Trading in your car can be a very intimidating idea. Talking to a car salesman is not usually a fun way to spend your day. Sadly, that is not the only hard part of trying to trade-in your old car.
Even finding a dealer to go and trade-in your car can be a hassle. Car buying and selling websites are rarely the most straightforward places on the internet. Luckily, buy here pay here cars at least makes finding a dealer easy.
The rest of getting rid of your old car remains overwhelming and frustrating. There are a few things you can do before you go into a dealer to make your car selling experience much less stressful. Here are a few tips and tricks to maximize your car’s trade-in value.
1. Know What You Have
The easiest way to make sure you maximize what your car is worth is to actually know what your car is worth. Walking into a dealership with no idea what you should be selling your car for is a terrible idea. Cars salesmen are not necessarily going in with the intention of ripping you off, but they will if you don’t know what you are doing.
A simple internet search on what your car model is worth can help you feel so much more confident walking into a dealership. Once you find out what your used car is worth in its current condition you can go in knowing how much money you should ask for. It can also help you know when you are settling.
Your car may not be in the same condition other cars of your same model were in when they sold. Make sure you take into account mileage, wear and tear, and even just general upkeep. If you didn’t take care of your car then it probably isn’t going to be worth the same amount as the car of someone who kept up on car upkeep.
Also, note how much you owe on the car. If you have not paid off the car you are selling then you should never sell it for less than you owe. Going into more debt by selling a car is a terrible idea. If you cannot sell the car for at least what you owe on it then it is probably better to keep driving that car until it dies.
2. Clean Up
No one wants to buy your car if it has fries all over the floor and the paint job is covered in dirt. The actual cleanliness of the car might not have much to do with how well it runs, but it certainly makes it a less inviting purchase. Car dealers have to look at cars all day, and they know that a dirty car says a lot about how the owner has cared for their car.
Run your car through a car wash before you take it in to a dealer. Make sure your paint looks as shiny and cared for as you can make it. Even check the tires and lights to make sure they look good. Selling a used item is hard enough without it looking old and dirty.
Make sure you clean out the inside as well. You don’t want to leave any personal items in your car when you get rid of it, but you also don’t want that massive ketchup stain on your passenger seat. Running your car to a detailer or even just vacuuming will really help your car look its best.
Hopefully, you were taking care of your car before you wanted to sell it. Dealers can tell if you have not looked after your engine. They know you ignored that change oil light for three months.
Before you go to sell your car, whether you have taken care of it or not, run it to a mechanic for a quick check-up. I’m not saying you need to fix up your entire car and spend thousands of dollars before trying to sell it, but maybe get an oil change. The dealer will have to fix up any problems your car has before they sell it and they will take the price of fixing it out of how much they pay you.
Just making sure everything under the hood is filled up and running correctly is often enough to help your car sell better. A well-running engine is an engine a dealership can sell without having to do much work. The better your engine looks the easier it will be to get rid of your car.
5. Don’t Show Your Hand
If you go into a dealer and say you want to sell your old car and buy a new one then they are going to try to make that a bundle. You will end up not getting as much for your old car and still paying around the same price for your new car. Dealers are very good and knowing how to make it seem like they are giving you a good deal without giving you anything.
Doing your business at two different dealers is not a bad idea. If you sell your car to one dealer and buy from another there is no way for them to connect the two. This can help you get the best deal in both transactions without giving anything up.
If you don’t want to go through the trouble of going to two separate dealerships then you need to keep your cards close. Negotiate the price of the car you are going to buy first. Once you have a deal on your new car all negotiated and agreed upon you can mention selling your old car.
Your dealer will probably ask if you are planning on selling your old car first. Just say you already have a buyer in mind or that you aren’t sure you want to sell it yet or not. Car dealers are good at their jobs and they will probably know you are going to sell that car, but they won’t be able to make it a package deal without you saying you are going to sell them the old car.
A car dealer’s job is to buy and sell cars without giving up too much. They want to buy your car cheap and sell their car for more. Do not go into a dealership blind and hope they will give you a deal you can trust.
Make sure your old car looks its best before the dealer sees it. Even if you haven’t always been great at taking care of your car it should look like you have been. Making sure your car looks good from the seats to the engine is a good way to get a good price.
Go in prepared. Do not show all your cards immediately. Buying and selling cars can actually be a bit fun if you know what you should be getting and don’t back down. Go out and negotiate, and do not let them bundle your old car’s price with your new one.