A recent survey found some surprising facts about how people view their vehicles, and how emotional it can be to let go. If you're on the fence about trading in a car you love, we've got some tips to give you peace of mind.
How Attached Are You to Your Car?
It's easy to get attached to your vehicle, especially if you worked hard to get it, or it's saved you in more than one situation. Maybe you have fond memories of road trips and conversations with loved ones.
According to a recent TrueCar survey, they found that you're not alone in these sentiments. Among their findings:
- One in four people cry when they say goodbye to their car.
- Two-thirds of those surveyed say they consider their vehicle a friend.
- 60% of people consider their car an extension of their home.
- 35% of people surveyed say they name their vehicles.
All these feelings can make it hard to let go of your car. One the other hand, maybe you can't wait to hand off your keys to someone else. Whether you're too attached, or too hasty, in wanting to be rid of your vehicle, it can be easy to overlook details.
We have a few simple tips that you can follow to give your baby (or rust bucket) a good send off while making you get the most you can on your trade-in.
Tips for Your Trade-In
Prepping your car for trade gives you an opportunity to give your vehicle the care it deserves while giving yourself the best shot at getting a good price for it. You're free to take it to the dealership as is for an appraisal, but a good once over can give you a boost in value, as long as you don't break the bank just to sell the car.
1. Clean the car inside and out
A clean vehicle shows how well it was cared for, and may boost an appraiser's confidence in the car overall, which can affect what they offer. Don't expect a good clean vehicle to hide actual mechanical flaws, though. A clean car can appraise well, but it doesn't increase the actual cash value (ACV) that much, so you may want to skip an expensive detailing unless your vehicle really needs it.
2. Fix minor cosmetic issues
If you have dings and scratches in your car, it's worth the time and effort to fix these, as the wear and tear that shows can affect the offer you get. Most trade-ins get prepared to be resold either on the lot or at auction, so the better it looks, the better it may sell.
3. Keep your service records for the vehicle
It's a good idea to keep as much paperwork on your car as you can. Having proof that the vehicle was well maintained can be a feather in your cap when it comes to getting a good value for it.
4. Don't go into an appraisal blind
Before you take a dealer's word for it on the value of your car, be sure to do your homework. Always start by getting an estimated trade-in value for your vehicle. You can do this by visiting any number of online valuation sites, such as Kelley Blue Book, NADAGuides, or Blackbook.
Once there, you have the opportunity to fill out a survey about your car. It's important to be honest and answer the questions to the best of your ability. The more accurate your answers, the more accurate your estimate is likely to be.
Remember, though, that this is just an estimate, and the ACV of any vehicle is what a dealership is willing to offer. But having even an estimate can be a great negotiation tactic when discussing offers with the dealer.
5. Be ready to walk away
Remember that you're in control of your deal, and you don't have to take the first offer you receive. In fact, we recommend that you get at least three different appraisal values for your car so that you can choose the deal that best suits your needs. Make sure at least one dealership you visit is a franchise dealer for your brand, as they may be able to offer more than an independent dealership or a buy here pay here lot.
Even though you're in control of the deal, keep in mind that there are a lot of factors that go into the ACV of your vehicle. Even if the car feels like it's worth more than the offers you're getting, don't shut down offers based on your emotions. If they're all in a ballpark, and in line with your estimate, don't hold out until it's too late – trade-in offers may only be good for around seven days.
Finding a Dealership Near You
If you're ready to say goodbye to your current, well-loved vehicle, but are worried about your credit blocking your path to auto financing, don't be. There are many special finance dealers across the country that are ready to work with people who have less than perfect credit. These dealerships don't always stand apart from the crowd, though.
Rather than searching high and low for a dealer with the right resources for your situation, start right here with The Car Connection, instead. We've been connecting borrowers with bad credit, no credit, and even bankruptcy to dealerships that work with subprime lenders for over 20 years. We want to match you to a dealer, too. Just fill out our fast, free, and no-obligation car loan request form to get the process started now!