Blog

When car owners are ready to buy a new vehicle, they frequently want to sell their existing vehicle. When replacing a vehicle, consumers can either sell it privately, which includes an element of risk, or trade it in to a new car dealership.

The benefits of a trade-in at a new car dealership are the efficiency and convenience of buying and selling at one location, where you may already have a relationship.

The most important issue with a trade-in is the value of the vehicle. Car owners want the best price for their trades, while dealerships are prepared to pay a fair price (but not top dollar).

Dealers don’t pay top dollar because they invest resources to service and repair trade-in vehicles, and for keeping them on their lots. For this, they expect to turn a profit.

Here are some tips that will help you get top dollar for your trade-in.

Study the pre-owned market. Used vehicle websites provide a close approximation of the value of your vehicle. Canadian Black Book (www.canadianblackbook.com) is an industry benchmark for providing market values for cars, trucks and SUVs on the wholesale level; autotrader.ca is another site where consumers can research pricing on pre-owned vehicles.
Don’t be unrealistic. The highest advertised prices are based on vehicles in immaculate condition, and few vehicles meet that standard. Knowing the true market value of your vehicle will give you leverage when negotiating.
Make your vehicle presentable. Vacuum the interior and trunk, and remove dirt and debris from interior surfaces, including the dashboard, seats and door panels. Fix damages (cracked windshield, worn out tires or broken headlights). Repair dents and dings in the car’s exterior. Consider a modest wax and/or detailing service as well.
Retrieve service records. If you can produce service history reports on your vehicle, it will command a higher price. Well maintained vehicles tend to fetch higher prices.
Be honest about the car’s true condition. It doesn’t pay to lie or mislead the buyer; the truth about the car will be revealed in time.
Don’t remove or replace any parts, wheels or accessories after your vehicle has been appraised. To do this is unethical.
Find out the current market demand for your make and model. Supply and demand and market conditions affects how much a dealership is willing to pay.
If you drive an older model vehicle that is nearing the end of its lifecycle, find out if there are any “clunker” programs offered by the manufacturer. Sometimes a manufacturer will offer a minimum trade-in allowance on these older vehicles.