Checklist: Get the Most Bang for your Buck on a Trade-In

Drive away with a better car than you traded in.

Drive away with a better car than you traded in.

Whether you are in the market for a new vehicle or will be in the near future, there are a few steps you should take to make sure your current ride is up to par. Trading in a vehicle is a great way to bring down the price of a new set of wheels. However, just because you are getting rid of your current car doesn’t mean you should neglect it before a trade.

Instead, you should put in a bit of work to ensure that whoever you are going to be trading the vehicle to is impressed and willing to give you a better value. If you bring a clunker into a lot and are looking for a trade, you might leave paying more for your new ride than expected. On the other hand, if you put in a bit of work and show up with a clean, properly functioning car, you are destined to be happy when you drive away.

Making sure you get the most bang for your buck doesn’t mean you have to put a bunch of money into the ride, just make sure it is in working order. Consider the following checklist before making your trade in:

“Doing your homework will give you an accurate picture of what your car is worth.”

Do your research

One of the biggest mistakes people make when trading in their vehicle is not checking the value of their car. Having a ballpark price before heading to the lot is important, and also gives you a bit more confidence as you aren’t walking blindly into a potential deal. According to Bankrate, dealers are more likely to give a better deal to those who are knowledgeable about their cars.

Update wear and tear

All cars will experience some wear and tear from being driven – it is just part owning a car. Even if you are a careful driver, you can’t evade harsh weather, other bad drivers, kids throwing baseballs or highway debris. These are common hazards that can leave your car with dents and dings. While they are not often a huge concern for drivers, they can mean a lot when trading in a vehicle, as noted by Kelly Blue Book.  It is worth putting in a few extra dollars here and there to get the dents sucked out, old tires changed out, burnt out light bulbs replaced and any other items that could deter a potential buyer.

Additionally, these improvements should be made on the inside of the vehicle as well.

Clean the car

While this may seem like an obvious notion, it is incredibly important. According to Forbes, you should either take your car to have it cleaned or do it yourself, which could save you a few dollars. But you have to make sure you really clean it inside and out. First impressions matter, and pricing a car is no different. If your car is not clean then a potential trader or buyer is not going to be immediately impressed and instantly consider a lower price.

Fix what’s really broken

If you have a serious problem with your car then you should have it fixed. Trading in a car is a good investment for your future, and putting some money into making sure you get the best deal is a smart play. If something is really wrong and will certainly keep your trading price down, then have it looked at and see if it is worth getting fixed. If so, then you should absolutely do it, as recommended by the United Services Automobile Association.

Don’t think only about your potential new car and getting those keys in a hurry. This will cause you to take whatever you are offered for your current ride, which likely won’t be as much as you want. Instead, take the proper steps to get your car into shape so you can get a better deal on your new vehicle, and drive away from the lot with the windows down and a smile on your face, not to mention a little extra cash in your wallet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *