How to find out the trade-in value of your car

By Alexi Falson
Updated on 15 Nov 2022 First published 08 Mar 2021
image for How to find out the trade-in value of your car If you’re thinking about upgrading to a brand new car, you’re no doubt wondering how to find out an accurate trade-in value for your current car. 

Trading in your current vehicle is a no-brainer when it comes to financing your next vehicle, but it’s important to get a clear picture of how much your current vehicle is worth before taking the next step. 

That way you’ll know exactly what a fair price is for your vehicle when you’re in the process of trading in and upgrading to your new car. Let’s unpack what influences the trade-in value of your vehicle, and how you can find out the exact trade-in value of your current car. 

What is the Trade-in Value of a Car? 

A vehicle’s trade-in value is the price you can expect to be paid for selling your vehicle to a dealership. 

Trade-in values are determined by a huge number of factors that change between every vehicle, even if they’re seemingly identical; that’s why it can be difficult to know exactly how much your vehicle is worth. 

What Impacts the Trade-in Value of Your Car? 

There are a number of things that impact the potential trade-in value of your vehicle - these include:  

The Age of the Vehicle

It’s common sense that the newer a vehicle, the higher its trade-in value because depreciation is yet to take its full toll on the price over a number of years.

Kilometres Driven

On a very similar note, the market’s perceived value of your vehicle is going to be substantially higher than an identical vehicle if it has fewer kilometres on the odometer. 

Reputation/Popularity of the Manufacturer 

Another lesser-known factor that influences the trade-in value of a vehicle is the reputation and popularity of the manufacturer that produced it. While popularity is a more subjective factor that drives prices on vehicles, the reputation of the manufacturer - especially when it comes to reliability, costly maintenance or common issues - has a huge impact on trade-in values. 

The Size & Shape of the Model 

The size and type of vehicle you’re trading in have an impact on price, with cars like SUVs retaining their value exceptionally well in regional areas, while compact vehicles and SUVs are strong performers in suburban areas. 

For a real-world example of this in practice, consider that the trade-in value of an SUV would be higher than a comparative wagon, sedan or hatchback (even from the same manufacturer)  simply because of how in-demand the SUV body shape is with Australian buyers. 

What the Vehicle has Been Used For

The market will assign your vehicle a higher value if it has been used as a commuter on smooth, public roads than an identical vehicle that has been put through its paces as a work vehicle. 

Vehicles used primarily for work purposes often have significantly more kilometres on the clock, while the condition of the paint or interior can also prove worse than a private seller, which has an impact on trade-in prices. 

Any Damage to the Vehicle 

It’s common sense that any damage to the vehicle is going to impact its potential resale or trade-in price, with vehicles that have a great paint finish from being garaged frequently providing the best trade-in prices. 

Any Mechanical Faults 

The same applies to any mechanical faults that the vehicle is reporting at the time of the trade-in, no matter how small they are. A vehicle returning signs of mechanical faults will prove a major red flag for the dealership or the private buyer. 

Proof of Mechanical Faults Being Addressed

Engines are complex pieces of machinery and engineering, and it’s normal for things to go wrong. If you can provide evidence that an issue has been fixed, you can get a better potential trade-in price.  

Maintenance History

The same applies to the vehicle’s maintenance history, meaning that if you can provide evidence of completing a major service at 100-200,000km, you can actually increase the potential trade-in value. 

Condition of Paint & Interior 

Finally, the condition of the exterior paint and interior cabin can make a big difference when it comes time to trade in your vehicle, take the time to get your vehicle washed and detailed before approaching a dealership or having an inspection with a private buyer. 

How to Find Out the Trade-in Value of Your Car

One of the easiest ways to get an accurate trade-in price that is unique to your exact vehicle is to use OnlineAuto’s trade-in quote generator.

To get started with the OnlineAuto trade-in price generator simply enter the following information: 

  • The make & model of your vehicle 
  • The vehicle series & year produced 
  • Your state 
  • Kilometres driven 
  • Transmission type (automatic or manual) 
  • Body type (hatchback, SUV, sedan, ute etc.) 
  • Fuel type (unleaded petrol, diesel etc.) 

Our trade-in quote generator has been designed to give you a solid estimate of what your car is worth, and is a great resource before getting started on your car buying journey.  

Better still, we can even arrange for one of our car specialists to inspect the vehicle for the most accurate pricing possible, and if you’re happy with the price, we’ll organise the collection and transfer of ownership for the most simple trade-in you’ll ever experience. 

Request a Quote

If you’re looking to upgrade from your current car, click here to talk with one of our car-buying experts who can help out with everything from trading in your current car, finding your dream car and organising everything in between. 


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.

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