Trade-In: A Short Guide To Getting The Most For Your Old Car

Thursday, August 17, 2017, 6:00 AM | Leave Comment

There is no doubt that trading in your old car can be a great way to make it easier to afford that new car you’ve had your eyes on.

However, that faithful car has been a great servant for years and, now that you’ve decided it’s time to upgrade to a newer vehicle, you want to don’t get ripped off when trading it in.

Car dealerships are notorious for offering sometimes ridiculously low trade-in pricing, which usually means that you’ll end up getting far less than you would if you attempted to sell it on your own.

Nonetheless, the ease, convenience and immediacy of a trade-in can still make it an attractive option as long as you manage to get a decent price for your old vehicle.

For this reason, it is recommended that you follow these steps prior to trading in your vehicle in order to boost its value and give you a better chance of getting a fair trade-in price.

Trade In

  • Have It Fully Washed and Detailed

    Having your car washed and fully detailed is a great way to increase its visual appeal and thus hopefully ensure dealers will offer you a fairer price.

    Of course, the fact that you could end up spending upwards of $100 on detailing means it might not be worth it if your car is much older or in poor condition.

    That being said, not having your car detailed could easily see as much as $500 take off the total trade-in value, which means that it is usually well worth the initial investment.

  • Repair Cosmetic Damage (Within Reason)

    As with having your car detailed, taking your car to a collision center to have any cosmetic damage fixed will obviously require you to pay for the repairs up front.

    Still, fixing any dents, cracks and other cosmetic damage has the potential to greatly increase its trade-in value.

    Of course, it’s generally not worth paying thousands of dollars to fix major damage as there is no way you’ll be able to recoup this through the trade-in.

    Still, even a few minor cosmetic issues can drastically affect the trade-in value, which means it is usually worth paying for any reasonably priced repairs.

  • Do Your Research

    Many dealerships attempt to take advantage of the fact that the average person tends to be fairly uninformed when it comes to trade-ins.

    Compared to new car sales, trade-ins have the potential to be far more lucrative and could easily net the dealership several thousand dollars in profit should a dealer manage to convince you to accept less than your car is actually worth. In fact, the profit margin on trade-ins is generally far greater than it is on new car sales.

    It’s also worth noting that you can benefit from doing your research during every step of the trade-in process. Finding the value of your car, price shopping for repairs, and bargain hunting for cleaning can all contribute to a better deal.

    With Google, it can be easy to find enough information to make the right decisions. Search in terms like “auto body repair Utah county” or “car detailing near me” and you’ll be sure to find plenty of services that want your business.

    Therefore, it is imperative that you do your research and find out the approximate trade-in value of your car before speaking to dealers.

    Knowing the book value of your trade-in should give you much more leverage when negotiating with dealerships, while also ensuring that you don’t get ripped off by accepting a far lower amount than what your old car is really worth.

  • Shop Around for the Best Trade-In Deal

    Once your car is fully ready to trade-in and you know approximately how much it should be worth, the final step is to start talking to different dealerships to see how much each one is willing to offer you.

    It’s always a good idea to get a quote from at least three or four dealerships. This will not only improve your chances of finding a better deal, but it can also serve as a valuable tool in your negotiations.

    Most dealerships are desperate for your business, and as such, many will be willing to either match or beat another dealership’s trade-in offer.

    The biggest key to not getting ripped off on your trade-in is to be fully prepared before ever speaking to any dealerships. This means making sure that both your car is in the best possible condition and that you are fully aware of its true value. In this sense, all of the above actions are essential.

While there is no way to fully guarantee you’ll get a better, fairer price, taking these simple steps should at least give you the best possible chance.

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