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How to Get Rid of Your Old Car: Do’s and Don’ts

If you’re looking to buy a new car in the near future, it’s worth thinking about how best to get rid of your old one. Historically, you could either sell it, part-exchange it or take it to the scrapyard, but nowadays there are a few more options at your disposal when it comes to saying goodbye to your car.

You might not have spared much thought for how you plan to get rid of your car, but it’s a decision that’s worth the legwork. From part-exchanging to selling it on privately, every avenue has its pros and cons, and the easiest option isn’t always the most lucrative.

In this guide, we’ll be looking at the various options you have when it comes to getting rid of your car, weighing up the pros and cons to help you get the best deal.

Quick Links 

•      Part-Exchanging

•      Selling Privately

•      Using a Car-Buying Service

•      Taking it to the Scrapyard

•      Government Scrappage Schemes

•      Manufacturer Scrappage Schemes

Part-Exchanging

Part-exchanging is the simplest way to get rid of your old car. This is when you give your car to the dealership where you’re buying a new one.

Most car dealers offer part-exchange because they know it’s taking a lot of hassle out of the hands of the customer, making them more likely to buy. Your dealer will give you a valuation based on the make, model, age, mileage and condition of your current car, and deduct this value from the price of the new purchase.

When you drive to collect your new car, you’ll drop off the keys to your old one – a straight swap, with very little fuss. That’s why part-exchanging is so popular, but there are a couple of things you need to be aware of.

Firstly, part-exchange rates aren’t always the most competitive. Dealers understand that they’re doing you a favour by taking your car off your hands, so this is often reflected in the figure they quote.

Secondly, dealers know exactly what to look for when valuing your old car, and will take everything into account before giving you a figure. If you were to sell your car privately or use a car-buying service, small imperfections or gaps in the logbook are more likely to be looked over.

buying a car

Selling Privately

Selling your car privately, either in classified ads or through a web service like Autotrader, can be a profitable way to gain funds which you can put towards your next car. But there’s an art to selling a car on the private market, and several ways you can get it wrong.

Here are some of the do’s and don’ts of selling your car privately.

Do’s

•      Do be as honest as you can in the listing, so that buyers know what they’re getting before they come to view. You’ll be wasting your time and theirs if you neglect to mention something which could put off potential buyers.

•      Do set a guide price that you’re happy with, and that’s slightly above what your car is valued at. That way, if you get an inexperienced buyer, you could stand to make a profit.

•      Do be patient. You may get tyre-kickers and timewasters, but don’t jump the gun and accept an offer you’re not happy with for convenience’s sake. Selling a car privately can be a long game – make sure you play it.

•      Do get a full valuation before you launch your classified ad, so that there are no nasty surprises waiting for you down the line.

•      Do get all the paperwork in order, including the logbook and V5C.

Don’ts

•      Don’t rush to accept a sale you’re not happy with.

•      Don’t lie about the details of your car; be as transparent as you can.

•      Don’t get cold feet and abandon the sale – your perfect buyer is out there!

buying a car

Using a Car-Buying Service

In recent years, car-buying services have emerged, promising the best price for your old car – but are they too good to be true?

On paper, selling your car through a site like Webuyanycar.com sounds great. You get cash for your old car, as well as an easy, no quibble service. But there is a catch that you need to be aware of: you might not get the same amount for your car as quoted on online valuation calculators.

The premise of a lot of car-buying services is this: you input your reg number and they’ll tell you how much cash you’ll get when you sell it. This is all well and good, but things can unravel when you actually take your car to the buying service, where they’ll find small faults, imperfections and gaps in the service history which shave pounds and pence off the quoted price.

In some circumstances, you’ll receive a great price online and then arrive at the car-buying service only to have that price slashed significantly. A little scratch or scuff could see the valuation plummet unfairly. The theory is – if you’ve committed time to driving over to the service, you’ll accept any price. But, be strong – if you don’t like the price, head over to your dealership for a new valuation.

If you choose to go down the avenue of selling your car to a car-buying service, don’t rely on the online valuation tool. Instead, wait until you get to the dealership itself so you know the real price you can expect for your motor. In many cases, car-buying services are only really helpful for getting a ball-park figure for your car as you first consider selling it. 

Taking it to the Scrapyard

If you currently drive an older car that might not fetch much either part-exchanged or sold privately, scrapping it can be a good option. Often, the price you get for the scrap metal can be higher than the price offered by a private buyer, so you can still make a cut even if your car is well on its last legs.

scrapped cars

You may feel sad driving your faithful old car to the scrapheap, but you’ll be smiling when you leave with cold, hard cash that you can put towards a new model. It’s a quick, easy way to get rid of your old car – just make sure you explore a few other options first, as you aren’t guaranteed much.

We’d recommend advertising your car for private sale for at least a couple of months before you decide to scrap it. Even if it’s old or has a few faults, you never know who may be interested in buying it, and you’re almost certain to make more selling it than you would scrapping it.

Government Scrappage Schemes

If you’re in no rush to buy a new car, it may be worth waiting for a government scrappage scheme. This is when dealerships give you money for your old car, often with no strings attached – under a government initiative.

Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it all comes down to how scrappage schemes work. When the government wants to get older cars off the road, it offers grants to manufacturers if they can encourage people to trade their old car in for a new one – so it’s a win-win for the environment and your wallet.

You’ll get more for your car depending on how old and how economical it is. For instance, a 2004 diesel will fetch more than a 2009 petrol, simply because diesels are dirtier, and the government is keen to get as many off the road as possible.

However, the bad news is that government scrappage schemes are only available intermittently. There is no publicly-available schedule for launching new government scrappage schemes – so you could be waiting for ages until there’s one that is applicable to your car.

So, if you can hold on a while longer, it may be worth keeping your ear to the ground and waiting for the next scrappage scheme. It’s a great way to get extract more from your old car, and you’ll be doing the environment a favour, too.

Manufacturer Scrappage Schemes

Alongside government scrappage schemes, manufacturers often run their own schemes to incentivise new buyers. They run a lot like the government schemes, offering money off new models when you trade in your old vehicle.

The money incentives will change from manufacturer to manufacturer and are dependent upon the age and model of the car traded-in. However, it must be noted that not all cars are eligible to be traded in as part of the scrappage scheme – so, it’s best checking your reg before picking out your new car’s alloys and trim.

At the time of writing (July 2020), there are a number of manufacturers offering scrappage schemes, including Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, MG and Nissan. All the schemes are for a set term, however manufacturers regularly launch new schemes to incentivise more buyers – so, it’s always worth checking to see if the model you’re looking for is part of a new scheme.

The amount you can save depends upon the car you’re looking to part with and also the car you’re looking to buy. For example, Nissan’s current scheme offers up to £1,800 off a new Juke and up to £6,300 off a new Qashqai – depending on the model you choose and the model you have to offer.

This means it’s always worth checking with your dealer if there are any manufacturer scrappage schemes ongoing or on the horizon.

Looking for more from Brindley Garages? Click here to check out more news from the motoring world, or if you’re in the market for a new car, see how we can help at our homepage.

Added: 15 October 2020

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