The 1980s...

"KNOWING IS HALF THE BATTLE"

A time of optimism and whimsy. Before I was even a glint in my fathers eye Ronald Reagan is elected President of the United States. A portable telephone, which isn't very portable, gets released to the public. G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero plays on Saturday morning TV and is entertaining and educating an entire generation. This new form of "edu-tainment" is underscored by a phrase that permeated the series.

Knowing is half the battle!

So what does G.I. Joe and a car deal have anything to do with eachother?

Everything and Nothing!

Nothing in the sense that the subjects aren't related, but everything in the sense that if you are prepared for the next undertaking, you will usually be victorious.

As a sales consultant here in the U.S., my comrades and I see many clients a day. Many of which have a Trade-in and Boy-Oh-Boy do people get bent out of shape when we tell them what their treasured transport means to the marketplace.

WE DON'T want to make your life difficult!

WE MUST explain the market.

In the simplest terms, you probably wont be happy with the value of your trade-in once you're told.

That should be enough to preface the subject. Let's dive in!

Tip 1. Clean Your Car

It always boggles the mind when customers expect more for their trade while the vehicle is shielded in a layer of grime Oscar the Grouch would be jealous of. The same thing goes for the interior. No, Goldfish crackers do not add to the vehicles value. No, roaches do not add to the vehicles value either.

If you are planning on trading in your vehicle empty it out and spend $20 on a simple wash and vac. It will do wonders!

Inside Info: Most Big dealers clean their cars before sending them to auction. The clean cars typically bring $100-$300 more than those that aren't cleaned.

Tip 2. A Paper Trail is a Good Thing

Would you risk your children by taking them to a Doctor that cannot prove they have degrees?

No, definitely not!

Cars, Truck, SUVs, and even Aircraft are worth much more if you have documentation that show their maintenance history. The Jiffy Lube, or Valvoline Quick Service sticker placed on the glass does not count as service record. Keeping track of your receipts, and taking them with you when you decide its time to upgrade is a great weapon.

Inside Info: The less the dealer has to do to get the unit ready for sale, the more money it is worth.

Tip 3. Inspect What You Expect

Rattles, boo-boos and whining are expected when you have a new born, but not when you're trying to sell your vehicle to a dealer.

Before departing to your dealer of choice check your dashboard for any warning lights. Under the hood check for coolant leaks, odd noises or sounds. Its at your discretion if you decide to replace anything or leave it as it. Be warned though. If you discover something, the appraiser may find it as well and use that issue as a reason to deduct money from the value.

Insider Info: Dealers are good at telling you reasons as to why the vehicle you want to trade isn't worth the money you thought it was. Sometimes it it for good reason. With that said, it is very important for you to know its weaknesses so you can be prepared for a rebuttal in your negotiations.

Tip 4. Tire Tread

Power is nothing without control and your tires are literally where the rubber meets the road.

Tires are very important to not only the dealership, but any potential customer. If a dealership has to put anything on a vehicle, bet your bottom dollar that the cost is being deducted from the price you are being offered.

Insider Info: Tires that dealers put on are usually the cheapest new ones available, but they still eat into the bottom line. Maybe slap some used ones on and not give the dealer a reason to ding you for something that is relatively cheap.

Tip 5. Knowledge is Power

With the proliferation of websites that give values for everything on two and four wheels, there is no reason for consumers to feel lost. Kbb.com, nadaguides.com and edmunds.com are the most commonly used sites for trade values. This will lay the groundwork for understanding your trade value.

Understand that all these sites give general values for the cars in your area, so don't take it as gospel.

i.e. If your car had an accident, it is virtually impossible to ascertain an accurate figure from an online source.

Kelly Blue Book specifically does have an "Instant Cash Offer" option, but before they write you a check, they will require the owner to take it to a designated inspector for a physical appraisal anyway.

Insider Info: Carmax does free appraisals, even if you don't want to buy a car from them. People have been known to use that as a tool for negotiating with other dealerships.

In summation, there are many ways to maintain the value of your old war horse. Hopefully these tips will help you put a game plan together before you upgrade to your new ride.

One last thing.

Knowing is half the battle, but don't lose the war. Even if no dealer can offer what you feel the car is worth, it may still be worth it to proceed with a deal.

If what you want is within reach, a little give and take is OK. Besides, if you liked your trade-in that much, you wouldn't be trading it in the first place.

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