How To Get Your Vehicle Ready for Trade In

May 2nd, 2022 by

When people decide to buy a car, sometimes they neglect all that goes into getting their current car ready to trade in. This can be a costly mistake. Here are some important parts of the trade-in process.

Evaluate Your Trade-In

The first step is to take a good hard look at your current vehicle. Make a note of all its imperfections. There are online resources available such as Kelley Blue Book that let you enter the make, model, trim level, mileage, aesthetic condition and other factors, and give you a decent estimate of your trade-in’s market value. Sometimes this part of the process can let you know how you can improve that value as well. You can also look to see if similar vehicles have sold recently, and perhaps you can see how they went for. This is valuable information to have.

Dealer Trade or Private Sell

car trade inDepending on your previous experiences, you may be more inclined to sell your current vehicle to a private party instead of trading it in at a dealership. If you know someone who wants the car, this can be a pleasant experience that benefits you both, but sometimes you don’t want to complicate your relationship with a business transaction. If the car breaks down later, this can be awkward. That’s not the case with a dealer, who will professionally evaluate the car, make you an offer, and that’s that. The other benefit of trading to a dealer is that you won’t be without a car for any amount of time. You drive to the dealer, and leave one car for the other. Also, depending on the value of your vehicle, there may not be many buyers who can pay you right away with one lump sum.

Fix It Up

If your trade-in has minor imperfections, you may be able to fix those yourself to avoid them reducing your trade-in value. There are many touch-up kits available to fix blemishes on your paint job. There are products to fix interior blemishes too. Make sure all interior accessories are in place. Remove any excess debris you’ve been toting around. Replace any light bulbs that have gone out.

See Your Mechanic

If you have a mechanic that you trust, have them take a look at the car to see if they know to make it more like new. They may be able to make it sound or perform better, or fix that glitchy window or tricky door handle.

Get Your Vehicle Detailed

Dealers tend to evaluate trade-in vehicles primarily by the numbers, but they have eyes too. If your car looks dirty or messy inside and out, they may assume you haven’t cared for the car properly. They may downgrade its trade-in value. Getting your car professionally cleaned (not just going through the drive-thru car wash) can help you get a higher trade-in value.

Gather Up Your Documents

There are a number of documents that are important to the trade-in process. It’s best to keep these tidy and organized during your whole time owning the car, but you may have misplaced a few documents, or brought some receipts inside while doing taxes. This includes your most recent emissions inspection certificate (if that’s required in your area), your registration, and receipts of oil changes, minor repairs, major repairs like a rebuilt transmission or engine, tire purchases, after-market parts and upgrades, et cetera. Your title shouldn’t be kept in your car generally, but you’ll definitely need it to sell the car. If you can’t find it, you’ll need to order a new copy. That process can take a while, so don’t delay finding your title. When you get your new car, make sure to keep a good habit of keeping these documents tidy and accessible. If you buy a brand new car, hold onto the window sticker that shows every feature of the car. This can help you someday if you want to trade it in, and shows that you’ve been a careful owner.

Shop Your Car Around

Some car shoppers hate the process and want it to be done quickly. This can lead to rash decisions. Tell the salesperson that you’ll be comparing a few different offers on your trade-in. This can prevent them from lowballing you. Keep good notes on these offers, as they can vary widely.

If you need to get your car serviced, or if you’re ready to trade it in for an upgrade, stop by the new and used car dealership Floridians have trusted for more than 85 years. At Dixie Buick GMC, we’ve been serving the community of Fort Myers, Florida since 1934. With an extensive online inventory and welcoming showroom, we work with customers to help them find the right new or used vehicle to meet their needs and fit their budgets. Buying a car can be an overwhelming process because there are so many options out there, but we’re here for you, from the trade in process, through working with your credit, to providing excellent service, performed by certified factory-trained technicians, after you’ve purchased your vehicle. Whether you’re looking for a new or used car, we’ve got you covered. To learn more about what our award-winning sales and service team can do for you, visit our showroom, browse vehicles on our website, give us a call at 239-330-9918, or contact us online.

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