When it comes to buying a new vehicle, having an older vehicle to trade in could give you a leg up on the negotiation. If your car has a high resale value and you’ve taken great care to keep it in good condition during your ownership, it could mean more cash in your pocket when driving off in your new vehicle.
Of course, purchasing a new vehicle can be stressful, and cause one to wonder if they really are getting the best deal, both with the new car and their trade in. By following these simple steps and tricks we’ve put together, you’ll feel more confident that you’ve gotten a good deal driving off of the lot.
- Find out the Private Seller Amount
We like to call this first trick the “Foundation Step.” The importance of knowing the value of your car should you choose to sell it yourself to another buyer cannot be over emphasized. You can almost always get a higher price value for your car when you opt on selling it yourself rather than a car trade in a dealership’s lot.
Knowing what you could get on your own is knowledge a buyer must have before trading in their old vehicle. You’ll be able to negotiate the best dollar price for your trade-in, and set yourself up as an expert in the negotiation, as well. These two things could get you a higher value on your car from any dealer.
- Regular Maintenance
Car maintenance is as important as the car itself. So having a regular car maintenance upkeep on your ride can play a vital role in the resale value of the car. Regularly maintaining your car will not only ensure that your car is sound for you, but can almost guarantee you more cash when you opt to sell it or trade it in.
It is, therefore, imperative that you keep accurate and documented records of all maintenance made on your car. This presents a thorough picture to the buyer/dealer of how well you’ve cared for the car and can help enhance its value.
- Get a Tune Up
Get your car tuned up by your mechanic, regardless of whether it is already in great condition, and have it detailed professionally before presenting it at a dealership to a sales associate. With evidence that your vehicle is mechanically okay and looks presentable, the probability of you getting the most out of a trade-in transaction will always be higher. This includes having all your fluids checked and filled, fixing or replacing a cracked windshield, and replacing tires that have worn out. As far as resale is concerned, dealers will always find your car more attractive if it looks new.
This also relates to any body work that may need to be done. While a small dent or scratch may not seem like a big deal to you, that’s the first place the dealer’s eye is going to go. So make sure you visit a local body shop to work out any minor issues before driving it on to the lot.
- Have a Decent Down Payment
It is advisable to have a decent down payment of around 20-30% in place to offer for your new ride regardless of the amount received for your old car when you go to purchase. This gives you more than one negotiating tool, which is an added advantage for you when trying to strike a deal.
Additionally, knowing the actual value of your car can make a huge difference. As mentioned above, you want to know how much you can get for it if you sold it on your own. However, you’ll also want to know just what the vehicle is worth as a resell on the market.
- Know When to Bring It Up
Car experts can’t stress enough the importance of waiting until the end of your car buying process to bring up your desire to trade in. You want to make sure you’ve nailed down the price you’re buying the new car for before you negotiate what they’ll give you for your trade in.
In other words, keep the two matters separate completely. If the car dealer asks you about a trade in early on in the process, tell them you’re thinking about it, but be sure not to commit to anything.
While buying and selling a car can be a stressful and confusing experience, going in with a little extra knowledge can give you the confidence you need to land a screaming deal!