Category Archives: car industry

What Are Good Questions To Ask When Buying a Used Car From a Dealer

When shopping for a good used car, one that looks good, and one that should serve my needs, there is a lot that I don’t know about it, but I would like to know.

  1. Is there a vehicle history report available like Carfax or Auto Check that will disclose any reported accidents or damage?
  2. Has the seller inspected the vehicle carefully? Is there any unreported damage?
  3. Does a vehicle history report show how much maintenance or normal repairs have been done?
  4. How many owners has this vehicle had?
  5. Has the required Maryland State Inspection been performed? 
  6. Did the State Inspection disclose any repair work that is needed but not done?
  7. How much life is left on the tires and brake linings?
  8. What kind of warranty comes with this vehicle?
  9. Can I purchase a vehicle service contract to protect me from any major breakdowns?
  10. If the vehicle is involved in a serious accident and is declared a total loss, will my insurance pay off my amount financed?
  11. Where did this vehicle come from?
  12. Is there any indication that a prior owner might have been a smoker?
  13. If this car is an auction purchase, was it sold with a green light or sold with any conditions?   

What Happens When You Trade in Your Car to a Dealer?

If a customer is in the market to purchase a new or used vehicle, he probably has a car or truck that he wants to trade in. While he may have surfed the net and completed his search about what vehicle to buy, what dealers to consider, prices and other concerns, there are several important steps that he should take to maximize the trade in allowance that his dealer will give him. 

While the customer may not need to purchase a Carfax report on his own vehicle, the dealer most probably will. The customer must be aware of any reported accidents or damage, as the dealer will want to use that data to justify a low appraisal value. In this regard, the customer must be realistic in his expectations. 

There are several things that the customer can and should do to maximize the appraisal price. He should google his own vehicle to see what dealers are asking for comparable vehicles. The appraisal value quoted will not be the retail asking prices he sees online; rather he will receive a wholesale price- one much closer to the auction prices that the dealer might pay at a used car auction. And, that number will be further reduced by any mechanical, body, or appearance work the vehicle needs. In this regard, the customer should have the vehicle as clean and shiny as possible. Make it easy for the appraiser to like the car or truck. Don’t give him any reason to knock the trade in value. 

The appraiser will also be looking at prices online, both retail prices asked by other dealers, and wholesale activity for similar models. Again, his final appraisal price will be reduced by any reconditioning that is needed. If the customer has repair orders proving that the vehicle has been well maintained, and that all needed repairs were done, this should support a more favorable valuation.

Fixing a value on the trade in is just as important as fixing the value on the vehicle to be purchased. Most customers spend too much time worrying about the price to be paid for the new vehicle, and not enough time justifying the highest possible trade appraisal. 

The dealer will want to know if the customer has the title to his vehicle. If not, the dealer will call the bank or finance company to ascertain the unpaid balance on the auto loan. Any amount still owing will be subtracted from the appraisal. If the lien payoff is greater than the appraisal value, the customer will need to pay the overage.

If the customer has a vehicle service contract or extended warrantyon his vehicle that has not expired, he can request a cancellation of the contract and obtain a pro rata refund. If 80% of the time or mileage has expired, he should receive a 20% refund of the price he paid years ago. This would help meet his required down payment. The fact that he had a service contract or extended warranty will give the appraiser some confidence that the vehicle should be free of any major problems. 

Is It Hard To Sell A Car Privately?

If the purchaser of a new or used vehicle has a trade in, he must decide whether to sell it privately or trade it into the new or used car dealer. While the majority of customers will decide, for several good reasons, to trade their vehicle in, there are a number of people who will opt to sell privately. The subject of trade ins is a large and complicated one. This blog will address some of the difficulties to be expected in a private sale. The benefits of trading in the old vehicle are detailed in a blog entitled “Advantages of Trading In Your car” at Trust Auto in Sykesville, MD.

