Getting the Best Trade-in Value at the Dealership

It’s time to replace your vehicle with one of the new models you’ve seen in TV commercials. Your car is in good shape, but you’re ready for the latest and greatest. Now you’re wondering, “What can I do with my current vehicle? How much can I get if I trade in at the dealership?” Showing up prepared to negotiate is half the battle. Read on to find out some practical tips to get the most value for your trade in.

Do Your Research in Advance

Spend time researching your vehicle’s value. Different tools are available online, like Kelley Blue Book. Enter all the information needed, such as your vehicle model, year, make, miles driven and if it has any significant dents or scratches. Kelley Blue Book will provide a range for your vehicle’s value.

It’s important to have the value in mind. That way you’ll know if the dealer is offering a fair amount for your car.

Gather all the important documents such as the car’s title, loan (if you’re still paying for it) and your vehicle maintenance records. If you didn’t keep your maintenance records, ask your mechanic if you get a summary.

Shop Around for the Best Deal

Now that you know how much your current vehicle is worth, don’t settle for the first offer you get from a dealer. Collect at least three quotes from different dealerships. Not every dealer is going to offer you the same amount for your car.

Each one will look at different factors to determine your vehicle’s value, including the car’s condition, mileage, current inventory and whether they think it’ll be easy to sell.


Take a look at all the quotes you’ve received and go with the option that best suits your needs.

What the Dealer Looks for: A Step-by-Step Process

Dealers will take your car through the following process:

  • The dealership takes your car to the shop for an inspection and will analyze the factors that are most important to it to determine its condition.
  • They will review mileage, fluid levels, check any dents or scratches and note how bad they are, and run a report using the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to see the vehicle’s records. The report will indicate if your vehicle been in an accident, has a salvage title and more.
  • The dealer may reduce the value of your vehicle if you still have pending payments, in exchange for paying it off.


You may receive more money selling your vehicle on your own, but doing it through a dealership may save time and headaches in the long run.

Now that you know what your car is worth, it’s time to start negotiating with the dealership. If you’re uncomfortable or unsure about this step, bring a spouse, a relative or friend who can help.

Only agree to trade in your car if you’re happy with what the dealership is offering. Remember, your trade-in is just one part of the deal. A great deal on your trade won't matter if you overpay for your new ride.


Now that you’re ready to trade in your car, remember to keep your auto insurance up to date. Infinity Insurance provides different options to suit your budget and needs. Speak to one of our friendly agents at 1-800-INFINITY.

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