How to Get the Most Money Out of Your Trade-in

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Megan Foukes is a recent graduate from Indiana University who graduated with a bachelor’s in journalism. Megan works as a content writer for Auto Credit Express and contributes to several automotive and finance blogs.


, - March 21, 2018

To get the most money out of a trade-in, car buyers should do thorough research and spruce up their car before heading to a dealer.

Four Steps to Take

Without proper preparation, car buyers could be spending more money than they need to on their trade-in.

Before a buyer walks into a dealership with their trade-in, they should do these four things in order to get the most money out of their vehicle:

  1. Research values – Get an estimate on the trade-in value. Car buyers can use vehicle valuation guides on the internet to get an idea of their current vehicle’s value.
  2. Clean it up – Make sure the car is clean inside and out. While it may not seem worth the money, taking the car in to get detailed could help increase the value. Dealers like seeing that a vehicle has been maintained over the course of ownership. Check for exterior damage as well, such as dents and scratches, and get them fixed. The better condition a vehicle is in, the better offer the dealer will make.
  3. Consider certain repairs – While it may not seem worth the time and money to fix it up, a dealer will be more willing to offer a reasonable price if repairs have already been done. It can also help to gather any service records to show the vehicle’s been well maintained.
  4. Prepare to negotiate – After the car is cleaned up and the buyer has researched the value, the final step is to see what different dealers are willing to offer. When buying a car through a dealership, there will often be some negotiation with the trade-in as well as the new car. The important thing to remember is to make sure the trade-in negotiation is separate from the new car’s negotiation to prevent any confusion on the overall deal.

Finding the Right Dealer

Knowing how much your trade-in is worth puts you a step ahead in the car buying process. The more you prepare your car for the process, the more money you’re likely to get out of the deal.

If you're facing less than perfect credit and need a car loan, CarsDirect wants to help you find financing whether or not you have a vehicle to trade in. We work with a nationwide network of special finance dealerships that have the lenders available to handle unique credit situations. Get started today by submitting our secure auto loan request form.

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Megan Foukes is a recent graduate from Indiana University who graduated with a bachelor’s in journalism. Megan works as a content writer for Auto Credit Express and contributes to several automotive and finance blogs.


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