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The Best Type of Cars to Trade-In

Most new car buyers have a vehicle they need to trade-in or sell, but they don't realize some vehicles are not even worth trading-in.

Although you'll get the most money if you sell your vehicle to a private party, we understand that trading-in is more convenient and some people are just going to prefer this method. However, you should be aware of situations where it may not make sense to trade-in your car.

First, when buying a new car, don't automatically assume you have to trade-in at the same dealership. You should always separate your trade-in from your purchase, and this sometimes means you won't be selling your car at the same dealership where you purchase.

Trade-in Same Brand of Vehicle

If you're buying a Toyota and trading-in a Chevrolet, you should shop your car to a couple of different Chevrolet dealers. Reason for this is because a Toyota dealer isn't going to want to sell a Chevrolet in their used car lot. A person who goes to a Toyota dealership is interested in Toyotas, whether it's new or used.

A Chevrolet dealer will be more likely to give you a higher price on your trade-in, simply because they can sell that car on their used lot. If a Toyota dealer purchased your trade-in, they would likely turn around and sell it to a Chevrolet dealer or sell it at an auction. Why lose money to a middle man when you can sell directly to the final source?

Late-Model Used Cars Are Best

Dealers typically will not sell used cars on their lots if they have over 85,000 miles or if they're an older model going back 6 or 7 years.

If you've got an older car with lots of miles, it's best to try to sell it yourself, or you may want to get bids from local independent used car lots. They're more likely to want to buy your car since they typically sell older vehicles.

If you have a late-model, well maintained used car, dealers will compete to buy it. Make sure you shop it around to at least 3 dealers. Have their used car manager inspect the vehicle and give you their best bid, then use those bids to try to negotiate a higher price from other dealers.

Some dealers may already have too many of the same cars on their used lot, so they may not be particularly interested in yours - that's another reason you want to shop it around to several dealers.

If you shop your trade-in this way, you can easily put an extra $1,000 in your pocket when it's all said and done.

My Recommendation for Car Shoppers

TrueCar No-Haggle and Edmunds Price Promise are the quickest way to see the lowest car prices in your area. These sites show you no-haggle prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually really good. This should be the first step you take when negotiating your car price. Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.
- Gregg Fidan

Gregg Fidan

About: Gregg Fidan

Gregg Fidan + is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.

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