4 Tips to Get the Best Price for Your Trade-In Car

4 Tips to Get the Best Price for Your Trade-In Car

Sign Up to get great deals for cars!

Subscribe to our blog that will make you look like an expert dealer.

When it's time to get behind the wheel of something new to you, typically, you have two options to divest yourself of your old car: selling or trading in.

While selling your current vehicle to a private party can net you top dollar, it's a hassle and can take many hours of your valuable time. (As the saying goes, "time is money!") 

On the other hand, trading in your used car is simple and easy. Instead of time-consuming tasks and answering calls from sales prospects, it may take only a few hours when you trade in.

And because of the recent microchip shortage caused by the pandemic, auto production has waned, and inventories have shrunk worldwide, increasing the demand for used cars. Due to these factors, now is an excellent time to trade in your used vehicle. 

But when you trade in, how can you get the best price for your used vehicle? Let's look at the details of trading in and some tips for receiving the best trade-in value.

No items found.

How to trade in a car

Trading in a used vehicle is a convenient, expedited process that allows you to purchase your next one quickly and put a nice down payment toward it. 

All you have to do is visit the reseller of your choice, decide whether or not to accept the price they offer, then put that money down on your next one. While trade-in values are typically less than private party sales, you save valuable time and can drive away in a new-to-you vehicle the same day. 

In contrast, a private sale can be a laborious process. You have to take pictures, post advertisements, and answer phone calls from potential buyers. Not only that, but it could take weeks or even months before someone decides to purchase your vehicle. 

Trading in also offers the advantage of saving you money on sales tax. Many states only charge tax on the sum of the purchase price once you subtract the car trade amount. This has the potential to save you thousands upon thousands of dollars, keeping vital funds in your bank account for other important obligations. 

When you're in the market for your next car, buying used offers you the chance to save thousands versus a new vehicle. But where can you go for not only a great price but also a used vehicle that stands the test of time? Shift offers best-in-class service contracts at a fair price without sales pressure. You get the excellent price and value of a used car with the bumper-to-bumper protection of a new car. With a Shift Vehicle Protection plan, not only are essential components covered, but you also receive roadside assistance if you experience trouble far from home. Whether you’re in the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, or Canada, help is just a toll-free phone call away, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Tips on how to get the best price for your trade-in vehicle

1. Do market research

Before you begin approaching resellers about trading in your car, it helps to know its market value. You can get a good idea of a fair trade-in price by searching the internet for your make and model, along with its year and mileage. With this data at your disposal, you can make a wise decision on whether the offer you receive is reasonable.

When it's time to sell or trade in your old vehicle, Shift makes it easy. All you'll have to do is enter your vehicle’s specifics on Shift's easy-to-use website, and you'll instantly receive a purchase offer that's valid for seven days. You can get a fair offer, better than at the dealership, driven by powerful machine learning algorithms and tons of data. With yours sold, you can then shop Shift's wide selection of fully inspected vehicles located across the country and find the best car for you. 

2. Make it shine

Before presenting your car for trade-in, increasing its appeal can help you secure a better price.

Giving it a nice wash and wax, thoroughly cleaning and vacuuming the interior, and removing any personal items can help your vehicle stand out and potentially increase its value to a reseller.

Additionally, if the exterior has minor dents and dings, smoothing them out can further raise your car’s allure to a would-be buyer. Some paintless dent removers offer mobile service, so you don't have to leave home and wait hours before it’s ready.

3. Shop around

Visiting several resellers and considering their trade-in offers give you additional leverage as you proceed through the process. After receiving several price quotes, you can use the best one as a starting point when choosing where to make your next car purchase. (Remember, Shift uses powerful machine learning algorithms and tons of data to determine an attractive offer for every vehicle we buy and sell.)

Another way to up your vehicle's trade-in value is offering to bring along service and maintenance records, as well as a vehicle history report. This can reassure a reseller of your car's good mechanical condition, as well as its favorable history. 

4. Trade-ins and sales tax

One often-overlooked advantage of trading in a vehicle is that it lowers the sales tax you owe in many states.

When you trade your vehicle for a new one, you only pay sales tax on the amount left once you deduct the trade-in value from the car price. With sales tax charges often costing thousands of dollars, trading in gives you the chance to save big on your vehicle purchase. 

Though car buying can be fun, it can take up your valuable time. Spending time driving around to different sellers and taking test drives interrupts your busy schedule, and you may not find the vehicle you want. But on Shift's easy-to-use website, you can browse a wide selection of quality pre-owned cars, all thoroughly inspected by certified mechanics. The website is user-friendly, and you'll be able to find various makes and models to suit your needs and budget. Shift offers fair, no-haggle prices driven by powerful machine learning algorithms and tons of data. And Shift also works with a network of trusted lenders, making it a one-stop shop for finding just the car you're looking for.

2013 Scion FR-S (from $16,500)

2013 Scion FR-S (from $16,500)
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
30-Day warranty
Free 7-day return
Free 7-day trial return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test DrivesButton Text
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Scion FR-S
2013 Scion FR-S (from $16,500)
30-Day warranty
Free 7-day return
Free 7-day trial return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Scion FR-S
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

2014 Toyota Prius (from $15,950)

2014 Toyota Prius (from $15,950)
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
30-Day warranty
Free 7-day return
Free 7-day trial return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Toyota Prius
2014 Toyota Prius (from $15,950)
30-Day warranty
Free 7-day return
Free 7-day trial return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Toyota Prius
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

No items found.

No items found.

No items found.

No items found.

No items found.
Author
Shift Editorial Team