#auto trade in value
5 Ways to Increase a Car s Trade-in Value
The day had finally come and it was time for me to sell my car and obtain an auto loan to buy a brand new vehicle. My old, battered Honda Civic was still in great running condition, and with nearly 180,000 miles on the odometer, had accompanied me on many journeys. But it had seen better days, and the rust, the peeling paint, the nicks and the dents all but convinced me that its trade-in value would be modest at best, backed by all the research I did on its overall worth.
What came as a surprise upon selling it was that I was offered nearly double its Kelley Blue Book trade-in value (and this was after my generously sentimental appraisal of my old four-wheeled companion). That was last year, and some reliable sources have since informed me that the car has had not one, but two possible owners since I sold it, a clear indication that it s further retained what value it still has.
I discovered that day that the trade-in value of my car was much higher than I expected due to a number of relative factors and, that I underestimated its said value due to being misinformed about trade-in values in general.
Granted, it fetched a higher dollar amount since I sold it instead of trading it in, but that s OK. If you re looking to part ways with your vehicle, don t go unprepared. When you understand what affects your car s worth, you ve got a clear path to knowing how to maintain or even raise its value. It can earn you more money for your old ride, therein saving you money when upgrading to a new one, especially when an auto loan is concerned.
How Are Trade-In Values Determined?
To calculate trade-in value, visit the Kelley Blue Book website. You ll be asked to enter the make, model, year, mileage, features and condition of your car, plus whether you re looking to trade it, sell it or if you re just curious for a dollar figure.
But the Kelley Blue Book price goes beyond those simple details. Priced high or low, the trade-in value of cars takes into account other important details.
What s really in a name? A whole lot, according to the writers at High Gear Media. The first name of a vehicle can have a tremendous effect on its resale value, regardless of the condition or quality of the vehicle in question, they said. So, even if your Geo Prizm or Ford Pinto is in tip-top shape, it probably won t command that much coin in the trade-in process.
On the other hand, marques relied on for their reliability namely, Japanese automakers like Honda, Toyota, Subaru and Mazda do demand high resale values, as do many luxury car makers.
Despite claims that they re better at connecting the driver to the car and to the road, stick shifts have declined in popularity in recent years in favor of the more passive P-R-N-D-3-2-1 of an automatic transmission. In general, an automatic transmission will recoup its cost, typically between $1,000 and $2,000, writes High Gear Media.
And while manual transmissions won t exclude you from trading in, it can be made more difficult due to their decreased demand.
3. Paint, Tech and Mods
Your car s garishly neon pink color is for few people in this world of freeways lined with sober, silver-hued vehicles. So too might be your car s super-hi-fi stereo, which could actually backfire on the resale value if you spent more on it than the car.
Though your Toyota Corolla might hold a solid auto trade-in value, aftermarketing it into a super-modified, super-charged, super-rimmed Formula 1 wannabe won t do you any favors on the resale front. Upgrades and options can detract from a car s value.
It s worth repeating that mileage affects your car s worth. Even when the exterior, interior and mechanical conditions are ideal, too many miles means a shorter lifespan for your car, and will be reflected by low trade-in values.
Getting the Best Car Trade-in Value
According to Edmunds.com, a new car depreciates in value up to 9 percent in the first minute it s driven off a dealer s lot. After five years, your car holds only 40 percent of its true market value and that s without all the other considerations that can reduce its trade-in value.
Before taking your car to sell or trade in, consider spiffing it up with five of these value boosters.
1. Make Repairs
From major engine problems to minor maintenance issues or cosmetic, paint or upholstery defects, a vehicle in solid running order is one of the most fundamental value boosters. The goal is, after all, to sell your car so someone else can drive it.
Nationwide suggests talking to your mechanic to see if repair costs will outweigh trade-in value. No need to fully restore your car, but a vehicle in like-new condition makes a good lasting impression.
2. Keep It Clean
Wash your car! As well as wax and detail it, too. Appearances count, and if the first thing a buyer or dealer sees is a filthy car, he won t even bother looking under the hood to see what s inside. A few hundred dollars (or less) for a quality car wash could increase the value of your car by thousands.
3. Keep Records
Websites like Carfax.com will have your vehicle s history on file based on its VIN number. Take it to the next step by saving copies of your maintenance and repair receipts. Document everything from oil changes to servicing.
Documenting the vehicle’s service history can increase its value by showing that it’s been well maintained, according to Nationwide.
4. Get It Appraised
Kelley Blue Book or NADA guides can only estimate what your car is worth. Contact a professional appraiser for a full inspection and true valuation of your vehicle. In tandem with repairs made from your mechanic, this will give you more bargaining power when going to trade in your car, and hopefully more value for your ride.
5. Don t Settle
If you ve learned to not take the first offer that comes along from a dealer when shopping for a new car, don t settle for the first dollar figure given to you on a trade-in. One of the best ways to increase the trade-in value of your vehicle is to shop your car around to several places and people for the best offer you can get. You never know when the next dealer will give you top dollar for your investment. And remember: it is an investment.
I realized that my car was worth more than I expected, even in its battered state. If I had done my homework and taken the steps above to improve its resale and trade-in values, I might have gotten an even higher offer.
Remember this when it s time to trade in your vehicle. You might miss the times you had together on the road but you won t miss the added savings your old friend brings you when it s time to buy a new vehicle.