So you’re either considering or have decided to trade in your current car or truck. That’s great news since it means you’ll soon be driving a shiny new (or new-to-you) ride, which is always fun. But in order to maximize the value of your trade-in, and make the process go as smoothly as possible, there are a few things you should do first. Here they are:
1. Clean your vehicle
Take the time to fully detail your vehicle inside and out. Even if you don’t normally keep your car spotless, you’ll be shocked at just how much of a difference a full interior and exterior scrub and wax can make. Make sure to take out all of your miscellaneous things from every storage compartment and clean those out too.
Your vehicle’s appearance provides the first impression, and even though a dealership appraiser can envision what a dirty vehicle would look like cleaned up, it still helps your case to show a car that is tidy and well-maintained.
2. Gather all of the documents you’ll need
In order to save time and make the process go smoothly, you should have all of the necessary paperwork ready and bring it with you when you go to trade your car in. Make sure to bring your vehicle title, and bring your most recent loan statement if you are making payments on the car. Don’t forget to bring your driver’s license with you, and your insurance information so that you can call to switch your insurance over to your new vehicle.
Documents that you don’t need to bring include a vehicle history report, which the dealer will be checking on themselves anyway, and any of the parking tickets that you’ve accumulated in your glove box :).
3. Find all of the maintenance records you can dig up
Keeping vehicle maintenance records is always a good idea, because it shows that you’re a conscientious vehicle owner who has kept up with all scheduled maintenance and repairs. It makes sense to bring these records with you because cars that have maintained with scheduled maintenance will retain more of their value.
It will be up to the dealer to decide whether or not they will resell the vehicle with your records or not, but having them with you helps inform the appraisal process and shows that you’ve cared for the car you’re trading in.
4. Try to fix all minor issues
Do your best to address any small issues or repairs that need to be made to the vehicle. This includes things like replacing bulbs, wipers, topping off fluids, air filters, touching up any small scrapes, and any other mechanical or cosmetic issue that isn’t very expensive to fix.
If there are any larger cosmetic or mechanical issues that require attention, you’re better off letting the dealer handle them because it will likely cost you more to address them than you would receive in extra trade-in value from a dealership.
5. Don’t forget the accessories
Don’t forget to include every accessory associated with the car and anything extra you can dig up. This includes things like an extra set of keys, any software that came with the car to aid in its setup, and the vehicle owner’s manual. These things provide value by offering the vehicle as “complete” as possible, which is attractive to any prospective future owner, and therefore the dealership.
And if you’re considering trading in your vehicle any time soon, make sure you call me first!