5 Tips to Boost Your Car’s Trade-In Value Substantially
Before you go to a dealer and trade in your car, you need to know how to prepare your car for trade-in. It is important because poor preparation of the car for its “big day” can cost you thousands of dollars. The main focus for this whole preparation is “the better it looks, the more it pays.”
Before we start with the tips for increasing the trade-in value of a car, we need to know how trade-in works and what earns the car its value.
How Does Car Trade-In Work?
When you want to buy a new car, you can go to the dealership and give them the old car. They will adjust its resale price in the price of the new car. This is called trading in.
The factors that can increase the car’s value at the time of trade-in include:
- The body condition of the car
- The internal condition of the car
- The miles on the odometer
- The condition of the engine and suspension
- The documents of the car
That’s pretty much all that can make or break a trade deal. With that out of the way, let’s see what to do before trading in.
How to Increase The Resale Value Of Your Car At The Time Of Trade-In?
Here are some of the tips that can increase the value of your car when trading in.
1. Get An Estimate of the Car’s Worth
You cannot get a fair price for something if you don’t know what it’s worth. You can have an idea of the worth of your car from one of the following sources.
- Go to online car trading websites and search for your make, model, and model year. Get an idea of what those things are being traded for.
- Visit a dealer and have your car evaluated.
- If the car is in good shape, compare it to the value of a new one and apply depreciation to get an estimate of its worth.
2. Get the Car into Good Shape
One of the most important things that influence the resale value of your car is how it looks. The things you need to take care of before going to a dealer to trade in the car include:
- Give the car a thorough wash. Does a clean car definitely help the trade-in value? Make sure the car is in the cleanest possible state.
- If the bodywork has any minor scratches, dents, or other imperfections, fix them. You can learn more about this below.
- The interior is also important. Give it a thorough cleaning, and replace any missing trim pieces.
- Open the hood and clean the engine. Any leaking grease or oil will decrease the value of the car. Get rid of them.
Remember, the best way to trade in a vehicle is to make it look awesome when you go to trade it in. If it is possible for you, detail the car before trade-in.
Pro Tip: Don’t get the car out of the service station and drive right to the dealer. Doing this will give you away. Drive it for a couple of days to make it look like it is a naturally clean and well-cared-for car.
3. Get the Engine Right
The engine is the heart of the car and any fault in it will obviously decrease the trade-in value of the car. Before you go for trade-in make sure that:
- The engine is clean and has no oil or grease on it.
- The engine sounds normal. If it doesn’t, get it fixed.
- No check engine light is showing up.
- The engine and suspension oils are topped up and are in good condition.
- You have the details of any engine repairs done on your car.
- Include the engine in the detailing deal if you get the car detailed before trade-in.
Be advised that the trade-in value for a car with a bad engine is significantly lower than that of a car with a good engine.
4. Collect all the Things Needed to Trade in Your Car
Before you go to trade in your car, you need to have all the things that can add value to the car. The things that you should take with you include:
- All the documents of the car including the proof of ownership, bank lease documents, and any other certificate or paper of legal importance.
- The logbook of the car (if you have maintained one).
- The master key and the duplicate key for the car.
- Any accessories like the spare wheel, jack, or any other tools that came with the car.
- The warranty papers if the car is still covered.
- Maintenance records of the car if it was maintained by the manufacturer or a good mechanic.
5. When You Do it, You Do it calmly
In the end, it all comes down to a game of nerves. If the dealer suspects you are anxious about the deal, they can take advantage of it. Make it feel like this deal is casual for you. We know that is easier said than done, but here’s some advice:
- Keep some of your personal belongings in the car. This will give the impression that you are just getting an idea and are not very eager to trade-in.
- No matter how good a deal you are offered, bargain.
- Get estimates from three or four separate dealers and quote the other ones to get a better deal.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. It is a good thing to detail your car before you trade in. However, be sure to spend a week in the car after detailing. It is not good to tell the dealer that you just got it detailed.
You can trade in a car that needs work, but it will give you a lower value.
There’s no law about that. But cleaning the car can increase its trade-in value.
The things you need include the paperwork for the car and any of the accessories that came with it.