How to Improve the Value of Your Trade-In 

When the time comes to purchase a new vehicle, many drivers explore trading in their existing cars or trucks. Trade-ins can reduce the cost of buying new vehicles and save drivers the hassle of selling their vehicles on their own. Motorists who think trading in is the best way to unload their current cars can take various steps to improve the trade-in value prior to visiting the dealership.

Know the trade-in market. Some trade-ins may be more valuable than others, even if the cars are relatively similar with regard to mileage. For example, preowned vehicle buyers typically prefer late model vehicles as opposed to cars that are older. This is even more apparent now that many car buyers want smartphone-friendly vehicles that afford them access to the apps and GPS systems on their phones. Drivers who want to get maximum value for their trade-ins may benefit by trading in a year or so earlier than they initially planned, as this will make their cars or trucks more attractive to prospective buyers, which should make it easier for dealerships to sell the vehicle.

Address any issues. Dealerships will offer to tend to any repairs trade-ins may need, but that will come at a cost, which will be reflected in the trade-in value of the car. Vehicle owners should address any issues before taking their vehicles to the dealership. Fix any doors that stick or minor scratches on the vehicle’s exterior, remembering to have the car detailed, washed and waxed. Investigate if any major problems, such as engine troubles, are worth fixing on your own, or if you’re better off receiving less for your trade-in and letting the dealership address such issues.

Keep maintenance records. Maintenance records illustrating that the vehicle was taken care of can help owners get more for their trade-ins. Drivers who intend to trade the vehicle in to the same dealership where the vehicle was purchased should still keep their own maintenance records to eliminate potential problems as they negotiate the trade-in value of their vehicles.

Shop around. Drivers who are not satisfied with the trade-in value assigned by a specific dealership can shop around until they find better offers. Some dealerships may not offer much for a vehicle because they already have a similar car or truck sitting on their lot, while others may jump at the chance to make their preowned inventory more diverse. Exercise patience when shopping around to reduce any frustration that might develop during the negotiation process.

Various factors impact the trade-in value of cars and trucks. When purchasing new cars, vehicle owners can employ various strategies to get the most money for their current automobiles.