Have body work performed or trade in as is?

I have a 2006 Toyota Sienna LE 7 seater with 52000 miles. We like the Sienna but due to family growth now need an 8 seater. Our current sienna needs some body work. I obtained a quote from a body shop which came to $1000. Kelly Blue Book Value for good is $12900 and fair is $11,500. Should I have body work performed or should I trade the '06 as is?

For a trade in it won’t matter much. You will get wholesale not KBB value. The wholesale value takes a bit less of a hit. The only time to do the repair is for a private sale where you might get a higher price for a good looking car. I would not expect more than 9000-9500 wholesale at trade.

You might talk to a used car manager at a larger dealership. The used car department at a dealer needs to show a profit and these managers know where to get great work done at reasonable prices which is often not at their own agency, but at an independent shop.

My guess is that if you trade in the Sienna, the used car manager will have the body work done and sell it from his lot since you have a low mileage popular vehicle. I don’t think your Sienna will go to the auction.

You may want to have the body work done and try selling your Sienna yourself. When you trade cars, two transactions take place: 1) you are buying a car from the dealer and 2) he is buying a car from you. He wants to get top dollar for his vehicle and pay as little as possible for your vehicle. If you can sell your vehicle, then only one transaction occurs and you should save money.

Let me add something else. I had a 2006 Chevrolet Uplander that I purchased in 2006 as a “program” vehicle. It had 15,000 miles on the odometer when I purchased it. Last March, we decided to sell it to our son who needed a better vehicle. I was going to replace it with another Uplander. I found one almost identical to the one I owned with about the same miles on the odometer, and the price was only $1000 less that I paid for the vehicle almost 4 years earlier. I am certain had I traded it in, I would have lost quite a bit of money. However, when I didn’t have a trade-in, I negotiated a very good price on a new 2011 Sienna.

A Lot Depends On Where The “Body Work” Damage Is Located And How Eye Catchingly Obvious It Is. A Thousand Bucks Doesn’t Buy Much At A Body Shop These Days.



If you trade in a car that needs body work, the dealer you trade with will have to fix it. He will deduct what he thinks it will cost to fix the van, or auction it if he doesn’t want to bother with it. No matter how you cut it, you will pay to have the body work done.

So, which Uplander was overpriced, the one you bought or the one you found? One of them had to be. Did you ever sell yours?

The right rear posterior corner door has pain scraped off and metal is showing. Also behind this above posterior wheel, from same parking lot mishap, is a small indentation.
Thanks for responding to my inquiry.

06 with 52,000. It will sit on the used car lot and not be wholesaled off. Repair it or take a large ding on the trade in value.

For $1,000 it cannot hurt very badly

Yes, we sold the Uplander to our son at a great family discount price. We did the same thing earlier. I had a 2000 Ford Windstar that I sold to my son at the family discount when we bought the Uplander. In both cases, I knew that I would lose money trading the vehicles–the dealer would give me a low wholesale price and then price the trade-in vehicles at retail on his lot. We decided that we could help our son who is teaching and trying to complete an advanced degree by selling him our well-maintained minivans and not lose much because dealers don’t allow much for trade-ins.

I was going to purchase another Uplander because I did like the one I owned. However, GM quit making minivans. I thought I might turn a good used one, but found that they were overpriced. It seemed strange to me that the 2006 I mentioned was at the same dealer where I had purchased mine almost 4 years earlier. I bought the new Sienna because my wife and our mechanic convinced me to buy something new and the mechanic thinks that Toyotas are well put together. I’ve driven about 12,000 miles since March on the Toyota and have had no problems at all, so maybe he is right.

You won’t get all of the $1000 you spend because the dealer you are trading it in to can get that work done cheaper than you can. Consider selling it yourself. After you find out how little the dealer will give you for it, get it fixed and sell it yourself with a free ad on Craigslist for $3000 more. It’s a popular van. It should sell easily.

Rather than trade it, consider replacing the Captain’s chairs with a bench to make your Sienna an 8 seater. If you get lucky you might find a bench through a salvage yard. Buying the bench from the dealer would be expensive, but cheaper than the thousands you would lose in a trade. My wife has an 06 Sienna and there was an 8 passenger option for that year.

Ed B.