Car Dealer Secrets: How To Prepare Your Used-Car For Trade-In

Trading in your car is a fairly straightforward process. Not only does it help you save loads of money that you’d spend on buying a new car, but with a little research, your next car could be the best deal you ever made. Whether you’re looking to trade-in your car because it isn’t running as smoothly as it used to or if you’re just looking to upgrade, trading in is the best option. 

Even if you’re selling directly to a dealer, without buying another car or you have plans on trading in your old vehicle for a new one, attention to detail is key. You need to ensure that you get a fair price for your old set of wheels, but you need to be in charge. Here are a few tips on how you can prepare your car for a beneficial trade-in.

How To Prepare Your Used-Car For Trade-In

Getting your car prepped

The first step in trading-in your car is getting your car ready and prepared before you step into any dealership to make the trade. Clean the vehicle thoroughly – inside and out. For the exterior, a good wash and a fresh coat of wax should do the trick. For the insides of the car, start by discarding your personal items and then vacuum the whole thing. If you don’t want to do it on your own, you can have it detailed, but even though dealers tell us they can see through dirt to realize the actual value of the car, making a good first impression only improves your chances of getting a better offer. 

Repairing minor issues

Inspect the car’s lights, including the interior dome lights and replace them, if need be. Check all fluid levels (washer fluid, brake fluid, coolant etc.) and make sure they’re topped off. In case there are some major repairs to be done on your car, you should leave it to the dealer. Even though any major issue will decrease the value of the trade-in, the dealer would be able to do the repairs for less than it would cost you. 

Collect important documents

This includes the car’s title and should also include any and all service records, registration and everything else that a potential buyer might want to see. If you’ve maintained the car well and on time, it will retain more of its value than one that has not been regularly maintained. Ideally, you won’t need to pull the vehicle’s history report as the dealers will most probably get one for the vehicle themselves. 


Grab all the extras. This includes the extra sets of keys or any other accessories belonging to the vehicle. If the navigation system has a DVD or SD card associated with it, make sure to bring in those items as well. Usually, dealers won’t give you credit for any missing accessories because then they aren’t complete.

Conduct your own inspection

You must note any exterior dents or dings in the vehicle that can’t be buffed out with a little elbow grease. Take your current car out for a drive and pay close attention to anything that just doesn’t seem right. Note any issues with the car, whether they’re electrical, mechanical or even related to getting new wheels.  

Head over to the Car Factory and get the best deal on your trade-in!
We have over 800 vehicles in our inventory, so schedule your test drive in our Miami or Hollywood locations online today, at, or call (786) 406-6234!

Recommended Read: How To Determine The Value Of A Used Car: Value Your Trade-In Miami, FL

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