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Car dealerships may have plenty of tricks up their sleeves when it comes to swaying a sale in their favor. But knowing how to set your trade-in apart from the rest can help you save when you’re shopping for a new car. And comparing offers can help you get the best deal available to you.
Before you visit a dealership to trade your car for a new one, start taking steps to ensure you maintain or enhance your car’s value.
Market fluctuations influence how much a used car is worth at any given time. There are a few factors that influence this:
The type of car you’re looking to sell matters, too. A convertible won’t sell as well during the winter, and a truck won’t be worth as much when gas prices are high. Check used car comparison websites like Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds to get an idea of what your car sells for in your area — knowing the current market will help you get a good deal.
The simplest way to keep your car’s resale value high is to take good care of it while you’re the owner.
If there are some small issues with your car that won’t cost you an arm and a leg to fix, bring it to the mechanic. Investing a little now could get you a better price down the road. Fixing glaring issues — or even just buffing out minor dings — can increase your trade-in’s value.
Don’t visit a dealership without thinking about how your current car looks. If it’s scratched, been parked under a tree and hasn’t been washed in months, it’s hardly going to look like an attractive trade-in prospect to the dealer.
With this in mind, get your car into the best possible shape before stepping up to the negotiating table.
With that said, don’t bring it in too clean. Having too clean a car can make it look like you’re hiding something and might actually get you a worse deal.
This is the part where most people trip up. While you’re excited to get behind the wheel of your new car as soon as possible, the salesperson is a professional negotiator who will do whatever they can to get the best possible deal. Stand your ground and use the prices you researched as ammunition to increase the value of your trade-in and pay less on your next vehicle.
You may also want to shop around. Getting a quote from two or three dealerships can greatly increase your negotiating power, so be prepared to spend the day haggling. Once you settle on a dealership, you’ll be able to use the quotes from other dealers to get a good deal.
Keep the following tips in mind to ensure that you get the best trade-in deal.
Trading in your car might be worth it if you don’t have the time to find a private buyer and are comfortable negotiating with a dealer. It cuts down on the time and effort it might otherwise take to sell your car and it keeps everything in one place. But you won’t necessarily get the best deal this way.
You may want to trade in your car if
Trading in may also be the easiest option if you’re upside down on your car loan. With a trade-in, you can often roll the balance of your old car loan into a new one if you still owe money. It’s easier than paying it off yourself, but you risk going upside down on your new loan, too.
You may want to sell privately if
If you want to get on the road without a headache, then a trade-in will be the better choice. If you have time to search for buyers and list your car, you can earn more by making a private sale. It’s all about choosing the avenue that works best for your situation.
When you’re looking to get the best value for your trade in, keep these three factors in mind:
Follow these steps to swap your current car for a new (or used) vehicle at a dealership:
Trading in your old vehicle can help you afford a new one. But it can be a time-consuming process, and it certainly won’t be all you need to finance your next set of wheels. Read our guide to car loans to see what kind of rates you may be eligible for.
Image source: Shutterstock
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