One of the biggest times in the life of your vehicle is figuring out “when is the best time to trade?” Should I trade it after a specific time? Is there such a thing as too many miles? What if it isn’t in mint condition? It probably will not be a shock to figure out that there is not a one-size-fits-all answer. But, we do have some tips and tricks to help you decide when is the best time to trade in your car or truck.
This is generally the first thing vehicle owners consider. Considering that most people think that the only way to receive top value for their vehicle is to sell it themselves versus trading it for a newer car. However, there are a few things to consider when trying to decide if you should sell your car first instead of trade it in.
Selling a car can take several weeks or longer; particularly if your car is in less-than-ideal condition. You would be accountable for every aspect of the sale procedure, from advertising, to test drives, to arguing the price, and anything else that pops up. On the other hand, trading in a vehicle almost always occurs the same day you get your new car with only slight negotiation.
Typically the seller is accountable for providing the buyer with the required paperwork, such as registration and the car’s title. Trying to do everything yourself may be a frustrating and long process if unexpected challenges are attached to the paperwork, like a lien. The dealer is equipped to handle all of the paperwork, including unexpected challenges.
Perhaps the most notable benefit of trading in your vehicle is the potential tax benefit offered in states with a state sales tax. For these states, there’s a tax credit applied to your new vehicle’s sales tax if you trade in a vehicle at the same location where they buy a new one. In short, the taxes are calculated at the price difference once the appraisal of the trade-in is factored into the new car sale price. The tax savings can easily reach up to thousands of dollars, depending on the car you’re getting.
There are lots of thoughts on this, especially with late model cars that are built for higher mileage usage. Yet, there’s general consensus on these three mileage milestones to think about when trading your vehicle in:
This is when most new car warranties typically conclude. On the other hand, this is also when the first replacement of ‘wear’ items, like brakes or tires, are usually done on vehicles. Your vehicle depreciation will generally start to increase more quickly after this milestone, so the nearer your car is to this mileage, the better your trade-in will likely be.
Depending on usage, a car that gets to this mileage will be three to five years old and most likely had many trips to the local automotive repair shop for routine and not-so-routine service. As the miles pile up, the value of the vehicle tends to get lower so vehicle owners should take this into account when weighing their trade-in options.
Thanks in part to advancements in modern technology, this mileage is no longer the automotive death sentence that it was before. But, the higher the mileage a vehicle has, the more the depreciation in all but the rarest cases. Cars within this milestone could still have value even if they might not be in mint condition. The condition of the car is reviewed more closely as the miles pile up on that odometer.
Lastly, an important component of trading in a vehicle is being ready for the trade-in appraisal. While the following suggestions are not an exhaustive list, these steps will definitely help you get the most value out of your trade-in.
This should be a no-brainer, but many people believe showing the vehicle ‘as-is’ is a more honest approach to a trade-in assessment. While we are not advocating hiding blemishes or problems (spoiler alert, they will see through that anyway), it’s not a bad idea to clean up your car to the best of your ability before bringing it in. This means tossing all trash and debris from inside your car (yes, even including the trunk), vacuuming and washing inside and out, and perhaps even doing a nice interior and exterior detailing. Think of the appraiser as a buyer of your vehicle and tidy up the vehicle.
We realize that auto repairs can be overwhelming, especially for major mechanical concerns. However, if you can fix minor dings, defects in the paint, and cracks in the various mirrors, windows, and windshield, all of those cosmetic fixes will help improve the price of your trade. If possible, we advise repairing any mechanical issues the vehicle may have. The nicer your car is, the higher the trade-in value will be.
If you’ve decided that trading in your vehicle is the best option for you, then we recommend coming here with all of your car’s paperwork, including the title (if you have it), registration, any repair receipts you have, and all copies of the vehicle’s keys. Show up ready to trade-in your car and you won’t be delayed in driving away in your new car.
Freedom Chevrolet invites you to trade in your car, truck, SUV, or van in San Antonio, TX. No matter the day of the week, time of the month or year, we are happy to value your trade-in and get you into a new vehicle. Visit our dealership in person or give us a call to schedule an appointment.