What to Know Before Trading in Your Car

When the time finally comes to upgrade to a new vehicle, you may be so overwhelmed by the bells and whistles in front of you that you completely forget about your current car. IUpgrading to a New Vehiclef you’re like many other car owners, you may also be tempted to try and sell it on your own, but there’s no telling how long that could take. In the end, the time and effort you put in may not be worth it. Trading your car in at the dealership may very well be your best option not only for convenience sake, but to save you a bit of money on the cost of your new vehicle, as well.

Just be sure to keep few things in mind when trading in your car

Trade-in appearance is important

Some believe that a little mud on the exterior and some trash on the interior floor doesn’t matter. After all, the dealer will focus more on the model year and amount of miles put on it, right? Sure, but appearance definitely matters. Going the extra mile to make sure your vehicle is in the best visible condition before having it evaluated can never hurt. If anything, it shows that you’ve taken care of it.

It also doesn’t hurt to fix the dings that may have come from normal wear and tear over the years. The little money you spend to make those minor improvements can make a big difference on how the dealer values your car when all is said and done.

Do some trade-in research

There are many opportunities to appraise your vehicle online before physically taking it in. However, it’s important to keep in mind that most vehicles fall between the categories of rough and average trade-ins. According to Kelley Blue Book, only three percent of clean vehicles fall under an excellent condition price and 54 percent are determined to be in good condition.

Is your trade value being inflated?

It’s important to be aware that a dealership may inflate the value of your trade-in to meet your expectations, then increase the price of the vehicle you’re interested in purchasing. To determine the amount that the dealer is honestly willing to give you, ask them if the number they put on your trade-in would be the same number they would give you if you weren’t buying another vehicle from them. If it’s not, then you need to evaluate whether or not you want to move forward with that dealership.

Would you buy your car?

It’s time to be realistic. If you wouldn’t buy your car, what makes you think that a dealership would? At the end of the day, they’re looking to make a profit just as much as you are. It’s important to come prepared with what you feel the car is worth, but also determine if there is a little wiggle room and a minimum price you’d be willing to except. Be open to negotiation, but remember you have every right to walk away.