price is for your car? The knowledge of how much your car is worth will give you power at the negotiating table, so try to find out how much you can expect to receive when you trade in. Automotive data services like RedBook and Glass’s Guide can, for a fee of about $20, provide you with an online valuation of your vehicle, including private, dealer and trade-in values. You can also look at private sale prices for your make and model, remembering that trade-in values will usually be lower than private sale values.
  • Know the tactics. Dealers are experts when it comes to buying and selling cars, so familiarise yourself with some of the more common negotiating tactics they may use. For example, don’t be surprised if the dealer claims your car won’t be easy to sell, or that they’re doing you a favour by taking it off your hands – these are tactics designed simply to maximise their profit on the transaction.
  • Use your own negotiating skills. Instead of laying all your cards on the table straight away, you might want to negotiate on the sale price of the new car separately to the trade-in price. Once you’ve reached a reasonable purchase price for the new vehicle, tell the dealer that you’d also like to trade in your current car and that the right price will seal the deal.
  • Shop around. Don’t be afraid to shop around for a better trade-in deal. You might be surprised just how much more you can get from a different dealer, so look elsewhere if you’re not happy with the price offered.
  • Focus on the changeover price. One final, all-important tip to remember is that the trade-in price you got for your vehicle does not determine whether you got a good deal. You need to look at the changeover price for your new car – that is, the purchase price of your new car minus the trade-in price of your current car. While one dealer may offer the best trade-in price, if their price for a new car is more expensive then they may not offer the best deal overall.

Ready to trade-in but need finance? Here are some products you can compare today

Rates last updated November 16th, 2018
$
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comparison Rate (p.a.) Min Loan Amount Loan Term Monthly Service Fee Application Fee Product Description Monthly Repayment
Latitude New and Used Car Loan
From 6.99% (fixed)
8.1%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$10
$295
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 14.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Apply for a loan from $5,000 to finance a new or used car. Flexible repayments and options to finance a classic car.
Loans.com.au - New Car Loan
5.44% (fixed)
5.99%
$5,000
3 to 5 years
$0
$400
You'll receive a fixed rate of 5.44% p.a.
Finance a new car and benefit from features such as fast approval, no ongoing fees and an optional balloon payment.
Stratton Finance New Car Loan
From 5.14% (fixed)
5.8%
$18,000
1 to 7 years
$8.90
$457 (for private seller vehicles this fee is $608)
You'll receive a fixed or variable rate depending on the lender you are approved with
Apply for up to $100,000 and use cash or trade in a vehicle to use as a deposit. Optional balloon payment available.
Beyond Bank Low Rate Car Loan
From 5.69% (fixed)
5.97%
$25,000
1 to 7 years
$0
$175
You'll receive a fixed rate of 5.69% p.a.
Take advantage of a competitive rate, pre-approval and no early repayment fees when you finance a car under two years old.
IMB New Car Loan
5.89% (fixed)
6.24%
$2,000
1 to 7 years
$0
$250
You'll receive a fixed rate of 5.89% p.a.
A low minimum borrowing amount of $2,000 that you can use to purchase a new car or one up to two years old.
St.George Secured Personal Loan - Fixed Rate
From 8.49% (fixed)
9.6%
$3,000
1 to 5 years
$12
$195
You'll receive a fixed rate from 8.49% p.a. based on the value of your car
Get a competitive rate and apply for a larger loan up to $80,000 when you attach a new or used car as security to the loan.
Australian Military Bank Car Loan
From 5.71% (fixed)
6.57%
$1,000
1 to 7 years
$10
from $100 to $500
You'll receive a fixed rate between 5.71% p.a. and 8.66% p.a. based on your personal credit history
A flexible loan to help you finance a car, motorbike or boat up to five years old.
Westpac Car Loan
From 8.49% (fixed)
9.67%
$10,000
1 to 7 years
$12
$250
You'll receive a fixed rate of 8.49% p.a.
Finance a new or used car and benefit from convenient features for car buyers including a car search tool and the option to borrow extra for on-road costs.
RACV New Car Loans
From 5.99% (fixed)
6.55%
$15,000
1 to 7 years
$0
$399
You'll receive a fixed rate of 5.99% p.a.
A larger loan of $15,000 or more to help you buy a new or used car. 5-hour pre approval available and no ongoing fees.
Latitude Car Loan
From 6.99% (fixed)
8.1%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$10
$295
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 14.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Finance a new or used car up with loans from $5,000 and benefit from flexible repayments.
IMB Secured Personal Loan
6.89% (fixed)
7.24%
$2,000
1 to 5 years
$0
$250
You'll receive a fixed rate of 6.89% p.a.
Benefit from this competitive rate by securing the loan with a vehicle up to 6 years old. Use this flexible loan for any purpose.
MyState Bank Secured Personal Loan
From 7.99% (variable)
8.96%
$10,000
1 to 10 years
$10
$200
You'll receive a variable rate of 7.99% p.a.
A secured loan up to $75,000 that you can have up to years to repay. Early repayments and redraw facility available.

Compare up to 4 providers

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Car Loan Offers

Important Information*
Latitude New and Used Car Loan

You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 14.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Apply for a loan from $5,000 to finance a new or used car. Flexible repayments and options to finance a classic car.

Loans.com.au - New Car Loan

You'll receive a fixed rate of 5.44% p.a.
Finance a new car and benefit from features such as fast approval, no ongoing fees and an optional balloon payment.

Stratton Finance New Car Loan

You'll receive a fixed or variable rate depending on the lender you are approved with
Apply for up to $100,000 and use cash or trade in a vehicle to use as a deposit. Optional balloon payment available.

Beyond Bank Low Rate Car Loan "Special Offer"

You'll receive a fixed rate of 5.69% p.a.
Take advantage of a competitive rate, pre-approval and no early repayment fees when you finance a car under two years old.

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