How Do I Know If A Dealer Trade-In Value Is Fair?
A decade or two ago, most car owners went on gut feeling and a vague expectation of what their car might get them when trading it in for a new one. Today, with the wealth of knowledge available, finding fair values is much easier, but the picture is still not that clear for the consumer, owing to variations in car values offered by different car valuation tools available online. Many of these websites are owned by the same group as that of a dealership and hence portray a different estimate which seems beneficial to a consumer but in reality, only helps keep up margins for the dealership.
So, if you’re one of those consumers who know that you can’t always bank on the estimates given by an online tool, here are some pointers that should help you narrow your estimate down to something both favorable and fair.
Your Car’s Value Is Affected By Its Make
The value of your car depends on a number of factors, including what make it is. Studies have shown that the Toyota Tacoma, Tundra and 4Runner, the Jeep Wrangler, Subaru Impreza among other makes and models, have the lowest depreciation value, which simply means that the car’s value will remain steady and close to its buying price for the next five to 10 years.
You Car’s Age Factors Into Its value
Despite the depreciation value for each car make, the age of the car does make a difference in pricing. If a car is over five years old, chances are that there have been many upgrades and software and hardware changes made to newer versions of the same car produced. The same model produced in 2019 may have better or high-end safety features than a 2014 model.
Your Car’s Condition Is Very Important
The trade-in price will be based on how used your car looks and runs, too. If the seats are damaged or have sunk down, or if the tires seem to be balding and the suspension needs work, then the value of the car may be lower than you expect.
Accident History Is Key
If you’ve never been in an accident — minor or major — then your car’s value will be considerably higher. Dents and scratches on the body even if you’ve attempted to cover them up will get caught by expert evaluators and can lower your car’s trade-in value.
Having A Record Of Service History Helps
Whenever you take your car down to your authorized service station, it goes on record as part of your service history. So, any faulty parts repaired, damaged parts replaced, etc., will be documented and anything outside of ordinary service will be a reason to lower your trade-in value.
Getting A Fair Estimate
Despite the variations in car values obtained from online tools, you can also check trustworthy websites like Kelley Blue Book, Autotrader and TrueCar to find a reasonable estimate. You could also check offers and deals on these websites to get a better price for your car at a particular dealership.
At the end of the day, know your car well and also know the differences in values provided by online tools such as the retail value, the market value and the trade-in value. This will help you snag the best trade-in price for your car.