How Much Is a Car Worth on a Trade-In?

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    Classified Ads

    • Get an idea of what your car is worth on the open market by scanning the classified ads, both online and in your local newspaper. Focus on cars of the same make and model as yours, and compare features, mileage and condition. Keep in mind the dealer is unlikely to offer you as much on trade-in as you could get if you sold the car privately. If maximizing the selling price of your car is important, consider selling it on your own and using the money to offset the purchase price of your new car.

    Car Price Guides

    • Vehicle price guides are valuable tools, for both car buyers and sellers. Resources are available online, making it easy to check the estimated value of your vehicle before you strike a deal on the new car you want. It pays to accurately evaluate the condition of your vehicle, as condition plays a major role in the value of the car and what you can expect to get at trade-in. Check the mileage of the car, and make an honest evaluation of the vehicle's condition. Use that information, and the price guides, to determine a fair price for the car.

    Comparable Sales

    • You can learn a lot about what your trade-in might be worth by visiting car lots on your area. Shop around at local car dealers, and look for vehicles similar to the one you are driving. Note the sticker price, talk to the dealers, and try to get an idea of the value of the car. Keep in mind the price the dealer is asking for the car will be higher -- perhaps much higher -- than what that dealer would offer you for a trade-in vehicle.

    Shop Around

    • The bottom line is your car is only worth what someone will pay you for it. If you truly want to get the most for your old vehicle on trade-in, shop around. Take your car to various lots, and ask for a trade-in quote. Do not, however, make a car buying decision based solely on what the dealer is willing to give you for your trade. A great pirce on your trade in means nothing if the car you are buying is overpriced.

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