In order to conduct a successful sale of his old vehicle, there are several things that should be handled. The first challenge to the private seller is to try to determine the market value of his current vehicle – what is a reasonable asking price? For this he must perform some diligent research, looking at similar vehicles listed at dealer websites and third-party searchers like Google or CarGurus.  From the average asking prices he must subtract what it will cost to fully recondition the vehicle, both mechanically and cosmetically. A professional detailing job will take about four hours and cost $150 or more. 

Next he will need to prepare a VDP, or vehicle detail page, a full description of every aspect of his vehicle. The more information that is provided the better. Help the prospective buyer to better visualize the car or truck. Several good photos of the inside and the outside will be needed. If the seller is going to find a buyer, he will need to place a classified ad with one or more of the classified automotive listing services such as Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, TrueCar and many others. These services cost money, and a prime location that offers better visibility can be expensive. The objective is to help a buyer looking for a particular vehicle be able to find the sellers car or truck, click on that vehicle, read about it, see the photos, and be interested enough to call or email the seller for more information. If and when they do communicate, the buyer will ask all the usual questions that he would ask a dealer. And, he will need to be satisfied with the answers, to the point that he is willing to visit, inspect and drive the vehicle. 

If the vehicle passes the buyers inspection and he wants to buy it, the parties must agree on the price and how it will be paid. In almost all cases, the seller should require payment in cash or certified check. The seller should limit his future liability by selling the vehicle “As Is”, with no written representation about the condition of the vehicle. Private buyers are notorious for failing to show up for an appointment. If they want to buy it, their first offer will usually be much lower than the asking price, so the seller must be prepared to negotiate. 

If and when agreement is reached, the seller will need to produce the ownership title. If there is a bank lien on the title, he must call the bank, request a payoff amount and instructions for processing the payoff and getting the title. This will take several days, and maybe longer. When the seller receives the title from the bank, he should complete the assignment, including the buyer’s information, and take the title to the DMV to complete the transfer. Until the DMV processes the name change, the seller remains liable for any loss caused by the vehicle. Therefore, all insurance coverage must be kept until the transfer is complete. Any delays will extend the sellers legal liability. 

If the seller has an extended warranty or vehicle service contract on his car or truck, this could greatly facilitate the sale. Most warranties and service contracts are transferable for a small fee, and this will give the buyer much more confidence in completing the purchase. This is one of the many benefits of buying a service contract from a dealer when the seller makes his new purchase. There are many reputable service contract providers today, and Trust Auto in Sykesville, MD, works with several of the leading companies.

What’s a “GOOD DEAL” for buying a car?

Elements of a Good Car Deal

Everyone wants a good deal on their next car. But what is a good deal? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and a good deal depends on what you are looking for. Could the lowest price be a good deal? Maybe not. Could the highest price be a good deal? Maybe yes. It is not a simple answer. There are many variables; many moving parts.

If the price is the same, does that mean the cars are the same? Of course not. Every used car and truck is unique. There are no two that are exactly alike. The mileage, the optional equipment, the wear and tear history (Who drove it?), and most important- the overall condition of the vehicle all have something to say about what really makes a “good deal”.

CarGurus Deal Rating

CarGurus defines a good deal as a price that is a little below the National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) average retail price for a vehicle. This is great to consider as a starting point when searching for a car, but you’ll also want to consider the overall condition, or how the vehicle was driven. Is the vehicle on its’ third set of tires and fourth set of brake linings? Was it driven by a sweet old lady or a frustrated 20-year old bruiser?

The more you know about your next vehicle, the more confidence you can have about a buying decision. That is why Trust Auto gives you a 360 degree overview of each vehicle. You will see the Maryland State Inspection Report, one of the most comprehensive in the US, and far better than Virginia or Pennsylvania. You will see the Carfax report of any accidents, damage and all reported repair orders. You will see pricing of comparable vehicles from the most respected sources in the US – Kelley Blue Book, NADA, Edmunds and others.

At Trust Auto, we want to make your purchase decision painless, with no regrets and no second-guessing. You can purchase with the confidence of knowing that you did everything necessary to make a good buying decision.

