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.