Arm Yourself Against the Trade-In Lowball


Don’t lose money on that trade-in!

You have a car to trade in towards your new car. You want to go in to the deal educated on the value of your car. So you consult Kelley Blue Book to see what your old car is worth. After all, this is what the dealer is going to do. And he’ll tell you, quite truthfully, what Kelley Blue Book values your car at. What he isn’t telling you though, is that throwing out the Kelley Blue Book value is only one tool he’ll use – and it may be how he’ll try to lowball you on the trade-in.

Because in addition to Kelley Blue Book, he’s also consulting The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) for used car values. This site tells him what he can get for your trade-in and what he can reasonably resell your car at. And guess what – it’s often much higher than the Kelley Blue Book value. You may be surprised to hear that used car trade-ins are often undervalued by $5,000 (or more).

So when you’re researching the value of your trade-in, consult Kelley Blue Book. But also look at the NADA website. Research what you can on the value of your car based on age, mileage and condition, so you have as complete a picture of possible. NADA is meant for dealers, and you have to pay for several of their resources, but there is also a good amount of free information that will help you get an idea of the value of your car. Print out what you find useful and bring it with you for negotiating your trade-in. The dealer will know you’re serious when you walk in with more than just the Kelley Blue Book value in your back pocket. Then when he throws out what he tells you is a fair trade-in amount based on Kelley Blue Book, look him in the eye and ask for the NADA value on your car. I’m willing to bet throwing out NADA information will get you more for that trade-in – good luck!

June 23, 2013 by Jamie Rettig