There comes a point when the car you have isn’t working for you either because of one reason or the other. Perhaps it’s the general outlook, performance or diversified opportunities, whatever it is, you just get the feeling that you want a change. If you do not have a large sum of money to buy a new one, trading in your vehicle may be the better option even though it’s not the best. This is because the trade in value relies on the dealerships appraisal of the car and its condition. Nevertheless, a trade-in still works for most people. Here are some tips that you can follow to help you make better decisions on car trade-ins.

Personal Obligations

Acquire and Gather all the Necessary Paperwork

A car’s value is higher when you have proof of all the servicing that it has undergone and if possible the receipts for tire and brake changes also come in handy. Be prepared to show the appraiser paperwork if the car was in an accident. In case you took the car on credit and have finished the payments, show the appraiser that you have the car title with you as proof of ownership.

Clean the Car

In the car business, first impressions matter, hence it’s important that you ensure the car is spotless to the best of your capability because any refurbishments that it may undergo are factored into the final trade-in value for your car. A modern car has systems such as GPS and Home links to your garage. Since you plan on letting go of the car, ensure that you have deleted all the bookmarks on these devices and sever all the links to you for a fresh start with a new buyer. This move shows a willingness to complete the deal on time.

Research your Car’s Value

It’s important that you get to know the bluebook value of your car. For example, if it’s a Chevrolet, knowing how much the car is worth enables you to know if you are getting into a fair deal or not. To avoid getting lowballed, ensure that you thoroughly understand what the car is going for in the market and your options.

Appraiser’s Obligations

The Vehicle Age

The car’s year of manufacture is definitely on the appraiser’s radar. If they are newer models of the car you wish to trade in, the value may definitely be lower. Not unless you are trading in a classic car model, such as a Chevrolet C/K series, that may have a higher value than the current ones. In most cases, the value depends on the brand and model; therefore, make sure that you know yours before approaching the appraiser.


The higher the miles covered on the odometer, the lower the value of the car. The average mileage is ten to twelve thousand miles, so if your car’s is above that figure, the trade-in value may be less than you expect. Regardless of the clocked miles, make sure that you point out the car’s excellent condition to get a good deal.

Ownership Report

If the car has been previously owned by a lot of people according to the vehicle history report, the value may take a hit. However, if the vehicle has only been owned by yourself, you are guaranteed a fair price.

General Outlook and Condition of the Vehicle

Since first impressions matter, the general appearance of the vehicle might go a long way in indicating how it has been maintained. The appraiser can look at the condition of the paint to assess if there are dents and analyze the extent of repairs required. If the dealership may have to foot extra costs after taking the vehicle from you, be sure that they are going to lower the price.

Mechanical Condition

Finally, the appraiser may assess the operationalization of the car. The car might have a beautiful body and well-maintained exterior, but all that doesn’t matter when the engine is not in the best condition. The appraiser can look at recently passed vehicle inspection and the smog check to ensure that they avoid any costly repairs in the future.

Finalizing the Paperwork and Trade

After you have agreed upon the price and trade in offer, you can proceed to sign the paper work. Always ensure that you negotiate for the best price possible, and you have familiarized yourself with all the documents to confirm that they have not added any other miscellaneous prices. It’s also important to ensure that your car has all the necessary documentation and insurance ready to take the road.


Vehicle trade-in offers viable options in case you are on a tight budget and you require a new vehicle on short notice. They may not always offer the best value for your car, but they offer a solution to manage your resources. Always ensure that you have cleaned your car thoroughly removing any information that may be linked to you and confirm that you have the required paperwork to avoid any future misconceptions.