When it comes time to trade in your car, it pays to be prepared. Deciding to trade in your vehicle to a car dealer instead of selling it privately comes with some benefits and less stress. Using your trade-in, you can apply any equity as a down payment on your next vehicle.

Be Prepared to Trade In

sitting in car on phoneThe most important thing you can do to get ready for the trade in process is to do your research on both your current vehicle and the car you're buying. Knowing an estimate of how much your vehicle is worth at the time you go to trade it in will help you balance any additional money that may be needed for the next car. You might need to spend a few extra dollars on upkeep, as well, if it’s been awhile since your current vehicle's had a good cleaning or maintenance done.

Here are a few tips on how you can get your car trade-in ready:

  • Make a good impression – While you won’t need to pay to have your car detailed if you’re selling it to a dealer, it still helps to clean it up. Take it to a car wash and clean the inside of your car a few days before you go to the dealer. They’ll appreciate a clean-looking vehicle more than a dirty one.
  • Fix any issues – Make sure your car is up to date on basic maintenance care, such as oil and fluid changes. A car that requires extensive upkeep gives off the impression it wasn't cared for properly. Dealers are a little more flexible and will more than likely be willing to accept a trade with minor issues if it’s less than 10 years old.
  • Pull service history – You should also get together any records of the work you've had done since owning the car, such as rotating the tires, changing spark plugs, and replacing the timing belt. This shows buyers that you’ve taken care of the car. Remember, any major work that's been done can affect your car’s resale value.
  • Research and negotiate – Finally, do some research on pricing so you know what a fair deal would be. This comes in handy when you’re trading in the car to a dealer. Go to websites such as CarsDirect and The Car Connection to see your car’s approximate trade-in value. Knowing will help you in your search for a fair deal. Also, it helps to research vehicle pricing of the cars you're looking to buy for the same reason. It's often a good idea to focus on negotiating the price of the car you're buying and the price of your trade-in separately.

The Bottom Line

If you’re ready to purchase a car and trade in your old one, but worry your credit will be in the way, let Auto Credit Express help. We match car buyers dealing with difficult credit situations to local dealerships that are trained in special finance. Get started today and fill out our free and secure auto loan request form online.