Shop Smart: Five Tricks for Trading In Your Car

By trading in your vehicle, you ensure the best deal in one single transaction. Like most large purchases, there are some do’s and don’ts to the transaction. If you are ready to trade in your car, there are some important steps to getting the best deal. Here are a few ways to avoid getting ripped off.

Don’t Say "Trade"

When you start working with a dealership, there is no obligation to state up front that you want to trade in your car. You can go there with your financing already approved elsewhere, which is recommended by many car sites such as You can listen to their sales pitch and work out a figure. Once you think you have the best deal on the table, you then say "I have decided that I want to trade." At this point, be ready with the value. Dealers will negotiate better when they do not know you are trading in your vehicle.

Know the Value

Before you go, find out the basic value of your car via a site such as Kelley Blue Book. You can find more information on your model and automaker at KBB, Edmunds, Car and Driver, AutoGuide and more. There are tangible ways to prove its intrinsic worth such as stellar safety ratings, automaker reputation for longevity, and advanced technology despite its age. Trim level, dashboard tech, and luxury features such as leather seating are other factors. This knowledge will help you keep your mind clear when a dealer argues about your car’s worth.

Demonstrate the Options

In the car ads, find cars of a similar year/make to yours. You should look at their Blue Book values versus the advertised cost. You can strengthen your bargaining position by demonstrating that you know how much used cars are worth. Arming yourself with verifiable facts will strengthen your bargaining power.

Show the Value

If you keep records on maintenance and repairs, put that together in a folder. You don’t need to show it until you have a figure. As soon as a trade-in amount is proposed, get your folder and demonstrate that this car has been well-cared for. Perhaps you have purchased tires recently. That can help you negotiate a higher trade in amount. Dealerships will appreciate this information because it will make the car easier to sell. They will be happy to work with you and your information.

Put Your Best Tire Forward

Take time to detail the car inside and out. It may be worth paying a professional for how much it will increase your trade in value. Many times old carpet can look like new after the application of a $5 bottle of carpet shampoo. Be sure to use one that is specifically for cars, and follow the instructions carefully.

When you pull into a dealership, be armed with knowledge, and do not give them your keys before you feel good about the trade-in deal.

Information credited to National Transmission, Red Deer, Alberta Transmission

Carsurfer Admin

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