Thousands of Americans buy a new sports utility vehicle (or SUV) every year. While some buyers will buy their new SUV outright, some people prefer to trade in an older vehicle as part of the transaction. A trade-in can help you cut the amount of cash you need to come up with, but it's important to make sure you get the best possible price for any used car or you could lose money. Find out how to get the best trade-in deal on a new SUV with the five following tips and tricks.
Deal with minor or routine mechanical issues
A dealer will nearly always spot minor mechanical issues with your old car, and anything that he or she notices will potentially affect the trade-in value you get. As such, it's often better to get a mechanic to fix these parts before you negotiate on a new model, as this work will remove one of the barriers to getting a good price.
If you're trading in an older SUV, bear in mind that certain parts wear out more easily on these models. For example, a larger model may get through a set of front brake pads every 30,000 miles. A set of new pads may only cost you $70, but a dealer will probably take a lot more than that off the value of a trade-in when he or she spots the issue, so it's worth getting the work done.
Arrange a full valet and detail
Dealers want cars that they can sell quickly, easily and without fuss. They also want trade-in vehicles from careful owners, so it's a good idea to present the car in the best possible condition. A full valet and detail won't cost you a fortune, but your car's immaculate condition will set you up for a healthy negotiation on price.
Certain parts of an SUV may need particular attention compared to other types of car. For example, while the bodywork is important on any vehicle, you may need to get somebody to properly clean the underside of an older SUV, especially if you drove the car off-road.
Know the market
Armed with the right information, you can negotiate the best price for your trade-in. Check online sellers' guides that can give you an accurate market price for the make and model you want to trade in, but check out the local market too. Research online can tell you which SUVs are more popular in your state, which can help you understand potential demand on the local second-hand market.
If you're buying an SUV that's not so easy to sell where you live, the dealer may accept a higher trade-in price on your old car. Conversely, if you're looking at a model that's very popular, you may find it harder to negotiate. Nonetheless, in either case, the right knowledge can help you make the right decisions on price.
Choose your timing carefully
The new SUV market experiences certain seasonal trends that buyers can take advantage of. For example, dealers often like to get rid of certain models during late summer or early fall, as this can make way for the new registration year's models. As such, if you visit a dealer at this time of year, you may get a better price for your trade-in.
In fact, even the time of the month matters. Car dealers have ambitious targets to meet. If a dealer needs to close some sales to hit his or her target at the end of the month, you may get a better price for your trade-in than you would get on the first of the month.
Remove and restore customized parts
Certain accessories may look good to you, but some types of customization can put off potential buyers. For example, performance wheels and body kits may look cool on your current SUV, but a more conservative buyer may think this shows you have driven the car too hard.
As such, assuming you still have the original parts, it's often a good idea to remove any customized parts. By presenting the SUV in its original state, you'll make life easier for the dealer, so he or she will probably give you a better price.
If you're in the market for a new SUV, there are plenty of ways you can get the best trade-in price on an older model. Talk to a professional local dealer, such as Western Avenue Nissan, for more information.