The Ultimate Guide To Car Trade-Ins

December 13, 2021

Car manufacturers roll out various models with different capabilities from time to time. As a car enthusiast, this can lead you to weigh the available options and trade-in your car for a new one.

There are several options you can sell your car. One is by using your network to let others know you’re selling and then wait for a buyer to come along, while the other is through a trade-in at a car yard. Considerably, the second option looks more viable, but you may need to determine the value of your car.

Determining Your Car’s Value

On average, five factors can determine the value of your car. These are:

  1. Its make and model,
  2. Its year of manufacture;
  3. Its mileage;
  4. Its condition; and
  5. Its market desirability.

Having a car with a newer year of manufacture can sell more quickly than older ones, while the make and model of your vehicle can affect desirability too. A popular model can have more desirability, and thus, you can get a higher value. Finally, if you take good care of your car, its condition can be good enough to get a better deal.

Finding A Trade-In Yard

The next step is finding a trade-in yard. Most trade-in yards deal with new and pre-owned cars, which can be easy. But for the most part, trade-in yards are willing to take any vehicle as long as it has good value.

Getting A Good Trade-In Deal

Before you take your car to the trade-in yard, a few steps can help you get a good deal. Here are some of them:

  • Fix Any Mechanical Problems

Rather than taking the chance of a minor mechanical problem passing through inspection, you are better off taking care of it. For example, you may often overlook the warning lights on your dashboard, but once you decide to trade in your car, this can determine whether you get a good value or not.

By taking a trip to your mechanic, you can ensure a thorough diagnosis of your car. You can also fix any minor issues yourself and consult your mechanic for the major ones. This way, the trade-in dealer won’t have to factor in any mechanical repairs your car may need afterward.

Remember: your car’s condition is one of the several factors determining its value. Thus, it must be in mint condition. Apart from giving your car a better deal, it gives you higher grounds for negotiation.

  • Visual Appeal Always Wins

For the most part, a buyer’s interest is first visual, than technical. Trade-in dealers also assess every car’s aesthetic, so if your vehicle doesn’t get a second look, you may not be able to get a good deal out of it. To remedy this, you may consider giving your car a good makeover.

By staging your car, you give it an excellent first impression and add value to it. Without knowing, you may have already started doing this as you provide your vehicle its much-deserved essential  maintenance. You can also work hand in hand with your local car wash to give your engine an extra sparkle. In doing so, you can ensure there is no grease or dust when you pop the hood.

  • Shop Around

Behind every trade, negotiation is a profit margin. Therefore, you may have to move from one car dealership to another to get a better bargain. Remember that the dealer looks at getting a more considerable marginal difference between your old car and the new car, so you need to reduce this margin as much as possible.

Aside from this, shopping around gives you a chance to compare prices. In the end, you may get a good deal after spending more time walking around.

  • Negotiate Separately

Whereas the car dealership may want an all-inclusive bargain, negotiate each car separately. By this, it means you get the value of your vehicle and agree on its final pricing first. After that, you can negotiate the price of the new car.

Generally, car dealers know that negotiating the two cars in one deal can better profit margin. This is why you need to avoid the cars from becoming a package deal as you may not get a good bargain.

  • Time Your Sale

External factors like the time of the year and the cost of gas may affect the value and demand of your car. For instance, you may fetch more value selling a four-by-four truck during winter than in the summer. And if fuel prices are high, it may be easier to sell a hybrid or electric car. Overall, you need to look at the market behavior and its effects on your car’s value.

  • Keep Your Service Receipts

After every visit to the mechanic, it’s best to keep your receipts as you can use these as proof of every major and minor service done on your car. For example, wheel alignment and new tires can help you leverage the value of your vehicle, especially if it’s within a five-month window.


Over time, several factors can lead to your new car purchase. With the above guidelines, you can ensure that you get a value bargain for the switch. Always consider that a trade-in dealership looks at getting a good profit margin. For this reason, you need these background preparations and thus increase your bargaining power.