Buying A Car Guide: How To Come Prepared

Buying a car can be a super fun process or a long, drawn out process. Our goal is for this to be fun so we put together a guide for you to come prepared. Going to the dealership with everything you need can help speed things up.

Below is a list of things you may need. Most of these items are for those who plan to finance, but rather be safe than sorry! Remember our goal here is to make this fun. 

  1. Proof Of Address: This can be a piece of mail or rental agreement/lease
  2. Drivers License
  3. Proof Of Income: Pay stub
  4. Existing Proof Of Insurance
  5. Check Book

Very simple and painless. Come with the above five things and you’re well on your way to your dream car!

If you plan on trading your car in, there are a couple more pieces of information you need to bring: 

  1. Certificate Of Title
  2. All Keys
  3. Co-owner Signature: If you co-own the car with someone else, make sure the title is signed by the both of you. 

On top of these things we recommend coming with your car cleaned out so it’s all nice and ready to go.

And just like that, you’re set up for success. 

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Local to Syskeville, Maryland or live in a surrounding area? 

Come check us out! We offer financing and to help you come ready to go, click here, to pre-apply.  To view our inventory ahead of time, click here.

We look forward to seeing you!

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New Year, Used Car: The Best Time to Buy a Pre-Owned Vehicle

It’s no secret that the best time to shop for a new car is between Black Friday and New Year’s Day. But what about a used car? A brand new car may not be what you are looking for – whether you need a second car for your family, a car for a new driver, a work truck, or something that you can use as a commuter vehicle – sometimes pre-owned cars are the way to go.

It may seem like a stretch to spend a large amount of money right after the holidays, but January is the best month to buy used vehicles. And here’s why:

Strong December Sales

Many new car dealerships run great specials on vehicles in December to make room for new-year inventory. This means they have a lot of used vehicles on their lot that they want to sell.  In order to make room for new cars, these dealerships will likely have the used cars on excellent sales and provide low prices with attractive financing.

Given that over 1/2 of new car sales involve a trade-in and resale takes an average of 45 days, dealerships will be eager to get used vehicles off their lot, meaning the buyer has the upper hand in negotiating deals and better prices.

Slow Retail Month

After the holidays and going on spending sprees, many people tighten their wallets in the new year. People use what extra money they do have (after paying off credit card bills and debts) towards less frivolous things.

However, car dealerships still have to make money and meet sales quotas. This means one things: A buyer’s market. Dealerships and salespeople are eager to close deals and make sales, making January a great time to negotiate a better deal. This will even extend into February and even March, until people have paid off their debts and reenter the retail world.

Leased Vehicles Ready for Resale

Many people lease cars at the end & beginning of the year, which means many 3-year-old vehicles are available for resale in January. These vehicles are generally in great condition and will be “restored” to like-new condition. Since the mileage is lower than many used cars, you can find a steal – a newer model with low mileage for an exceptional price.

Luxury Deals

If you are shopping for a sports car or luxury model, chances are, you’ll land the best deal during the winter months. There is little supply-and-demand for sporty little cars with convertible tops or flashy little cars no suitable for harsh winter roads, which means you will likely get your pick of the best luxury vehicles for a much lower price than if you wait for the weather to get warmer.

Typically the more expensive cars on the lot, come January, these sporty little models suddenly drop in price and become more reasonably priced and the best deals out there.

Another Year Older

When the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, used vehicles suddenly become one year older meaning their value drops, and sometimes that drop is significant. For instance, Edmunds says the typical 2009 model sold for $19,392 in December 2012, but $18,738 in January 2013 – a 3.4% price drop in just one month.

This is true for models that are only 1 or 2 years old as well – you can find an “old” model that is just 2 years old, and in most cases, it will be in mint condition with just some miles put on.  For this upcoming January, look into 2017 models instead of a 2018 model and you’ll be shocked at how low the price is compared to it’s 2019 counterpart.

