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Your Used Car: Comparing Trade-In Prices

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Your Used Car: Comparing Trade-In Prices

Rickey Pearce
13 September 2009


If you are searching in your area for the dealership that offers the best used car trade-in prices, you may have found that offers may vary considerably on your car. Some dealers may have offered you a figure a little higher than you thought the vehicle is worth, while others may have offered you a figure a lot lower. However, you should always be aware that car dealerships have a very good idea what these cars are worth, and the actual value that they place on the vehicle will never be too different.

The Art of the Trade-In

Many car dealership sales managers are very experienced in offering what appears to be a very high trade-in value for the customer's used car. However, a particularly high trade-in value usually goes with a very high selling price for the vehicle that is being purchased. Therefore, the actual amount that is being showed to you as a trade-in is a paper figure only and can generally be discounted.

If you did get a particularly high trade-in value for your used vehicle, the trick will be in getting the dealership to lower their price on the new vehicle. Therefore, if the dealership offers you a price that you know is a little bit high or higher than you thought it would be, you can rest assured you are probably paying too much for the vehicle he is selling you.

Sometimes Lower Is Better

On the other hand, if you negotiate the price of the vehicle that you are buying first, you will almost always be offered a lower value for your trade-in. At times like this, you will probably be offered a value that is very close to what the dealer can actually quickly sell the vehicle for.

Therefore, when comparing trade-in values you should take particularly high trade-in values with a grain of salt and know that the dealer is not actually offering you more than the vehicle is worth. They may tell you that they are offering to buy your vehicle at a higher price so that they can earn your business. However, he is simply inflating the price of your trade-in to get you to purchase a car that was priced too high to begin with.

The moral of the story is to do your research before you go and make sure you know the value of your trade-in. This knowledge will help you in your negotiations and making sure you leave the lot feeling good about your purchase.


Rickey Pearce is an Insurance Agent and part time author who enjoys car shows in his spare time. He often views vehicles at Cars Direct to check out the listings on his favorite vehicles. Carsdirect.com holds the widest selection of both new and used cars available on the internet today. Use one of the most trusted names in the industry for your new or used vehicle purchase!

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