How Can I Get The Best Price When Trading-in My Car?

By Alexi Falson
Updated on 08 Nov 2022 First published 12 Mar 2021
image for How Can I Get The Best Price When Trading-in My Car? It’s a well-known fact that the back-and-forth while trading in a car can be a stressful experience.

Finding a new car is usually the easiest part of the equation, where things get tricky is when you’re looking to hand off your current vehicle for the best possible price.

Trading in your current car is the most convenient means of upgrading your vehicle, and means you’re not left without a set of wheels in the process. If you’re not prepared, though, the convenience can come at a steep cost.

If you’re thinking about trading in your current car to finance the purchase of a new car, we know things can seem complicated, but with our help, you’ll have all the information you need.

What Determines the Price of a Vehicle Trade-in?

Let’s talk about the main things that impact the value of the vehicle you’re thinking of trading in.

  • Make, model & year of the vehicle

  • Kilometres driven

  • Service history

  • Maintenance record

  • Condition of the paint

  • Condition of the interior

  • Common issues for that make & model

How to Get the Best Trade-in Deal for Your Car

Now that we’ve covered just what impacts the value of the vehicle you’re trading in, let’s take a look at how you can maximise your vehicle’s resale or trade-in value.


The name of the game here is taking the time to do your research, so you’re fully informed on the current market price for your vehicle. This means you’re in a better negotiating position when talking about the trade-in value with dealerships, and lessens your chance of being taken advantage of.

Think Straight

Don’t be fooled into taking less money than you know the vehicle is worth, simply because the dealership talks about the time and stress saved when trading in the vehicle with them.

They’re not doing you a favour by taking the car off your hands, often, they’re looking for an opportunity to buy the vehicle from you at the best price, and will look to cash in on the laziness of some owners.

Never Feel Pressured

We know that when you’re face-to-face with someone at a dealership, it can be easy to be overwhelmed and make some irrational decisions on the spot.

That’s why it’s important to take your time in this part of the process, and be open with the person you’re talking with about the price you have in mind. Remember that you’re under no obligation to sign the dotted line on your first visit to the dealership, and a cool head can help get you a better price on your trade in.

Consider the Changeover Price

The changeover price is the amount of money you’ll be spending on your new car, including registration, stamp duty and insurance costs, minus the trade-in price of your old car.

It’s no use getting ripped off on the new car price if you got a ‘great deal’ on your old vehicle, so take your time and be level-headed about the timing, with the changeover price in mind.

Sharpen Your Negotiating Skills

Negotiation is perhaps the most important part of this process, so don’t shy away when it comes to being firm about getting the market price of your vehicle when trading in.

Dealers often have more room to move on the new car price than what they offer for your used car, so keep this in mind when you’re negotiating.

What’s the Best Time to Trade-in Your Car?

Another thing that can impact the price of trading in a vehicle or buying a replacement is the time of the year that you’re selling and/or buying.


Depreciation can wipe as much as one-third of a vehicle’s value in the first three years, so keep this in mind if you’re planning on upgrading to help trade in the vehicle before it depreciates even more.

Seasons can also impact the perceived value of things like sports cars and convertibles, with fewer buyers looking in the cooler months of the year, so waiting until things warm up could help find you more interested buyers.


One of the easiest ways to get the best price on a new vehicle is to take advantage of end-of-year, end-of-financial-year, and plate clearances.

At certain points of the year, dealerships are looking to clear out space on the floor to make way for new stock, and they price their vehicles competitively to help move a model from last year.

You can also lean on the savings on offer when using a car-buying service like OnlineAuto, which can leverage its fleet-buying power to help you find the best possible deal on your dream car.

Consider a Car Buying Service like OnlineAuto

If all of this seems like too much time, effort and stress, you’ll be glad to know that car-buying services can help make the process of trading in your car to upgrade to a new one quick and simple, all while giving you a fair price for your vehicle.

OnlineAuto is more than just a car buying service, we can also help facilitate trade-ins.

One of our specialists will come and inspect your vehicle and provide you with a quick valuation, taking all of the factors we’ve just talked about into consideration.

From there, we can help find you a great deal on your dream car thanks to our fleet-buying power, which gives us some added leverage while negotiating the best price for you. Finally, we can help organise a test drive, compare the most competitive finance options, and even compare insurance policies for you.

Learn more about trading in your vehicle with the help of OnlineAuto.


Alexi Falson

Alexi is an automotive journalist and road tester hailing from Byron Bay. He has an affection for both cars and motorbikes, a great admiration for the simplicity of old-school engineering, and a fascination of new technology making its way to modern cars. When he's not road testing, you'll find him surfing, hiking or helping people find their dream cars.

Have any questions? Call us on 1300 719 925

car icon
close sticky hub button


Maximum of 3 vehicles