The trade—- Myths and reality

Posted: June 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

Andrea Robertson, first woman to podium at the Lemans 24 hour endurance race since 1931 CONGRATULATIONS!

The trade in is one of the most difficult parts of negotiating for a new vehicle. Everyone has an idea of what their car is worth, and it seems like that amount is often higher than the “appraisal value” dealers are willing to pay. Before we start to analyze the truth about trade-ins let’s get rid of a few myths about negotiating the value of your trade.

First- DO NOT park down the street and walk to the dealer, and then announce you have a trade after negotiating the sale price of the car you want to purchase. Often this requires everyone to go back to square one and start over, because the taxes change, the license fees change, and the whole deal will look different.

Second- DO detail your car!!! You can improve the value you receive for your trade by hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars just by having it clean and smelling good when the manager looks it over at the store. If he can see the car on his used car lot, or easy to wholesale to someone who will buy it without having to do lots of work it will be worth his while to give you a good appraisal value.

Third- Do know your exact payoff. Knowing your payoff so the dealer doesn’t have to go search for your bank’s information will make your negotiation go faster, and get you out in your new car sooner.

Fourth- Do MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A CURRENT INSURANCE VOUCHER IN YOUR CAR! It is amazing how often I see customers come in to buy a car with expired or non-existent insurance information. It is not only required before a dealer can release you in your new vehicle, it is the law in every state in the country. You must have current proof of insurance in your car at all times.

Fifth- Remember that any dealership will run a car fax on your trade. This is standard procedure for every major dealer in the country today. If you’re car has been in an accident it will probably show up. Keep in mind that most stores offer car fax when they sell you a car, so if your car has been in an accident and repaired it will be worth less as a result. You should go to to get a solid idea of what the dealers will be showing you for your trade in. This is a guide only and is not cut in stone, but it will give you an idea of the value of your car. Also notice that the trade in value is not as high as the retail “sell it yourself” value. That is because you are accepting all the risks of selling your own car. These include people knowing where you live and who you are. If there is a problem after the sale, you may have a problem. You do the advertising, you negotiate the price, and you accept the responsibility.

Sixth -and most important-  There are several realities that are just facts about trading a car. Dealers take cars in at wholesale and sell at retail. That is what they are in business to do. A good dealer will take in your car, detail it, safety inspect and repair it, offer a warranty to the next owner because of the inspection and repair done by the shop, and sell the trade at a profit after all that work is completed. Dealers are expensive to operate and the competition is fierce. A really good dealer will do the very best to make you an offer that is honest and will allow you to get your new car at an affordable price and still allow them to refurbish the trade and make a few hundred dollars after all the dealing is done. That is the honest truth. If a dealer tries to offer a trade in amount that is much lower than everyone else, RUN! There are still good and bad dealerships in every city. This is sad, but true. Do your homework, ask friends who have had good experiences who they recommend, or write me. I will find you a good store with a good sales representative for ANY make or model.

If you need more advice or want to talk to me, write me at  and I will do my best to help.


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