How Trade-Ins Are Valued – What You Need To Know About Trading In Used Cars

Used Car Dealer, Used Cars

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Car Trade in

Trading in your car is a great way to get a discount on a new or used vehicle, without going through the complex and difficult process of a third-party sale.

But how can you make sure you get a fair value for your car? Here’s what you need to know!

1. You Should Get Your Car’s Value Before You Trade It In

Your trade-in value will be based on live market retail numbers when compared to similar vehicles currently available for sale online and historical sold auction data for similar vehicles. 

You should check your car’s value on your own before you try to trade it in. This way, you can have at least a ballpark estimate of the money you’ll be able to spend on a new car, and you’ll get a good deal for your old car.

2. Understand The Condition Of Your Car

There are 4 common ratings for cars:

  • Excellent – No flaws on the interior or interior of the car, no mechanical problems or non-functioning systems.

  • Very Good – Minor cosmetic defects like scratches, flawless wheels, matching tires, minimal wear and tear on body and interior. No mechanical issues.

  • Good – May require some servicing. Paint and bodywork touched up, minor rust, interior and vehicle body worn out by wear-and-tear. Acceptable condition, without major repairs needed.

  • Fair – Requires mechanical repairs, reconditioning. May require repainting. May have repairable damage, wheels and tires need to be replaced. Heavily worn, may have repairable rust damage.

Most cars fall into “good” condition – Kelley Blue Book estimates that 54% of all vehicles traded-in are in this category. Depending on the condition of your car, the value may vary.

3. Your Trade-In Will Be Less Than The Actual Value Of Your Car

Your dealer will have to re-sell your car to make a profit. This means that you will get less money for trading it in than you would if you sold it to a third-party buyer for its full value. This is to be expected – and it’s the price you pay for convenience.

4. Lower Mileage Usually Means A Higher Value

If your car is low-mileage, it will usually be more attractive to buyers, and you may be able to get more for it from a dealer.

Canadians often drive 25,000km or more per year. If your car has a lower mileage, it likely will last longer, allowing a dealer to charge a higher price for it.

5. You Should Clean And Detail Your Car Before Trade-In

Trade-ins are usually performed based on the visual condition of your car. Most dealerships use advanced imaging systems to take photos of your vehicle, and they’ll ask you about any defects or previous repairs done to it.

After this process is complete, your car will be valued. First impressions count. It may seem silly to clean and detail your car before you trade it in. However, if you can make it look more appealing, you might be able to get significantly more for it than you would if you brought in a car that was covered in mud, or had stains on the interior.

6. It’s Worth Making Minor Repairs On Your Own

Minor engine issues, cracked windshields, and some other minor repairs may be worth doing on your own, to boost the condition of your trade-in, and increase its value.

Be reasonable – obviously, it doesn’t make sense to rebuild the transmission of a car you want to trade in – but take basic steps to make sure your car is running well and is an appealing prospect to a car dealer.

Bring Your Car To Ride-Time For A Trade-In!

We value all cars brought to us fairly and accurately. We will give you the best deal on a trade-in, guaranteed. In fact, we will buy your car from you – even if you choose not to purchase a used vehicle from us!

You’ve got nothing to lose. So come to Ride Time now for a trade-in appraisal. Whether you’re thinking about getting a car from us, or are just curious to see what your car is worth, we’re happy to help


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