How to Trade in your Car and Not Get Ripped Off

There is a lot of “expert” advice when it comes to trading in a vehicle and while some of it varies there is actually quite a bit that can help the car owner make a wise and informed decision.

The first tip for the auto owner is to realize that it is a negotiation- but know what you have to negotiate with.  Granted, if you are trading in an old Arrow, chances are, there will not  be much negotiating.

Most dealers are hoping to profit between $1200 to $1800 for the trade in.  Many auto owners assume that the dealer automatically gives them the book value; however, this is not automatically the case.  If the car is of book value, most dealers will pay it, but often times the trade in value is much less because of the condition of the car.

There are a number of factors that affect the trade-in of your vehicle.  To start, the inventory on the lot, the product mix on the lot, and even the day of the month matters.  If you  are trying to trade in a blue Explorer and the dealer already has five used blue Explorers on the lot then you are likely looking at a lower trade-in value.  If they don’t have any Explorers on the lot, however, you are likely to get the trade-in value closer to what you expect.

What can you expect when you bring your car to trade it in?  Well, typically, the used car manager will take the car for a test drive.  He will examine the body of the car for any damage, check under the hood, and the interior of the vehicle and use the Black Book as a guide to price the trade-in value.  Other determinants will be if the car has been smoked in, and the condition of the tires.

As a consumer it is important to be aware of what you have.  Before going to the dealer with your vehicle, have the vehicle inspected by a professional that can tell you the wholesale value of the car.  Also, use the available tools on the Internet to compare the asking prices of the vehicle.

Have a great story about a trade in? Let us know in the comments below.

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