Anybody trying to sell a car at the moment will be likely to tell you that it would be easier to make a last-minute selection to represent the country at the Olympic games.

The overcast economic climate and sky-high fuel prices have conspired together put the market into slow motion, and anything that can’t get near the magic 50mpg barrier might as well be superglued to your driveway.

Of course, there is a solution: part-ex your existing clunker against a new motor. Only, as people are noticing, the depressed state of the market means that dealers are similarly reluctant to find themselves landed with your old wheels are are offering the smallest amount they think they can possibly get away with.

That’s what car dealers do, of course: make money. As otherwise they will be making a guest appearance in the Bankruptcy Court. Good dealers will be perfectly honest and say that they don’t want your shed – sell it yourself and come back clutching a sheaf of twenties and then start talking.

Indeed, if a trader shows too much interest in your motor then start to worry because it must be worth considerably more than he’s offering you to somebody else. Some of the best deals I ever did involved reselling a part-ex for retail money, making a tidy profit at both ends of the deal.

Of course, in the 21stcentury there’s a web-based alternative. No, not listing your car on eBay motors – although who can resist the opportunity to read through a passionate, if mis-spelled 800 word description of a 1994 Ford Fiesta – rather websites that offer to help you turn your motor into ready cash.

There are several of these, and I don’t feel like giving any of them the oxygen of publicity – but they all have names on a theme of “”.

Basically they portray themselves as charitable institutions that will roll up at your gaff like an eager private punter and pay top whack for your motor. Or not, as the case will almost certainly be – they are car traders too, motivated by the same profit motive that keeps the rest of the tank swimming. And comparing the online quote that entering your car’s details earns you to the value you’ll find in the back of a £3.99 price guide will reveal just how keen the motive is.

The truth is that, unless you’re trying to get out of a year-old Mini or Fiat 500 that nobody really wants your old car. Dealers would rather keep their money in the pockets of their sheepskin coats – and anyone coming from the private market needs to sell their old motor before they can buy yours.