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Maybe one of the biggest decisions in the life of your car is figuring out “when should I trade car or truck in?” Is it best to trade it in after a specific time frame? Is there such a thing as too many miles? Does it have to be perfect? It probably won’t be a surprise to figure out there is not a simple answer to these concerns. However, we’ve got some advice to help you figure out when to trade in your car, truck, or SUV.
This is generally the first question vehicle owners wonder. After all, most folks believe that the best way to get top dollar for their vehicle is to do it themselves versus trading it in. Yet, there are a couple of factors to look at when attempting to decide if you should sell your car beforehand instead of trade it in.
Selling a car can take many weeks or longer; especially if the car is not in great condition. You would have to take care of every aspect of the sale procedure, from advertising to scheduling test drives, to arguing the price, and everything in between. Conversely, trading in a vehicle almost always occurs the same day you get your new one.
Usually the seller is accountable for the paperwork, such as the title and registration. If you are new to selling, this can be a discouraging and long procedure if there are unexpected challenges, like a lien, connected to the paperwork. The dealership is capable of doing all of the paperwork, including surprises.
One of the most notable benefits of trading in your vehicle is the possible tax benefit found in places with a state sales tax. For these states, there is a credit applied to your new car’s sales tax if you trade in a car at the same place where they buy a new one. Simply, the taxes are calculated at the price difference after the appraisal of the trade-in is calculated into the new car sale price. The savings can quickly reach hundreds and even thousands of dollars, depending on what vehicle you are buying.
There are plenty of schools of thought on this question, especially with late model cars that are designed to last a long time. But, there’s general consensus on the following three mileage ranges to consider when trading in your vehicle:
This is the time when the majority of new car warranties expire. On the other hand, this is when the first major replacement of ‘wear’ items, like tires or brakes, are generally performed on most cars. The depreciation of your vehicle will begin to increase faster at this point, so the closer your vehicle is to these miles, the better your trade-in will usually be.
Depending on usage, a vehicle that gets to this milestone will generally be 3 to 5 years old and most likely has been well maintained. Clearly, as the miles pile up, the value tends to decrease so car owners need to think about this when weighing their trade-in options.
Thanks to modern technology, this mileage isn’t nearly the automotive death notice that it was before. However, the higher the mileage a vehicle has, the greater the depreciation. Vehicles within this milestone can still have value even though they aren’t in perfect condition. The condition of your vehicle is looked at more closely as the miles increase on your odometer.
Lastly, an important component of trading in your vehicle is being ready for the trade-in appraisal. These recommendations are not the only ideas, to be sure, but these steps will help you get the best value out of your car.
This ought to be a fairly obvious point, but people believe showing their car ‘as-is’ is an honest approach to a trade-in assessment. While we are not advocating hiding problems or blemishes (Just so you know, they will see through those attempts regardless), it is not a bad idea to clean up your car before bringing it in. This includes removing all debris and trash from inside the car (yes, even including the trunk), washing and vacuuming the interior and exterior, and maybe even doing a nice exterior and interior detailing. Just think of the appraiser as a buyer and prepare the vehicle accordingly.
We realize that automotive repairs can be overwhelming, especially for major mechanical issues. But, if it is possible to fix minor dings, chips in the paint, and cracks in the various mirrors, windows, and windshield, all of those cosmetic fixes will help improve the value of your trade. When possible, we advise repairing any mechanical concerns the car may have as well. The nicer your car is, the more value you’ll get for your trade-in.
If you’ve decided trading in your vehicle is the best decision, then we recommend coming to the dealership with all of your vehicle’s documentation, including the title (if it’s in your possession), registration, any repair logs you have, and keys you have for the vehicle. Arrive ready to trade-in your car and you will speed up the process of driving home in your new car.
Sandia MINI invites you to trade in your small sports car or crossover in Albuquerque, NM. No matter the day of the week, time of the month or year, we are happy to value your trade-in and get you into a new vehicle. Visit our dealership in person or give us a call to schedule an appointment.