By Alexi Falson, 02 Dec, 2021
How to find out the trade-in value of your car
March 10, 2021
So it’s time to get rid of your trusty old car and buy a shiny new one. To help with the cost, you might be considering selling your car.
While that new car will likely have a big price tag on it, used cars notoriously depreciate in value very fast. After owning a car for several years it might have halved in price, or maybe even more.
But while it’s easy to assume your used car isn’t worth very much, you’d be surprised how much it might actually fetch you. This is why you should find out the trade-in value of your car before you buy.
What is the trade-in value of a car?
The trade-in value is the price you get for selling a car, either from a private seller or a dealer. It can be very hard to figure out an exact value, as every car is different, so simple research online can only give you a rough estimate.
When selling to a dealer, they can either give you the money outright or can deduct it from the sale cost of a new purchase, known as the changeover price. For example, if you’re buying a car valued at $25,000, and your car is valued at $8,000 by the dealer (and you agree to the price), then the changeover price would be $17,000 for the new car.
There are lots of different places you can go to value your car:
You can go to a dealership
You can value it yourself based on your research
You can get an independent valuer to come look at the car for a fee
Or you can use a trade-in quote calculator (more on this later)
Just know that if you go straight to a dealer or private seller, they’re likely to try and undervalue the car so they can re-sell it for a profit or get a good deal for it. This is why you need to know what can affect a car’s trade-in value.
What can affect a car’s trade-in value?
The following factors are the main contributors to a car’s sale price.
The age of the car
Although the mileage on the car is usually more important, age tends to decrease value pretty quickly. As a general rule the older the car the cheaper it’ll be, but there are ways you can minimise this effect.
The popularity of the car/brand
A big factor that increases trade-in value is the type of car it is and the brand it’s from. Cars belonging to the most popular manufacturers here (Toyota, Ford, Mazda, Hyundai etc.) tend to retain value better than more obscure brands. A 10-year old Mazda 3 will probably be worth more when selling than a less popular brand (like a Skoda or Fiat) if they were originally bought for the same price.
The size and shape of the car
This can also make a difference depending on the area: utes are more likely to retain value in rural areas than small cars, for example, while compact cars and SUVs for families will likely hold their value more than bigger utes and sports cars in suburban areas.
If selling to a dealer, they will also consider how to get it in and out of the lot, which can make a minor difference sometimes.
What the car has been used for
A car mostly used to drive on well-maintained suburban roads will probably fetch a higher price than a similar car that was used for off-road driving or making lots of long journeys. Plus, a car with higher than average kilometres for its age is also likely to decline in value more.
Any damage to the car
It probably goes without saying, but a car that’s been smashed to pieces by hail or has a crumpled rear-end is not going to sell for as much as a car with minimal scratches and no visible damage. Getting a fresh paint job and a wash, and even smoothing out any bumps can be very worth it in the end.
If any parts are missing (like the outside of mirrors) then getting these replaced will also leave a better impression on the buyer.
Maintenance and cleanliness
The average commuter spends more than one hour a day in the car, so the inside also matters: A car with rubbish everywhere and marks on the seats will be unappealing. Get it thoroughly vacuumed and polished on the inside before you sell, and maybe get it smelling nice too.
You should also endeavour to regularly maintain the car and get it serviced on time. A record of regular servicing is known to have a positive effect on sale prices, as it indicates the car is less likely to need a major repair any time soon.
Accessories don’t get you extra money
Even though they can add to the initial sale price for you, accessories like tinted windows, extended warranties and towbars don’t actually guarantee more when you sell. On the contrary, it can actually lose you money, as not everyone wants the same things.
Safety features and modern technology like Bluetooth connections are more likely to up the value.
Calculate your car’s trade-in price with OnlineAuto
As a car-buying service, OnlineAuto has data and information on countless different cars. That’s why our trade-in quote generator can give you a solid estimate of what your car could be worth, giving you a solid starting point before heading to the dealership. Not only can OnlineAuto value your car, but we can then arrange for a specialist to come inspect it to get a more accurate price, and we can even collect it for you and handle the transfer of ownership.
Just enter the following information using our calculator:
The make and model of the car
The car’s series
The year it was made
The number of kilometres the car has driven
The transmission (manual or automatic)
The body type (hatchback, sedan etc.)
And the fuel type (Unleaded, diesel etc.)
You might find out your car is worth much more than you thought, saving you thousands off the next one. And to help you buy that new car, OnlineAuto’s car-buying service takes all of the stress out of buying a new car and can find the right one for your needs.
Need help narrowing down your choices?
Get in touch with one of our Car Buying Specialists todayRequest a quote