Should I Fix My Car Before Trading It In? The Do’s and Don’t Of Trading In Your Car

Should I Fix My Car Before Trading It In? The Do’s and Don’t Of Trading In Your Car

If you’re fed up with your car and want to trade it in, you might be wondering whether it’s worth sprucing it up beforehand to get the best value. So if you find yourself asking – should I fix my car before trading it in, and is it worth the time? We have some answers.

Generally, you’ll want to focus on minor repairs to improve the appearance of your car. Wash the exterior of the car, and use touch-up paint to fill any minor scratches. Clean out the interior and vacuum the carpets. Use a carpet cleaner to remove small stains.

Taking a little time to make sure your car looks good for trade-in is an important step to get the value you deserve. A little effort into cleaning your car can really help boost its trade-in value.

However, there’s no need to spend money on any major repairs. In fact, it’s recommended you don’t. It’s very common for car dealerships to take trade-ins with squeaky brakes, worn tires, and dents and dings in the exterior.

Truth is, dealerships often deduct the value for money they will spend reconditioning the car in case of major issues that aren’t obvious during the appraisal process.

Dealerships have the resources to fix any major problems with the car, and its often how they make a profit reselling used cars. In fact, the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) reports that dealerships make an average gross profit of around $2,337 for each trade-in they resell.

So now that we answered the question: should I fix my car before trading it in, let’s dive into the details of how to get maximum trade-in for your car.

Cleaning the Interior

Your first step when going for a trade-in should be to spruce up the interior. This will be the first thing a dealership will check, and a clean interior speaks volumes about your overall maintenance of the car.

Remove any unnecessary items and clean the cup holders and glove box. Be sure to vacuum the carpets and floor mates.

In fact, using a simple automotive carpet cleaner will help brighten the color and give the interior a clean fresh scent.

Washing Your Car

Before you take your car down for appraisal, make sure to give it a wash (and a wax) so that you get the best shine. An automated wash will do, just make sure you purchase the wash that includes all the goodies like wax and shine enhancers.

The better your car appears, the more likely you are to get a more favorable trade-in.

Fixing Scratches

There are a number of ways you can fix minor scratches yourself, and if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, your hard work could be reflected in a better valuation.

Using tough-up paint, carefully fill in small chips and scratches. Pay particularly attention to chips on the hood and door edges.

Conduct Regular Maintenance

Make sure your fluids for your brakes, transmission, oil, and coolant are all topped off. Your servicing history says a lot about how well the car has been maintained, and taking your car to a trade-in with low brake fluid, for example, can be a red flag for a dealership.

Why Avoid Major Repairs?

Generally, it will cost you more in repairs than you get back from your trade-in, so avoid making major repairs to your car.

A dealership can usually get the job done for much less, so it doesn’t have as much weight in your trade-in value as you might think.

Vehicle reliability research tool.

Final Thoughts: Should I Fix My Car Before Trading It In?

Now that you know what to look for, trading in your car and getting top dollar for it should be a breeze.

Trading in your car is a great way to get some cash towards an upgrade, and conducting minor repairs and making sure your car is as clean as possible can help ensure you get the best trade-in.

With just a little preparation, you’ll be on your way to getting top dollar for your old ride.

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