How to Increase the Value of Your Trade-In


When you’re shopping for a new vehicle, there are a lot of things you need to consider. One of the major considerations is whether to sell your current car privately or trade it into the dealership. Trading into the dealership is typically a much easier process, especially if you still owe money on the vehicle. In this article, we’re going to give you 6 tips to increase the value of your trade-in.

1. Do Market Research

The first thing you need to do when trading in your car is to figure out the value of the vehicle. You can do this by checking out sites like Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds. Do keep in mind if your vehicle has any damage or mechanical issues that could affect its value. It’s also important to remember that selling your car privately will probably result in you getting more money for it, but it also requires more effort. Don’t expect to get an amazing deal on your trade-in as the dealership will need to make a profit on the vehicle for it to make sense for them to buy it. 

2. Get Any Mechanical Problems Fixed

The mechanical and physical condition of the vehicle will have a huge impact on the value of your vehicle. Therefore, if you have any minor repairs you can do that won’t break the bank, it would be in your best interest to get them fixed. If the dealership sees that your engine light is on, the value of your vehicle will decrease. If you just take it into a mechanic shop to get checked out, it’s possible that the engine light is on because a $100 repair is needed. In situations like this, spending a few hundred dollars on repairs could get you a few thousand additional dollars in trade-in value. 

3. Shop Your Trade-In Around

A great way to leverage your trade-in value is to shop it around at multiple dealerships and see the highest offer you get. Even if the dealership that offers you the most money doesn’t have a vehicle you want to buy, you can leverage their offer at the dealership you’d like to buy from and potentially get more money for it. This is also a great way to figure out what the vehicle is worth. Once you’ve got 3-5 offers you should have a solid idea of what you should expect to get for it. 

4. Negotiate Your Trade-in Separately

One of the biggest mistakes people make when trading-in their vehicle is they negotiate it with the purchase of a new car. If you really want the most value for your trade-in, negotiate it separately from the car purchase negotiation. Be on the lookout for when dealers try to combine the two transactions into one deal as this is only a way for them to make more money. 

5. Clean Up Your Vehicle Inside and Out

If you’re taking your vehicle into a dealership to be appraised, you have no excuse not to do a thorough cleaning of the vehicle before. This means cleaning both the inside and outside of the vehicle. A clean vehicle will be appraised for a higher value than a dirty vehicle most of the time. Doing a thorough clean only takes a few hours at the most and can result in hundreds of dollars in additional value. It’s also a good idea to find any receipts of repairs and maintenance so you can show the dealership that the vehicle has been cared for. 

6. Be Timely With Your Trade-in

If you really want to get the most out of your trade-in, consider when you trade your vehicle in. For example, right now would be an amazing time to trade in your vehicle due to the chip shortage, causing major inventory shortages globally. Dealerships are struggling to maintain inventory so they’re in a position where they need to pay top dollar for used vehicles. This inventory shortage won’t last forever so if you know you have to trade your vehicle in the next year it may make sense to do it sooner than later.

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