General Buying Information

What to Know before You Trade In Your Car


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When a car shopper goes to a lot for purchasing a new or used vehicle, trading in their current ride is always an optionhere are some things to think about when deciding whether you want to trade in a car at the lot.

  • Condition matters - the dealer will be looking at the condition of the vehicle’s interior and exterior. The dealer's shop will fix mechanical problems, but they can't magically erase those stains on the seats, the cigarette burns on the upholstery, or the troublesome dents in random places. Vehicles that have been cosmetically kept up are the best candidates for trade-ins.

  • Every feature will be inspected - the dealer will also be looking for whether all of the features that the vehicle was shipped with are still functional. Don't expect to get away with a high trade-in price for a used vehicle with obvious malfunctioning features. There is a very high probability that your trade-in price will get continually marked down for every bit of wear and tear on the car or truck.

  • Dealer's cost protection - the dealer will include the costs to him or herself in terms of turning that vehicle over for resale. These include all of the paperwork costs, as well as any necessary repairs, and time and energy necessary to make the eventual sale. That's part of what makes a trade-in a less than appealing solution for drivers who are really counting their dollars.

  • The private party option - a private party sale, where a driver sells a used car directly to another driver, is generally a more lucrative sale than a trade-in, which is not really a sale at all, but often a matter of convenience. Before trading in a car for a sub-par price, look at what it can actually get you on the market.

Paying attention to the above factors will help those wrestling with the choice for trading in a vehicle.

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