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AutoTrader


How to get the best out of it

DannyDanny Argent ~ 9/6/08
Audi A3

Nothing comes close to Auto Trader. Without a doubt, it is the best medium for buying or selling a car. Our private customers use Auto Trader, our trade customers use it, we use it too. Barely a day goes by without it coming up in conversation... usually this is because we are recommending using it, or telling somebody how to get the best out of it. So this article is likely to be a work in progress as we keep adding new tips.

You can use Auto Trader as a Directory

We are always being asked questions like, "Do you know a good trimmer in my area?". Some exceptional tradesmen are known all over the country, and we do know people all over the place. We also have a directory where we list people we have come across who we know are really good... but still, the chances are that we don't know a dent man, wheel refurbisher, or trimmer in your area. But experience tells us that the dealers and traders in your area will know! They are unlikely to use people who are over-priced or turn out shoddy work, so you should
One of the best ways to find a suitable tradesman, it to search for a car like yours on AutoTrader. If you have a BMW or Jaguar, search for similar on AutoTrader using the feature that allows you to search within a set distance from your home, for example, within 10 miles. All you have to do then is go through and look at the adverts that are marked as 'trade'. All you have to do then is look for a couple of companies that sell executive car in good condition and give one or two of them a ring to see how they recommend. If the one you phone can't recommend anybody, try another. They are usually willing to help and very friendly.

[UPDATE] Some dealers/traders are very price orientated and will therefor encourage bodyshops and other tradesmen to cut corners. Make sure that whoever you are talking to does not cut corners and ask if the work is guaranteed and how long it will last.

You can use Auto Trader to value your car.

If you are selling your car, it's important to ask the right price. You don't want to ask to little, but asking too much is also a problem. Don't think, as many people do, that you should price it high because people will knock you down to the right price. It seldom works like that, there are just too many other cars to choose from, they will pass you by and your car won't sell.
The easy way to value a car is to use an online price guide, Auto Trader has it's own free one. Although they are pretty accurate most of the time, they are made by computer algorithms based on a sampling of averages. So they aren't always spot on and can be out by as much as 20%. It's all about supply and demand, fashion and trends. The guides that the trade use are far more accurate because they are quicker at responding to changes in the market... of course you have to pay for these. And even then, when the market is as volatile as it is at the time of writing, whole classes of car can raise or fall in value almost overnight. Even if the guides are generally right about a certain model, the right car in the right colour with the right mileage and extras could go for far more than similar cars.

Car dealers are able to accurately gauge values of cars (with a little help from Glass's and CAP's) because they are in the middle of the market -- one of the Buyers who advised me on the writing of this article spends all day long at Chelmsford Car Auction, so he sees trends as they happened (he bought two cars today, and paid about £600 'over book' for both. Another buyer we know paid way underbook for a Toyota Landcruiser which he will export to a country with much cheaper petrol than we have here!)

You too can study the market just by looking at Auto Trader. Just search for cars like yours and see what they are being priced at. Some will be cheap, some will be expensive, Some will be more like yours than others, but if you look at a dozen you will get a general feel for what the value being asked is. Then you can study in more detail, looking for cars with a very similar condition and spec to yours. But to get a really accurate idea of value, you need to pick up the phone and start calling the private sellers. Just ask them if they have had plenty of callers. If they have had loads they may be too cheap. If they have had none, they are too expensive. You should also book-mark the cars that are similar to yours to see which sell and which hang around for weeks.
This is a trick many traders use, it works, It's that simple!

...to be continued!

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This page was last updated on Wed, 25 September, 2013
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