Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

5 Essential Things to Know About Car Trade-Ins

car trade
Art Konovalov / Shutterstock.com

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.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

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

More related articles

Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Idaho
The state of Idaho offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the...
P2159 OBD-II Trouble Code: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2159 P2159 code definition Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance...
P2422 OBD-II Trouble Code: Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2422 P2422 code definition Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP)...


Related questions

Q: Recommendation on most reliable cars

One thousand dollars for a car is not much these days. I have a '94 Toyota Celica I'm driving and I paid 350 bucks for it five years ago. However, I bought it from a customer of mine who was...

Q: Why is my interior falling apart?

While it may feel that Honda may be the culprit, I have seen this issue not only with them but also with other models throughout my career, and I have witnessed the frustration my customers have experienced first hand. I...

Q: Head gasket, alternator, engine

I would recommend getting a quote for each of these repairs and comparing it to an engine replacement. It would be hard to tell without seeing the vehicle firsthand whether or not repairing those two items will resolve the problem....