How to Get the Best Trade In Value for Your Car
If you’re thinking about buying a new car, you need to figure out what to do with your current car. You could sell it to a private party, but trading it in at a dealership is another option you should consider.
“Trading in” refers to selling your car to a dealership in exchange for credit that can be applied to the purchase price of a new car. There are a number of benefits to trading in your vehicle. It’s a quick and easy process, so it’s more convenient than selling your car to a private party. Plus, the dealer handles the paperwork, so you won’t have to waste your time figuring out what you need to do to complete the transaction.
But before you head to the dealership, it’s important to know how to get the best trade in value for your car. Follow these tips to maximize your vehicle’s trade-in value:
Do Your Research
You should never head to a dealership to trade in your vehicle without doing some research first. It’s important to arrive at the dealership with an idea of how much your car is worth. If you aren’t sure how much your car is worth, you may end up accepting an unfair trade-in offer.
Start by using a free online estimation tool like Kelley Blue Book to find out how much your car is worth. All you need to do to get an estimate is enter some basic information about your vehicle, including its make, model, mileage, and condition. This will give you a general idea of how much your dealer will be able to sell your vehicle for after you trade it in.
You should also look online to see how many similar vehicles are listed for at car dealerships in your area. Remember, the dealer needs to be able to resell your trade-in car for a profit, which means the trade-in value will always be lower than the listed price.
Don’t be afraid to cite your research when negotiating your trade-in offer with the dealer. This will show the dealer that you’ve done your homework and aren’t willing to accept less than what you know you deserve.
Clean Your Car
Make sure your car looks its best by cleaning it prior to taking it into the dealership. A car that is slightly dirty isn’t necessarily worth less than a car that is spotless, but a clean car does make a better first impression than a dirty one, which can help you get a better trade-in offer.
Start by removing all of your personal items and throwing away any trash inside the vehicle. Take the time to get your car detailed, too. It doesn’t cost much to get your car detailed, but it can drastically improve the appearance of your vehicle.
Once the inside of your vehicle is clean, move onto the outside. Washing your car before taking it to the dealership is an absolute must. If you really want to make a strong first impression, get your vehicle waxed, too. This will make your vehicle really shine, which can make it more appealing to the dealer.
Make Necessary Repairs
The dealer will factor in any repairs your car needs when calculating its trade-in value. This can drastically lower your vehicle’s trade-in value, which is why it’s best to make necessary repairs prior to bringing your vehicle into a dealership.
For example, say your check engine light is on. This could indicate that your vehicle has a minor issue such as loose gas cap. However, it could also indicate a far more serious issue such as a malfunctioning engine.
As the dealer inspects your vehicle, they will assume the worst when they see the check engine light. If they assume that the light indicates a serious engine problem, they could estimate that your vehicle needs thousands of dollars in repairs. As a result, they may lower your trade-in offer by thousands of dollars.
To avoid this problem, take the time to fix any mechanical or cosmetic issues with your vehicle before trading it in.
Take the time to shop around for the best trade-in offer. Get trade-in offers from multiple dealerships in your area so you can ensure you choose the best deal possible. You may not even need to bring your vehicle into the dealerships in your community to get an offer. Many dealerships now have trade-in value estimation tools on their websites, so you can find out how much your vehicle is worth without visiting the dealership in person.
Compare your trade-in offers to determine which one you should accept. Depending on the offers, you may end up trading your vehicle into one dealership and purchasing a new vehicle from another. Remember, there’s no rule that says you have to trade your vehicle into the same dealership you plan on purchasing a vehicle from.
If you want to stick with the same dealership, though, you should let them know you received a better offer from another dealer. They may increase their trade-in offer to you in an effort to win your business.
Be Prepared to Negotiate
You should never feel pressured to accept the dealership’s first trade-in offer. The dealership expects customers to negotiate, so the first offer will almost always be lower than what they are actually willing to pay for your vehicle. Don’t make the mistake of accepting this offer when you could potentially get much more for your car. Instead, make a counter offer and continue to negotiate until you are satisfied with the deal.
If you are trading in your vehicle to purchase a new car, the dealer may try to combine both of these transactions into one deal. However, it’s important to negotiate your car’s trade-in value separately from your new car’s price. If you negotiate both parts of the deal at the same time, the dealer may hike up the price of your new car to make up for offering you a higher trade-in value.
Make sure you get the best deal on both your trade-in car and your new car by handling the negotiations for each part of the transaction separately.
Pick the Right Time
Timing is key when it comes to maximizing your car’s trade-in value. Your car’s trade-in value may vary at different times due to a number of factors, including the type of vehicle, demand in your community, and the weather.
For example, say you want to trade in a convertible. This type of vehicle is meant to be driven when the weather is warm enough to keep the top down. Because of this, the demand for convertibles is higher in the spring and summer. So if you try to trade your convertible in during the fall or winter, you may not get as much for it. The dealership probably won’t be willing to pay as much for your convertible since there isn’t as much demand for this type of vehicle when it’s colder outside.
Do your research so you know when you should trade your vehicle in. If now isn’t the best time, it’s best to be patient and wait so you can get as much as possible for your car.
Follow these tips to ensure you get the best deal possible when trading in your vehicle at a dealership.