How to Prep Your Vehicle to Trade-In

August 13th, 2021 by

Because a trade-in is a credit against the purchase of a new or pre-owned car, it can lower the amount that you need to borrow for financing. You benefit from fewer sales tax paid, lower monthly installments, and less total interest and total expense over a loan that is more quickly paid off. Here are some tips for prepping your vehicle to get the best trade-in value.

Research the price.

The only way you’ll know if the price offered for your vehicle is acceptable is to do some research on what it’s worth. Check out the website of auto authorities like Kelley Blue Book. But keep in mind that we are not going to offer you the retail used value of a vehicle, which is what an individual can give you. We can only pay you the high wholesale value because we have to make a profit when we sell your vehicle to someone else.

Do your own inspection.

Give your vehicle the once-over as a buyer would. Drive it around the block or on the highway and make note of anything that isn’t working correctly. Turn on all the accessories such as the radio, GPS, and climate controls. Park your car and have a friend sit in the driver’s seat to turn on the lights and tap on the brake pedal. Walk around your car while that’s being done to check if any of the light bulbs burned out.

If you find any problems, we will too. Can any of them be repaired easily and inexpensively?

Make minor repairs.

Minor and easy repairs such as replacing a burned-out bulb or buying a missing gas cap cover can help increase the value of your trade-in. Otherwise, we may assume the worst about a problem and give you a lower trade-in price.

However, do not bother with major repairs, such as transmission problems, because this may cost more than what we can give you. We do have a service department staffed by factory-certified technicians who will take care of those issues once we accept your vehicle.

You do want to check if your car has any outstanding recalls at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If it does, take your vehicle to its dealer to get the problem addressed for free. Otherwise, we may lower the value of the trade-in to compensate for the time and trouble it takes to fix the recall ourselves.

Make it look great.

We’re only supposed to look at make, model, mileage, and condition when creating our trade-in offer. But we’re only human and are just as impressed by a new-looking vehicle as anyone. So take the time to make your car look great.

Start by taking out anything that wasn’t original to your vehicle. We don’t give you anything for any accessories that you add, so you might as well keep them for your next purchase. Don’t forget to remove any personal belongings like sunglasses, emergency kits, or kids’ toys.

Then give the interior a good vacuuming and wipe-down. Take care of the inside of the windows and windshield, which are frequently neglected. Move on to the exterior, especially the tires and the underbody, which can collect a lot of road chemicals during the winter.

Return any original equipment to the vehicle, if possible, such as owner’s manuals, extra keys, and fobs, or infotainment system documentation. We can deduct for any missing items. If you have any receipts for maintenance and service, bring those along. Proof that your vehicle has been well-cared for increases its worth.

Time your trade-in.

Think about the times of the year when your trade-in might be in demand and bring it in at those times. For example, a convertible would do well in the summer, while a four-wheel-drive SUV would be most desirable during winter to maximize traction in the snow.

Contact us.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at Federico Kia in Wood River, IL. If you want some idea about how much your trade-in might be worth, try our online Trade-In Form. To find out how a trade-in can affect your monthly installment, check out our online Payment Calculator.

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