December 1

When Should You Trade In Your Car?


Are you thinking of trading in your car for a brand-new minivan, midsize SUV, or off-road capable truck? Purchasing a new vehicle is exciting, but you may wonder if applying your current vehicle as a trade-in is the right financial move. We’re sure you’d love a one-size-fits-all answer, but that’s not typically how it works in the car-buying biz. Several factors can influence when and why trading in your car is the best monetary decision. 

Our Huffines Kia Corinth team has years of experience helping Corinth area customers make the right financial decisions when purchasing new vehicles. This guide will help you understand when and why you should trade in your vehicle so that you can make the best choice for yourself and your family.

The Ideal Time to Trade in Your Car

Image by Tumisu is licensed with Pixabay License

The ideal time to trade in your car depends on several details, such as the vehicle’s age, current value, and the time of year you’re planning to buy a new one. Reflect on these factors and those listed below when considering trading your current car for a newer model.

Before the Warranty Expires

If you want to get the most value out of your trade-in, you should trade your car in before its warranty expires. A vehicle with a warranty is usually worth far more than a vehicle without one. Trading in your car with its warranty intact can often result in you getting a newer model truck or SUV with the latest technology. 

When You Need to Make Repairs

When your vehicle is close to needing significant repairs, save on maintenance costs by trading in your car before scheduling an appointment with your auto mechanic. This strategy may yield a lower trade-in value, but it will keep you from investing your budget in a car that you may only keep for a short time. 

Before Your Car Depreciates Too Much

Over time, vehicles depreciate. Cars depreciate the most in the first two or three years, then steadily reduce in value as the car ages. Other factors, such as mileage and the vehicle’s condition, can negatively or positively affect its value. 

During the First Half of the Year

A strategic approach to getting the most out of your trade-in is to buy your new vehicle during the first six months of the year. Most new cars, trucks, and SUV models are introduced in the fall. So, many dealerships want to clear their lot of any used or previous year’s inventory and make room for as many new models as possible. Use this inventory clearance time to your advantage when negotiating the trade-in value for your current car. You may also get a much better deal on the purchase price of your new vehicle.

Before Hitting 100,000 Miles

As you may know, some vehicles remain in excellent condition after hitting 100,000 miles, while others are in a state of decline as they get closer to this number. Your car’s shape depends on how well you’ve maintained your vehicle, the condition it was in when you purchased it, and if it has been in any accidents. If your car’s in less than stellar condition, it may not be your fault — some vehicles simply don’t last as long as others. 

When customers look at a vehicle with over 100,000 miles, many see a disaster waiting to happen. They don’t want to take a chance that their newly bought car will end up being a lemon. Sales team members are well aware of this point of view held by many customers, which is why most dealerships offer a higher trade-in value for a car with less than 100,000 miles. 

Should You Trade in Your Car if It’s Not Paid Off?

Ordinarily, it’s best practice to trade in your vehicle after paying it off. That way, any value the dealership offers for your vehicle will go towards the cost of your new car. If you still need to pay off your vehicle, we recommend waiting to use it as credit toward the purchase of a new vehicle when the trade-in is worth more than your current loan. In this situation, you’ll end up paying off your vehicle loan, while still receiving credit for your new or used vehicle.

We don’t recommend trading in your vehicle if your current loan requires a prepayment fee for paying it off early. Of course, if you’re willing to pay this penalty for a new car, then, by all means, we are happy to calculate your vehicle’s trade-in value.

Should I Sell My Car or Trade it in?

You may wonder if it’s best to trade in your car or try to sell it on your own before buying your new one. There are pros and cons to both, and the right choice ultimately depends on your particular situation.

If you ask those who have traded in their vehicle at our dealership, most of them will tell you they chose this option because it’s simple, easy, and stress-free. Selling your vehicle privately will take more time and effort than simply driving it to our Denton location and driving home with a new-to-you SUV.

On the other hand, trading in your car may result in a substantially lower offer than if you were to sell it to a private individual. Car dealerships need to profit from the car you trade in for that much sought-after newer vehicle. Selling to a private individual means there’s no intermediary, so you receive any profit from the transaction.

Now that you understand the various benefits of trading in your car, our Huffines Kia Corinth sales team is ready to help you find your next new or used vehicle. Contact us today with any questions, and be sure to also ask about our True Cash Offer. This online tool provides a straightforward way for you to discover what your car is worth. We look forward to seeing you when you visit our Corinth location soon.


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