How To Get The Most Money For Your Used Car Trade In



If you’re buying a new car, there’s a good chance you’ll be getting rid of your old one. The two things people usually do to get rid of their old car are to sell it on their own, or trade it in to the new car dealer as partial payment for their new car purchase. Selling your used car will probably make you the most money, but it’s also a headache. Trading in your car to a dealer is much easier, but you’ll also get less for your car. Dealers take used cars as trade ins with the intent of reselling them.  Since they need to make a profit on the resale, they won’t be able to pay full retail for a used car. While you won’t get the same value for your trade in as you would doing a private sale, there are some things you can do to maximize the credit you get when trading in your old car.


  • Know Your Used Car’s Value - In order to make a good deal to trade in your car, you’ll need to know its “trade in” value, the typical going rate to trade the same car as yours (same make, model, year, mileage, color, options etc…) Kelley Blue Book and NADA both have tools you can use online to get an idea of your vehicle’s trade in value, as well as typical retail value.


  • Pick The Right Time Of Year - The easier it is for a dealer to resell your used car, the more money you’ll get on trade in. How easy it is to sell certain types of vehicles is heavily dependent on the time of year. People are more likely to buy convertibles and and high powered sports cars in the summer when the weather is nice. Conversely, four wheel drive SUVs are in high demand during winter in snowy regions. To maximize your car’s trade in value, make sure to trade it in during a season when it will be in higher demand.


  • Clean It Up - An easy thing to do to get the most for your trade in is one that’s often overlooked by people. Clean your car. Making your car look more presentable can help get you a better deal. You don’t have to go crazy doing it. A basic washing / waxing along with cleaning the glass and vacuuming the interior and cleaning out junk will do the job.  However, be sure not to take out all of your personal effects from the car. Dealer’s will check out and test drive your car before making a trade in offer. Letting them see your car completely cleaned out of personal items will signal to the dealer that you’re anxious to get into a new car and make it harder for you to negotiate.


  • Fix Small Problems - If there are any minor problems with your car, such as a non-functioning window, worn tires, or small dents, you should have those taken care of before going to the dealer. A dealer would have to fix problems like those before they could resell your car. It’s better for you to have them fixed beforehand, otherwise the dealer will take the problems into account before making a trade in offer.


The above tips are all pretty easy. Follow them, and you’ll be sure to get the best deal trading in your used car.

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