How To Maximize a Car's Trade-In Value

Dealerships are infamous for giving out very low trade-in value for second hand cars. Car value depreciates as soon as it is driven off the lot. But there are a lot of factors that go in to the calculation for a trade in. This is why you should do everything to ensure that you get a good trade-in value for your vehicle. Here are some things you should do before you trade in your car.

  1. Know how a manager at a used car dealership thinks. A manager at a used car dealership will automatically assume that a car sent for trade-in has a number of problems. They will also immediately calculate how much they will need to spend to bring the car up to par. This is why they are known for quoting such low prices during trade-in negotiations.
  2. Be familiar with the value of your car. Knowing how much your car is valued at is important. This way, you can properly assess how much you'd want to spend on the car to condition it before you trade it in. The Kelley Blue Book website provides some useful tools for you to check your car's value based on its make and model. Just be sure to choose the trade-in value to get a more correct appraisal.
  3. Collate all of your car's service records. Assemble all the paperwork pertaining to your car's prior service and maintenance works. Having a record of all these will increase your chances of getting a considerable trade-in value for the vehicle. The manager at the used car lot will deem the car properly maintained and will interpret it as not having to spend that much for reconditioning if he sees service receipts and invoices.
  4. Prepare the car thoroughly before the trade-in. The car has to be clean and presentable if you want to maximize its trade-in value. Consider getting a paint job especially if the vehicle's color is unusual. White, red and black are the most popular and saleable car colors. You should also consider auto detailing in the car's interior. A professional touch-up to cover nicks, scratches and dings will also maximize a car's trade-in value. The manager will likely grab a dipstick during the appraisal so the car fluids have to be clean and their tanks filled to the correct levels. Consider changing tires and brake pads as well if they are worn out. Make sure to wash and wax the car thoroughly before you take it to the dealer, and use Armor All on the inside plastic or vinyl parts as well as on the tires. Check all lights and replace any that have burnt out.

If you are set on trading in your vehicle, then have it checked by a professional at least a month before. If there are problems during the check, then have these fixed immediately. Bear in mind that the manager will deduct hundreds of dollars off the trade-in value just because of those slight nicks and scratches or those leaking fluid tanks.


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