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What To Take Care Of When Trading In Your Car

Trading in your old car, when purchasing a new one, is almost a requirement. It eliminates an extra car in the driveway, gives you cash to put towards your purchase and can even knock down the amount of money on which you pay sales tax. However, many consumers don't know how trades are figured and leave with a bad taste in their mouths when the trade doesn't seem to be going the way they think it should. What is involved with determining the worth of your trade in? Let's take a look:


Perceived Value

Most consumers assume that because they saw a certain value listed for their car, it is automatically worth that amount. The Internet is full of information about car prices. If a consumer sees a high price for his or her model, they usually assume their car is worth this much. This is not true. There is a host of factors that go into what a dealer will give you on your trade in.

  • Paintwork: No matter what kind of car you have, if you have had paintwork in the past, the trade in value is very low.
  • Low Demand: If you drive a car that the dealer already has five of on the lot, you will not get a good trade in value.
  • Less Than Desirable: If you drive a car that most consumers would not purchase, you will not receive a good trade value.


Blue Book Value

Many consumers believe that because Kelley's Blue Book or the Black Book lists their vehicle with a certain value, they will receive that amount from a dealership. This is patently untrue.


So, what makes a good trade in?

  • A car that has been well maintained, with no paint or bodywork visible.
  • A car that the dealer does not have on the lot and is in high demand in the marketplace.
  • A domestic with low mileage that has curb appeal.
  • High-line imports with moderate to low mileage.

Remember, the dealer is in business to make money. Used car values are based on many different factors, many of those no more than opinion. If your trade in vehicle is not something that the dealer can resell easily, you will not receive much money for it. That said, most trades have some room for negotiation, though not very much. Haggle with care!

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