How To Get The Most For Your Trade In

How To Get The Most For Your Trade In

Are you shopping for a vehicle? Before the headache of a private sale, or losing hundreds trading your car in at the dealership at the time of sale, first read how to get the most for your trade in. Car sales, car prices, obtaining a car loan, and the various products and services offered by dealers can make some people afraid of the process when it’s time to buy a new car.

Trading in your car can be an experience that leaves you feeling like you’ve been taken to the metaphorical cleaner, but selling your car in a private sale is often a headache that you don’t want or need. If you do choose to sell your car privately, be sure to push for Kelley Blue Book value, and don’t allow yourself to be short sold out of desperation to just be done with the process of selling a used car.

However, when you trade-in your current vehicle, most dealers generally subtract the trade in vehicle amount directly from the purchase price of your new vehicle purchase. This can potentially save you hundreds of dollars in sales tax, making a trade in a smart choice for your wallet. If you choose to use the trade-in price option when you buy a new car, the following tips can help you get into your new car knowing you are aware of exactly how to get the most for your trade-in.

Give Your Trade-In A Good Cleaning

Before you take your trade-in to a car lot to begin price negotiations, give it a good wash and hand wax to make a good impression. Vacuum the interior thoroughly. Your goal is to up the “curb appeal”, and make your trade look like a vehicle that a dealer would like to have sitting on his car lot for sale. A clean, shining, and smoke-free vehicle is much more marketable than the alternative and is a great way to see the full value received on your trade.

Fix Any Dents And Small Maintenance Issues

Repairs needed to small items like windows that don’t roll up or down, dents larger than door dings, and falling headliners are all issues that need to be fixed before you try to get a price on your trade-in. A dealer isn’t going to be able to sell your car on the lot without making the repairs of this nature, which means they’ll have to come out of pocket to make the repairs prior to being able to sell your trade, or it will have to be sold at auction.

Know Your Kelley Blue Book Value

Before you obtain trade-in quotes, do your research. Use your online guides, such as KBB, so you know the actual value of your car both in private sales and trade value. There are plenty of sites that can help you really narrow down the value of your trade so you’ll be confident in the trade amount you ask for.

Properly Maintain Your Vehicle And Keep The Records

Long before you think about trading your vehicle in for an upgrade, you need to ensure that you are having preventative maintenance performed as scheduled on your vehicle. Keep the maintenance records for your vehicle, and be prepared to show that you have not gone 2 miles over on an oil change, or that your tire pressure has never been less than recommended at any maintenance inspection. A properly maintained vehicle is much more valuable than one that has been driven hard and has a spotty service record.

Be Prepared To Shop Your Trade Around

Prior to accepting an offer on your trade, you should obtain at least 3 written quotes from local dealers. This not only ensures that you’re asking a fair amount for your trade, but it also provides you with documentation of the trade value you’re asking to receive.

Skip The Aftermarket And Cosmetic Details

Unless your trade is a Jeep Wrangler and you have equipped it with off-roading parts, you won’t see any return on your aftermarket additions or chameleon paint job. Unfortunately, the expensive cosmetic additions and upgrades are going to end up being a loss when it comes to the value of your trade.

Negotiate Separately

In order to prevent hidden costs that could offset the value of your trade-in, keep your negotiations separate. Once you have established the trade-in value and the dealer has drawn up the paperwork to purchase your current vehicle, then you can go ahead with the negotiations on the new vehicle purchase. This ensures that there is no “sleight of hand” that could end up skewing the value of your trade by tacking additional fees or hidden costs onto the front end of the purchase.

Most dealers use the “four square” approach to your deal, combining trade-in, auto loans financing, down payment, and the new vehicle purchase amount to come up with the final price on your vehicle purchase. By separately negotiating and treating it as two transactions, you’re eliminating the ability to hide figures in another square, possibly giving you less for your trade than you’ve agreed upon.

You don’t have to trade your vehicle to the dealer you’re buying your new car from, and that is important to remember. If you cannot agree upon a trade value you’re satisfied with, simply do not agree to the trade.