5 Essential Things to Know About Car Trade-Ins

Whether it’s time for an upgrade or your old ride just doesn’t meet your family’s needs, you may be considering trading in your car for a new one. Before you jump right in and hand over the keys, there are few essential things you need to know about car trade-ins so you make the best decision.

Loans Matter

If you are still making payments on the car you want to trade in, you need to know you’ll still be responsible for them even after the trade. In most cases, the dealer will pay off the remaining balance and roll it into the cost of your new vehicle, but always make sure you know whether this is the case before you sign paperwork.

Trade-In Value

You should always consult Kelley Blue Book or NADA to get an estimate of what your car is actually worth before you head to the car lot. This will help you know if the dealer is trying to give you a fair price, or simply putting more money into their pockets. The dealer’s goal is to pay the lowest price possible so that when it sells it will be for increased profits, so knowledge is power in these situations.

Before You Go

Make sure you prepare your car before you take it in for a potential trade. Make sure it is clean inside and out, and that you try to get rid of any noticeable odors. Cars in better condition will generally net a higher trade-in value, and a clean one always looks better than one with trash in the floorboards.

Shop Around

You should never accept the first offer you’re given for your car trade-in. Go to three or four lots and see which one is willing to offer the most before you agree to a deal. However, if one is significantly higher than another, make sure you pay attention to how the vehicles on the lot are priced – they may be inflated well beyond what they are worth, which is why the dealer offers so much for trade-ins.

Selling Might Be More Profitable

You should also keep in mind that selling your old car may result in higher profits. Just remember that you’ll have to take the time to create an ad, meet with potential buyers and handle the paperwork. If you can’t find a dealer in your area willing to give you anything close to what your trade-in is worth, selling on your own might be the better option.

If you’re trading your car in for a new one, make sure to consult YourMechanic about a pre-purchase inspection before you buy to ensure there are no hidden issues.


Next Step

Schedule Pre-purchase Car Inspection

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Pre-purchase Car Inspection. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Recent Pre-purchase Car Inspection reviews

Excellent Rating

(5,189)

Rating Summary
4,847
184
37
38
83
4,847
184
37
38
83

Attila

19 years of experience
906 reviews
Attila
19 years of experience
Cadillac SRX V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Edison, New Jersey
Attila was great! Very knowledgeable and actually detected a fault during a pre-purchase inspection that would have cost me later.
Lexus ES350 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Fords, New Jersey
He is very good—offered all the significant details we needed from the inspection. Helped us figure out what needed to be fixed.

Shawn

12 years of experience
285 reviews
Shawn
12 years of experience
Chevrolet Impala V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Shawn was prompt, professional, and delivered the promised service as expected. This was a used vehicle pre-purchase inspection. Shawn also had to drive to multiple locations to perform the inspection, as the address listed that I provided him with was not accurate, but he still made it to the correct location within his time window and completed the inspection.
Toyota Sequoia - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Akron, Pennsylvania
Shawn was very prompt in communicating with me and was good at helping me decide whether to purchase a used car. He help me avoid a car with a repaired rusted frame that could be a danger to my family's safety since we were planning on using the car to tow a travel trailer!

Luis

18 years of experience
320 reviews
Luis
18 years of experience
Honda HR-V L4-1.8L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Warren, New Jersey
Luis was great. He showed up on time, acted professionally, and gave me confidence with a pre-purchase car inspection.
Acura RDX - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - South Hackensack, New Jersey
Luis did a thorough pre-purchase inspection for me, and found several major issues that made me pass on buying the car. Had I purchased the car, I almost certainly would have ended up paying thousands in repairs down the road. Thanks Luis!

Robert

20 years of experience
1089 reviews
Robert
20 years of experience
Hyundai Elantra L4-2.0L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Englewood, Colorado
He did a pre-purchase inspection for me. He was knowledgeable and fast, and knew what he was looking for. I really appreciate all the pictures and documentation he took of the state of the car before purchase. He noted potential issues with the car that I wouldn't have been able to notice. Would recommend.
GMC Savana 1500 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Golden, Colorado
I trust Robert. He gave me a list and we will take care of it the week of June 29. I will know then that my vehicle is ready for the winter and is safe to drive. I look forward to getting things ready for another winter of careful driving.

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Related articles

How to Replace a Lost or Stolen Car Title in Michigan
There There are plenty of important documents we are responsible for keeping safe, your car title is one of them. This piece of paper proves that you are the registered owner of your vehicle, which is vital if you plan...
How to Buy a New Car
Buying Buying a new car is a big investment, often second only to purchasing a home. It’s important to make the best choice based on your specific financial situation. If you follow some helpful tips, you will make an informed...
How to Buy a Lexus
When buying a Lexus, consider your budget and which model you want. You should also run a vehicle history report and take a test drive before buying.

Related questions

Which car is more expensive to maintain: the Audi Q5 2.0t or the BMW X5 35i?
Hello, thank you for your question. I'd be happy to provide my insight. The answer to this question isn't as simple as it may seem. The biggest factor is going to be the year of the two vehicles you are...
Choosing a new car... Lexus GX 460 or Mercedes GL (gas or diesel)
I personally prefer diesel over gas because they generally last longer. I would also go with Mercedes over Lexus but that is just my personal opinion. I have worked on both types of vehicles and would rather work on a...
I got hit in the back. How much has my car depreciated in value?
Hi there. Unfortunately, the determine depreciated value of a vehicle is something that's nearly impossible to do without inspecting the vehicle onsite. Something like this is best left to a professional claims adjuster or one who is certified in that...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com