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Vehicle Value: Tips for Getting a Good Deal When Trading in a Car

Every year, there are about 17 million new cars sold throughout the U.S. There are also more than 40 million used cars sold on an annual basis.

There are lots of Americans who buy these new and used cars without trading in their old ones. But there are also plenty who go about trading in a car to cut down on the cost associated with buying a new or used vehicle.

Are you thinking about taking this approach when you buy your next car? If so, make sure you’re getting a good deal when you offer a car dealership a trade-in. The last thing you want to do is receive way less for your old car than you could get selling it on your own.

Here are 5 tips that’ll help you get the best possible deal when trading in a car.

1. Check Out the Value of Your Vehicle

How much is your car worth at the moment?

Before you drive it down to a dealership and consider trading in a car, always take a few minutes to check the value of it. It’s not hard to do, and it could pay off in a big way.

Kelley Blue Book allows you to take a look at the value of any make and model car from any year. You can find out how much you can expect to get for the car in a private sale and how much it should be worth as a trade-in.

This is invaluable information. It’ll let you know if a dealer is trying to give you way less for your car than they should.

2. Make the Necessary Repairs

Is your current car on the older side? If so, it probably has all kinds of repairs that need to be made to it.

Most older cars have at least a few dings, dents, and scratches on the exterior. You can have them cleared up with a quick trip to your local auto body shop. You might also be able to take care of repairing them on your own.

There are other repairs inside of your vehicle that might need to be made as well. Some of the most common car repairs include:

  • Installing a new oxygen sensor
  • Replacing spark plugs and ignition coils
  • Fixing an air conditioning system
  • Putting in a new catalytic converter
  • Maintaining a transmission

You don’t want to pour thousands of dollars into a car when you’re planning on getting rid of it. But if there’s a lingering issue that’s going to drag down your car’s value, deal with it before trading in a car.

3. Stage Your Car to Look Its Best

When is the last time you cleaned both the inside and outside of your vehicle?

If you’re struggling to answer that question right now, it’s been too long! Your car could benefit from a full cleaning.

Visit the closest car wash and have the exterior cleaned so that it shines. Then, take your car home and handle the interior on your own.

Clear out any clutter from your car that’s making it look messy. Vacuum your seats, your floors, and everything else so that there aren’t any crumbs, hair, or other debris hanging around.

Wipe down your windows, inside and out, too. Your goal should be to make your car look better than it has in years. This will give a dealer the impression that you’ve taken a lot of pride in the car and done your part to keep it in great condition.

4. Prepare to Show Maintenance Records

Have you made it a point to perform oil changes on a regular basis and taken care of all the other maintenance associated with your car?

Use that to your advantage! It’s a good idea for all vehicle owners to get into the habit of writing down any maintenance that they do to their vehicles. This gives them a chance to prove that they’ve stayed on top of caring for their car over the years.

If possible, you should also hang on to any receipts that you have for oil changes and other vehicle maintenance appointments. They’ll go a long way towards convincing a dealer to give you top dollar for your car as a trade-in.

5. Refuse to Trade a Car for Less Than It’s Worth

One thing that you should be aware of is that not all car dealerships are good about giving car owners a fair deal when they trade a vehicle in. Some will low-ball their customers, even if those customers go out of their way to make their cars look great and provide maintenance records.

You can check out this website to see a good example of a car dealership that will not take this approach to trade-ins. But not every dealership is going to be willing to give you what you deserve when you’re trading in a car.

If you, at any point, feel like you’re getting a raw deal from a dealer, get back into your car, drive it off their lot, and take your business elsewhere. Even if you’ve spent hours trying to negotiate on price, don’t let a dealer take advantage of you.

You can take your car to a different dealership and get a better deal for it. You can also consider selling your car on your own to get the money you deserve for it.

Trading in a Car Doesn’t Have to Be a Huge Hassle

There are many Americans who cringe at the mere thought of trading in a car. They feel like they’re getting ripped off before they even drive on to a dealer’s lot.

Trading in a car doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience, though. As long as you keep the tips listed here in mind, you can convince a dealer to provide you with a great deal when you offer them a trade-in.

Would you like to learn more about the pros and cons of selling a car privately versus trading it in? Read our blog to get all the information you’ll need to choose the right option.