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Why YOU Need to Create Value To Trade in Your Car

Posted by Auto Loans Canada on 28/07/2015

If your car is in its final days, its final destination may seem like the junkyard. The sight and sound of machines crushing your car into metal pastries probably doesn’t play too nicely in your mind, especially if you’re really fond of that car. Or maybe you feel that no one is willing to buy your car for a price that’s worthwhile. So you decide a trade-in is the best option. Although it’s a perfectly normal route to take, you have to ask yourself if you truly understand car trade-in value, and how the whole process works. You need to create your value for your vehicle. Many people who decide to trade their vehicles in are doing so blindly. The end result is usually disappointment and ongoing frustration.

Getting it wrong

There’s a problem that many people have when they’re looking to do a trade-in – they don’t know what they’re doing. It’s like a skydivers jumping out of plane without checking to see if they packed a parachute. Of course, the consequences of being ill-prepared for a trade-in wouldn’t be so dire, but they could set you up for a difficult time. There are three things that drivers often get wrong.Many people forget depreciation factors into their car’s trade-in value.

They Don’t Understand Depreciation

Although it’s one of the most basic concepts about car ownership, there’s an overwhelming number of people who don’t understand depreciation. It’s the concept of cars losing value once they’ve been purchased and driven off the lot. That’s just the way it is. Unlike a painting or sculpture, which you can sell for much more later on, the car that you bought for $40,000 two years ago, won’t have that same price tag today. And the rate of depreciation varies from car to car – a fact that trips many drivers up. Perhaps they own a luxury vehicle, but don’t realize that it could depreciate faster than a more economical car for various reasons. This leads to our next point.

They Have Unrealistic Expectations

When it comes to trade-in value, if you don’t know how it works, you’re bound to form unrealistic expectations. This is a big problem for “newbies”. Someone who is just as inexperienced may have told them that their car is worth more than it really is, and so they go by wrong advice. Of course, they’re disappointed when they find out that their vehicle isn’t really worth that much. What they need to understand, however, is that their friends or associates aren’t the ones who decide the value of cars – it’s a market thing.

It makes more sense to speak directly to a dealership, or to consult tools such as the Canadian Black Book, which actually give a real value for which you can reference. Knowing these values is also good for general financial advice. Regardless of the city you live in (it could be a remote town like), it’s worth knowing these values so you can make better trade-ins to begin with, especially if you have special circumstances, like a car loan revolving around bad credit.

They Fail to Ignore the “Preparation” Stage

One of the biggest reasons why car trade-ins yield lacklustre results is due to drivers who don’t prepare their cars in advance. What do we mean by this? We’re talking about the overall maintenance of your car, in terms of how it works and how it looks. For you to get the best deal possible, you have to present your car in its best shape. There’s no way around it. In fact, it’s safe to say that you’ll get a much better deal just by fixing your car to ensure that it’s a vehicle that people actually want to drive. It’s true that the new owner of a car can fix their vehicle once after the trade-in, but it the value is just so much higher when done beforehand.

Horse Before the Cart

With all that’s been said, you really should spend more time prepping your car so that looks and performs at its best. It’s important that you examine all aspects of your vehicle, so that nothing goes unnoticed. You don’t want a dealer to see a flaw or malfunction that you could have easily taken care of.


Your car should perform at its best before trading it in. Your car’s performance should be number one when you’re getting it ready for a trade-in. So where do you start? The engine is a good place to begin. First of all, it’s important to take care of the basics, such as getting oil changes and topping off your coolant. Outside of the engine, glaring issues such as transmission problems and brake alignment issues need to be addressed. After all, no one is going to accept a car that’s about to fall apart. These parts will often tell you that there are problems, usually in the form of some kind of noise. That’s why you should never go ignored if you hear them.

Bodywork & detailing

Now the way your car works isn’t the only thing you should pay attention to. Your car’s looks matter as well. No one wants to drive a car that looks like it survived a fire or an attack from vandals. You might not be able to remove every scratch or dent – it’s not necessary if they’re hard to see – but you should makeLooks matter! For a higher trade-in value, have your car detailed. an effort to have very obvious damage repaired. Even if your car is good shape overall, don’t neglect bodywork and detailing. For the exterior, it doesn’t hurt to get waxing, paint recoating, and sun spot removal. These tasks will give your car the shine of a brand new car. For the interior, consider having your seats and upholstery shampooed/treated and vacuumed. Many of these jobs take only a few hours, but the benefits can last for months.

The Game is Mental

Another theme you might have noticed throughout this article, is the idea that trade-in customers often have the wrong outlook. They usually expect much more than what their vehicle is actually worth. So it’s important to stay grounded in reality. Rather than relying on the words of others, check the facts. As mentioned earlier, there are tools such as the Canadian Black Book (CBB) which can actually tell you trade-in value of your car. You should also consider the age of your car and the type of vehicle you have. These factors also will make your car more or less valuable.

They Pay for What You Give Them

A car trade-in can be one of the best options if you’re looking to get a new vehicle. You could end up with a deal that’s better than anything expected. But there’s prep work involved. A lot of people who consider trade-ins, are misguided and unrealistic with their goals, failing to consider the steps they need to take before making an offer. Your car needs to be in best shape possible if you are to receive an offer that makes you happy. So that means making repairs both inside and out, to give your vehicle the appeal it needs to get you the deal you want.