What to do Before Trading In Your Car
You're ready to start car shopping. Great! We hope to make the process a bit easier and part of your next steps may include trading in your current car.
The team at FH Dailey Chevrolet in San Leandro, California has encountered several questions from our customers about what to do before you trade in your car. This post is a great starting point to catch up on tips before you make that trade.
1) Repairs: Should you repair a vehicle before showing it to a dealer? Dealers are in the business of cars and therefore, have the ability to make mechanical or cosmetic repairs more reasonably than a consumer. Trading the vehicle in "as is" condition also allows the dealer to decide what needs to be done and to control the quality of the repair. There is little chance you would recoup the cost of last minute repairs, so you are much better off letting the dealer be responsible for them.
2) Detailing: Should you clean a car before showing it to a dealer? This is not as clear-cut as it might seem. Most cars will clearly benefit from an interior cleaning. Exterior cleaning is a different story and depends largely on the extent of flaws (primarily dings and scratches) around the vehicle. Exterior dirt and dust can hide many of those flaws. One popular story in the wholesale business tells of a dealer who cleans the exterior of a car, sees the true condition of the paint underneath, and says, "I just washed $500 worth of dirt off that car!"
3) Previous Paintwork: Paintwork, especially of poor quality or on an expensive vehicle, can significantly devalue a vehicle. Sometimes a wet-sanding (check with a body shop) can improve the look of paintwork, especially if the paint problem is primarily related to the texture of the paint. Dirt can also hide paintwork and may be another good reason for not cleaning a vehicle (see #2).
4) Same-Make Dealer: It is often useful to have your vehicle appraised by a dealer who sells the same vehicle new, especially if it is something he might want to stock for retail. If he were to consider stocking your trade-in for his retail lot, he is likely to offer more for it when he appraises it. If nothing else, his appraisal may be useful in negotiation with other dealers.
5) Your Own Expectations: Before visiting a dealer, be sure you have a sense of what your vehicle is worth. Showing up with a realistic expectation will help you and the dealer strike a deal that satisfies you both.
These are some of the things you should consider before trading in your car. We know our customers look to FH Dailey Chevrolet for guidance and checking our values before visiting their dealers. We're here to help answer any questions you may have.