Car Trade-In Tips
If you're thinking about purchasing a new car, it makes sense that you might trade in your current vehicle to help you with a down payment. Or maybe you have a vehicle you no longer need and are just looking for a way to make some extra cash. But what's the best time to trade in your car so that you're getting the maximum benefit? And how do you decide? Here are a few things to consider before pulling the trigger on a trade-in.
Look at what you owe: If you still owe money on your current vehicle and that amount is more than the car is actually worth, then it may be better to wait. Even if you're itching to purchase a new vehicle, it doesn't make sense to do a trade-in when waiting a little longer will provide you with an obvious benefit. Exceptions would be if your car is in need of major repairs that are not worth the investment; if the car is no longer safe to drive or right for your family; or if you have the means to pay the difference.
Find your car's trade-in value: To start the process, you need to get a handle on what your car is actually worth. Use sources like Edmunds or Kelly Blue Book to get an estimate. Their detailed search engines will ask for the make and model of your car and the condition it's in, and compare prices around the country to give you their best estimate. If you're unsure how to describe your car's condition, it's always an option to get it appraised and having that official documentation might make you a more effective negotiator in the long run.
Shop around: You may get a substantially better offer from one dealer compared to the next, so it's smart to shop around. What you're able to get for your vehicle may also vary if you're planning to finance a new car for the trade-in.
Consider timing: Many experts say that fall is a good time to approach a dealer about a trade-in because they're looking to move soon-to-be outdated models from their inventory before the latest models come in. The condition of your vehicle also might be a consideration, it's better to do a trade-in when your car is still in decent shape and something other drivers will be interested in buying used.
Know when to sell: If you're looking to trade in your car quickly and without much fuss, and if you definitely plan to get a different vehicle in the process, a trade-in is probably your best option. But if you're looking to make a little money, selling the vehicle yourself is also an option. You're likely to get more than you would from a dealer by putting in a little more time and effort.