Just how much your trade-in is worth depends on many different factors. While we can’t tell you exactly how much you might get for your trade-in, we can give you some tips to get the most bang for your buck when you’re getting ready for the process.

How to Find Your Trade-In’s Value

How Much Is My Trade-In Worth?In order to determine how much your trade-in is worth, you should visit vehicle valuation sites such as Kelley Blue Book and NADAguides. These sites only give you an estimate based on the information you plug in about your car, so you should also get it appraised on top of this.

When you get your trade-in appraised, you’re getting an actual cash value from a dealership. This lets you know exactly how much your vehicle is worth to them, and what they’re willing to pay for it.

Because each dealer sets their own value, you should get your trade-in appraised by at least three dealerships, and make sure one of them is a franchised dealer that sells your specific make. This way, you can compare offers and pick the best one.

Auto Credit Express Tip: Make sure your trade-in has equity – that is, it’s worth more than what you owe on it if it isn’t paid off. Some lenders let you roll over negative equity (when you owe more on your loan than the car is worth), but many don’t because you essentially end up paying for two loans at the same time, which could put you at a greater risk of defaulting on your new loan.

Tips to Get the Most for Your Trade-In

Now that you know how to find your trade-in’s value, did you know that there are a few different ways that may help you get more for your trade-in? It’s possible, and these four tips could help:

  1. Keep it clean – You don’t have to have your vehicle detailed necessarily, but you should make sure it’s given a fresh look. Remove any stains, vacuum, dust, and give it a nice wash. A little bit of tidying up can go a long way when it comes to value.
  2. Fix small things – Any small dents and scratches should be fixed before you trade it in. However, if your car needs major repairs, it's typically not in your best interest to spend a lot to fix them – dealerships can usually take care of repairs at a much cheaper cost once they have your trade-in.
  3. Provide service records – While you don’t have to have service records to trade in a vehicle, it’s smart to keep them on hand. This shows dealers that you kept up with the maintenance schedule and took good care of your car, and helps you in case they ask questions about a repair or the condition of certain things.
  4. Timing matters – There can be right and wrong times to trade in a vehicle. Check which dealerships are offering promotions, and try to trade in your car near the end of the month. If you plan on trading it in down the road, make sure you’re aware of your vehicle’s depreciation. If the car is brand new, it makes more sense to trade it in between years three and five, as this is when depreciation becomes more gradual after steeper initial drops. Also, be aware of how mileage affects a trade-in's value. It stands to reason that you can get more if it has fewer miles on it.

Remember, if a deal isn’t good, or a dealer isn’t willing to negotiate, you can always walk away. Nothing is official until you sign the documents.

The Bottom Line

Don’t trade in your vehicle blindly, be prepared and know what your trade-in is worth before you head to a dealership. Also, be ready to compare prices and negotiate. No matter what one dealership may offer you, another may be willing to give you more, or you may be able to sell your car privately for more money.

If you’re ready to trade in your vehicle but aren’t sure what dealerships near you accept bad credit, Auto Credit Express can help you find them. We work with dealerships all over the country that know how to handle complicated credit situations.

We've been helping consumers get connected to special finance dealers near them for over 20 years. Getting started is simple – just fill out our auto loan request form, and we’ll get right to work matching you with a local dealer!