A topic that is of great concern when it’s time to step up to a new vehicle is finding the best car trade value. Any honest car dealer will tell you the best way to get the most money for your used car is to sell privately. However, deals that sometimes come along with car trade ins can be too tempting to pass up. Regardless of how you choose to part with your old vehicle, there are a few ways you can get the most out of your investment:
First, figure out what you can expect. Be sure to research current price estimates for your car. The Kelley Blue Book , CarMaxand NADA guides are all great places to start your research.
Trade in is the perfect time to take care of any small issues you’ve been putting off. This includes items like light bulbs, missing trim pieces and even interior blemishes.
A clean interior immediately makes any vehicle seem much more inviting. Take time to clean out often neglected areas, such as the trunk, glove-box and any small storage cubbys.
Clean the exterior too. A trip to the car wash only takes a few minutes, but will make sure a carefully maintained exterior doesn’t go unnoticed.
Take a peek under the hood to make sure things are in order. If you do your own work, make sure all hoses and wiring harnesses are in their factory locations.
Don’t be scared to spend a little money to make sure everything is running properly at the time of the final sale. Tires, brakes and light tuneup work are all cheap ways to help make your car stand out.
Many automotive detailing shops use a low pressure hose along with a degreaser (Simple Green is a good choice) to clean engine compartments. A quick soak with your cleaner of choice, followed by a gentle rinse, should easily remove years of accumulated gunk.
Don’t get discouraged if you’re considering a trade with a car dealer and are unable to meet your price expectations. You can always sell to a private party or check another dealership.
Obviously these steps won’t add thousands of dollars to the value of a car that has had a hard life, but they can certainly be used to make sure all parties know what to expect from a trade. At the very least they’ll make sure you have a clean car to drive while shopping.