'How can I get the most money for my trade-in?' is one of the most common questions that new car buyers have. Even though used cars usually go for more money when sold privately, finding the right buyer, especially when the car is older or a less popular make, can be extremely time consuming.
To avoid these hassles, many people prefer to simply trade-in their used car at the dealership when they purchase their new vehicle. This article will answer the question 'How can I get the most money for my trade-in?' as well as 'Which repairs are actually necessary before trading-in my car?' so that readers can get top dollar value for their trade-in.
Do Your Research
Before setting foot on the car dealer's lot, it is important to know the trade-in value of a car. You can easily find information online from used car trade-in price guides such as Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds. Enter as much information as possible to receive the most accurate trade-in value for the car. Knowing the value upfront lets you know if a dealer is low-balling on the trade-in value.
Gather the extra keys, remotes, owner's manual and maintenance records. Dealers will often reduce their offer if they see they have to purchase additional keys or remotes to sell the vehicle. Having these also shows that the owner is responsible and has taken good care of the car.
Wash Your Car
While this may seem like common sense, it is surprising how many people do not wash their car before attempting to trade-in. A clean car gives the appearance that it has been well cared for. However, it does not have to be perfectly pristine. A little bit of dirt from everyday driving can conceal small paint imperfections, dents, and dings. Don't forget to vacuum and dust the interior as well. This is another step that makes the car look like it has been loved and taken care of.
Don't Remove All Your Paraphernalia
While washing the car, it can be tempting to go ahead and remove all of your belongings. It's easier to take care of this step at home and gives everyone time to look everything over to make sure that nothing is forgotten. But a completely cleaned out car sends the dealer one message - that you are ready to get rid of it today. This alone can greatly diminish your bargaining power. So go ahead and check under the seats at home, but leave enough belongings in the trunk and glove compartment so the dealer thinks the car is still actively in use.
Make Minor Repairs
Minor dents and dings are one of the first things that dealers point out when attempting to justify a lower price for a trade-in. However, these minor flaws can usually be repaired quite cheaply at home or at a body shop. Look the car over for other easy fixes like burned out lights or stains on the upholstery.
Leave Major Repairs Alone
Making minor repairs is not the same thing as fixing every problem the car has. Typically, if a problem will cost more than $500 to fix, it is better to accept the decreased value. This also applies if the car has an undiagnosed problem, as those repairs can become costly very quickly. Replace the tires only if they are extremely worn.
Knowing the answers to 'How can I get the most money for my trade-in?' allows customers to get top dollar value for their car, while still enjoying the convenience of a dealership trade-in.