Part Exchange – Is it a Good Idea?
Down at your local car dealer the experience of buying a good used car is much improved from days of yore. Then, seduced by the shiny, twinkling vehicles on display you would happily rock up in your aged motor, pimped and readied for a cracking part exchange deal. In a matter of minutes, by dint of various mimes, noises and postures from the showroom manager, your positive attitude would have sunk lower than the oil slick on the forecourt cement. It usually went something like this:
The salesman would slowly circulate around the car casually kicking the tyres. Apparently, to the expert eye, this can reveal all manner of problems of which you, the layman, were unaware. He would then stand back and squint down the line of the wings, sadly shaking his head and generally looking doleful. At this point he may make tutting noises or suck air in over his teeth, sometimes simultaneously. He will poke his head under the bonnet and mutter, ‘Oh dear, oh dear’. Finally, he will take you to one side and sadly reveal the fact that the kindest thing he could do would be to take your beloved car around the back and shoot it. So much for PX.
Times have changed. Your part exchange vehicle will still be subject to a good going over and will never, ever be as valuable as you think it is but you should get at least a reasonable offer for a decent car. Come on – let’s be fair. Car dealers in general get a bit of a raw deal. They want your business but the buyer has to remember that they, the dealers, are a business – they’re there to make a living. They have to hold stock valued in the hundreds of thousands of pounds, wages and business expenses must be paid and, it goes without saying, the government will want a piece of the action. Instead of ranting at the salesman that he is a crook and a charlatan, try to accept that most cars are depreciating assets and act accordingly. If you’re not happy with the offer, walk away and sell your car privately. If you can live with the deal then see what can be done by way of discounts or offers.
Remember, for example, that large gas guzzling cars are losing popularity because of running cost issues and the like. Dealers want cars that they know they can sell, which is a fair point. The best thing about part exchange is that you don’t have the cost and aggravation of selling it yourself. Standing out in the rain with some time-wasting spotty faced youth or a self professed ‘home mechanic’ both of whom want something for nothing can be a bit dispiriting. Suddenly, that dealer deal doesn’t look so bad, after all. Also, if you’re not mechanically aux fait yourself then you could be asking for trouble buying privately. Mysterious noises, smoking exhausts and strange hidden creases in the metal under the carpets could all signify frighteningly large bills later. It’s not just about money – peace of mind has a value. Reputable dealers will honour a deal on a second hand car with at least a partial warranty and the knowledge that you have some comeback if things don’t go well. Car dealers are not philanthropists – they want to make a profit. Understand that and your PX experience won’t be so bad after all. If you really want to feel ripped off then just look at your utility bills!