One of the more important decisions in the life of your current vehicle is figuring out “when is the best time to trade in your vehicle?” Should I trade it in within a specific time frame? Is there a point where there are too many miles on the odometer? Does it have to be perfect? It probably won’t surprise you to learn there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to these concerns. But, we’ve got a few tips to help you decide when to trade in your vehicle.
This is generally the first thing owners wonder. After all, most folks think the best way to receive top dollar for their vehicle is to sell it on their own instead of trading it in. However, there are a few points to think about when thinking about if you should sell your vehicle first instead of trade it in.
With few special circumstances, selling a vehicle can take weeks, if not longer; particularly if the car is not in great condition. You would have to arrange every aspect of the sale process, from creating an ad, to coordinating test drives, to haggling on price, and everything in between. On the other hand, trading a vehicle usually occurs the same day you buy your new vehicle.
Usually you would be responsible for the necessary paperwork, such as registration and the car’s title. Trying to do everything by yourself could be a disheartening and long process if there are unexpected challenges connected to the paperwork, like a lien. The dealership is capable of taking care of the paperwork, including challenges.
One of the most notable benefits to trading in your car is the possible tax savings in states with a state sales tax. In these states, there’s a financial credit applied to the new vehicle’s sales tax if the buyer trades in a car at the same location where they buy a new car. Simply, the taxes are calculated at the price difference once the trade-in price is figured into the new car price. The savings can quickly reach hundreds and even thousands of dollars.
There are many schools of thought on this, especially with late model cars that are designed to last a long time. Yet, there’s general consensus on the following three mileage milestones to think about when trading in your vehicle:
This is when most new car warranties expire. Conversely, this is also when the first major replacement of ‘wear-and-tear’ items, like brakes or tires, are typically done on vehicles. The depreciation of your vehicle will usually start to accelerate more quickly at this point, so the nearer your vehicle is to these miles, the higher your trade-in appraisal will likely be.
Depending on how much you drive, a car that reaches this milestone will be between 3 to 5 years old and most likely had many visits to the local automotive service bay for routine and not-so-routine maintenance. Obviously as the miles add up, the value of the vehicle tends to get lower so car owners should keep this in mind when considering their trade-in.
Thanks to modern manufacturing, this milestone isn’t nearly the automotive death sentence that it was in the past. But, the more miles a vehicle has, the greater the depreciation. Anything within this mileage could still have value even though it might not be in pristine condition. The looks and mechanical condition of the vehicle are looked at more closely as the miles pile up on the odometer.
Finally, a crucial component of trading in a vehicle is being ready for the trade-in evaluation. These recommendations are not the only ideas but they will help you get the best value out of your trade.
This ought to be a no-brainer, but many people think that presenting the vehicle ‘as-is’ is an honest approach to a trade-in assessment. While we do not advocate hiding blemishes or problems (spoiler alert, they will see through that regardless), it’s not a bad idea to clean up your car before bringing it to the dealership for evaluation. This includes removing all trash and debris from inside your car (including the trunk), vacuuming and washing the exterior and interior, and maybe even doing a nice interior and exterior detailing. Think of the evaluator as a buyer of the car and clean the vehicle accordingly.
We realize that automotive repair costs can be overwhelming, especially for significant mechanical concerns. However, if you can fix minor dings, defects in the paint, and cracks in the various windshield, mirrors, and windows, all of those fixes will go a long way towards improving the price of your trade. When possible, we recommend repairing any mechanical concerns the car may have as well. The better the condition, the better the trade-in value will be.
If you have decided trading in your car is the best option for you, then we recommend coming to the dealership with all of your car’s documentation, including the title (if it’s in your possession), registration, any repair documents you have, and all copies of the car’s keys. Come ready to trade your car in and you will speed up the process of driving away in your new car.
No matter the time of year, month or day of the week, Team Gillman Honda North invites you to trade in your car, truck, SUV, or minivan in Houston, TX. We provide great advice and tips for how to get the most value for your trade-in and can help you get behind the wheel of a new car. Schedule an inspection appointment online or visit our dealership today.