How to Trade in Your Car and Get the Maximum Value
Ready to trade in your used car for new wheels? A little work in advance can boost your odds of driving away happy – both with the car and the transaction. Here are five tips from Nationwide Insurance®:
1. Know the value of your car
When you trade in your car, expect the dealer to offer close to the wholesale price of the car. It’s less than the retail price, of course, because he’ll want to make a profit when he resells it. Therefore, it’s wise to know your car’s value beforehand. How?
- Use print and online tools to determine approximate trade-in value, based on its age, make, model, mileage and condition. A trusted source for prices, values and reviews of new and used cars is Kelley Blue Book.
- Have your vehicle appraised for trade-in at three or four dealers. You’ll get a good idea by averaging the offers and adding 10-15 percent.
- Hire a professional appraiser to inspect your car and give you an estimate.
2. Clean your car
First impressions mean a lot. When you trade in your car, you want it
looking its best in order to get the highest value. Remove all your
belongings and clean the vehicle inside and out. Or consider professional
detailing. Many car washes offer the service.
3. Make minor repairs
Making repairs can often increase trade-in value. But talk with your mechanic about whether the cost of repairs will outweigh the increased trade-in value. At the minimum, perform minor maintenance: Change the oil, top off fluids and replace worn air filters, wiper blades, belts and hoses.
4. Compile the car’s service history
Have you kept your owner’s manual up to date? Or have you saved your receipts for maintenance and repairs? Documenting the vehicle’s service history can increase its value by showing that it’s been well maintained.
5. Prepare a counter-offer
It’s OK to disagree with the dealer’s first offer if you feel it’s too low. Countering is expected, but have data to back up your counter-offer. However, don’t get caught up in the trade-in value of your car, since many dealers will discount the price of the new car for you. And the bottom-line price is really all that matters, right?