Shop Around for Financing Deals

Oftentimes, the finance deal the dealership will offer you isn’t the best you can find – especially in the new year.  A lot of banks, credit unions, and regional banks will offer financing incentives in the new year for existing customers. Contact your bank to see what deals they are offering and if you qualify for low interest rates. There may be discounts available if you enroll in auto-pay or use an existing bank account for the monthly payments.

Before settling on a pre-owned vehicle, be sure to look up what the MSRP was for the vehicle originally, and if there is any resale information. This can help you negotiate prices and deals in the long run. The most important thing to keep in mind is to have a set price that you cannot go over. No matter how great a deal, if the deal is more than you are able to spend, it’s not worth it.  Never overspend just because a dealership is pressuring you to sign a deal to help them meet their quota.  Keep shopping around – you will find the best deal for you!

 

Why December is the Best Time to Buy A Car

There are arguably a few different times throughout the year that are ideal for buying a car. But December is the best time to buy a car.

It’s enough that dealerships are generally emptier during the holidays due to people traveling, but sales teams have looming quotas to meet before the year’s end. To put it simply, they want cars out the door. And the best way to do this is to run unbeatable deals.

In fact, consumers can expect to get almost 8% off MSRP values when buying a car in December as opposed to waiting until January.

Like any big purchase, it’s important to do your research before you buy a car, so do your research (and maybe even test drive a few) during the fall. This will give you plenty of time to decide what make, model, and trim options you want in your dream vehicle. But when it comes to making a purchase? Pull the trigger between Black Friday and New Year’s Eve.

Here are just a few reasons why December is the best time to purchase a car:

Better Leverage (& Negotiating)

Dealerships tend to be slower during the winter months, so in order for the sales team to meet their quotas, they will be desperate to get cars out the door and on the road. This means you, the buyer, will have better leverage to get a great deal on the vehicle you desire. Take advantage of an empty dealership to ask lots of questions and get in-depth about the car’s features, amenities, safety ratings, and when it comes down to price, don’t be afraid to haggle.

Making Space for Newer Models

October, November, and December see a lot of new makes and models come onto the scene in preparation for the new year. But this means the old inventory has to find a new home so there’s room on the lot. Meaning… prices will drop. If you are shopping for a car, instead of buying a 2019 model, look at 2018 models instead. The prices will be significantly lower because they aren’t the newest model on the market anymore. But December is when the prices hit the lowest – the longer a car sits on the lot unsold, the lower the price drops.

Peace of Mind

You may not think about this when you are purchasing a vehicle right away, but have a safe and reliable vehicle can bring you a lot of comfort during the winter months when road conditions are treacherous. Having a vehicle with new tires, top-notch breaking capabilities, and updated technology can give you more confidence when you are driving on slick and snowy roads.

Holiday Bonuses

Everyone loves a little extra cash for a holiday bonus. Why not out it to use and put it towards a down payment on a vehicle.  If you can put down a higher percentage, you will be able to get a better interest rate, or better yet, if you can pay with cash, there’s a huge chance you can talk down the price even further!

If you’ve been dreaming of a new car, now is the time.  This is the best time to buy a car, so put your haggling skills to use and be prepared to get the best prices on the market!

Best AWD SUVs in 2018

When the winter months are upon us, driving safety becomes a concern. Slick roads, poor road conditions, and rough terrain are all something to think about when you travel for the holidays or winter getaways.

Some of that concern can be alleviated by having an all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicle, especially a SUV.  Heavier vehicles operate better and are more reliable on poor road conditions because of their weight, which helps with traction support.

If you are in the market for an AWD SUV, here are some of the top ranking vehicles in 2018.

Best AWD SUVs in 2018

1. Nissan Rogue

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The Nissan Rogue offers value and comfort but doesn’t skimp on safety and all-terrain capabilities.  Because each trim level offers an AWD option, you don’t have to sacrifice safety for price.  Each option also comes equipped with a rearview camera and split-folding rear seats for convenience when you need additional cargo space.  The Rogue provides surprisingly ample leg and head space for taller passengers in its luxurious interior.

