The Pit Stop

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Knowing When To Trade In A Car Is Important

May 9, 2019 10:27:00 AM / by Wes

Trading in a car is a decision that involves careful timing.

Everyone has traded in a car at some point. For whatever reason, you’ve decided it’s time to trade up for something better.

Is it time to trade your car?

Ready to trade your car or truck? Get your trade-in value online!

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Great! Just like if you were to buy a car, you’ll get the best deal during certain times of the year, but there are other factors that play into it as well. Knowing the best time to trade in your car is key, which is why it’s nice to have a friend like me. Look, I may ride motorcycles, but my first love has and always will be cars, and I know firsthand how difficult trading in a car can be. The whole point of a trade-in is to get maximum value for your car so you can drive off the lot in something that strikes your fancy. So, let’s begin.

Before you consider trading, know your car's trade-in value first.

Luckily, this isn’t 1957 or even the early-to-mid 1990s, so there’s a plethora of information that can be found on the interweb. You could even go much simpler than that. How? Logical depreciation, that’s how. Everyone knows a car depreciates over time but knowing how much it’s lost value can be tricky. Luckily, there are online depreciation calculators you can use. You simply enter information about the car and the figure you receive should give you a ballpark value number. Know your used car trade-in value first before you do anything else.

You need to get fair value for your trade-in, plain and simple. It’s always a best practice to visit multiple dealerships so you can field multiple offers and see which fits your situation best. Dealerships will work with you, just be sure to have done your homework beforehand.

Behold: the step-by-step process when trading in a car.

There are several steps you need to take before considering a trade-in. Call it homework, if you will. If you simply show up at a dealer wanting a trade-in, the chances of you getting a fair trade are minimal. The dealer will know immediately you haven’t done any research and is going to fleece you. So, before you even think about taking a trip up to your local dealer, figure out the following big three as I call them:

  1. How much equity is in your car? This is an important factor in the trade-in process. If you don’t owe a lot on your car, this is a good time to trade it in. Chances are the price you receive will give you extra money which you can use as a downpayment towards a newer model. Once the outstanding balance on the old car is paid off, you’re in a much better position.
  2. When do you plan on trading it in? The time of the year is a big factor that people often forget to consider. The best time to trade in your car is right before a new model is introduced. Dealers want their lots purged of any remaining vehicles so they can make room for new cars. This is where you can find great discounts on any unsold models which leaves you with the upper hand while negotiating your trade-in. Time is of the essence, so be sure to plan ahead!
  3. The age of your car. The age of your make/model does matter, especially if you’re looking to purchase a fairly new car. The rule of thumb is to trade in your old car before the odometer hits 50,000 miles. The car should be running well by this point, and a good-running car is valuable as a trade-in. Repairs should be at a minimum, too. The ideal mileage range should be between 30,000 and 40,000 if you’re looking for maximum value. Less wear and tear on your vehicle is important.

Congratulations! Now you know how to trade in a car.

Anything having to deal with getting a new vehicle can be a stressful situation simply because it isn’t a quick process. But, doing the necessary research and being prepared will help in the long run. Remember, at the end of the day all you really want is a fair trade so you can get out of your old car in and into a new one. I’d be lying if I said you won’t get out of your comfort zone during this process, all it takes is patience and confidence. You got this!

Trade in your car for anything with RumbleOn.

“Should I trade in my car?” If that question has popped up lately, then the answer is yes, and RumbleOn can help! Now that we carry cars and trucks, you can trade in your car for a different car, truck or motorcycle. That’s right! You can literally trade anything for anything!

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Topics: Articles, The Pit Stop, Cars, Trucks


Written by Wes

As a veteran motorcycle rider and garage gearhead, I'm no spring chicken. I'm here to give tips for beginner motorcycle riders and car enthusiasts, and teach the ways of the road.

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