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411 on Trade-ins

Alright, so you’ve got an old car and want to sell it for some stone cold cash or trade it in for an exciting new car. For most of us, this process can be so overwhelming, we don’t even know where to start. When we want to trade-in a car we have a significant emotional attachment to, determining the appropriate value can be difficult. Fortunately, MotorQueen is  are here to help!

Start your trade-in process online by checking the Kelly Blue Book value.   This is the vetted, specific retail or trade-in value of your car in your location.  The National Automobile Dealers Association also offers a great tool that gives you a wide variety of estimates.

Regardless of how much you decide to charge, make sure to do your homework!  Evaluate the price of your trade-in before negotiating and deciding on a new vehicle.  This way, you won’t be anchored by how much you want to get for your used car. For instance, a 2009 Jeep Wrangler will not trade-in seamlessly for a BMW.   By doing all the right research, you can maximize how much money you get, and you will have more to spend on an exciting new set of wheels.

Here are some key factors to consider:

  1. Timing:  If time is not a constraint, make sure you trade-in during a favorable time.  For example, if you own an eco-friendly car, you are more likely to get a higher offer if you wait to sell when gas prices surge.  There are also seasonal preferences that could make the demand for your vehicle higher, such as a surge in demand for four wheel drives during winter.
  1. Presentation:  Make sure your vehicle is clean and visually appealing before taking it for appraisal.  Remove your personal items, vacuum the interior, and wash the car. If it looks, smells, and feels fresh, closing the sale and getting a higher offer will be much easier!

    Although sprucing up your car is recommended, avoid spending money on major fixes or cosmetic changes such as waxing. These investments are  less likely to translate into higher appraisal. The dealer will take any needed fixes into account when appraising it.

  2. Maintenance Record: Take your regular maintenance records with you to the trade-in meeting.   If you can show the dealer that you have taken good care of your car, you may be able to earn a higher trade-in value.  Remember higher trade in value equals more exciting options for a new car.

  3. Negotiate Purchase Price Separately: Make sure to take your time negotiating the trade in.  By doing this separately,  you avoid complicating your new vehicle negotiation and get your maximum value for both new and trade-in vehicles.  Our awesome negotiation video really highlights this topic.

  4. Explore Tax Advantages: Some states reduce the sales tax you have to pay on a new car by deducting your trade-in from the purchase price.  Look into any local tax advantages that you can get for trading in your car.  For this, your local DMV website is a great resource.

We hope all of the above helps you get as much money or credit possible for your trade-in.  This way, you will have more exciting options available for your new car.  Best of luck!


Post Author
MQ Staff