Trading In Your Vehicle
Let’s face it, we have all heard the term “buyer beware”, and generally it leaves a sour taste in our mouth simply because most of us have had to learn things the hard way.
We created this page to help avoid any “buyers remorse” by providing valuable information, and tips and tricks that can and will save you money (and aggravation) should you take the time to educate yourself as a consumer.
Trading In Your Vehicle!
- Take the time to clean your vehicle thoroughly prior to trading in.
This act alone can easily earn you an extra few hundred dollars or more for several reasons. First and foremost, when you bring in a potential trade and they see that it’s filthy inside and out, they immediately know they have to absorb the cost of a good detail on your car or truck. As you can imagine, they are not going to make this investment in your used vehicle without passing that cost onto you in the trade amount, that just wouldn’t make good business sense. So please be aware that this expense will come out of any amount they offer you.
Another reason you should have it cleaned is to show the vehicles true condition. Not only will the dealership immediately depreciate the value for the cleaning they must do, but they cannot see past any stains or debris to appreciate its true potential. It is only after they have it detailed (and own it) will they know the true condition and value, therefore they are left to assume this vehicle will not be sold as “excellent condition” because they cannot see if it is or isn’t. If you take the time to “show them” the actual condition of your vehicle, they are much more likely to offer more because they know what they are buying.
2. Do not bring your car or truck in with an empty tank.
It seems instinctual to use your fuel before trading in your vehicle, after all, you paid for it. What this actually says to a dealer is, “they plan on leaving this vehicle here, so we have more leverage.” While this may seem “unscrupulous”, it is one of the first things many of these dealers check because it speaks volumes. Absorbing the cost of a half tank of gas immediately lets them know that you have no problem driving off the lot if the price isn’t right.
3. Make sure you flush and fill the fluids.
There is no doubt they are going to check under the hood, and one of the easiest (and first) things they see is the condition and level of the fluids. Low and/or dirty fluids are going to raise flags of neglect and potential problems mechanically, again this is an expense that they are immediately going to take off the value, and since they are unsure of mechanical problems, they may lower the trade in amount even more to allow for that. They are a business which is setup to make a profit, the more you can do to show them that it is ready to roll off the lot, the more they are likely to give you a fair price.
4. Keep your trade in out of the deal you’re making.
When you go to purchase a new or used vehicle, they always ask if you’re looking to trade in your car or truck, you should tell them “no, I have a private buyer.”
Make your deal on the vehicle you’re purchasing first, and once you have agreed on the price, interest, etc…let them know you want to “touch base with your buyer.” This is when you can come back and let them know your buyer fell through and you are interested in trading in your vehicle. At this point of the deal you have already outlined everything that matters with your new purchase, so it will be much easier to see the full trade in amount applied to the deal already in place.
These four tips can drastically increase the amount you get for your trade-in, and of course keep that money in your pocket as opposed to theirs.
Private Purchase Verses Dealer
It is quite common for people to assume that a private purchase equals a better deal, and while this certainly can be the case at times, many times it is not!
One of the first misconceptions a buyer may have when purchasing privately is that they are covered by “the lemon law”, which is simply not true. The lemon law actually pertains to new car purchases only, unless the seller agrees to a warranty in writing, the sale of a used vehicle is always “as is” and you have no recourse if something should happen to the vehicle the moment you drive off.
Lets look at a possible scenario of a private purchase. Say you find what appears to be a great used car at a fair price, after a quick test drive you go ahead and make the purchase only to have the transmission go out within days. Now as anyone who has ever needed a new transmission will tell you, this is a repair that will easily cost as much as an engine rebuild, sometimes even more.
So you contact the seller and let them know that the car is down with major repair work needed and you want those repairs covered or demand a full refund, most will tell you that “you’re out of luck.” You can take them to court and try to explain how you never even had a chance to transfer the title over before this vehicle already required a major repair, but you will lose.
The fact is, a private seller is not held to the same standard as a dealer, and is under no obligation to provide any warranty. It simply falls under the category of “buyer beware” and you are out thousands of dollars!
Rarely a buyer can win IF they can prove the owner of the vehicle knew about the problem and lied in order to make the sale. If this should happen the seller created fraud, which of course is against the law and nullifies any contract of purchase. However, even in the event a buyer believes the seller did have knowledge of an impending repair, this will still have to be “proved” with actual evidence, your opinion vs theirs is simply “he said she said” and it will most likely lead to a judgement in favor of the seller.
