How to Get the Most Money for Your Vehicle Trade-In

What is the trade-in value of a vehicle?

A car’s trade-in value is applied to the purchase price of the new car, which can keep the new car payment and sales tax lower. While the trade-in value of a car won’t be as much as you could get if you sold the car to a private buyer, many people appreciate the time and hassle saved by trading a car to the same dealer when purchasing a new car.  In this article, we’ll explain how trade-in values are determined and the ways you can prepare your car for a trade-in that increase the value without costing you much. Finally, we’ll make sure you’re ready with an updated auto insurance plan for your new car.

How is trade-in value determined?

Trade-in value is determined by many factors, including mileage, physical and mechanical condition of the car, demand for the make and model and any repairs the dealership may have to do in order to resell your vehicle. You can determine your car’s trade-in value by using online tools such as Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, Carvana, Carmax and others. Make sure to be honest about the condition of the car when using online tools. This information will be important when it comes time to negotiate your trade. If the dealership tries to offer you an amount that isn’t adequate, you can use these numbers to show its worth.

Tips to Get the Best Value from Your Trade-In

Repairing small mechanical or cosmetic problems before trading the vehicle can make several hundred dollars difference when it comes to the value of your trade-in and could definitely be worth your while. Here are some tips for how to get the most money from your trade-in.

  • Wash and detail. A clean car, inside and out, can make a huge difference when a dealership is determining the value. If you take the time to clean the carpets, seats, dash and other surfaces, it could get you a little extra money for the car.
  • Follow-up on vehicle recalls. If your vehicle has had any recalled parts or problems, have those fixed prior to trade-in. Those repairs should be free.
  • Have dents or cracks repaired. If there are dents or dings in the body of your car, it could be worth the money to have those repaired before a trade-in. Similarly, if there are chips or cracks you haven’t yet repaired in your windshield, now is the perfect time to repair or replace them.. 
  • Provide a vehicle history report. Provide a vehicle history report (such as Carfax) and maintenance records to show the car has been well maintained.
  • Negotiate trade separately. Many dealerships will want to negotiate the trade and new car purchase at the same time, but you can insist on keeping the negotiations separate and get the agreed trade in value in writing before you start talking about the new car.

Need to update your auto insurance after trading in your car? SelectQuote can help.

The most exciting part of trading in a car is getting a new one, so make sure you can drive it with peace of mind. SelectQuote’s experienced licensed insurance agents can help you review your coverage and answer any questions you have about purchasing or switching car insurance. At SelectQuote, we search trusted insurance carriers to find the coverage to fit your needs and budget, saving you time and money.

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