So, you’ve found your next car. You’ve decided to buy, and you want to sell your existing vehicle to free up the cash for it. You can sell your existing car privately, or, much easier, trade it in.

If you’re buying from a car dealership, a car trade-in is a situation where the dealers offer you an amount to take your existing car off your hands. You then deduct that amount from the price of the car you want. Whether you’re buying new or pre-owned, it’s simple and quick, and we have a few ways for you to make sure you get the best deal.


Get a price

To know your car’s competitive value, you need to have details of its service, accidental and/or mechanical repairs history. We’d recommend dropping a few hundred bucks on an independent evaluation. You can have one done at a centre like Dekra test centre.

At the dealership, your car will be examined for surface issues. These cosmetic concerns could include dents and scratches, and will reduce the value of the car (because it costs extra to repair them).

Then, the dealer will offer you an amount. This will include the cosmetic costs, and should reference the vehicle’s M&M (Mead & McGrouther) book value. Mead & McGrouther publishes information on passenger and truck specifications. The final offer will include the dealer’s own considerations like how popular your car’s model is with their buyers, and whether or not they are already trying to sell one like yours.


Get around

While a trade-in can be fast and easy, it’s important to get other quotes. This may mean more research time going to two or three other dealers with the same new car you want, but the extra effort could land you a better deal, and with a better dealership. You can also get a price for your car online. And further, “There are a number of South African car buying service websites that – based on the model, mileage, age and condition of your vehicle – will be able to give you a reasonably accurate estimate of its value,” MD of, Michael Muller, tells IOL.



  1. A car dealership has insight that don’t factor into a private sale, so their offers will be inherently lower than one you might get in a private sale, or the price you might pay to buy the same car at the same dealership!
  2. In the free market, “a used car is only worth what someone wants to pay for it”, as Pritesh Ruthun points out in IOL Motoring. Don’t be shy to shop around and negotiate!


When it’s not ideal

Ease is one thing, choice is another. We’d suggest you find the car you want first, then find a dealer that stocks it and offers trade-ins for the kind of car you have. If you do it the other way around by picking a dealer or dealership first, your choice of new car is restricted to the options (and the prices!) of what’s on the floor and their books as well as how much they may (not) value your existing vehicle.

Had a great experience with a trade-in? Help others do it better by sharing your car trade-in tips and tricks on our Facebook page.

While you are shopping around for a new ride, don’t forget to request a quote to have it insured with the #1 insurance provider in South Africa*. Luckily, has a range of affordable cover options you can pick and choose from to suit your needs.

*as on, 1 January 2020.