When it comes time to buy a new car, some people sell their old one while others use it for a trade-in. While selling usually brings the best price, trading in a vehicle is a lot less hassle. The dealership usually handles all of the paperwork for the trade-in, and all you have to do is sign on the dotted line. Dealerships won’t pay as much for trade-ins due to the costs incurred in selling them, but you can get a fair price by prepping your car for the trade beforehand.

Clean sells, so clean your car, inside and out. Wash and wax the exterior. Vacuum and dust the interior. Clean the engine and top off the fluids. Car still not up to your standards? Have it detailed. While it will cost you, a good detail job can get you hundreds more in trade-in value.

Condition sells, so make sure your car is in good condition. Have your vehicle inspected by a quality mechanic and make any necessary minor repairs. Have the oil changed and the tires rotated. Gather your maintenance records, along with a vehicle history report and an inspection report, to prove that you have indeed taken care of your car.

Do your homework and research the trade-in value of your car. There are several websites to assist you with this endeavor and you will probably uncover a low, average and high retail value. Don’t overestimate the trade-in value of your car. Chances are the dealership will give you the average trade-in value, unless it has a lot of wear and tear. In that case, you might receive a low trade-in value.

Once you know the trade-in value, you can determine where the best deals are and negotiate a good deal. If the price offered for your trade-in seems too low, you can use the knowledge and documentation you have gathered to get a better deal.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: