How Do I Know If A Dealer Trade-In Value Is Fair?

If you are planning to purchase a new car, there’s a good chance that you want to get rid of your old car, and for a good price. Selling your old car by yourself may get you more money than a trade-in but the hassles and the delay involved can make it a less attractive option. If you are planning to trade in your car, you would hope that the dealer would give you the best price. However, this rarely happens and many people feel the trade-in value they get from a dealer isn’t fair. Here we tell you how to know if a dealer’s trade-in value is fair.

Understanding Fair Trade-In Values

There are no laws or standard methods to determine fair trade-in values. Most car dealers offer a wholesale price during purchase. A dealer will be inclined to offer you the lowest price you’ll agree with to ensure that he/she makes a decent profit on the sale of your old car. Since most car dealers will try to offer a lower trade-in value, you need to collect enough information to know whether or not you’re getting a good deal.

Research Online

To know the fair trade-in value of your vehicle, do your research on the internet. Use keywords like “wholesale prices of old cars” and you will get several websites that list different used cars with trade-in values. You can also visit trusted automotive websites like The trade-in values for the used cars will be different on different sites as every car dealer follows their own evaluation method. Many people consider the highest trade-in value offered is the fair trade-in price of their old car which is wrong. The trade-in value depends on several factors like the condition of the car, maintenance record, popularity of the model and more.

Consider the Condition of Your Car

To determine the fair trade-in value of your car, you need to know its condition. You need to be honest in your evaluation. You can also ask your friend to pose as a buyer and evaluate your car. Keep the ratings simple and use stars to rate your car’s condition.

Excellent: A car which is exceptional in all aspects will have the highest rating. The engine is running well, the maintenance records are complete, the tires have plenty of tread, there is no inside or outside damage, the paint is clear and the title is clean.

Good: There are no major mechanical problems. The paint still looks good but there are some visible scratches. The interior and the carpet have minimal signs of wear and tear and may need some touchups. The tires are in good shape and maintenance records are available.

How to Get A Fair Trade-In Value For Your Old Car

If your car falls in the above two categories, you can set a private party price and ask the car dealer to match the same price. If the condition of the car is really good, the car dealer may offer a good trade-in value.

To get an idea of what a fair trade-in value is, you can approach several car dealers and get their trade-in values. Also, when purchasing a new car, keep both transactions separate to ensure the car dealer does not mix up the deal or use the price of the new car to leverage a lower trade-in value.