Woman cleaning her car and trading it in

How to Prepare Your Car for a Trade-In

Milad Hassibi April 11, 2018


Buying a new car is a large investment and requires lots of pre-planning. One question consumers often ask is how they can trade in their current car for a new car from their local dealership.

A trade-in is where a buyer who is interested in a new vehicle gives the seller their older car as a trade in, leading to a lower price in the new vehicle. In the end, you get rid of your old car, you get a lower price on the vehicle you want, and the dealer can re-sell your car as a “used car”.

If you have decided to go for the trade in option, it is important to be informed of both your cars trade in value and the value of the car you are looking to trade it in for.

This can save you thousands in costs. To get maximum value, you may have to invest some time into cleaning your vehicle and make the best impression.

Here are some key tips on how you can maximize your trade-in:

Neat and Tidy

First impressions are the best impressions, and the same can apply to your car. Be sure to invest a guy cleaning his car with basic cleaning suppliessome time into making your car presentable for the dealership. You can simply take it to the local car wash (you can find some for $5-$7 in your area).

Although you may not need a full detail job, it is best to present the vehicle in a way that allows the dealership salesperson to see the resale potential of your car.

Records and Receipts

Dealerships love to trade in vehicles that have extensive service and maintenance history. This shows the dealership that the owner of the vehicle truly cared for the car and that the car can be reliable transportation for another family.

Go through all your car records to pull up anything from oil changes, spark plugs, fluid flushes, etc. It’s important to know that any major work done to the car can adversely affect the resale value, so its best to find all records if possible

Current Issues

When looking for a trade-in, the dealer will first look to see if there are any serious issues that need to be addressed before the car can be sold.

Be sure to be up to date when it comes to car basics such as oil changes, tire rotations, and more. The lack of proper maintenance can raise an alarm to the dealer that the car was not well cared for.

Get a Car Loan with Any Credit Along with a Happy Couple and a New Black SUV next to them

Fair Value

It is important that you are extremely aware of your cars value and the value of the new car you are looking to buy. You can easily find your vehicles value by going to www.kbb.com or by searching for what other sellers are asking for the same year make and model of your car.

Things such as certain options, mileage, and basic wear and tear all have an effect on the value of your car.

Final Note

All in all, if you are looking to buy a new car with a trade in, it is important to be prepared and vigilant. The dealership’s goal is to get your trade-in at the lowest value possible, so being aware of your cars value and improving its condition can only help your case.

If you are struggling to get approved for an auto loan due to bad credit, CrediReady can help you. We have the largest database of dealers and lenders that work with good people in bad credit situations. Take a moment to fill out our free no-obligation form and get approved for the car you need today.



Free Credit Score

Get your free credit score now! Get a copy of your most recent credit score.
get your free score

Auto Insurance

Get your free insurance quote now! Save big on auto insurance today!
get your free quote

Vehicle Warranty

Protect your vehicle and you could save thousands on auto repairs.
get your free quote