4 Tips for Getting the Most From Your Trade-In

trade in value

Trade-ins are a unique opportunity to save some serious money when you're buying a new car. To make the most out of this opportunity, you need to know how to make your trade-in as attractive as possible, and how to negotiate the deal so you save the most money. You're not alone; many people successfully negotiate trade-ins every day, so learn a few tips and head to your preferred dealership.

Clean the Car

Clean your car

Wash your car thoroughly. Not the kind of wash that you drive through and then sit there. Get out your hose, your buckets, and your cleaning supplies and give your car a good scrub. You can vacuum and tidy the inside, too, but don't take everything out of your car. That makes you look too eager to sell it; leaving some of your stuff in the glove box and the back seat makes it look like you're more willing to shop around for the best trade-in deal. Which you should be!

Fix Minor Problems

Minor Repairs

Take a look at the scratches and dents in your car's body. Dents are surprisingly cheap to fix, and you can take your car to a detailer or a body shop to get those straightened out. Scratches are a little tougher, because paint damage costs more to repair and it might not raise the price of your car enough for you to bother. However, try buffing the scratches before you take your car to the dealer. Sometimes, scratches will buff out or will appear less severe once you've treated them with a little TLC.

Do Your Own Appraisal

You won't be able to determine exactly what your trade-in is worth because you're not a professional mechanic or dealer. However, you can use several internet tools to determine a price range for your car that's relatively accurate. This way, you'll know if a dealer is offering you a good deal or is trying to buy it at a price that's too low. Plus, when you know what gives your car value, you'll be able to bring that up in negotiation as evidence that your car is worth more.

Negotiating to Your Advantage

When you have a trade-in, dealers want to put two transactions into one big transaction: you selling them your trade-in and you buying your new car. Dealerships will often offer you a higher value on a trade-in, but recoup the cost when they sell you your new car. Negotiate the price of your new car first. Get that finished with and then mention your trade-in. They're going to ask you if you're trading in a vehicle when you begin the transaction, but don't answer the question. Just focus on the new car first. You want negotiations to happen in two transactions because you get the best deal that way.

Many people trade their car in at the same dealership where they're buying a new car, but you don't have to do it that way. Choose the method and the deal that's right for you.

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