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.


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Michael

21 years of experience
159 reviews
Michael
21 years of experience
Ford Transit Connect - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Pomona, California
Very prompt, knowledgeable, honest and super thorough. I had a pre-purchase vehicle inspection at a car lot. Michael's detailed attention helped me bargain the price down significantly, more than enough to cover the cost of his services. I'm super satisfied!!!!
Jeep Wrangler - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Norco, California
I hired Michael through YourMechanic to perform a pre-purchase inspection on a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon before I pulled the trigger and purchased it from a used car dealership. I am SO glad that I did--Michael was able to not only immediately identify that the Wrangler was NOT a Rubicon as advertised (he identified Dana 30 lockers instead of standard Dana 44s) but also that it had a host of other electrical and mechanical issues. He was prompt, professional, and saved me from what was bound to be a nightmare. Glad to be out $100 rather than the cost of a Jeep that was misadvertised, and grateful to have a Jeep expert have my back.

Peter

25 years of experience
437 reviews
Peter
25 years of experience
BMW 320i - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Reseda, California
Peter was flexible and provided me an inspection report within less than an hour of completion. Would highly recommend him for pre purchase inspections!
Volvo XC60 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Sherman Oaks, California
Peter was extremely helpful and available for any questions I had. He is very knowledgable and I would highly recommend him for any services. I used his services for a pre-car inspection and am very satisfied with the results. Would use again. Thank You.

John

27 years of experience
808 reviews
John
27 years of experience
Honda Element - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Webster, Texas
John completed a pre-purchase car inspection for me. I was feeling a bit nervous about purchasing a car from out of state, but after seeing John's inspection notes and then talking with him over the phone about the few issues he found, I feel confident in his knowledge, honesty, and professionalism, and I feel very comfortable about my upcoming purchase.
GMC Yukon - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Webster, Texas
John performed a pre-purchase inspection for me and was great to work with. He is punctual, communicates really well and overall made the experience very easy for me. If I lived local he would be my regular mechanic.

David

13 years of experience
339 reviews
David
13 years of experience
Toyota Camry - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Marietta, Georgia
Great experience. Saved me from buying a car with fairly significant issues which were not disclosed. Well worth it!
Nissan 370Z - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Marietta, Georgia
We had a great experience with David on a pre-purchase inspection. He was very thorough, detailed, and knowledgeable. Definitely would recommend him and book him again.

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