One of the more important times in the ownership of your current car is figuring out “if it is the right time to trade in your car or truck.” Should I trade it in after a specific time frame? Is there such a thing as too many miles? Does it have to be in mint condition? It probably will not surprise you to learn there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to these questions. However, we do have some tips and tricks to help you understand when to trade in your vehicle.
This is typically the first thing car owners ask themselves. Most people think that the only way to get top dollar for their used car is to do it themselves instead of trading it in. Still, there are a few things to consider when trying to decide if you should trade-in your vehicle or just sell it.
Selling a vehicle can take several weeks or longer; particularly if your vehicle needs repair work. You would have to take care of every single aspect of the sale transaction, from creating an ad, to coordinating test drives, to haggling on price, and anything else that pops up. On the other hand, trading a car almost always takes place when you get your new vehicle.
Usually you would be responsible for providing the buyer with the paperwork, such as registration and the title. Trying to do everything all alone may be a frustrating and long process if unexpected challenges are connected to the paperwork, like a lien. We are equipped to do all of the paperwork, unexpected challenges included.
Maybe the biggest benefit to trading in your car is the potential tax benefit in places with a state sales tax. For these states, there is a tax credit applied to the new vehicle’s sales tax if you trade in a car at the same location they purchase the new vehicle. Simply, the taxes are only applied to the price difference once the trade-in appraisal is figured into the new vehicle price. The tax savings can reach up to thousands of dollars.
There are many thoughts on this question, especially with late model cars that are specifically engineered for higher mileage usage. However, there is general consensus on the following three mileage ranges to think about when trading your car in:
This is when the majority of new car warranties expire. On the other hand, this is also when the first major replacement of ‘wear’ parts, like brakes or tires, are generally performed on most cars. Your car depreciation will begin to accelerate more quickly after this milestone, so the nearer your car is to this mileage, the better your trade-in appraisal will be.
Depending on how much you drive, a vehicle that gets to this milestone will be between three to five years old and most likely has had many visits to the local automotive repair shop for routine and not-so-routine service. As the miles add up, the value gets lower so owners need to think about this when weighing their trade-in options.
Thanks to modern technology, this milestone isn’t nearly the automotive death sentence that it was before. But, the more mileage a vehicle has, the greater the depreciation in all but the most rare cases. Vehicles within this milestone could still have a positive trade-in value even if they might not be in perfect condition. The looks and mechanical condition of the car is looked at more closely as the miles increase on your odometer.
Lastly, an important component of trading in a car is preparation for the trade-in evaluation. The following ideas are not an exhaustive list, to be sure, these steps can help you get the most value out of your trade-in.
This should be a no-brainer, but people believe showing their vehicle ‘as-is’ is a more honest approach to a trade-in evaluation. While we’re not advocating trying to hide blemishes or problems with the vehicle (Just so you know, they will see through that anyway), it is not a bad idea to clean up your car to the best of your ability before bringing it to the dealership. This means removing all debris and trash from inside the car (yes, even including the trunk), vacuuming and washing inside and outside, and maybe even doing a nice interior and exterior detailing. Think of the appraiser as a potential buyer and tidy up the vehicle.
We realize that repairs can be overwhelming, especially for significant mechanical problems. But, if it’s possible to repair minor dings, defects in the paint, and cracks in the various windows, windshield, and mirrors, all of those fixes will help improve the value of your trade. When possible, we recommend repairing any mechanical concerns the vehicle may have. The better the condition, the more money you will get for your trade-in.
If you’ve decided trading in your vehicle is the best option for you, then we suggest coming to the dealership with all of your car’s documentation, including the title (if it’s in your possession), registration, any maintenance documents you have, and all copies of the car’s keys. Arrive ready to trade your vehicle in and you will not suffer any delays in driving home in your new one.
If you’re wondering where you can trade in your car for another car, Gene Messer Chevrolet is the right place. We make the trade-in process simple and can get you back on the road in a new car today. Schedule an appointment online or visit our dealership to get started.