Posted on: Sep. 12, 2017 in Cars, Car Loans

If you have a car that you no longer want, trading it in can be an easy way to get rid of it. It can also act like a down payment if you don’t have the cash on hand to make one. Even if you do have money to put down on a new car, trading in your existing vehicle can help you further offset the cost of a new one.


What do you need to know before you trade in your car? Here’s some advice:

Before you even go to the dealership, there are some things you should handle. First, clean your car inside and out. You’ll want to make a good first impression on the person who will evaluate your vehicle. Next, do a little homework to see what your car is worth. Cars.com, Kelley Blue Book, and Edmunds can help you figure out the value. Finally, gather up any paperwork you have including maintenance records and the car’s title, as well as accessories, extra keys, and any other item that came with the car.

Once you’re at the dealer, they’ll decide how much to offer you for the trade. They’ll check out the car both cosmetically and mechanically to see what condition it’s in. They may decide to test drive the car as well. They’ll also run the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) to see if it is flagged for any reason a history database. All of these factors will be used to determine how much they feel your car is worth.

The value of the car isn’t the only thing that is taken into consideration on a trade-in. Depending on the dealer’s current inventory of used cars, they may raise or lower their offer. If they are very overstocked on cars similar to yours, they may decide to decline the trade.

After the dealer makes you an offer, you can either accept it, decline it, or negotiate. You don’t have to accept the offer the dealer presents to you. If you have your eyes set on a particular vehicle on the lot, you may want to negotiate the price of that car down if you can’t get the dealer to give you more for your current vehicle. Keep in mind that your car is worth what it’s worth, so while it may seem tempting to offer to trade it in at a variety of dealerships, you may end up just wasting time rather than getting a remarkably better car.

One thing you’ll want to keep in mind is that if you owe anything on the vehicle you’re trading in, you’ll still need to pay it off. Therefore, it’s critical that you not accept an offer on your vehicle that is for less than any outstanding debts you have on it. The more equity you have in the car, the better off you’ll be when it’s time to trade it in.

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