When is the right time to trade in your car?

The best time to trade in your car explained, and tips to consider when you do

Sheryl Thiel
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While many people are happy to hold on to that old jalopy until the wheels fall off, others follow the ‘three-year rule’ and prefer to change their cars a little more frequently. However, deciding when to trade in your car depends on a few factors.

 

Where to start?

Begin the process by determining the trade in value of your car. Some opt to do their own research to calculate this figure, but the smart thing to do is to visit your closest trusted car dealership to get the car valued by an independent and expert authority.

 

This is the safest and quickest option, especially for those with limited knowledge of the industry, and will at least give you a starting point before you spend more time researching your replacement vehicle.

 

‘Rule of thumb’

In general, a good time to trade in your vehicle is before it reaches 99,000 kilometres on the clock – depending on your driving habits and lifestyle, this could be anywhere between three and six years.

 

TIP: Keeping your car for more than six years is not always a good idea, as the costs of maintaining the vehicle will likely increase the older the car gets.

 

Important tips to consider

When the time comes, here are 5 tips to keep in mind before you hand over the keys:

 

1. Get quotes from a variety of car dealerships

Shopping around for the best deal will save you money and arms you with the information you need to negotiate the best deal.

 

2. Keep service books up to date

This will make the trade-in process a lot easier and faster when it comes to proving credibility of your vehicle.

 

3. Complete repairs prior to evaluation

If your car needs any repairs, have these done at a reputable panel beater before approaching a dealership to avoid the potential reduction in trade in value that a dealership would offer.

 

4. Keep your car in good condition

Make sure you clean both the exterior and interior of the car on a regular basis to preserve the vehicle’s value.

 

5. Only deal with reputable car dealerships

Most people choose the trade in route instead of trying to sell privately because scams are an unfortunate reality. Avoid the stress of trying to deal with a stranger and rather consult an expert.

 

Read: “How to spot a trustworthy car dealership” here.

 

When it is time to let go and find the new car of your dreams, browse thousands of deals on new, pre-owned and demo vehicles here.