2. Jeep Wrangler

No surprise here, but the Jeep Wrangler is in this lineup since it’s frequently referred to by its loyal owners as a 4×4. But the new Jeep Wrangler offers more than just AWD off-roading abilities.  Full customization between 2- or 4-doors and 4- and 5-passenger models offer a wide range of compatibility for everyone.  If you prefer the more rugged style without all the bells and whistles, the Sport trim is for you – removable doors and roof, crank windows, and off-road tires.  If a more luxurious ride is your preference, there are optional upgrade packages that offer amenities like heated seats, remote start, and power features.

3. Jeep Grand Cherokee

Image result for jeep grand cherokee 2018

Essentially (and originally) built for off-roading, the Jeep Grand Cherokee offers optional AWD on all trim packages. But regardless of the trim you select, you’ll find features like rearview camera, parking sensors, an infotainment system, and keyless entry/start.  Drivers even have their choice between a V6 or V8 engine. The cabin is spacious to fit 5 adults comfortably.

4. Ford Explorer

Consistently topping most lists, the Ford Explorer is one of the most practical AWD vehicles on the market, year after year. Thanks to its V6 engine and large tires, it performs excellently in both dry and wet road conditions, and handles well on all terrains. The customizable Explorer has 3 different engines and 5 trim options to choose between, that can seat 5 to 7 passengers, so you are sure to find a model that suits you and your family’s needs.

5. Honda CR-V

Image result for honda "cr v"

If an AWD vehicle with lots of options is what you are looking for, you’ll find it with the Honda CR-V. Honda offers 4 different trim options, all with optional front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.  Standard equipment and amenities include a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, Bluetooth connectivity, and 17-inch wheels. Upgrades like a leather interior and power liftgate are available to those who select a Touring trim.

AWD is becoming more standard as the auto industry is shifting toward a SUV-heavy consumer base. Automakers are opting to make new and improved versions of already high-performing SUVs to create a loyal customer base and win over those drivers who have yet to convert to an SUV lifestyle.

Find the SUV of your dreams at Trust Auto today.  Call to make an appointment or schedule a test drive.  Don’t wait – our best cars go fast!

How the Internet Changes the Way We Sell (and Buy) Cars

A decade ago, it wasn’t uncommon for a car salesman to spend 6-8 hours with a single customer.  They would show the customer 3-4 vehicles, answer broad questions regarding the make, model, and basic amenities, and guide them through a very choreographed sales process.  

Fast forward to today, and the sales model has completely changed.  People spend approximately an average of 2 hours at a dealership when they go to make a purchase.  

Why?

Because of the internet.  

The Internet Changed the Process

Years ago, the sales process consisted of 5 clear and defined steps:

Enter → Research → Dealer Visit → Decision → Ownership

It was a very linear path and oftentimes, the research was done simultaneously as the dealers visit, when the salesman would inform the customer on vehicle stipulations and the differences between makes and models.

Nowadays, the process is much more fluent and the research is done independently by the consumer. There is a self-serve mindset that allows the customer to receive instant information about the vehicles they research and compare.

This is due to the rise of mobile devices.  

Over ⅔ of auto shopping is done on mobile devices because the consumer is always shopping. The average American touches their phone screen 3,000 times in one day, meaning the ability to look at cars and conduct research can happen all day. Anytime, anyplace. 

 mobile users

The internet provides an immense amount of transparency when it comes to cars and MSRP pricing, so there is less haggling and negotiating and customers know that if a dealership won’t give them the price they found online, they can go somewhere else.  It’s a Buyer’s World, instead of a Seller’s World.

Old selling tactics won’t work in today’s car-buying society. So both consumers and dealerships need to understand how this process has changed and how the system works to be effective for everyone.

How Has the Sales Process Changed?

