How to Prepare Your Car for Trade-in

Updated: This post was originally made in 2020, but things have changed quite a bit for the auto industry since then. As such, there are a couple of things that you can do differently to best prepare your car for trade-in.

Today is the first day of summer and that means a lot of people are going to be getting started on new car shopping. It is no secret that with summer comes the busiest time of year for dealerships. Like any car buyer, dealers are going to want to get the best deal on your car when they buy it. This means, that they are probably going to low-ball you and come up with reasons why they are doing so. If you’re considering trading in your old vehicle for a new one there are a couple things you can do to make sure that you get the most money out of your trade in.

Do the regular maintenance

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone not complete an oil change or some other regular maintenance item because they were planning on trading their car in soon. This puts your trade-in at risk of mechanical failure and when a manager appraises your vehicle they will see its not being maintained thus offering you less. If you were buying a car it would impress you to see that it is being maintained, trust me this is no different for a dealership.

Source: Review Geek

Clean it

A clean car gets more money, simple as that. If a vehicle comes in dirty the dealership will have to spend more detailing money to have it cleaned up, and guess what that’s going to drop the trade-in value. Take an hour and clean the car, vacuum and dust it. After hose down the exterior and maybe apply some tire shine. I’ve seen a nice detailing job bring up the value of a car by 5-10%!

Spend some money to get more money

When people sell homes they do minor renovations, maybe repaint a room or two, or fix the deck. Its no different for the car market. Go see how much it’ll cost to get those dings and scratches out, and replace interior light bulbs. You’d be surprised at how cheap it is to get those things done and just how much value it brings to the table!

Remember these are just my suggestions, by all means they are not requirements. But I guarantee you that you will get more money if you do at least one of these three things.

About Meds

Ben is widely known as the car sales guy to his friends and family. He does not work at a dealership, although he has done so in the past. He currently works in fleet in the automotive industry and is a numbers guy. He currently drives a rather boring 2017 Ford F-150 as his daily, but his passion is his 2018 Ford Mustang GT. Disclaimer: he does not work for Ford, although he is a big fan.