So you’re looking for a new car, and you just want to trade in your current vehicle to a dealer. What should you do to make sure you get your money’s worth? We’ve put together a few steps to help you get the best price for your car.
Step 1 – Research
The biggest thing that will help you get the most money is doing some research. Having an idea of what your car is worth is very important. It’s possible that you’re expecting more money than you’re going to get, but depreciation can hit certain vehicles harder than others. Of course, the condition of your car, having copies of maintenance history, and any additional aftermarket parts will make a difference — mind you, not all aftermarket parts and accessories will increase your vehicle’s value — but it should come as no surprise your car isn’t worth what you initially paid for it. Luckily, it is fairly easy to get an approximate value for your vehicle online using websites like Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds. Something many do not take into account though in their research is how many other vehicles just like your may be in the market in your area. Take a little extra time to search local listings for the year, make, model, and trim level of the vehicle you’re looking to trade in to get an even better view of what it’s going for.
Step 2 – The Dealership’s Perspective
The dealership is looking at factors such as how fast they can sell your car to another buyer (a car sitting on the lot is actively spending the dealer’s money on a variety of levels of overhead), and also how much work they may have to do to fix it up so it’s ready for the next owner. The dealer is more willing to work with you on a trade than buying your car outright, but in fairness it’s good to keep these things in mind during negotiations.
Step 3 – Prep Your Vehicle
The presentation of your vehicle will go a long way in getting you a good value. Vacuum the interior thoroughly, and make sure everything that isn’t supposed to be in the car (such as trash – you may be surprised how many people do not consider this) is out, and everything that should be in the car (things such as documents, manuals, tools) are in the car. It doesn’t hurt to make sure your vehicle smells good too. Go through a car wash or hand wash, and give your car a wax to make it look better. If there’s anything wrong with your vehicle the value of the trade will go down, but it may be easier and sometimes cheaper to just leave the problem and have the dealership fix it. If your vehicle has major issues don’t be afraid to approach the dealer regardless, it never hurts to get an appraisal, and hey, you may come away pleasantly surprised!
Something to keep in mind is that dealers love happy customers, repeat business is how we stay in business, so always feel free to come on in and give us a shot, you may just drive away happy.