6 Ways to Improve Your Trade-In Value

by Nov 25, 2021Car selling0 comments

If you are planning to buy a new car, you probably wonder should you trade-in or sell your old car. Trade-in value is typically less than what you might get from selling your car privately. In turn, selling your car privately, you will need to invest your time in communicating with potential buyers, answering questions about the vehicle, and taking people for test drives. Or you may even need to invest money for detailing, reconditioning, listing, and marketing. Although you might get a lower trade-in value, there are several advantages to trading it in at the dealership. The main reason is that it’s much more convenient, as the dealer will take care of all the paperwork and fix any dents or scratches. However, there is one thing you can worry about, which is what should you do to improve your trade-in value for your car.

Improve Car Trade-In Value

There are several ways you can boost your vehicle’s trade-in value. But before we start, it’s important to know the key factors dealerships consider when determining your vehicle’s worth. These factors considered are the model and brand, year, mileage, condition, and overall desirability of your car.

Model & Brand

If the vehicle is manufactured by a reputable brand that is in high demand, it will have a higher trade-in value. When it comes to specific models built by manufacturers, various models built by the same brand will depreciate differently and hold their value at different rates.


Newer models typically hold a higher trade-in value in general. Since newer models are usually more attractive to used-car buyers, dealerships are willing to pay more to anticipate a quick sale and a fast profit.


The trade-in value of your vehicle will go down while the number of kilometers on your odometer goes up. Even if your car is well maintained and in pristine condition. A high mileage could make most the used-car buyers step away, and dealerships tend to pay less for a vehicle with lots of kilometers on.


The overall condition of the vehicle (interior, exterior, engine, powertrain, tires, brakes etc.) is the most important factor for determining the trade-in value. The good news is, this is one aspect of your vehicle that you can take steps to improve.

Overall Desirability

Lastly, the more popular your car is among consumers, the higher its trade-in value will be. For example, if SUVs are currently in high demand, dealerships will be eager to take one off your hands with a higher value. Or when your old car is one of these best-selling cars, then it will always be well-considered by dealerships. Since dealerships will have good chances to sell it quickly and for a good profit.

Now that we have gone over some key factors that affect your car’s trade-in value, we will list some of the most essential tips that will help you to get out the most value from your ride.

6 Ways to Improve Your Trade-In Value

1. Do Your Research

Before heading into the dealership, it’s always good to do some search online and find out what your car’s average trade-in price is. There are reliable sites like Kelley Blue Book or Canadian Black Book that you can find this information. But keep in mind that the trade-in value recommended by these sites should only be used as a general guideline since each car is different. Once you have an idea of the price range of your vehicle, you will be able to use that knowledge when you negotiate with the dealership. But you’d take an honest look at your car and consider its overall condition, mileage, and if any repairs are needed to access if the offer is fair or not.

2. Fix the Small things

A good way to increase the value of your trade-in is to repair the small issues that are most obvious. For example, if your tires are in rough shape, it’s worth replacing them with an inexpensive new set. That’s a low-cost fix but can increase your vehicle’s trade-in value. Just use a small budget to do enough to make your car presentable, fix the small issues that can recoup the value in your trade-in price. Otherwise, the dealers will notice small issues and use them as reasons to bring down their offering prices.

3. Clean and Detail Your Car

Giving your old car a thorough cleaning is the simplest way to improve your vehicle’s trade-in value. A thorough cleaning should involve everything from vacuuming and wiping down the interior and giving the exterior a wash and wax. A good cleaning and detailing job might cost you around $100, but that could increase the car’s trade-in value by a couple hundred dollars if it is done properly. On the other hand, bodywork is another important step to improve your trade-in value. Imperfections like dents and scratches will always bring down its trade-in price. The good news is, they aren’t too expensive to repair and you are very likely recouping the cost of repairs with the added trade-in value.

4. Always Negotiate Your Trade-in Separately

If the trade-in process is mixed with the negotiations of a new-vehicle purchase, it’s very likely that the salesperson might swindle you into a bad deal. Since most car buyers only focus on negotiating the price of the purchase of a new car. The dealer can simply raise the price of the car you are purchasing and screw you on the financing and trade-in. Be sure to draw a clear line between the trade-in and new car negotiations. Separate the transactions, and negotiate the many variables involved in a new car purchase separately. Things like new car price, finance rate, and down payment amount should be negotiated separately, and shouldn’t affect the price of your trade-in.

5. Get your paperwork ready

It’s always good to provide the dealer with your car’s service documentation. Service documentation shows the dealer all maintenance from simple oil changes to repairs. They are important to show the dealer what kind of maintenance your vehicle received during your ownership. That will be a good demonstration to show your car is well cared for and a responsible car-owner you are. If the dealers like what they see, they’ll increase the value of your car.

If you haven’t kept your maintenance receipts, you can always reach out to the repair shop and get them to send you a copy of the paperwork.

6. Know How to Negotiate with the Dealer

To know how to negotiate with the dealer, you need to understand how the dealer approaches a trade-in transaction. Dealers are there to make money for their business, so you shouldn’t be surprised that they’re tough negotiators. What a dealer cares about is how fast they can sell your car to another buyer and make a decent profit margin. Unless your vehicle is a bucket of rust, the dealer probably wants it just as badly as you want to get rid of it in most cases; since trade-ins are a substantial profit point for dealers. In addition, be careful when the dealer bundles the negotiations of a new vehicle purchase with your trade-in.

Alternatively, you may shop around at multiple dealerships. It won’t increase the value of your car directly, but since the demand for vehicles varies per location, so that can affect your trade-in price. Getting offers from multiple dealerships also allow you to use those offers as leverage during your negotiations and support your position.

Follow these essential tips to improve your vehicle’s trade-in value!

Why Trade-In with Carnex – Get on average $500 more than anywhere else!

At Carnex, we will always pay more than our competitors for your trade-in. Get an easy vehicle estimate online today, receive an approximate value by entering your vehicle information.

Cash Out or Trade-In your vehicle with Carnex, receive a same-day check and have your vehicle picked up without ever leaving the comfort of your home.

Learn more about the benefits of buying from Carnex. We believe that all clients deserve to know the good and bad of what they’re buying. Because we wanted to know these when we bought cars. That’s why at Carnex.ca, we will proudly display every detail every step of the way. Browse all the best cars, automobile buying tips, auto insurance, young drivers, driving techniques, auto industry trends from Carnex Blog.

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