Getting the Most from Your Used-Car Trade-In

If you are considering trading in your vehicle, it helps to know what to expect. Look at your own car as if you were getting ready to buy it. Even though the car is used to you, it is going to be new to someone else. Clean goes a long way toward displaying a vehicle. You can take it to a detail shop or there are many products offered in the store to revive the interior. A deep dusting and shampoo will do the job for the upholstery. Then, exterior wash and wax works great to bring back luster to the paint. If you want to get rid of the small dents and dings, it is a good idea to take the car to a body shop and have them do the minor repairs.

Before you arrive at the dealership, don’t forget to remove your personal belongings, like your garage door opener and your favorite pair of sun glasses. As you clean out the glove box, be sure to leave important information like maintenance records to the car so you can present them to the dealership. Maintenance records hold BIG value
to the dealership as proof that the car has been well maintained. You should also make sure you have the owner’s manual. If you do not have one, you can
always call a dealership to order one.

You can get a general idea about what you car is worth by visiting When you get to the dealership, they will walk around your car checking the body condition, paint job, tires, look under the hood, check the quality of the interior and take a test drive. Which brings up the trade-in tip: be honest! If you have been in a fender bender or have had substantial work done to your car, let the dealership know upfront. They will be pulling up a Vehicle History Report (AutoCheck or Carfax) on the car anyway and it is better they know and not get surprised by the vehicle’s history.

Lastly, beware of any emotional attachment you may have to the vehicle. Yes, this may sound odd, but you are more likely to be open-minded to the trade-in offer if you do not consider the car a part of your family. The goal of the dealership is not to offend you with the trade-in offer. It is to offer fair value based on simple economics and facts.

Following these easy steps should take so much pressure off of your car shopping experience! There are many tools on to help as you search for a new or used vehicle and also to value your vehicle.