What happens to your car once it is traded in?

traded intraded in
traded intraded in


What happens to your car once it is traded in?

Trading in your car is an effective way to buy a newer model. And while you might not receive the exact amount you were hoping to from the transaction, it will be a sizeable amount and allow you to pay towards the shiny new wheels you have your eye on. But you might be wondering what happens to your car once it is traded in.

When you start looking for cars for sale in the Western Cape, you should also look for dealerships offering trade-ins. There are numerous used cars in the Western Cape which are results of a trade-in, as dealers will repair, repaint and spruce up any trade-in models they receive. So, read on below for helpful information about what happens to your car after you have traded it in.

How does a car trade-in work?

Now, a trade-in might sound as though you simply trade one car for another. But there is a certain amount of paperwork and even some payments that are required for this transaction to be successful. You will need to gather the right documents to show the dealer, which are as follows:

  • Proof of ownerships: You will receive this once your loan has been paid off. If not, you will have to speak to your lender about a certificate stating that you are still repaying a loan and the car will be yours once it is over.


  • Roadworthiness certificate: A roadworthiness certificate is valid for 21 days and shows the dealership that your car has passed the strict inspection of the traffic department. It shows your car is able to be used on the roads without any problems.


  • A Notification of Change of Ownership form: You must submit this form to the traffic department alerting them that your car will be owned by someone else. Both you and the dealership must fill this form in correctly and sign it so it is valid.


  • The service history: The dealer will likely want to know the exact service history of your vehicle, so it is important to provide them with this document. This way they will be able to ascertain whether or not any repairs need to be performed.


So, what could happen to a car once it has been traded in?


It could be reconditioned and sold

Many car dealerships in the Western Cape and South Africa will recondition the trade-ins they receive, but this does depend on the condition it is in. They will need to see the full service history of your vehicle before considering it, and will look at aspects such as how old the vehicle is and how many kilometres are on the odometer.

Some of the used cars for sale in the Western Cape have been reconditioned so well that you could never tell they were pre-owned at all. The dealer will put your car through a strict inspection in order to see whether the electric windows, central locking and power steering are still working. They will also repaint and repair the body if this is necessary.


It might be sold to another dealer

Some of the second-hand cars in the Western Cape which were trade-ins do not meet the specifications of the dealer you have taken it to. And this means that they will sell your car to another dealer which it is better suited to, for example, trading in a Toyota Corolla to a BMW dealer will mean they have to sell it on to a Toyota dealer.  

Another reason why your car might be sold on to another dealer is because it is an older model and does not fit in with the rest of the dealership’s lot. In order to avoid your car being sold to another dealer and receiving a lower price, be sure to only trade it in with the right dealer. Look for one in your area which specialises in your make, model, brand or even vintage of car.


It could be auctioned off

Auctioning off trade-in cars is only done when the car is very old, has a lot of mileage or has been damaged and repaired too many times. The dealer will send your car to auction if they are unable to sell it or wholesale it to another dealership. The profit is usually low for this, so it is not a common practice.

For older models, it might be a better solution to sell your car yourself, or ask the dealer for advice on how to trade it in successfully. You might have to speak to your lender about the value of an older car and whether it is worth your while to trade it in or sell it. A car auction will still bring in some money to put towards your new car, making it a viable option even if the amount you receive is lower than expected.

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