Want optimal value on your car trade-in? While itís often better to sell your car to a private party than head to a dealership in order to get the most money, sometimes the time and effort involved just arenít worth it. The year, make and model, condition, and mileage on the vehicle all determine value and demand.
Determine the mileage and condition of your car, and the vehicleís popularity. Naturally, you can find your mileage on your odometer and you know if your car is covered with scratches and scrapes or the upholstery is torn. With your personal knowledge to support you, visit a website like Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds.com to get an estimate of the trade-in value of your car. Note the difference between private sale price and trade-in value. Also, be aware that trade-in value is based on the location you reside in. Itís also a good idea to look at local newspapers and online sales sites to see what vehicles like yours are selling for in your area.
With this information in hand, you should consider that most car dealers will want to make 2 to 4% per transaction. Factor that amount in to the trade-in price value as well. Naturally, if your vehicle requires substantial refurbishing, that cost will also be deducted from your trade-in value.
With this information in hand, if youíre heading to the dealership with a vehicle, here are five top tips to improve your trade-in value.
1. Vehicle Maintenance. Naturally, the better your carís condition the better the trade in value. But since youíre trading this car in, you donít need to attend to every single detail. Make sure youíll actually increase your vehicleís selling price by enough to cover the cost of repairs. In other words, balance the cost of that brake job by how much money it will get you in trade-in.
2. Vehicle Appearance. Sometimes its all in the details - as in detailing the car for a minor cost to make it look shiny and new. Over all dents and dings lower the carís value. Small dent and ding removal can be inexpensive and greatly improve the value. Whether you take your ride to a professional detailer or car wash, or wax and Armor All yourself, this is a simple and effective way to increase value.
3. Keep track of service documentation. If youíve kept records on your maintenance from tire rotations to body repairs and engine repairs, thatís one thing that dealers like to see. While all of this information is likely present on a Carfax report that the dealership will run, it demonstrates to the dealer that youíve cared about the vehicle if you provide the receipts. This can translate into a larger trade-in value.
4. Engine appearance. Itís not all about detailing the outside of your car or its interior carpet. Whatís under the hood is also important. An inexpensive steam-clean can mean a higher trade-in value as well.
5. Negotiate the selling price after youíve covered the price of your new vehicle. Mention your trade-in last, not first thing. The reason: your car dealership is likely to look at the trade-in as part of the purchase or lease package, causing consumer confusion. Settle the price first, then look at the trade-in cost. If you donít like what you hear, then shop around at a few other dealerships. Sometimes prices vary simply because one dealership has too many of the same type of vehicle on the lot, where another dealership is looking for a trade-in just like yours.