If you have a car that you’re looking to trade in, you’ll certainly want to maximize the value of the vehicle before you bring it in for an appraisal. Some vehicle owners go through the time-consuming process of replacing worn components and more, but this doesn’t always pay off.
Calculating Trade-in Value
In order to determine the best way to increase your car’s trade-in value, you should first become familiar with how that value is calculated:
CarsDirect mentions four main factors that most appraisers use to determine trade-in value:
- Year – This is one of the most important attributes because used car buyers tend to look at the year before anything else. Even before seeing a picture of a used car, most shoppers will see what year it is and then decide whether to look further or not. The dealership knows this, so it’ll pay more for a quick sale.
- Condition – You’ll want to personally appraise your car before determining what needs to be done to maximize its trade-in value. The difference between “used” and “like new” can be thousands of dollars, so putting in a little work can pay off.
- Make and Model – Some car models hold value better than others. You’ll want to do some research to see how yours stands.
- Mileage – Even if the condition of your vehicle is impeccable, you can expect to see a lower trade-in value if it has high mileage.
How to Improve Your Car’s Value
Most of these factors are things you cannot change. Your odometer will only go up, and your car isn’t a time machine, either.
However, you can vastly improve its condition. Since appraising condition depends more on perceiving relative value, than looking at fixed numbers, there is a lot you can do make your car more valuable.
One of the most important aspects to take into consideration is your car’s aesthetics. If it’s covered in dents and scratches, taking the car to a body shop is definitely worth the trouble. In most cases, the price you pay to have dents removed will be covered by the increase in the car’s value. This is especially true for major dents and serious aesthetic problems.
Similarly, getting the car detailed can earn you several hundred more dollars on your trade-in price. A clean, well-detailed car presents itself well on a psychological level, so you’ll earn more even if the actual mechanical difference is nil.