How to Prepare a Car for Trade In

by Contributor

If you're going to trade in your old car, you want to maximize its value so you can save money on that new purchase. There are little things you can do to the car without making a major investment that will make the vehicle more attractive to a dealer.

Research the vehicle's worth. Before stepping foot inside a car dealership and agreeing to trade your vehicle, do your own research and find out how much the vehicle is worth. Resources such as Kelley Blue Book offers information on trade in values.

Fix minor damage. It doesn't make sense to spend thousands of dollars on improvements. However, little improvements can add value to the vehicle. For example, touch-up chipped paint, remove surface scratches and fix small dents.

Wash the vehicle's exterior. The ideal is to make the car look nice. Thus, it wouldn't be smart to arrive at the dealership in a dirty vehicle. Stop by the car wash and give the vehicle a nice scrub. If possible, add a coat of wax and clean the tires.

Clean the interior. Likewise, the inside of the vehicle should make an impression. You don't have to schedule a professional detailing. However, it doesn't hurt to vacuum the carpet and wipe down the dashboard. Be sure to remove personal items before taking the car to the dealership.

Remove personal accessories. If you've installed a new radio or GPS system, and you want to keep these items, remove them from the vehicle before the appraisal. Re-install the original radio or purchase an inexpensive model.

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