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Trade in value

How do you determine the true trade in value for a car.? There is Kelly’s, NADA, and Edmunds…all give different values, who is right?

The only true value is what the dealer offers you. Shop around.

True value is what a willing buyer and willing seller both informed agree to exchange the product for. Those sources you quote have different results because they are not perfect. There is no perfect source.

Car dealers like to play money games. They get to see all but one card. They don’t know exactly were you will agree, but they have a lot more experience at reading you than you have at reading them.

I like to pit one dealer against the other.  Don't bother figuring out the trade value, just look at the best overall price.  Compare deals from different dealers, even if you need to drive to the next town.  Remember they will be trying to keep you at their mercy and use all kinds of tricks to get you to buy today without going elsewhere.  It is your right to go wherever you want.  

Good Luck

None of these is “right.” They are estimates, and may not reflect the real value of your car, which may be worth more or less than any of the numbers you’ve seen.

Consider them as “ball park” figures from which to negotiate, but remember, trade-in value is just one variable in the new car purchase equation. The number you need to pay attention to is the bottom line.

The trade-in value can be adjusted, or the new car price can be adjusted, but all you need to know is how much you will pay.

Trade in really depends on a dealers desire for your vehicle. It also depends on how much they want to sell the vehicle you are buying.

If you are trading a mid to large SUV good luck.

Use those guides only as a reference point. New car dealers are hurting, trading in car is a way to make some money as used cars always make a dealer more profit than a new car IF they can sell the car on their lot. The exceptions with new car are those sold at or near sticker but those are few and far between.

Two different times I have had a dealer sell me the car I wanted to purchase for less if I didn’t trade in my old car. I could have thrown my trade-in away and have been money ahead. I sold one of the cars outright and did even better. Tje other car that I was going to trade I am still driving.

Essentially, when you trade in a car, there are two transactions. You buy a car from the dealer and the dealer buys a car from you. The dealer may or may not want your car. Back in 1978, my dad was going to purchase a new Buick Century. He had a nice 1973 Oldsmobile Cutlass S that he was going to trade. At the time, I had a 1971 Ford Maverick Grabber that was in good shape, but I thought I wanted my dad’s Oldsmobile. The dealer calculated the price for trading the Oldmobile for the new Buick and then the price if we traded the Ford Maverick for the Buick. I agreed to pay my dad the difference. As it turned out, the amount offered on the trade for the Oldsmobile was too high for me ton consider the swap before he traded. The reason was that the Oldsmobile still had loan value and the dealer could finance the car so it stayed on his lot. The Maverick didn’t have loan vallue listed in the book–it was one year too old. The salesperson showed me the book and admitted that trading for the 1973 Oldsmobile wouldn’t be a good move for me. I kept the Maverick.

Dealers will also buy cars. Take it to a dealer without shopping for a new car and see what they offer you. If you get 3 quotes, you will have a good idea what the trade value is. I sold a van to a dealer without even entering the showroom.