When it comes time to trade in your current vehicle you want to get the most money out of it that you can. But just how do you get the most value for your used car? We suggest you follow these simple tips to get the most for your trade-in.

6 Tips to Trading in Your Car

Typically, you can get more money for a vehicle if you sell it privately. However, if you need another car, trading in your existing vehicle can make good sense. Follow these six tips to get the most value out of your car when you trade it in at a dealership:

  1. Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Trade-InClean to get that green – When you trade in your vehicle, you want to make sure that it's clean, both inside and out. This means cleaning it out, vacuuming, dusting, shampooing, and reconditioning the interior. Outside, make sure the car is washed and waxed, and clean under the hood, too. You want the dealer to know that you took care of your vehicle.
  2. Don't dent your profit – Minor dents and dings in the body should be taken care of, especially if your car's only a few years old. At the same time, you don't want to put too much money into fixing the vehicle if it doesn't increase the value. For example, fixing minor dents isn't as big a deal on older higher mileage cars that are likely to end up at auction, rather than being resold on a dealership lot.
  3. Keep good records – It's a smart idea to keep receipts, especially for a vehicle, since cars require regular maintenance. Having all your records on hand when you go to trade in your vehicle can work to your advantage if a dealer questions a repair or the condition of a certain part. It's your proof that you did your best to take care of your car.
  4. Don't trade blind – Before you attempt to trade in your vehicle, always research the value of similar models in like condition with the same approximate mileage. Even though the dealership may have their own subjective view of a car's value, you need to know that you're getting a fair deal. You should check out valuation sites such as www.NADAguides.com to get a current estimate. A good tip is to print out these estimates so that when you negotiate a price with the dealer you have something to back you up.
  5. Timing is everything – If you want to get the most money out of your used vehicle, make sure you're trading it in at the right time. It's a good idea to shop around when dealerships are more likely to be offering promotions, and to target the end of a month when dealers need to fill quotas. Another tip: if a dealership has an entire inventory of cars like yours on their lot, make sure it's because they're vehicles that sell, not sit. You're likely to get more for your trade-in if your car is in demand and the dealer doesn't have a lot of that model taking up real estate.
  6. Don't be afraid to walk away – If a dealership isn't willing to negotiate with you, or is offering you an unrealistic amount, it's okay to take your business elsewhere. When you go to different dealers to get a price quote on your trade-in, make sure at least one is a franchised dealership of your current brand. They may be able to do more for you than a local used car dealer, but if they can't, it's also okay to walk away.

Is There Equity in Your Trade-In?

Another thing to remember about getting the most money for your trade-in vehicle is that it has to have equity. Equity means that the value of the car is more than the loan balance. If there's enough equity in your vehicle, you may even be able to use it to cover the entire down payment on a newer car.

If your vehicle isn’t paid off, it doesn't mean you can't trade it in, but you may owe more than the car's worth. This is called negative equity, and even though negative equity isn't ideal, it doesn't have to stop you from trading in your vehicle. It just means that you have to make up the difference between what's owed and the value of the car in cash.

If this isn't possible, some lenders allow you to roll over your loan balance when you finance another vehicle. This may seem helpful, but it can end up costing you more in the end. The reason is that what you owe once your old loan is paid off gets added to your new loan, and you end up paying interest charges on the rolled over amount.

Where to Take Your Trade-In

If you're not sure where to take your trade-in because you're worried that bad credit is standing in your way of your next car loan, let us help. Auto Credit Express has over 20 years of experience connecting people with all kinds of credit situations to local dealerships that can help.

Let us connect you to a dealer that has the lenders available to help even if you have bad credit, no credit, or other credit issues. It's easy to get the process started right now. Simply fill out our no-obligation auto loan request form, and we'll go to work for you!