4 factors that will influence your car’s trade-in value

How to get the best trade-in value for your vehicle

Trade-in value
vehicle trade-in
car trade-in

Before you take your car to be traded in, it is a good idea to find out its current book value, so that you have an idea of what it’s worth. Remember that this will only be an approximate value and the final price offered will be dependent on various criteria.


4 factors that will influence your car’s trade-in value:


1. Your current vehicle choices

While the make, model and popularity of a car influences its resale value, the features and options you chose on your current car when you initially bought it also have a considerable impact on its trade-in value.

Enhanced safety and comfort options like automatic transmission, power windows, power locks, anti-lock brakes, cruise control, remote start, leather interior, entertainment, navigation systems and anti-smash and grab, help amplify your car’s resale value.


Tip: White cars have the highest resale value and lowest insurance premiums due to their visibility on the road.


2. Mileage and mechanical upkeep

Mileage does matter – the lower your mileage, the higher your car’s value will be.

If your vehicle has racked up more than 150 000 kilometres, the expectation is that there is a possibility that mechanical issues are likely to begin. Having a full-service history will assist in increasing the resale value.  

Make sure you can provide your car’s logbook showing all maintenance records. It is also a good idea to keep all service and maintenance receipts. If there is any time remaining on your service plan, maintenance plan or warranty, this will also add to the value of your vehicle.


3. Interior condition

Food spills, smoking and pets all affect the wear and tear and smell of the interior of your car.

It is recommended that you give your car a deep clean before selling, try to get rid of any stains, pet hair, or the smell of stale smoke. A clean and well looked after car will attract a higher resale value.


Read 'Car Hack: Remove pet hair from your car easily' here.


4. Exterior condition

A ding or dent can influence an appraiser grading your vehicle as being in either “Excellent”, “Good”, “Fair”, or “Poor” condition. Just one or two small dents, dings, paint scratches or chips can be the difference between “Excellent” and “Good” (or “Fair” and “Poor”).

Depending on the severity of any damage you would need to consider whether you get repairs done or take the knock in value.


As a general rule of thumb, it works out cheaper to let your dealer recondition the car after trading it in, what you lose on the trade-in value will be minimal in comparison to trying to recondition the car yourself before you trade it in. If there is any major accident damage, however, it is best to get the damage repaired by a reputable panel beater before you sell your car. Signs of a major accident will decrease the value of your vehicle.


Tip: Remember to take the spare key with, and any other items that came with the car, when handing over your vehicle. Also provide any pin numbers for audio systems and info relating to immobilisers and alarm systems.


What paperwork do I need?


  • Proof of ownership - If your car is paid off, get the proof of ownership documentation and a letter stating that the vehicle has no outstanding finance on it from your bank
  • Outstanding finance - Request a settlement letter from the financial institution where the vehicle is financed and tell them that you are planning to sell the car
  • Roadworthiness certificate - This certificate is only valid for 21 days and can be obtained at a vehicle testing station
  • NCO (yellow) form - A Notification of Change of Ownership form should be submitted to the Department of Transport to notify them that the vehicle will have a new owner
  • Receipts and service history - Take your original manufacturer service book along to the dealership, plus any receipts you have for maintenance or repairs on the vehicle.