  1. Consumers start with more information

Thanks to the internet, auto shoppers start the process with more information than ever before.  In fact, 42% of customers know the make and model of the vehicle they want to purchase before even setting foot into a dealership. 32% know the dealership from which they are going to purchase a vehicle.  This means dealerships have gotten more competitive in their advertising because they aren’t just selling cars anymore – they’re selling their services, their sales team, and their dealership as a whole.  

Because users know more information before even starting the initial research step, the urgency to buy has increased.

2. Consumers look for maximum transparency

During the research portion of the car-buying experience (that is now a constant, ongoing process thanks to the “always shopping” mentality), people are visiting an average of 12 auto touch-points before making a final decision – and this doesn’t include advertisements seen on social media or online.

Because consumers are spending more time researching and conducting more thorough research on auto websites and 3rd-party platforms, it’s important that a website provides the most information possible – including pricing.  

80% of buyers are looking at prices first during their research process.

Most websites only provide approximately 40% transparency and consumers are being more selective about which dealership they use. So it’s crucial to auto dealerships that their website be top notch (and mobile responsive) in order to compete with other dealerships in their area.  

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3. Consumers need validation when choosing a dealership

Inventory variety and vehicle pricing make up for 50% of why a consumer chooses a specific dealership when going to make a purchase. And one of the most important factors is knowing they aren’t getting ripped off.  

Consumers need price validation.  

This is critical for locking down customers and creating loyalty in your buyers. Everyone wants to know they are getting a good deal. When a consumer is at a dealership, it’s likely they are looking at the same vehicle online, whether it’s on a  manufacturer’s website or a competitor’s website to make sure they are getting the best deal possible. And they aren’t afraid to go elsewhere if a dealership won’t match the price. Make sure your sales team is providing a coherent and comprehensive experience – your online information must match what is being presented in person.  

Dealerships need to be aware of how they reach out to potential customers during the early stages of the process, because that will ultimately affect their decision to make a purchase or not.  Consumers want to be contacted in a way that is most convenient and comfortable for them – if they reach out via text, email, or Facebook, respond to them using the same method of communication.  This puts the consumer in control, which is vital in converting a lead into a customer. They choose the method of communication – it’s the dealership’s job to present the right information at the right time.  

4. Consumers visit fewer dealerships and take fewer test-drives

The decision process is one that consumers make quickly after completing their own thorough research.  

In fact, on average, Americans contact 3.1 dealerships, physically go visit 2.1 dealerships and only 1.6 test drives before deciding which car to buy. Because they already know the make, model, and dealership before going to purchase a car.  This ties back into the first step of the new sales model, making sure you are selling the actual dealership instead of just cars.  Make your dealership appealing and trustworthy and the sales will come. Have a positive online experience that offers full transparency and the sales will come.  Provide your users with all the information required to make an informed decision, and the sales will come.  See a pattern?  

Because consumers are doing most of their car-buying process before even setting foot into a dealership, it’s important that dealerships offer a pressure-free environment and deliver a simple, fast purchase experience. All while providing full transparency.  

It’s simply a matter of how consumers are purchasing vehicles and how dealerships are adapting to those changes and how the sales process as a whole is changing to fit the needs of consumers.  

Dealerships are competing more avidly with local competitors and now, they’re even competing with interaction-free car-buying experiences.

How has this shift affected the way you buy or sell a car?

How to Trade In Your Vehicle: The Dos and Don’ts

So you want to buy a new or used car.

But you currently own a car that you still owe on. Should you sell it yourself or trade it in? How can you negotiate the best deal? What do you need to negotiate a good trade?

Truthfully, if you sell your vehicle privately, chances are that you will get more money. But it takes a significant amount of work and will take much longer to find a buyer and settle on a deal than if you trade in your vehicle at a dealership.  

Trade-ins at a dealership typically result in less profit than if you sell privately because the dealership takes into account how much any repairs or reconditioning will cost in order to resell. Plus, you are taking a hit simply because of convenience. Let’s take a look to see how a trade-in at a dealership can be handled and some tips to get the most out of your experience.  