Dealers in Arizona are held accountable to provide what is called an “implied warranty”, which simply means you have some legal recourse should there be a major problem with the vehicle. Using the same scenario as the one above, this transmission would not be repaired at your expense, that is of course that the damage was not caused by any negligence of the driver. When purchasing a vehicle from any dealer within the state, this implied warranty provides peace of mind as you have 500 miles or 15 days to use the vehicle, and if a major problem occurs you are protected within that period of time.
Another misconception people may have is the money they will save purchasing through a private seller. The truth is, the internet has changed the way people do business. Anyone with a computer or smartphone can see an estimated price on Kelly Blue Books website in a few minutes time, therefore most people go into a deal knowing in advance if the price point is something they feel is fair. This cost will fluctuate among dealers and private individuals alike, and naturally upgrades to a vehicle also have to be taken into consideration, but more than not you will see they are both pretty close to the KBB range.
CarFax is another tool which has become a household name over the last several years, as this report discloses any accidents or repairs done on the vehicle. A good or bad CarFax report can also be a factor when any seller is determining an asking price.
In conclusion, great deals can be found both through a dealer and via a private seller, just keep in mind that one will include a state regulated law which protects you, while the other requires you to protect yourself.
Choosing A Reputable Dealer
Hopefully by now you see the value in purchasing a used vehicle from a dealer, if that is the case, lets go over a few “red flags” to ensure you choose one that operates with honesty and integrity.
Let’s face it, Craigslist is a huge platform for anyone to advertise on, so there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking advantage of this kind of platform. The problem lies in HOW these dealers advertise!
In this day and age, most everyone knows how to navigate the web to narrow down what it is they are looking for, knowing how to use the search bar in Craigslist is no different. It comes complete with many filters, not the least of which is the ability to search for vehicles that are for sale “by owner, by dealer, or by both.”
This option is available to quickly narrow down the search results, allowing the consumer (you) to see only those items for sale from your preferred method of purchase. In other words, if you are looking to purchase a vehicle through a private party there should be no posts from dealers unless you choose to search all ads.
The second reason Craigslist is set up this way is simply because dealers must pay a fee to advertise. Truth is, Craigslist is free for individuals to use, much of their revenue comes through businesses using this as a means to market their business. (seems fair enough)
When you find a vehicle (or anything else for that matter) online that shows “for sale by owner” but in fact is through a dealer, this should cause you to be on high alert.
This “business” has just stated very loudly that they are not opposed to lying or cheating, and you are well advised to avoid them at all costs.
It may seem harmless enough, but is it really?
They are very blatantly lying to both Craigslist and every potential consumer the moment they list under a “private party”, and they do this to avoid paying the minimal fees that Craigslist charges to advertise. (cheat) That said, what makes you think they will not “lie and cheat” to make a sale? THEY WILL!
One of our biggest pet peeves are these “customer appreciation sales!” The reality is, they are a business that is setup to make a profit, and when a business is setup to make a profit, they cannot sell their merchandise for less than their profit margin allows.
As a matter of fact, lets look at a typical event which offers free hot dogs, balloons, soda & burgers, and of course a big percentage off the cost. How can they afford to do this and remain in business? The answer is, they can’t.
These automobiles cost money, having them inspected and/or repaired cost money, add that to the extra expense of the food, drink, and this “discount” they claim to be offering, and it just doesn’t add up. (literally)
The truth is they have to mark the prices up so they can seem as if they are now “marking them down.” More lying and cheating? Yes! It is all setup as “an illusion” so the consumer feels as if they are getting some great deal, but like an illusion, it is not real!
A reputable dealer is going to mark a vehicle for sale at a fair price and leave it. Period.
There is no room to hassle over the cost because they know what they have into it, and they know what they need for it in order to make their profit. This is also a much easier way for the consumer to do business as many people are uncomfortable with the haggling process, and truth be told, many of these dealers are quite skilled at it.
Last but not least, a reputable car dealer will always be forthright in any and all paperwork and warranty information.
Referencing back to the “implied warranty” we spoke of earlier, you would be surprised how many dealers will not mention this, in fact, some will even tell you the car or truck is being sold “as is” despite the fact that this implied warranty is a law they must abide by.
So going back to our little “Craigslist analogy”, it seems as if their lying really does carry over to the consumer. When they choose to withhold information from you, they are literally “lying by omission” in the hopes that you are an uninformed consumer. We are hoping by now that “uninformed” is the last thing they will get the next time you step onto a car lot. 🙂
In closing, do make sure you watch for any “red flags”, and always remember to use common sense! As a general rule; “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!