Should I trade my car in at a dealership or sell it myself?

The time has come for you to sell your car. Maybe you want to upgrade it, or perhaps you need a car that is going to accommodate your growing family, or you might even want a car that is much more suited to the summer months.

Regardless, you are going to get a new car.

However, before you get carried away with which car you are going to get next, you have to get rid of the car you have now.

So how are you going to dispose of your old car? Are you going to trade it in, or sell it yourself?

In this article, we look at the pros and cons of each and help you decide whether it is better to trade your car in or to sell it yourself.


What are the pros and cons of trading your car in at a dealership?

We’ll look at trading it in at a dealership first. There are many advantages to doing this, for example;

  • It’s easy
    • This is probably the biggest advantage of trading your car in at a dealership. It is the easiest way to dispose of your car.
    •  All you have to do is take the car to the dealer, they make an offer, you accept and then use that money to go towards your new car
  • You don’t have to worry about the paperwork
    • Selling your car yourself can get a bit complicated with paperwork and log books etc. You don’t have that with trading it in, the dealership does everything for you.
  • It’s quick
    • If you want to dispose of your current vehicle as quickly as possible, then trading it in at the dealership is your best bet.
  • You are guaranteed to get money for it
    • When you opt to sell privately, you run the risk of not selling your car. Or at least, you could be waiting for ages before someone buys it off you.
    • Regardless of what condition your car is in or how old it is, the dealership will pay for it.
    • Admittedly, you might not get a lot of money for it, but you will get rid of it and you will be paid for it.

So there are some of the advantages of trading it in at a dealership. It’s quick, easy and if your car isn’t in top condition then you’re guaranteed to get something for it.But there are disadvantages. For example;

  • You might not get as much money as you would if you sold it privately
    • This is the main disadvantage.
    • The dealership still needs to make money on the car, and therefore they won’t give you retail value for it and they won’t give you as much as you could make by selling it yourself.
  • The dealership might make up the difference by taking it out of the discount on your next car
    • This means that you’ll be losing out on that extra bit of discount should you trade it in


The main disadvantages really comes down to price. You won’t get as much if you go through a dealership than you would if you sold it privately. However, if you want something that is hassle-free and quick, then trading it in at a dealership is probably the right choice for you.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of selling my car privately?

[vc_column_inner width=”1/2″]There are many advantages to selling your car privately. For example;

  • You will get more money for it
    • You can set the price and you will most definitely get more money for your car if you sell it privately
  • There’s room for negotiation
    • You can always negotiate a price with a private buyer, and you can always say no if the price you are being offered is too low
  • You can reach a wide audience
    • There are lots of sites you can sell your car on now, and that means that you are more likely to get the price you want for your car. This is because it will reach a wide number of potential buyers
    • This also means that it probably won’t take as long to sell your car as it used to.


So those are the advantages. The main advantages are that you are more likely to get paid more for your vehicle. And, you can reach a much wider audience nowadays which means, the chances are, it won’t be as gruelling as people make it out to be. However, there are disadvantages. For example;

  • It does take longer
    • Okay, so it might not take as long as it once did, but it still takes a while. If you are happy to keep your car on your driveway for a bit longer then this isn’t necessarily a problem. Those that want it sold straight away, selling it privately probably isn’t the best option for you.
  • People are picky
    • People are really picky. And that means that you will get people dissecting your car, inspecting inside and out, kicking the tyres and maybe sharing some criticism. This means that if your car isn’t in tip top shape, you might struggle to get the price you want.
  • People also like to negotiate
    • Everyone likes to think of themselves as a bit of a business person, just look at the people you get on The Apprentice. This means that you are probably going to have to negotiate your price, and sometimes that does mean saying ‘no deal’ to someone who wants to knock too much off.
  • You have to fill out the paperwork
    • Once you have sold it privately, sorting out the paperwork and the V5C form with the DVLA is down to you.
    • Not a major issue, just a bit of a pain.


So those are the disadvantages to selling your car privately. If you are happy to keep your car on the drive a little longer in return for a higher price, then selling the car privately is perfect for you. However, if you don’t fancy spending your Saturdays watching a stranger kick your tyres and inspect that dent on the door, then you should probably look at trading it in.

What are the best places to sell my car online?


You can go to places such as webuyanycar or AutoTrader, but they might not give you the best deal. However, they are good for knowing how much roughly your car is worth. So, we always recommend looking at those sorts of websites before you start to sell privately.

Websites such as Gumtree and eBay are good if you want to sell your car privately. You can set the price and you can also get in contact with the people who want to look at the car quite easily. Also, don’t forget social media. The likes of Facebook Marketplace are good and they attract buyers from nearby.

Ultimately, if you want a hassle-free disposal and are willing to take a bit less home because of it, then trading it in is perfect for you. However, if you want more for your money and are happy to keep hold of your car for a little longer, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t sell it privately. It’s really down to what you prefer and what your situation is.

Fed up with looking for your next vehicle?

Need advice from an experienced Vehicle Specialist on what vehicle is right for you?

Book your FREE consultation now