Tips on Trading In a Used Car

negotiating a dealWhile upgrading your old car for a new one is always exciting, trading in the old one can put a damper on the whole experience. Many new car shoppers are off dreaming in new-car-la-la-land, and their trade-in slips through the cracks between small print and endless numbers. To get a good price on your trade-in, it is a smart idea to do a little research and educate yourself on the process. Here are some ideas for getting the best return on your old car.

Trade-In Advice

  • Appraise your old car. Many vehicle shoppers start new car negotiations without doing their research first regarding their old cars. If you don’t do this research, you are in a vulnerable position since you really don’t know what to consider a reasonable offer. You can check your vehicle’s True Market Value on Edmunds.com, or you can bring your car to CarMax for a written appraisal. They guarantee that value for seven days, so you can shop around and compare what other dealers will give you.
  • Negotiate the prices for your new and used cars separately. You can get a firm value for your trade-in from the dealership’s used car manager, as opposed to wheeling and dealing with the salesperson over the value of your used car. This figure should be subtracted from the purchase price of your new car.
  • Shop around. Just as you would shop around for the best deal on a new car, you should shop around for the best return on your trade-in. Not all dealerships will give you the same amount. For example, if you are trading in a 2005 Corolla and the dealer already has eight 2005 Corollas on the lot, you may get a better figure from somewhere else.
  • Give your old car a bit of a makeover. Amp up the appeal of your trade-in before you go to the dealership by cleaning the interior and the exterior. Also, bring any maintenance records you have.
  • Know when to give in. If you have gotten the same numbers on your trade-in from a few dealers, then that is what your car is worth in your area. Just remember to enjoy the advantages of trading in, including the convenience of avoiding the time consuming process of selling your car outright.

Remember that you do have the option of selling your vehicle outright, but that does take a lot of time and effort on your part. Trading in is convenient, and you can get a good value if you shop around and do your research!

March 26, 2013 by Jamie Rettig