Make Your Trade-In a Trade-Up! How to Get the Most Out of Your Trade-In


Make Your Trade-In a Trade-Up! How to Get the Most Out of Your Trade-In

When you’re ready to change vehicles, you might be sick of your old car. But it’s important to remember that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. The vehicle you view as used up and ready to be discarded could be a great starter car for another consumer, or a source of rare parts for the dealership. In any case, it’s an asset that you bring to the table when you go to make your new purchase. So don’t look at your car for all the reasons you’re ready to get rid of it, look at it for all the value it offers to someone else. Here are four tips to get the most value out of your trade-in.

1. Think Like a Dealer.

Adopting the right perspective is important when considering your trade-in. Dealers consider how easily they’ll be able to sell your car to another customer, or whether it’s too damaged for retail, meaning they’ll have to sell it on the wholesale market. One consideration: newer models often fetch less at trade-ins than you’d think, since they have to compete with unsold cars of the same model, and manufacturer incentives can actually make it cheaper for them to sell a new car than a trade-in. Also, consider what type of car you’re selling and what the economic climate is; if gas prices are skyrocketing, the trade-in price on gas-guzzling SUVs will drop, while more fuel-efficient cars will fetch a pretty penny.

2. Do Your Research.

You should walk into the dealership with a price in mind for your car, just as you have a budget for the car you’re looking to purchase. Research your car like a buyer would, finding prices for your make, model, and year in your area, so you know in what window a fair price falls. You won’t get as much for your trade-in as someone would pay for it, of course, because the dealer assumes the responsibility for selling the car and refurbishing it. But sites like Kelley Blue Book will give you an accurate idea of how much your car is worth so you don’t get completely low-balled.

3. Clean Up Your Car.

The cosmetic appearance of your car can do a lot to increase its trade-in value at the dealership, and it’s an easy thing to fix. Getting your car detailed typically costs under a hundred dollars, but the appearance of newness it lends to your vehicle could up the trade-in value by five times that. You’re saving the dealer time and effort on cleaning up the car, and they’ll show their appreciation by upping the trade-in value.

4. Separate Your Trade-In and New Purchase.

Dealers often engage in some sleight of hand with trade-ins; if you come in knowing exactly how much your car’s worth, they might honor your asking price but find a way to make up the difference in your financing agreement for your new vehicle. Consider financing the car through an outside bank or institution, and know what the going rates are on car loans. That way you won’t pay more for your new car in order to get a great value on your trade-in.