Top 5 Things to Know When Trading in Your Car


If you’re thinking of trading in your car for another one, there are some important things you need to know about the process. Here are five key car trade-in points to keep in mind:

1.       Knowledge is power. The more you know about your car’s actual market value, the more effectively you can negotiate to get the best price on your trade-in vehicle. At Manhattan Jeep Chrysler Dodge, we encourage you to develop as much accurate information as possible prior to getting in touch with us. That’s why we include two different trade-in calculators on our website: our Value a Trade tool, which gives you the ability to email us an instant estimate based on your input, and the Kelley Blue Book tool, which works similarly and communicates directly with Kelly Blue Book. Use these calculators to determine a rough ballpark valuation for your car trade-in, but please understand that determining a final figure is dependent on your trade-in undergoing an appraisal process that involves a detailed examination by one of our mechanics. If you’re not happy with the price quote you receive for your car, feel free to visit additional dealers for additional input. The more data points you can accumulate, the closer you’ll get to an accurate, objective approximation of what your car is actually worth in the market.

2.       Time is money. Those arguing against bringing your car to a dealer for a car trade-in often stress the fact that selling to a private individual may sometimes yield a higher price than the seller will get from a dealer. But there are material costs associated with this course of action, especially in terms of the time and trouble required to successfully market your car. For example, while it’s easy enough to post a used car ad on Craigslist, you’ll still have to arrange for photography (cars on Craigslist don’t sell unless their listings are accompanied by many exquisite-looking photos), be willing and ready to show the car to complete strangers (who may or may not be scammers), arrange test drives, handle cash and/or verify the buyer’s check. These sale-related intangible costs may negate any increase in sale price you realize from this kind of direct transaction.

3.       Taxes matter. Another major advantage of bringing doing your car trade-in at a dealer is the favorable tax advantage you’ll realize. In New York State, the car sales tax is 4 percent (you also may be required to pay county/sales tax as well). If you trade in your used car for a new one at a dealer, the value of your trade-in will be deducted from the price of your new car, reducing your tax exposure. For mid- and high-priced cars, the money you’ll save can really add up.

4.       Seasonality counts. Demand for particular vehicle types can ebb and flow throughout the calendar year, and this shifting demand will influence the value of the car you intend to trade in. For convertibles and sporty cars, spring is the best time for a trade-in. 4X4 vehicles and trucks experience stronger demand in the fall, just prior to the first frost or snowfall. Fluctuating fuel prices also can have a big impact on your car’s marketability, with high-MPG vehicles doing better when fuel prices rise. So pay attention to the calendar – as well as current events – to determine the most advantageous time to do your car trade-in.

5.       You hold all the cards. Some have argued that it’s best to separate the car trade-in process into two separate negotiated transactions: the selling of your used car and the buying of your new one. Keeping these transactions separate may avoid confusion and minimize the chance that a price advantage you gain on one transaction will be cancelled out by a loss on the other. The argument in favor of negotiating both transactions at once is that, with both prices open at the same time, you and your dealer have more room to creatively engineer a way for the transaction to be a win-win for both parties. However you choose to handle this issue, remember that the choice is yours – to trade-in, to negotiate, or to walk away if you believe a better deal awaits you elsewhere.

At Manhattan Jeep Dodge Chrysler, we welcome you to visit us for an appraisal on your car trade-in, so please give us a call at 877-474-9500 or use this website’s online contact form. Feel free to use our Value a Trade tool to begin evaluating what your trade-in car may be worth.


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