Tips for Trading In a Vehicle

1. Appraise Your Vehicle’s Worth

Before stepping foot into a dealership, do some research.  Be sure to know how much your car is worth, and know that there is a wide range of accepted trade-in values.  Using tools like Kelley Blue Book and Edmund’s Car Appraisal Tool will give you a good indication of what you can expect to get back from your vehicle during a trade-in. Print out your appraisal and take it with you when you go to shop for a new car.

It’s important that you are honest regarding your vehicle’s service history, the amenities your vehicle offers, and the current condition of your vehicle in order to get an accurate estimate. Very few cars are in “outstanding” condition and most fall within the “good” condition category. If you are really unsure, it’s better to undersell the condition – err on the side of caution.

2. Shop Around

Not every dealership is going to offer you the same amount for your trade-in, so it’s okay to shop around until you find a dealership that offers you a deal you are comfortable with.  This will all depend on the dealership’s current inventory, their need for pre-owned vehicles, and how likely they feel the car will resell. Auto industry professionals recommend taking your car to a dealership that does not sell your make or model (For example, taking your Ford to a Nissan dealership) because then you are not competing against other vehicles just like your own.

3. Season Appropriate Trade-In

As crazy as it sounds, make sure you are trading in your vehicle during the correct season.  For instance, trying to trade-in a convertible during the winter will get you less money during the winter months than an all-wheel drive vehicle.  Following automotive trends and news can help you determine when the best time of year is to trade-in your vehicle, and can also help steer you in the right direction regarding where to take your car for a trade-in.  Car trends change weekly, so going to the dealership at just the right time could affect the value of your vehicle.

4. “Curb Appeal” is Real

Don’t take a filthy vehicle to trade-in.  The best advice is to detail, detail, detail! From top to bottom, make sure your vehicle is best aesthetic condition.  This will show a dealership that the vehicle has been well maintained and may get your a higher estimated value. Getting a fresh coat of wax, shiny tires and rims, and making sure your interior is spic-n-span clean make your trade-in vehicle much more appealing than a vehicle that has a dull exterior and crumbs all over the backseat.  

5. Have All the Right Documentation

Save yourself time and a lot of stress if you show up to a dealership with all your vehicle’s documentation.  Make sure you have your title if you own the vehicle outright, or if you still owe, bring all the loan documentation. This ensures you are responsible for the vehicle and have the legal authority to trade it in.  Also bring any and all maintenance documents you have from your vehicle’s service history – this can help your trade-in value by describing all the service that has been done to your vehicle. Have the documents that came with your vehicle on hand when you go to negotiate your trade-in.  This includes the user manual, any buyer contracts, and original information about the vehicle. This will all help the value of your vehicle and make the process much smoother.

 

Common Trade-In Mistakes

Overestimating Your Vehicle’s Worth

It’s common to have some sentimentality when it comes to your vehicle.  Perhaps it was the first car you ever bought. Or the vehicle that you took cross country after graduation where you started a new job.  Or maybe it’s the car that drove you to the hospital to have your first child. Regardless of the personal value the vehicle has to you, to a dealership, it’s just another vehicle. Overestimating the value of your vehicle will only hurt your chances of getting the best possible amount for a trade-in.  

Dumping Money into Repairs

Spending a ton of money on repairs prior to trading your vehicle in may SEEM like a good idea, but in reality, you will lose money in the process. Dealerships have access to make the same repairs at much cheaper costs, so whereas the trade-in value may be slightly less than a KBB estimate, it’ll save you money from making unnecessary repairs.  

Failure to Negotiate

Without negotiating your trade-in, you risk losing a good amount of money.  Go into a negotiation with an idea of how much you want for your trade-in and what you’re willing to bend on.  If you are not offered something within your range, then shop around and go to a different dealership. If you are unable to negotiate a price that you are happy with, try negotiating a deal for benefits like oil changes and other maintenance services.