Everybody wants the most money for their trade-in when they’re getting a new truck or car. Here are the specific steps you can take to increase the value of your trade-in and ensure you’re getting the maximum amount.
Secure your trade-in’s value from day one.
You can begin to increase the potential value of your trade-in long before the time comes to bring it to the dealership.
- Staying on top of regular maintenance items such as oil changes, tire rotations, brake jobs, and other preventive measures will increase your car’s value by extending its lifespan.
- Be sure to document all maintenance and repairs in your car’s service manual.
- If you always have the dealership you bought your car from handle maintenance work, that same dealership should be your first stop when it comes to trading in that vehicle. A dealer that is familiar with the work done on the car will be more inclined to provide a favorable valuation.
Pro Tip: Once you’ve traded in your old car, it’s never too early to think about the trade-in value of your new car.
Save all your repair and maintenance receipts.
If you complete any major repairs or purchase any big-ticket items (like new tires) within six months of trading in your car, be sure to save your receipts.
Document everything and you’ll have a better chance of leveraging your expenses as an investment in the car.
Use online tools to appraise your trade-in’s value.
Be honest with yourself about your car’s trade-in condition. The more forthright you are when using online appraisal tools, the better off you’ll be when it comes time to trade it in. Very often, people come into the dealership with an overly-optimistic idea of what their car is worth, only to find that reality is less optimistic.
If you’ve got a relationship with a dealer, ask them to appraise your car.
There’s absolutely no charge and the trust you’ve developed over the years equates to a number you both can live with.
If you don’t have a relationship with a dealer, shop around.
Having multiple trade-in offers will help you understand your vehicle’s actual value. With that number in hand, you’re less likely to be talked into taking less for your trade-in when you’re buying your new car.
Trading in your car means you are trading in everything that goes along with it. Make sure the original owner’s manual and any extra keys are in the vehicle when you arrive at the dealership. Dealers like used cars that still have all the accessories and may even give you a better deal on your trade when everything is there.
Bonus Tip: Bring all vehicle paperwork with you.
Dealers love it when you have all the documents ready to trade-in your car. It makes it easier for them to process your info with the DMV and leaves less room for error once the DMV receives your information.
You will need:
- Certificate of title (if you don’t have it, the DMV can tell you how to get it replaced). Note: if you have an outstanding loan on the vehicle, this will not apply since the bank has your certificate of title.
- Current registration.
- If you still have a loan on the car, you’ll need to have your account number or a payment stub.
- Maintenance records. These help support your claims about whatever prior damage your car has had and the repairs it has undergone.