Tips For Preparing A Used Car For Trade-In

Buying a new or new-to-you car is always exciting, but you also want to make sure you get top dollar for your old car when you trade it in. Car dealers use a strict formula for determining what you will get. This can include resale value, profit margin, and how much work they need to put into the car to make it sellable. The following tips can help you increase the value of your trade-in for very little out-of-pocket costs.

Tip #1: Clean It Well

When a dealer opens the door and sees trash, dirt, and stains, they often become concerned that the poor interior maintenance may have also affected the level of maintenance given to the engine and other parts of the car. Take the time to vacuum and thoroughly clean every part of your car's interior. This is also a good time to shampoo the upholstery and wash the floor mats. Once the inside is clean, wash and wax the exterior. Don't forget to take it through a car wash for a thorough undercarriage cleaning, too.

Tip #2: Put Together the Car History

If your car wasn't dealer serviced, the dealer will have to take your word on the fact that it was properly maintained. Hopefully, you kept your receipts for your maintenance records. If not, there is still hope. If you know what mechanics or garages you visited over the years, pay them a visit. Many garages keep digital customer files, which means they can print all your service records. Once you have gathered your records, put them together in chronological order in a nice binder. The attention to detail puts the dealer at ease that the car has been well maintained over the years.

Tip #3: Fix Minor Issues

Do you have a burnt out headlight or a missing gear shift knob? Spend the few dollars necessary to replace these items. The goal is to have the car looking its best. If your tires are mismatched, consider investing in some decent used tires of matching sizes and treads. You can even remove minor dents and touch up scratches with touch-up paint for minimal costs if you are worried that body damage can detract from the worth of your trade-in.

Your dealer loves a car that they can turn around and sell almost immediately – they may even have a buyer in mind already when they see a well cared for trade-in. This will up the trade-in value since the dealer now sees you as someone worth two sales instead of just one. Contact a local car dealer to get started on your new car search today.