How Does Trading in Your Car Work?

If you're in the market to buy a car, new or used, consider trading your old car to the auto dealership. You can get a good discount and avoid the hassle of selling your car.

How Does Trading in Your Car Work?
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When one is ready to buy a new car, the question becomes what to do with the old car. Trading your old car in seems like a perfect answer since it lets you unload the car and gives you guaranteed money toward your new car purchase. The dealership essentially buys your old car for the fair market value and applies that money to your new car as a down payment.
Test Drive
When you drive onto the dealership lot, the sales representative will greet you with a few questions. He will ask you what kind of a car you want to buy and if you plan to trade your old car. If you reply yes, he will ask you for the keys to the car. Another dealership employee will test drive your car while you test drive the new car. The other employee will assess your car by listening to the motor, checking to make sure everything works, looking over the interior for wear and tear to upholstery and carpet and, finally, checking the outside body of the car for dents and scratches.
Assessment
Next, the car dealership looks up the wholesale value of the car you are trading in. He then subtracts amounts for any damage to your car or for any parts of it that are not working. Then he arrives at a figure and tells you how much he will give you for your car. If you accept the offer, your contract will reflect this amount as your down payment for your new car.
Improving the Offer
You can get the best offer possible for your old car by washing the car and having it detailed before you visit the car dealership. Consider fixing small scratches and dents; this may cost less than the amount they will take off. Make sure everything is working such as lights, air conditioner and horn. Performing these tasks before you take your car for appraisal should raise the price the dealership is willing to pay for your car. If you still do not like his offer, barter with him. Some car dealerships purposely offer less at first because they expect you to ask for a counter offer. If you feel the amount he offers is beneath what you can accept, decline the offer and go to another dealership or sell your car outright and buy a new car outright.
Resources
reference
First Car Guide