While there are many things you can't control, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of getting more money for your current vehicle from a car dealer.
Used Car Trade-In Values
You've decided it's time to get a new car. Even though you know you could probably get more for your current vehicle by selling it on your own, you've also decided that's probably too much of a hassle and, since you don't want to come up with a cash down payment, the only option that remains is to trade it in.
But once the decision is made, you also must understand that there are circumstances you can and cannot control when it comes to how much your current vehicle is worth to the dealer.
Uncontrollable Vehicle Trade-In Issues
There are certain things about your current car you can't control.
Year: The newer the vehicle, the more appealing it is to dealers as newer used cars typically sell faster than older used cars. Since you can't change the model year of your current vehicle, this is beyond your control.
Make and model: Some makes and models are more popular and/or hold their value better than others. Obviously you can't change this now in order to get more money at trade-in time.
Mileage: Everything else being equal, the same vehicle with lower miles will be more desirable and, therefore, worth more than an identical vehicle with higher mileage. Since the mileage on the odometer is what it is, this is, again, outside of your control.
Where you live and the time of year: Although it's less of a difference than year, make, model and mileage, depending on where you live can also sometimes make a difference (try selling a convertible in Minneapolis in January).
Vehicle Trade-In Issues You Can Control
Condition: One very important aspect of a vehicle's value is its physical and mechanical condition. If both the interior and exterior are spotless with minimal signs of wear and you've adhered to the vehicle maintenance schedule to the point of compulsiveness (and have the maintenance log and receipts to prove it), your vehicle could be worth hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars more than an identical one that's experienced nothing but neglect.
Even if your ownership experience was somewhere between fastidiousness and indifference, taking the time to thoroughly clean your vehicle now (or even have it professionally detailed) could return dividends when the used car manager inspects it.
If the oil needs changing, have it done. This also goes for the repair of small dings, dents and scratches. It's also a good idea to have it mechanically inspected by someone who can tell you which repairs should be done, and those you should take a pass on in terms of return on investment.
Do your research: Just like you did when deciding which new car best fit your needs, you should never drive onto a dealer's lot without having done your trade-in homework. This includes checking out sites such as Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, NADA Guides and Black Book. Remember to be as impartial as possible when plugging in the information – a vehicle with dings and rust damage, after all, isn't "like new."
If Your Credit Isn't Ready but You Are
Finally, if you find that you need a new car, but your credit is rougher than your trade, we want you to know that Auto Credit Express helps consumers like this find a dealer for their best chance at getting an approved car loan.
So, if you're serious about getting your car credit back on track, you can begin now by filling out our secure online car loan application.