Things to Know if You Are Trading In Your Vehicle

April 27th, 2022 by

If you’re preparing to trade in your vehicle, it’s important to learn its worth and know how much you owe on it before buying a new car. Becoming knowledgeable about your vehicle can help you feel more confident when you initiate the trade-in process. Trading in your vehicle is typically a big decision, but it brings many benefits, such as saving you money. Before you contact a dealership, consider learning about a few tips and tricks to ensure that you receive the maximum value for your trade.

Understanding Your Car’s Value

Rows of Cars at a Car Dealership

Rows of Cars at a Car Dealership” Licensed Under “CC By-SA 2.0” by EveryCarListed P

Most dealerships determine your car’s value by referencing a variety of different resources. Some of these resources are available to the public, such as Kelley Blue Book. To determine the value that a dealership might offer you, consider using a resource like this. It’s helpful to know your vehicle’s make, model, mileage, and condition when accessing these websites.

When you trade-in your car at a dealership, it becomes part of the transaction when you buy or lease a new vehicle. Most dealerships require that you put any equity from your trade-in toward your new car instead of buying your old vehicle outright. If a dealership does buy your vehicle outright, then it’s referred to as a sale instead of a trade-in. There are four common types of prices you may encounter when trading in your car:

Wholesale Price 

Your vehicle’s wholesale price is its auction price. This is typically the lowest price you may see when analyzing your car’s trade-in value. Some dealerships buy cars at auctions and resell them, and they pay the wholesale value. This is also the price they would pay if they bought the vehicle from a manufacturer.

Trade-In Value

Your trade-in value is the amount of money a dealer offers you toward the purchase price of another new or used car. This price may rank higher than the wholesale price, but you can usually expect a similar value. This value often depends on the current demand for your type of vehicle and its overall condition at the time of trade-in.

Private Sale Price

This is the amount of money you could possibly expect from selling your vehicle privately to another person. Many people use online platforms and social media websites to sell their vehicles. This price may be slightly higher than a trade-in value, but private sales typically require more time, effort, and money than a trade-in sale.

Retail Price

This is the average price you can expect to pay for a new vehicle at a car dealership. Many dealerships determine the selling price by adding the cost of the car and its markup.

Tips for Trading in Your Car

Here are a few tips that may help you better prepare to trade in your vehicle:

Stage Your Vehicle

“Staging” your vehicle means performing a thorough cleaning of the interior, exterior, and engine. Cleaning your vehicle before taking it to the dealer not only presents a good first impression but also reflects on how you treated the car overall. Consider throwing away any trash, vacuuming the floors and seats, wiping down surfaces, and cleaning the windows. Take the vehicle to a car wash or wash and wax the car yourself to remove any dirt or grime. Cleaning the engine also typically helps rid any grime or grease that has built up over time.

Make Small Repairs

You may consider making small cosmetic or mechanical repairs to increase its value after a dealer appraises it. This may include getting small, exterior dings fixed or removing stains from interior upholstery. This tip usually only applies to cars with less than 50,000 miles on them. Vehicles with higher mileages often go straight to auction, where the appearance of the car isn’t as important.

Find and Organize Records

Before selling your vehicle, locate any records and receipts you possess related to the car. When you arrive at the dealership, you can show these to the dealer as proof of all the purchases and repair work done on the car. Keeping track of these records can also be helpful if the dealer has questions regarding the condition of an engine component or another area of the car. Even if the dealership discards these records after you trade your car in, it initially shows how you took care of your vehicle.

Do Some Research

One of the most important parts of preparation before trading your vehicle is researching the value of similar vehicles with the same mileage to determine a similar value for your car. Consider monitoring car sales websites as well so you may follow your car model’s auction price. When you go to a dealership, bring this research with you. It may help you receive the highest price for your car because you have proof of its value. It may also help you establish a price for your trade-in quicker and reduce the need for price haggling.

Look Around for Promotions

You may receive more value for your vehicle if local dealerships provide special promotions for trade-ins. Consider also visiting the dealership at the end of the month when sales quota deadlines approach. The dealership typically bases its offer for your vehicle on factors such as current inventory levels and the likelihood the car will sell. This means you may receive different values at different dealerships, so you may benefit from visiting competing dealerships to determine a better deal.

Prepare to Walk Away

If a deal doesn’t satisfy you, don’t be afraid to walk away and seek a better one. Never feel pressured to go through with it. Preparing yourself before going to a dealership typically helps you gain the knowledge and resources to achieve the deal you want. You may find a good deal on your car by following any of the steps above.

Here at Miami Car Credit, we want to make sure you receive the best value possible for your vehicle. We make it easy to receive a fast quote for your vehicle online through our website. If you have any questions about our process, contact us today and we’ll be happy to help.

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