Vehicle Trade-in Options

Making the Most of Your Vehicle Trade-in Options

Securing a vehicle trade-in can go a long way towards getting a good deal on a new car, but this only happens under normal conditions. First of all, nobody should expect to get from a dealer the same value for their trade-in car as if they were selling it themselves. In fact, expect them to give you a lowball offer initially. However, you can improve your deal considerable by just remembering to take a few things into account.

  • Know the real value of the trade-in car. If a dealer gets a hint that you don't know the real value of the car you are offering as a trade-in, they are not going to do you the favor of telling you. That is why this is something you need to research on your own. AutoTrader, Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds.com are some of the most reputable sources available. They can be used to determine the true value of your car so that you know whether the deal is fair or not.
  • Give the car a makeover. Try to think like a salesman and do everything you can in order to show the car in a good light. A good cleaning and a waxing is sometimes enough to make a good first impression. Obviously, a dealer is not likely to be fooled by such a trick, but he might appreciate the initiative and the fact that you are making it easier for him to sell the car.
  • Find the right place and the right time. The value of a car fluctuates based on the time and place. You have to realize that a dealer is interested in how fast he can resell your vehicle and for how much. Consequently, certain cars will not always get you the same deal. For example, it wouldn't be wise to trade in a convertible during a snowy winter. It is not going to secure a good offer since it would be hard to sell at that point in time. Take the same car in the summer when convertibles are popular and things change.
  • Use the sales tax. This option is not available everywhere, but it is in most states. If you use a vehicle trade-in, you can pay the sales tax on the value of the new vehicle minus the value of the trade-in. Considering that the sales tax is anywhere between 9% and 11% in most states, this reduction is substantial.