Getting ready to buy a new car is an exciting time, but first, you need to get the most out of your trade-in. Follow these five steps to prep your car before trading it in.
Fix the Small Issues
Go through your car carefully and find any little problems that you can fix. Make sure all the lights work including interior lights, headlights and brake lights. When you bring your car to the dealer, make sure that all you’ve topped off all the fluids. You don’t need to bring your car in with a full gas tank, but you do want to make sure the coolant, brake fluid, and even windshield washer fluid is full. If there are small scratches, consider getting a paint pen to fix it, but only if you can match the color exactly. Make any small repairs you can handle on your own before bringing it to the dealer.
Don’t Fix the Big Ones
While you want to make sure you make any minor repairs, don’t try to take on major issues. If you have a dent or some engine issues, you might think it’s better to take it to a mechanic before trading in your vehicle. You won’t get the return on your investment you’re expecting. Dealers can make repairs at prices you likely can’t get yourself. Although you will take a hit on your trade in value, it’s still better than paying for the repair yourself and not getting the money back.
Detail the Vehicle
In the past, some people recommended not cleaning the outside of the vehicle because it could hide scratches. Most dealers know better than to take a dirty car without seeing what’s underneath. Have your vehicle detailed or wash it yourself before taking it into the dealer. Make sure you add a coat of wax as well.
Gather All Documents and Extras
Before heading to the dealership, make sure you get all your papers and car extras together. Grab those spare key that you’ve hidden in a drawer and pull out all your oil change receipts. If there is a DVD for the infotainment system, bring that along as well. You could lose trade-in value if everything is not complete. Everything you got when you bought the car and all the paperwork you’ve accumulated since should all be taken to the dealership.
Find Out the Value
If you don’t know the value of your car, it’s difficult to negotiate with the dealer for a better trade-in offer. Start off by getting a generic value online based on your car’s make, model, year, and condition. You may be able to negotiate if you know what the car is worth.
Although you might be in a rush to head to the dealer and buy your next car, follow these steps so you get the most out of your trade-in.